Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided Cinema Sentries with a free copy of the Blu-ray set reviewed in this post. The opinions shared are those solely of the writer
When we left off from Season Five, it was a big cliffhanger. Adrian Chase (Josh Segarra) had Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) and his son William (Jack Moore) trapped on a boat just off Lian yu where our hero had spent those mysterious five years. The first five seasons often had flashbacks to what happened during those years and was all culminating in a cyclical journey to cap off the last ten years of his life. Chase had brought them back to the island for a reason. He was seeking vengeance on the Green Arrow for having killed his father. And in his ultimate revenge, he gave him a choice. He could either save William or let all his friends be blown up on the island. As any good hero would do, he tried to save everybody. And for a moment, he managed to accomplish this feat. But before he could put Chase behind bars, there was one trick left up his sleeve that resulted in the island exploding.
Not knowing if anyone survived the destruction of the island, viewers were left to find out the answers when Season Six began. While none of the major cast was killed off, there were several people wounded and a few plot twists that would affect the whole of the season. William’s mother was the only one who was killed, leaving Oliver as a single parent to raise a son he barely even knew. John Diggle (David Ramsey) had tendon issues that ended up impairing his fighting abilities and lead to trust issues with members of the team. Thea (Willa Holland) was left in a coma, and Quentin Lance ended up shooting Laurel/Black Siren (Katie Cassidy), the doppelganger of his daughter, while defending Dinah Drake (Juliana Harkavy), the new Black Canary.
Even after being shot, Laurel was rescued by the season’s main villain, Cayden James (Michael Emerson), a cyber terrorist putting his own team of criminals together to take down Oliver for accidentally killing his son during a mission that went wrong. Cayden’s team consisted of Black Siren, Oliver’s former best gangster friend Anatoly Knyazev (David Nykl), Ricardo Diaz (Kirk Acevedo), and the mysterious Vigilante (Johann Urb). But Cayden wasn’t simply interested in physically destroying the Arrow team. Instead, he wanted Oliver to suffer by stripping him away from his allies and publicly discrediting him using the Internet and law enforcement before moving in for the kill. While his plan had a significant amount of success at turning them against each other, the plan was ultimately foiled from within as Diaz turned out to be a ruthless, power-mad traitor set on amassing his own power base.
So instead of one main villain for the season, there were many. And not only did Oliver have to figure out a way to save the city, he also has to do it while trying to be the mayor and a father, two things he has very little experience with. Of course, we all know that he’s going to find some way to defeat the bad guys. But this time it’s different as he manages to alienate every member of his team and then sacrifices himself by allying with an unexpected individual in a desperate effort to take down Diaz.
The Blu-ray is presented in 1080p High Definition 16x9 1.78:1 video with a DTS-HD 5.1 audio track. The video is high quality. There are a number of action scenes shot at night or in darkly lit areas and the sharpness of the picture holds up throughout. The audio tracks are immersive and have good surround sound that keeps you in the action. All 22 episodes of Season Six are contained on four discs, along with all four parts of the “Crisis On Earth-X” crossover series, and four additional special features:
“The Split of a Man: Deathstroke” is a feature about the two sides of the character, his violent assassin mode and his friend and father role as Slade Wilson (Manu Bennett). Using clips from the previous seasons, it discusses how far he has come. And while still walking the fine line between good and evil, his better half is winning out as his time in solitary confinement has given him time to come to terms with everything he has done and be truly ashamed of what the Mirakuru serum has changed him into.
“Inside The Crossover: Crisis on Earth-X” is a roundtable discussion moderated by Hector Navarro hosting the executive producers from all four of the DC shows involved in the crossover event. They discuss a number of topics such as how they came up with the premise, the theme of sacrifice, how the comic book Crisis on Infinite Earth played into the TV shows, and an hour-by-hour breakdown of what was needed to produce each section by the four different production teams.
“Revenge in Ones and Zeros: The Story of Cayden James” uses clips from previous episodes to explore this newest villain’s motives for coming after Oliver Queen and Team Arrow, how his good intentions went wrong, and ultimately, how his undoing came about by the hands of his own henchmen.
“The Best Of DC TV’s Comic-Con Panels San Diego 2017” is intermixed video from the Warner Brothers autograph booth at Comic-Con and the cast panels held in front of thousands of fans. Not only does it include cast events from all four of the CW shows (Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow, and The Legends of Tomorrow), but the surprisingly unexpected Gotham panel can be found here as well.
This was a big season for Arrow as it’s the first where there are no flashbacks to Oliver’s time on the island. It had to stand by itself and doesn’t have any extra buffer that it can bring in when needed. Because of this, it not only allows for multiple villains, but it also is able to incorporate more storylines than in the past. Diggle, who was wounded at the end of Season Five, has the mantle of the Green Arrow thrust upon him because Oliver has made a promise to William that he will no longer put himself at risk trying to be a hero. But there’s a problem: Diggle is hurt more than he lets anyone knows and isn’t physically up to the task. Deathstroke also returns to help Oliver rescue William and in exchange gets help tracking down his own son, who is surprisingly following in his father’s bloody footprints. Dinah, Curtis (Echo Kellum), and Rene (Rick Gonzalez) break away from the Arrow team and form their own group to fight crime. And Roy Harper (Colton Haynes) returns in a pivotal role.
While the new storylines added more depth into the show and explored different sides of several characters, the breaking of the team got a little old after a while. The pettiness and infighting was a little too much and started to drag the show down. It was bad enough that as soon as I saw the former Arrow squad appear on the screen I wanted to fast forward. But thankfully, they all pulled back together near the end. It wasn’t a full reconciliation, but it became watchable again. For the most part, the season was enjoyable. The new plot twists and story format were different from the previous seasons and added a new life to the show. Not only was Oliver finally free from the island, but so was the audience.