has a lot of ground to cover in the winter finale entitled "Irreconcilable Differences." Obviously, coming off the end of "Crisis on Earth-X" with Oliver and Felicity's surprise wedding (that must be dealt with) but before the Nazi invaded, Oliver had a fair bit going on in his life. Thea's awake from her coma, Cayden James is still out for revenge and the biggest concern as far as the episode is concerned is that Oliver is still under indictment as the Green Arrow. Nearly everything is touched on and that results in an action-packed episode that serves mostly to set up the back half of the season than being wholly satisfying in its own right.
Someone Put Betrayal on the Wedding Registry
"Irreconcilable Differences" opens with Oliver and Felicity celebrating their wedding with family and friends. While it's all very cute and there's some very funny jokes, it's pretty much solely there for Olicity fans. It has almost nothing to do with "Irreconcilable Difference." Oliver and Felicity's celebration is quickly cut short by Quentin. Quentin has been informed by Oliver's lawyer that the prosecution's case against him has a member of Team Arrow who confessed to Oliver being the Green Arrow.
This naturally causes the original three team members (Oliver, Felicity and Diggle) to panic and question quite a bit. They soon turn their suspicion all on the three newbies. The matured and measured Oliver of the season is gone and in his place is the mean and mistrusting one of the earlier seasons. This is disappointing but if anything is going to bring the old Oliver out, being stabbed in the back is going to do it.
While neither Oliver's rage or the Original Team Arrow's suspicion is shocking, it does come out in a very fascinating way. It exposes the natural fractures within Team Arrow. There's only going to be a sharp division between the original trio and the "recruits." This is just further exemplified when Felicity manages to bug Rene, Dinah and Curtis to spy on them.
This bugging does finally exposes one secret: Dinah is in contact with Vigilante. Rather than just exposing that stupidly kept secret though, this news convinces Ollie that Dinah must be the traitor. So, when Oliver gets the mission for the episode (because there still has to be a mission) he chooses not to bring Dinah along.
A Kidnapping in Chaos
If the mission in question wasn't coming up against this traitor story, it might be compelling. However, since the betrayal hangs over everything like a dark cloud, the mission can't help but feel like it's just stalling time. It's there to keep Oliver from being paranoid for an entire 40 plus minutes. In any case, Black Siren and Cayden James pop up again, kidnap Quentin and use Quentin's life as blackmail for Team Arrow to deliver an amplifier that Cayden can use to build a bomb to destroy the city. It doesn't take Oliver and the team long to find the amplifier they need, but again, it's just treading water until the big blowout within the team.
Dinah arrives at the bunker after the team has returned from their mission. She treats the scene exactly as if she's walking in on a lover in bed with someone else. The argument that unfolds is not quite as deep and satisfying as the one that played out between Diggle and Oliver in "Thanksgiving," but it comes close. The new members find out that they've been spied on and Dinah, understandably, is enraged that anyone could think she betrayed the team.
Thankfully, the real traitor steps forward before things get too intense. It's Rene. Rene confessed only because Samanda Watson was threatening Rene's new life with his daughter. The fact that there's a traitor at all feels a little too sudden, but if it had to be anyone and for any reason, it makes sense that it's Rene. Rene has always been the most impulsive and twitchy member of Team Arrow. Oliver though doesn't see the dramatic significance and orders Rene to get out.
The Death of One Team and the Birth of Another
The matter is far from settled though because even though Rene is the traitor, the trust has been broken all the way around. Even when Thea convinces Oliver to give Rene a second chance, because the team needs all hands on deck to save Quentin, the new trio still feels betrayed. Felicity's spying convinces them that they'll always be second-class citizens (or vigilantes) in the eyes of the originals.
This tension bleeds over to the rescue of Quentin as the team is a complete mess. Oliver is barking orders, Dinah is the only one who is listening, Rene goes way off book and the team's method to pull one over on Cayden James, tampering with the amplifier, completely fails. The only thing that keeps the rescue from complete disaster is that Black Siren lets Quentin go, rather than killing him. There might be some humanity in her after all.
Even if no one dies during the mission, it's still a pretty big failure and Oliver has completely regressed back to his "trust no one, everyone's an enemy" mindset. He fires Rene, permanently this time and that's quickly followed by both Dinah and Curtis quitting. Oliver has proven that he no longer trusts them and they, in turn, no longer believe in him. Oliver and Felicity are married but Team Arrow is getting a divorce.
This all occurs to the delight of Cayden James, who to the surprise of no one, has a camera inside the Arrow Cave. In an equally predictable move (though still a very cool one) Cayden and Black Siren are not working entirely alone. There's a whole cabal of villains joining together to go after Team Arrow. They include Cayden, Black Siren, Anatoly, Richardo Diaz AND Vigilante.
This reveal is like most things in "Irreconcilable Difference" a great concept with tons of potential but it's on the rest of season 6 to make it worth it. Team Arrow, who are fractured, under siege from an "Evil Team Arrow" is a fantastic idea but it just hopefully won't get lost in all the many, many plot threads of season 6 so far.
But what did you think of the winter finale? How do you feel about Team Arrow's break-up? How long will it stick? Are you excited by the new villain super-group? How do you feel about Rene betraying Oliver?