Arrow “Eleven Fifty-Nine” Review (Season 4, Episode 18)

Sometimes we are so desperate to believe that we refuse to accept the truth that is slapping us in the face. It never does any good to walk through life wearing rose-colored glasses though because when everything comes crashing down, it hurts that much more. That’s what I kept thinking during this entire episode of Arrow.

The truth about Andy came to light, and I can’t say I was in any way surprised. As much as I wanted Andy to be on the up and up for Dig’s sake, I knew there was no way he could be. He’s in too deep with Darhk, and Darhk is way too much in Andy’s head. The only thing that even remotely surprised me about Andy’s story was how surprised Dig seemed to be that Andy has been working for Darhk all along. It would be one thing if this weren’t exactly the same crap Andy pulled in Afghanistan, but it is. Almost to the letter. Back then, Dig pulled him out of a bad situation and tried to help set him on a better path. Andy faked it for a while; lied to Dig when he confronted Andy about whether he was actually working with the war profiteers; and then went on to become one of the top guys in that organization. This time was no different. Andy even told Dig when they first captured him that Dig’s brother is dead and he needs to let it go. I felt really bad for Dig, though, because he desperately wanted his brother back. So much so that he continually denied the evidence to the contrary right in front of him. The truth is, sometimes we go through an event or series of events that is so traumatic that it breaks us into so many pieces we can never really be whole again. We can pick up the shattered parts and try to put them back together, but they’re never going to fit quite right and there will always be a few missing pieces. That’s what’s happened to Andy. He made some really bad choices that led him to Damien Darhk. After he hooked up with Darhk, he was shattered beyond repair.

I do not think Dig is going to handle this very well. Putting aside the fact that he drew a gun on his best friend and threatened to shoot him, this means Dig has had to deal with losing his brother twice. The first time, while not easy, was tolerable because Andy was still a good man as far as Dig was concerned. Now that Dig has seen Andy for the man he really is, Dig has to face that the brother he thought he knew never really existed. Andy has always been a thief, a liar, a murderer, and an all around cad. Just because Dig refused to see it doesn’t make it any less true. So in addition to that revelation, Dig also has to deal with the guilt of being part of the reason Laurel is dead. I’m not saying it’s entirely his fault because it’s not. But at the same time, Dig’s choices directly impacted Laurel’s situation. Aside from the very heavy emotional toll this is going to take on Dig, this is also an extremely bad situation for everyone tactically. Andy already said that he’s been tracking their movements for months, but in addition to that, Dig has no doubt revealed other secrets that will compromise Team Arrow and their ability to do their job. Not to mention that anyone Dig, Oliver, and the rest care about now have giant targets on their backs. Basically, Dig’s uncompromising faith in Andy has now put everyone in jeopardy. Mind you, I’m not judging Dig (that much), but his refusal to even entertain the idea that Andy wasn’t on the up and up was a bad decision that will have far reaching consequences.

Speaking of consequences, Team Arrow is down one member. And honestly, I think the show did a good job with that exit. If you’ve read any of my reviews over the last couple of seasons, you will know that I’m not exactly a Laurel Lance fan. Until recently, her character has been grating and pretty much next to useless. That’s due in large part to the fact that the powers that be didn’t seem to know what to do with Laurel or how to get her from point A to point B. They obviously wanted to turn her into Black Canary because they beat us over the head with that transition for almost an entire season, but the transition itself wasn’t done well. Let me back up a little. The Laurel Lance we met in season one wasn’t the Laurel Lance we’ve been stuck with since season two. I actually liked season one Laurel. She was smart and capable of taking care of herself. She wasn’t overly whiney or unnecessarily abrasive. However, for most of season two, Laurel was perpetually a damsel in distress. She continually did stupid things that got her into a position where she needed The Arrow to swoop in and save her. It’s as if she put both her brain and her ability to fight on a shelf somewhere and forgot where she put them. Then there was the addiction storyline, followed by Sara’s death, and ultimately a rather abrupt transition into the masked crimefighter Black Canary after a couple weeks of kickboxing classes.

I’ve actually been really disappointed with Laurel’s character ever since season two because she had such potential. I get that they wanted her to go through some things so that she could believably channel her grief and anger into Black Canary. That’s perfectly fine, but the journey they took getting there wasn’t fine. There wasn’t enough time spent with the transition, so when it happened, it didn’t feel earned. Thankfully, Laurel has been less whiney in the last handful of episodes and more like the Laurel from season one, and I’ve enjoyed her much more. The problem is, they spent two seasons making her almost unbearable so by this season I was really ready for her to just go sit down somewhere and be quiet. However, I do think the way she went out in this episode was heroic, so at least she got that. Plus, Team Arrow is falling apart and her death may be the thing that pulls them back together. It’s sad, but something needed to happen to get them back on track. But I must admit, I’m not entirely convinced we’re not going to see Laurel again. This show plays fast and loose with death all the time, so who knows what will happen. I do hope they allow Laurel to stay dead though. When you keep bringing people back from the dead (or having them be presumed dead) it lessens the impact of death and lowers the stakes for our heroes.

I’m glad to say that I enjoyed this episode much more than last week. It brought resolution to Laurel in a way that does service to a character that, for the most part, the show hasn’t really done good service to. As much as I think Dig was kind of stupid to trust Andy so implicitly, I do appreciate that he did tell Oliver about himself. I get that the island changed Oliver. Quite frankly, there’s no way it couldn’t have. But for Oliver to keep his head so firmly implanted up his rear end is getting old and Dig told him as much. Oliver has been wallowing in self-pity and self–righteousness long enough. It’s more than past time for him to grow up and stop trying to control everyone and everything. You can’t tell grown folks what to do, and if you respect them, you shouldn’t want to. You should be honest with them and allow them to make informed decisions. I’m just wondering how many different people are going to have to tell Oliver that he’s being an idiot before he gets it through his thick head. I’m also pretty much over the Malcolm/Thea drama. I always believed Thea was wrong to just toss aside Robert as her father and accept Malcolm because there’s more to fatherhood than biology. For Thea to keep going back and forth about her relationship with Malcolm is tiresome at this point. I’m well aware that it’s a complicated situation, but nothing Malcolm has done has been for Thea’s benefit and she’s suffered more at his hand than at anyone else’s. I’m really ready for her to just accept that Malcolm is a monster and the only person Malcolm loves is Malcolm. Then she needs to just move on. I feel horrible for Captain Lance. I knew his testimony against Darhk wasn’t going to come without consequences. One of the worst things for a parent is to lose a child, and Lance has had to go through that so many times already its ridiculous. I hope Team Arrow doesn’t leave him to deal with it on his own. We’ve finally found out who is in the grave they’ve been teasing us with all season, and I doubt Team Arrow is going to rest until they put the people responsible for Laurel’s death in the ground.