Arrow S06E09 “Irreconcilable Differences” REVIEW

Arrow S06E09 “Irreconcilable Differences” REVIEW

1 comment 📅14 December 2017, 20:02

Airing in the UK on Sky 1, new episodes every Thursday
Beth Schwartz & Sarah Tarkoff
Director: Laura Belsey

Essential Plot Points:

  • Olly is finally holding the official wedding reception. Which, it being Olly, of course worries him. Nonetheless, Felicity shows up and everything’s fine. Also Oliver’s mildly dopey, stunned grin that nice things are actually happening for once is surprisingly lovely.
  • As Felicity’s parents gear up into full on sitcom hectoring, Oliver rescues his wife and dancing ensues. Then people being happy and things going well.
  • This cannot possibly last.

  • The members of Team Arrow are kicking back. This mostly involves Rene giving Curtis good natured stick about his terrible love life.
  • Quentin gives Oliver a watch. He explains it’s the one his dad gave him when he got married and it isn’t right that Oliver doesn’t have a parent at the party and OH DEAR GOD OUR FEELINGS.
  • Curtis catches the bouquet!
  • And also gives an increasingly drunken monologue!
  • Rene rescues him and delivers a deeply sweet and heartfelt speech. And now we’re REALLY worried.
  • And then Felicity’s mom runs into Quentin and…well…maximum levels of awkward. Thankfully, Quentin’s phone rings! It’s Oliver’s lawyer!

  • And then Quentin pulls Oliver to one side. The prosecution have someone willing to testify Oliver is the Green Arrow. And it’s someone on the team.
  • Felicity and Oliver call John to the cave. It’s either Curtis, Dinah or Rene. John counsels them to ask the team but Oliver insists on spying on them.
  • Rene has taken Curtis to his apartment to sleep it off. Curtis breaks down, guilt ridden by his presence on Team Arrow. Rene consoles him and Curtis promptly falls asleep.
  • Dinah is confronted by Vince who wants back in her life. She turns him down and throws him out of town.
  • Thea is walked home by Quentin. Black Siren attacks them, knocks out Thea and kidnaps Quentin.
  • At the cave, Oliver, Felicity and John are watching surveillance footage of Dinah’s meeting with Vince. John speaks up for her, but Oliver and Felicity are both convinced Dinah’s the mole. Thea arrives, fills them in and the phone Laurel left on her rings.
  • It’s Cayden James. He wants Oliver to steal a piece of technology from Argus. If he doesn’t steal it for James, Quentin is dead.

  • Team Arrow Mission: Impossible their way into Argus and get the device.
  • Back at the cave they figure out what James wants the device for; the thermobaric bomb. The device will massively enhance its destructive capabilities.
  • They plan to have Curtis sabotage the device and hand it over in return for Quentin. Dinah arrives and Oliver goes Full Oliver; spilling everything to her. And, by extension, everyone else.
  • It gets MUCH worse. John and Oliver reveal that they had everyone under surveillance. Or more specifically the newbies. It’s about to get very nasty when Rene comes clean; it’s him.
  • Rene lays it out. He was busted, identified and given a choice between losing his daughter or turning Oliver in. He’s adamant there was no other way. Oliver throws him out.
  • At James’ hideout, Lance bonds with his ‘daughter’. They identify the exact moment where their lives diverged and it seems to really leave an impression on Laurel.
  • The newbies meet up. They’re backing up Rene, and disgusted that they’ve been spied on.
  • Back at the cave, Oliver opens up to Thea. He’s mad at Rene for everything he’s done, even though Oliver has done the exact same things. Thea simultaneously backs him up and kicks his ass, opening him up to the possibility of forgiving Rene. Oliver orders the entire team brought on line and they go in.
  • Oliver faces off with Cayden and his thugs. Cayden refuses to let Oliver speak to Quentin unless he lays his bow down.
  • Upstairs, and unable to help, Curtis and Rene go off book.
  • James sees through it. Instantly.
  • Oliver triggers a massively cool flare gun in his bow and uses it to buy some time. A fight ensues and Curtis and Rene are off position. They find Lance and Black Siren finds them.
  • Laurel makes a run for it with Lance. And, to everyone’s surprise, sets him free. Oliver arrives and she makes her escape.
  • Back at the cave, Oliver debriefs the team. He’s clearly furious. Rene isn’t having it. And Oliver is done. Rene’s fired.
  • Dinah, disgusted by Oliver’s behaviour, quits too.
  • She visits Vince. They reunite.

  • At home, Rene brings his daughter in for the first time. He vows to never let anyone split them up again.
  • At the cave, John tries to walk things back. Curtis arrives and, politely, and kindly, tells them he’s done. They spied on him. They don’t trust him. So he can’t trust them.
  • Curtis quits.
  • Oliver shrugs it off. His one priority is finding out how James knew they’d sabotaged the bunker.
  • And then, the camera pulls back, through the spy camera he’s planted in the cave. He, Laurel, , Anatoli, Vince and Ricardo Diaz watch the feed…


The opening is great, and the actual honest to God happiness Team Arrow and co have makes a welcome change. Plus the way its cleverly cut through with Curtis’ heartbreak and the dysfunctional lives they all lead brings a nice air of ambiguity to proceedings. You know something is coming, you don’t know what and it gives everything added importance.

Then we get the first reveal and it’s a doozie. And the stuff that follows it is fun too, and the Mission: Impossible heist? Great! As is Rene coming clean and the newbies being loyal to one another. All of that works. Laurel starting to bond with her ‘dad’? Most interesting thing they’ve done with her. It all works.

What doesn’t is how the vets on Team Arrow treat their colleagues this week. The way Felicity in particular shrugs off the vast invasion of privacy they’re carrying out is just weird. It’s a massively bad thing they’re doing, and Felicity in particular has a legion of reasons to see that. But, this week, doesn’t.

The frustration that causes is only made more apparent by Oliver bouncing Rene twice. That beat just flat out mystifies us. It makes no sense and it makes Oliver come across as petty and childish. Now, in the past, he’s been both but we’re six seasons in. He’s the Mayor. He’s a Dad. Olly is an adult. Or should be. Instead, he throws a tantrum and his friends leave.

It’s a black hole in the middle of the episode and nothing escapes from it. And that’s a real shame because there’s a ton of stuff to enjoy here, especially the new Anti Team Arrow and Rene and Curtis being adorable. But, while it’s crammed full of nice moments, nothing quite sticks together here. Fun, but frustrating. Here’s hoping the second half of the season turns this around.

The Good:

  • The Argus heist is STRAIGHT out of the first Mission: Impossible movie. The only thing it’s missing is Ving Rhames looking worried.
  • Curtis’ gruff janitor voice is amazing.
  • All the Laurel and Quentin stuff
  • Rock solid performances from every corner of one of the best casts in genre this week.

The Bad

  • 6 triumphant years of Oliver Queen trust issues!
    Surely the camera would be picked up in the bug sweeps Felicity is presumably doing?

And the Random:

  • Oliver and Felicity’s first dance is to At Last by Etta James.
  • Laura Belsey has directed for The Flash, Arrow, Criminal Minds, Blindspot, Bull and many more
  • Sarah Tarkoff has written for Arrow on numerous occasions including season 5’s ‘Checkmate’. She also wrote season 2 of Vixen along with Lauren Certo & Nolan Dunbar
  • Beth Schwartz has been with Arrow since season 1. She’s also written for What About Brian, Hart of Dixie and Brothers & Sisters.

Best Lines

  • ‘I love a lot of things! Sweaters! Math! Coffee! But I’m not gonna marry that stuff!’
  • ‘You ever think life would be better without Team Arrow?’
    ‘Only all the time.’
  • ‘You just got out of the hospital. Are you so eager to go back?’
  • ‘…why should I help you?’
    ‘I DID float the concept of Mr Lance dying? Didn’t I?’
  • ‘Still don’t understand why the brown guy gotta be the janitor though.’
  • ‘I am already spending my honeymoon in a garbage can I am NOT wearing your puke!’
  • ‘Curtis is going to sabotage it.’
    ‘Curtis is gonna what now?’
  • ‘Let’s have the team suit up. John…the whole team.’

Review by Alasdair Stuart

Click here for more of our Arrowverse coverage

1 Comment

  1. Croire
    16 December 2017, 04:03 Croire

    I actually think Felicity shrugging it off the clear invasion of privacy is not too surprising for post-season 5, after being influenced to step into the darker side of the gray area by Helix. If it was Felicity pre-season 5, I think she would’ve been more vocal about it, but for this Felicity?
    I can understand Oliver and OTA’s paranoia about a traitor within their inner circle of trust. As they mention, look what happened the last time with Artemis, and that was AFTER she had done the whole ‘I was a jerk’ false apology to trick Oliver that she had come to terms with his killing spree history. Artemis is the poster child for manipulative traitor, and if someone like that was actually on the team, I can feel that paranoia grow. But yeah, I do feel, after the previous episodes of establishing a more cheerful, joking, and understanding Oliver, that his behavior here is regressive. It’s very Oliver like to be like that tho, I guess nearly a decade of brooding takes some time to shake off huh?
    They understandably feel paranoid

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