Arrow S06E12 “All For Nothing” REVIEW

Arrow S06E12 “All For Nothing” REVIEW

0 comments 📅06 February 2018, 10:30

Airing in the US on The CW, Fridays 9pm, No UK air date confirmed as yet
Beth Schwartz & Oscar Balderrama
Director: Mairzee Almas

Essential Plot Points:

  • Olly, Quentin, Dinah and their new Chief of Detectives are on the shore in the one spot where James may not have electronic surveillance. If they can prove that with Argus’ help, then the city has a lifeline. They can bring supplies in.  Argus divers come ashore and all seems well into one of them mentions their communications are patched into the main network.
  • James kills them all.
  • The City is still cut off.
  • Olly and Thea discuss events. They’re running out of time and money. But, William is at least safe out of the city.
  • Quentin notices someone following him. Black Siren. She disappears when she realizes he’s spotted her,
  • Dinah and Vince meet, He reassures her that he didn’t know the Argus divers were coming in and they kiss.
  • Dinah and Vince work their first case together. For Lt Singh from The Flash! Continuity!
  • Vince is called to a meeting by James. James makes it clear he knows someone is a mole but doesn’t know who. Yet.
  • Olly gets a lead on Vigilante and he and Dig confront him. Curtis’ team arrive and come clean that Vince is on the up and up and they’re working with him.
  • The two teams share info. With Vince. Reluctantly.
  • It boils down to this; Now they have an inside track Felicity has a device she can use to hoover all the info out of James’ servers. But it has to be done in close proximity.
  • Which means Vince needs to go in and do it manually.
  • Dinah is FAR from happy. But they get the go ahead.
  • Thea and Quentin take a meeting with the city accountants and get the bad news they were expecting; the city is close to broke.
  • Quentin comes clean about Black Siren. Thea suggests it may be time for Quentin to reach out to her,
  • Olly and Vince growl at one another before he heads out. Vince assures Dinah that everything will be fine. So that’s him in serious trouble then.
  • Team Newbie go to the Arrow Cave and Dinah walks Vince through breaking into the Server Room. It’s going great.
  • Right up until it isn’t.
  • James discovers him.
  • All seems lost until, brilliantly, Felicity feeds Vince some IT speak over his earpiece to bluff James out. James is impressed. The data transfer is complete. Vince leaves.
  • In the flashbacks, Vince’s cover is close to blown.
  • In the present, Vince’s cover IS blown. He transmits the data and makes his getaway.
  • In the flashback, Vince and Dinah discuss the risks. Vince is convinced one of them has been discovered and wants to abandon the op. Dinah convinces him to stay the course.
  • In the present, James confronts Vince on the way out. Vince is tazed and dragged inside. He’s in big trouble.
  • In the present, Team Arrow are unaware the op has gone wrong. They start combing the data.
  • In the past, Dinah’s cover is blown.
  • In the present, Vince tries to bluff it out but it doesn’t work and the torture begins.
  • Elsewhere, Quentin puts himself in harm’s way to talk to Black Siren. He shows her footage of Laurel, his Laurel, and Sara. Black Siren freaks out and runs, but Quentin is convinced the fundamental goodness of his daughter is in Black Siren trying to get out…

  • Dinah tells Team Arrow Vince never made it back. She does this at the exact time Felicity locates the bomb. She has the building but nothing more specific. It’s a massive location so they need everyone to search it.
  • The band’s getting back together! Or maybe not! Because suddenly Vince activates his communications link, mid-scream.
  • Dinah wants to rescue him. Oliver reminds her what Vince said; that the bomb is constantly being moved and Vince’s regenerative powers will keep him alive anyway. Dinah isn’t hearing it. She’s going in to rescue Vince, and Curtis and Rene go with her.
  • And Olly, to his credit, agrees. And lets her go.
  • Olly and Dig search the bomb site while Curtis, Dinah and Rene rescue Vince.
  • The bomb site comes up empty. Until Oliver discovers a room full of civilians wired to a bomb on a timer. Dig tells him he’ll disarm the room and to go after the bomb. Oliver makes a frantic run that comes up just short. Meanwhile Dinah and Vince are reunited and she congratulates him for thinking to activate his comms.
  • He tells her he didn’t…
  • They barely have time to react before another bomb goes off.
  • Vinces come to and tries to rescue Dinah from the rubble. James and Black Siren arrive and Siren impales Vince on a piece of fallen masonry.
  • Helpless, Dinah watches as James orders Black Siren to kill him. She’s clearly conflicted but moves in on her victim…
  • We flashback to Dinah and Vince in Central City, handcuffed and seconds from death when the Particle Accelerator shock wave from way back in the first episode of The Flash washes over them both…

  • Back in the present, Dinah watches, helpless, as Black Siren screams into Vince’s ear, causing catastrophic damage to his brain.
  • James and SIren leave and Curtis and Rene rescue Dinah. She cradles Vince’s lifeless form, sobbing.
  • Back at Helix, Dinah is catatonic. Until she finds out that they didn’t get the bomb and Vince died for nothing…
  • Olly and Dig return to the Cave and get the news about Vince. Olly to his credit asks about Dinah. Felicity gives them the only piece of good news they get all day: The video of the murder of James’ son has finally been retrieved. It’s fake, Someone else is manipulating James…
  • Thea breaks the news to Quentin that Laurel is now a murderer. He’s heartbroken.
  • Oliver goes to Dinah’s to try and console her. He talks to her about the file and the ‘viable options’ they now have. It goes about as well as you’d expect with Dinah vowing to kill every last one of James’ gang. Starting with Laurel.


For an episode that holds very few surprises, this is a really strong installment of Arrow.

A lot of that comes from the fact that the Cayden James’ plot is finally progressing. While Star City remains the most polite, well ordered and strangely quiet war zone we’ve ever seen, the show does a good job exploring the logistics and consequences of James’ plan. Plus, much like sister show The Flash, Arrow benefits tremendously from having a bad guy the hero can’t punch or outrun. Oliver is at his most interesting when he’s on the ropes and that’s where he and his city spend this episode.

The rest of what works here comes from Juliana Harkavy and Johann Urb. Bringing the flashbacks back is eye roll inducing at first but, once you see where they’re going, it makes perfect sense. The flashbacks give us context for Vince that was desperately needed and helps his romance with Dinah work far better than it has previously this season. Plus the payoff is another example of the CW shows’ increasingly tidy continuity. The world is so well realized, and large, now that you can do origin stories like this nested inside other episodes. Plus Urb and Harkavy are both very good here, making Vince’s ending all the crueler and taking the edge off how inevitable it was.

The episode is at its best when its at its most personal. Vince and Dinah, Team Newbie having each other’s backs and Quentin trying to connect with Black Siren all work very well. Likewise Siren murdering Vince is a masterclass in how to combine character and plot with tragedy.

It’s not all good news though. While the James plot is progressing this is yet another episode of ‘Everyone is outmanouvered’ and its getting a little old. Similarly, Olly and Felicity in particular continue to be written as profoundly uncaring about Team Newbie’s feelings. Given Vince’s death, and Dinah’s relationship with him, that feels particularly odd this week.

Still, this episode drives everything further along towards what looks like dark, complicated territory. It may have taken a while to get there, but we’re certainly looking forward to what comes next.

The Good:

  • While their method of death is pretty ridiculous, the image of the Argus divers’ comms exploding underwater is chilling.
  • Quentin trying to reach out to Black Siren is officially the sweetest thing this show has done in a very long time.
  • Oliver using his Arrow voice on Dinah and her calling him on it was the exact sort of character beat only a veteran show like this can do.
  • Black Siren murdering Vince is such a simple, horrifying image.

The Bad

  • So Argus, highly trained intelligence and black ops agents all, don’t think to maybe not tie their communications gear into a systemically compromised electronic environment?
  • Felicity’s run of being weirdly and cruelly inconsiderate continues. Dinah gives them the news about Vince and Felicity hijacks it straight away. We’re prepared to admit this one is a timing issue but still, given the way Team Arrow have treated Team Newbie recently it leaves a bad after taste. Likewise Oliver being vastly inconsiderate in the final scene,
  • ‘In my country we do things, how you say, a little dirtier?’-Live from Central Casting, it’s Generic Russian Mobster!

The Random:

  • Mairzee Almas has directed for Smallville, Lost Girl, iZombie, Being Human and many more.
  • Oscar Balderrama has written for Arrow, Drop Dead Diva, The Mob Doctor and the wonderful Eli Stone.
  • Beth Schwartz is co producer of Arrow and has written for the show and for Legends of Tomorrow.

Best Lines

  • ‘Ohhhh…Oh I love your face but that is not a GOOD face.’
  • ‘Nice! Love what you guys haven’t done with the place.’
  • ‘You are really bad at apologies.’

Review by Alasdair Stuart

Read all of our Arrow reviews

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