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Oliver and Diggle Tackle Their Issues, Arrow “Restoration” 

Photo Credit: Diyah Pera /The CW
Photo Credit: Diyah Pera /The CW

The Original Team Arrow, back together again! They may not have liked being called that, but I loved watching it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to have Laurel and Thea on deck to help take down the bad guys, but sometimes it’s good to scale things back a bit, especially when the Diggle/Oliver conflict is at an all-time high. How can Team Green Arrow function as a whole when the foundation of Team Arrow is unstable? Fortunately, thanks to some tough love from Felicity, an unburdening of truths and a playing-card wielding metahuman (Teen Wolf‘s JR Bourne), we hopefully won’t have to worry about that for too much longer.

Clearly the basis of the strife is on Diggle…or should I say is being held on to by Diggle. I’ve said before that I understand that he felt betrayed and that he could no longer trust Oliver, which is of paramount importance in their job; however, this episode put an interesting new spin on his anger. Diggle was mad at Oliver for keeping a secret. But in a twist of irony, Diggle himself has been keeping a major secret from Oliver as well. So, pot, kettle, black. Is it fair that Diggle is mad at Oliver when he himself is doing something similar? Or is that part of the reason he is mad at Oliver because in doing so, he can justify his own secret keeping? If he can’t trust Oliver, does that make it okay for him not to tell Oliver about HIVE and his brother? Obviously that’s not a question I can answer but I love that this show adds such layers and flaws to these already complex characters.

So, before I get ahead of myself, let’s revisit my favorite scene of this episode. Felicity took advantage of the Team Original Arrow resurgence to attempt to clear the air and mend the wounds before Laurel and Thea returned. First she tried a friendly yet failed attempt at team drinks, but after Diggle and Oliver decided to each go it alone and nearly paid the price for it, she turned to tough love. And after gaining a little more tough-girl mojo in the boardroom last week, it’s clear that when Felicity goes guns-ablazing (both literally and figuratively), you don’t get in the way.

Oliver: You missed quite a show tonight.

Diggle: Sorry I couldn’t help out, it’s a long story.

Felicity: Oh my god, it is not a long story. It is the shortest story in history. Two guys go take on criminals without asking for back up and nearly get killed in the process. You know, I haven’t said anything up til now because I was hoping the two of you would remove your heads from your own asses without assistance. Turns out I was wrong.

Oliver: Hey!

Felicity: No, no! This is the part where I talk and you two listen. The both of you nearly got killed out there tonight because you didn’t have each other’s backs.

Diggle: That was a one time deal, Felicity. It won’t happen again.

Felicity: I absolutely agree because the two of you are going to sit down here until you have resolved your issues. Do we have an understanding?

Oliver: I…

Felicity: Do we have an understanding?!

Oliver: Yeah.

Felicity: I am going to take this [card] to Palmer Tech to figure out how some lunatic meta turns tattoos in to lethal weapons. If you two haven’t figured out your issues by the time I get back, I’m going to find a bunch of Mirakuru soldiers to knock some sense in to you.

I cannot even express how much I loved Felicity putting these two in their places. Mostly because it wasn’t until she started dating Oliver that she really had the gull to do this. Sure, she tried to talk some sense in to them before, but previously, Oliver’s reaction to this type of rant would be an eye-roll or a scoff, some kind of blatant disregard. However, this time, he took everything she said to heart and she had no problem cutting him off at the knees when he began to squabble. The evolution of their relationship is fantastic and so well illustrated in this scene, but more importantly, she’s 100% right and everything she’s said is exactly what they both needed to hear. These two cannot go out and fight side by side in these life and death situations unless they truly have each other’s back, which Oliver seems to think has been the case. Diggle, however, has no problem admitting that his personal feelings have made that less than so.

Oliver: It’s been a month, man, and I don’t know how many apologies…I mean, John, you’re a forgiving person.

Diggle: Oliver, this isn’t about forgiveness, man. I don’t know how to move forward with this, us doing what we do…

Oliver: We worked fine since I got back.

Diggle: We got lucky. Oliver, there was a time I would’ve taken a bullet for you. And I don’t know if I would do that now. Which means when we are out there, we are not out there together. You crossed a line, man, and the fact that you could do that again sits in the back of my head somewhere….

Oliver: I get it. I get it. I understand that I crossed a line. I understand that I lost your trust. What I do not understand is why you won’t give me a chance to earn it back.

This conversation was so interesting to me mostly because of the complete opposite way these two seem to be viewing this conflict. I truly think that Oliver still believes that this is a temporary personal squabble but professionally, they are a team and will still take a bullet for each other. Whereas Diggle clearly sees this as a true crack in the foundation of their entire relationship, both personal and professional. To actually have lost the brotherhood and concern that he once felt for Oliver so much so that he would let him die is a HUGE punch in the gut and indicates a very different situation. How can you go out in the field with someone who doesn’t have your back?! I mean, after all they’ve been through, not to mention that Oliver was the best man at his wedding, this kind of change is huge and it makes sense why it has taken Diggle so long to ponder whether this relationship can be mended.

But that brings me back to the secrets. Is Diggle truly mad at Oliver for keeping secrets and breaking his trust and thus putting his family in danger? Probably yes. But if he is potentially doing the same thing, is it fair for him to be that mad? Eh, probably less so. That being said, it’s also easier to justify his own secret-keeping if he tells himself that he doesn’t trust or believe in Oliver and thus can’t confide this information to him. It may not be the best rationalization, but human-nature isn’t always rational and I wouldn’t put it past Diggle to be using this to justify his own actions. Nevertheless, once he hears Oliver utter the name of the woman who hired Deadshot to kill his brother, he realizes it’s time to come clean. After showing Oliver his book o’secrets and telling him what he found, the two of them go after the woman, Mina Fayad, only to discover it’s too late. And while that doesn’t help on Operation Get-To-The-Bottom-Of-Things, it does play as an important role in Diggle’s acknowledgment of his own faults.

Diggle: My first chance for answers. My last chance.

Oliver: I’m sorry.

Diggle: Don’t be, Oliver. This isn’t your fault. It’s mine. I should’ve trusted you. Told you about this forever ago. If I had, she wouldn’t have gotten away from me earlier, would be alive now for some answers.

Oliver: We’re gonna get answers.

Diggle: Oliver, I haven’t been able to get answers for more than two years now.

Oliver: For more than two years, you’ve been doing this alone.

Love this. Granted, everything isn’t all fix and mended, but it’s a start. As Oliver said before, Diggle has to give him the chance to prove that he can be trusted because without that opening, all his efforts are for naught. Fortunately, with the door finally opened a crack, Oliver literally dove through, saving Diggle’s life during their encounter with the card-wielder and this time, Diggle actually noticed.

Diggle: You took a bullet for me.

Oliver; They were meta-human, playing cards.

Diggle: Still counts, Oliver, still counts.

My very first Arrow article was about these two and how much I enjoy their relationship so I have no problem admitting that it’s been hard for me to see them at odds for so long. Also, it’s hard for me to believe that John was shocked that Oliver would actually take a bullet for him. Regardless if he was lying or not, I never saw Oliver’s love and concern for Diggle waiver and I had no doubt he would do whatever it took to protect him. So I’m glad to see Diggle recognize that they are better together than alone and hopefully in helping Diggle find his brother’s killer once and for all, Oliver can also re-earn his trust. It may be in baby-steps, but as long as they’re moving forward in the same direction, I’ll take it.

Be sure to catch Arrow Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.

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  1. MByerly

    My favorite part of the episode was Felicity with the machine gun. She even scared a hardened killer because of the utter randomness of this tiny women with her eyes closed and not holding the gun still. A fellow hardened fighter is predictable, Felicity totally not.

    1. Cortney Persiani

      Yes! That whole scene was fantastic!
      Holt: “Since when have you been such a bad-ass?”
      Felicity: “Since always”

      Love that she’s getting more and more to work with!

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