Arrow: Brotherhood Review

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By: Ashley Binion (@ashleybinion)

Just as the title suggests, “Brotherhood” was a rare episode focused on Diggle and his different relationships with his biological brother, Andy, and his brother in arms, Oliver.

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

Every once in a while it’s nice to slow down the pace of the series and move away from Oliver to have a different character’s story lead an episode. The series started to embrace this last season and “Brotherhood” was a return to that type of storytelling. Even though Diggle’s storyline does most of the emotional lifting, every character had their chance to shine. It’s one of the rare episodes that every character was seen at least once. “Brotherhood” was a truly ensemble episode.

After Ray’s rescue in the previous episode, “Lost Souls,” I was afraid Diggle’s storyline would be shoved to the side in order to explain Ray leaving for Legends of Tomorrow. Surprisingly, that didn’t happen. Instead, Diggle’s brother was the main storyline for the episode with a side of Ray angst and even a side of Malcolm helping Thea with her continuing struggle with bloodlust.

It bothers me that almost every person on the series who was supposedly dead is instead alive. Resurrecting people cheapens death on the series. Besides, if anyone should be resurrected it’s Tommy. He was such a great character whose time on the show was cut short. Andy’s death, which was before the series started, was a huge aspect to Diggle’s background. Taking that away from the character means, to an extent, he loses the growth he underwent after the tragedy. But what’s great about this episode is that they take that resurrection and give Diggle a new obstacle to overcome: the struggle with wanting to save Andy.

This was David Ramsey’s episode. If there was an MVP for “Brotherhood” it would no doubt go to him. For the run of the series, Diggle has been stuck as the parental figure for Team Arrow. He’s the one with the answers and always has a level head. For once, Ramsey is able to portray Diggle as someone who doesn’t have the answers. As a result, it emotionally breaks him. It’s evident when he starts to tear up while confiding in Laurel at the police gala. She’s had the most experience with losing a sibling and then having them coming back to life, twice. This is a role where Laurel shines the most. She’s able to have a quick-wit while offering empathy.

The Oliver and Diggle scene in the Quiver was incredible. David Ramsey and Stephen Amell nailed it. If this scene happened in season three, it would’ve come across as Oliver being stubborn, petty, and selfish. As a character that’s drastically changed, the fight showcased once again how insecure Oliver is while listening and accepting Diggle’s view on the situation. Oliver needs the hope to continue his mission. If Diggle, of all people, has lost hope in his brother, Oliver sees it as there not being hope for anyone no matter how dark and twisty they become.

So far, the fourth season hasn’t featured any standout fight sequences. “Brotherhood” raised the already high bar on Arrow. For the most part, Arrow has technically superb action scenes, but this episode featured many excellent sequences. It’s hard to pick between the fight in the shipyard and the one in the elevator, but the latter wins out. The choreography and technical direction behind the lengthy continuous shots while moving around, in, and then out of the elevator was superb.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars


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