- Written by Speed Weed & Keto Shimizu
- Directed by James Bamford
A shocking revelation complicates the battle between Team Arrow and Damien Darhk; Thea loses control in front of Alex.
Catch ‘Arrow’ Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW and in the UK on Sky One Wednesdays at 8pm.
This week ‘Arrow’ takes a similar step to ‘The Flash’ did in finally beginning to move away from the setup of upcoming ‘DC’s Legends of Tomorrow’. I’ve vehemently denied that both have suffered because of the various characters that have been setup from within them but I am starting to tire of the endless setup. That being said ‘Brotherhood’ thankfully focusses on that setup even less that ‘Gorilla Warfare’ did this week on ‘The Flash’ (reviewed here).
‘Brotherhood’ is really a focus story for Diggle. Fans have been clamouring for more Diggle time this season and here it is granted. I’ve long suggested that Andy, the much discussed brother, is alive and I have been proven correct. For years we’ve heard about the tragic loss of Andy. It’s had an effect on all of the relationships in Diggle’s life and now season 4 has flipped that all on its head. We’ve learned of his illegal actions and now we understand those actions caused problems for H.I.V.E. which led to his death.
There’s little time in ‘Brotherhood’ to unpick the reasons behind all of this. The episode is more of a catch and release story about securing his freedom but presumably, as he is now in custody in the Arrow-cave, there will be time for that once the crossover with ‘The Flash’ is out of the way.
David Ramsey plays the episode well throughout, I was a little thrown off by his anger towards his brother getting in the way of rescuing him but his reactions have never been cliched. It’s been some time since he’s had room to spread his wings outside of the relationship between John and Oliver and it’s easy to see he grabbed the chance with both hands.
Directed by stunt co-ordinator James Bamford the episode struggles in some of its quieter moments and excels in its fight sequences. Bamford has been working on the show for years and understands its characters motivations incredibly well, what he lacks is a knowledge of how those quiet emotional moments are setup.
The best example of this is when Ray and Felicity have an conversation in the Queen apartment. She enters whilst he apologises for all the tech on the table. It’s a fleeting moment but the two of them end up discussing his lack of public return from the dead. A director more inclined to emotional moments would have tightened up the camera on their faces. Bamford, however, chooses a sweeping movement as she enters and many of the shots remain wide and the emotional nuance is lost.
It’s definitely not all bad however. Fight scenes in ‘Brotherhood’ are some of the best we’ve seen on ‘Arrow’ in years. Particular favourites are the opening fight which takes in moments for each hero and the hallway scenes for Black Canary and Speedy later in the episode.
It’s a little ironic that after weeks of dealing with the resurrection of her sister Sara, Laurel finally has her first standout moments of season 4 in ‘Brotherhood’. Laurel is finally a central part of the team and that’s most visible here through her interactions with each team member. The highlight of the episode for me was the talk between Laurel and Diggle at the party.
The silhouette fight sequence in the hallway of the H.I.V.E. base was unlikely carried out by Katie Cassidy but the choreography was outstanding for her character.
The best moment of the episode goes to the ‘Daredevil’ inspired fight sequence between Speedy and the ghosts. Filmed to mirror being one shot throughout it plays out incredibly well on screen, in particular praise needs to go to the team who redressed the set so quickly outside the lift doors to make it appear as though the lift really moved.
There were a few small moments to drive the overall plot forwards this week. Darhk is unable to touch Thea with his magic. Oliver is cleaning up Star City bay. Andy is free and not willing to talk. However overall this was very much a small story beat to fill up the time before the big crossover event.
‘Arrow’ is off the air next week but returns on 2nd December with new episode ‘Legends of Yesterday’ – the second half of the 2015 ‘The Flash’ / ‘Arrow’ crossover event which, this year, is helping to launch ‘DC’s Legends of Tomorrow’. Here’s the trailer: