The sixth season of Arrow ends in a very different place than where it began, which was a minefield’s worth of squandered opportunities. A late reshuffling of the deck helps realign Arrow to recover from a rough start and regain its footing.
I fully expected Arrow Season 6 to begin in a dark place following the fallout of the massive Lian Yu explosion set off in Season 5’s finale. That blast left the fate of many characters in doubt, yet when Season 6 resumes a few months later, several of those characters are going about their business as if little changed.
The blast did however impact Oliver’s son, William, who must now cope with the loss of his mother and living with a father who risks his life on a nightly basis. William’s future grows more murky with every interaction he’s involved in, and I hope there are enough future seasons to further explore where he may end up.
Season 5’s villain Adrian Chase was replaced by hacktivist Cayden James to start Season 6. Michael Emerson brought a jolt of creepiness to Lost when he joined that series. In Arrow, James is a one-dimensional rambler whose threats feel hollow and inconsequential. His early demise is welcome and ignites a tonal shift to a more coherent overall arc that builds into the finale.
With James gone, one of his thugs, Ricardo Diaz, quickly jumps into the power vacuum. Familiar genre actor Kirk Acevedo brings a great deal of dread to Diaz, pulling from the character’s tumultuous past to inform his violent actions. Diaz is a straight up gangster who wants power — period — and will do whatever he must to procure it.
Other Season 6 highlights include the Arrowverse crossover episodes that involve invading Nazi doppelgangers from another Earth, termination of the Quentin Lance drama that has dragged on for far too long, fracturing Team Arrow to put aside the inner circle squabbling that grew tiresome, and bringing back favorite Slade Wilson for a satisfying side mission.
Warner Bros. offers up another strong video offering for Season 6 of Arrow that bests the television broadcast. The tonal shifts, especially early on, are matched by environmental shifts that offer up more opportunity for Arrow to escape its color bland universe here and there.
An equally impressive 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix powers up when there’s a large skirmish, of which Arrow is chock full of. Surround channels spring to life, and bass roars when arrows or explosives are set off.
A small selection of bonus features are split across the four inclusive discs. The first two highlight some of my favorite Season 6 topics, while the Caden James featurette does little to make me think higher of the character.
- The Split of a Man: Deathstroke
- Inside the Crossover: Crisis on Earth X
- Revenge in Ones and Zeros: The Story of Cayden James
- The Best of DC’s Comic Con Panels San Diego 2017
If you’re already collected the first five seasons of Arrow on Blu-ray then adding Season 6 with all the show’s unintentional ridiculousness should feel obligatory at this point. I wish the first two-thirds of the season didn’t meander about so aimlessly; though thankfully the final episodes put Arrow back on track to move forward in new ways.
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