Robert Falconer/The CW
May 11, 2018 at 10:10 AM EDT


TV Show
Action Adventure, Crime
run date
Stephen Amell, Emily Bett Rickards, David Ramsey
The CW
Current Status
In Season
We gave it a B

It finally feels like Arrow is approaching the end of its season. “The Ties that Bind” escalates the season-long conflict between Team Arrow and Diaz, who declares war on our masked heroes in the penultimate episode of the season. Sure, Diaz is definitely following the path of every super-villain that has come along in the past six seasons, but tonight’s hour pushed past a lot of this season’s nonsense and told a story that I was into for most the run time.

I was hooked into “The Ties that Bind” from the minute it opened. We begin with vignettes of everyone on Team Arrow enjoying some time with their loved ones, save Dinah, who is hitting the streets. Oliver is whipping up breakfast-for-dinner at Chez Queen, because we all forgot that Oliver developed a love for cooking in season 4. Like Felicity, I really can’t take him seriously when he says things like “Salt me,” but it’s cool because I found this little scene very charming. Meanwhile, Curtis is on a date with his man, Diggle and Lyla are at the hospital for Diggle’s final check-up, and Rene’s watching hockey with his daughter.

Obviously, all of that immediately goes to hell as Diaz launches attacks on everyone. Thankfully, Anatoly warned Oliver right before gunmen opened fire on his apartment. Everyone makes it out alive, although Curtis’ boyfriend gets injured in the shootout. This thrilling opening effectively set up the destructive tone for the rest of the episode, and I especially loved watching Diggle and Lyla fight together in the field because they’re just so in sync and so cute.

With Diaz coming after everyone, it’s time for Team Arrow to set aside their differences and join forces. Diaz sends his men to destroy the bunker, which means the team has to set up shop in New Team Arrow’s hideout. There’s a little plothole here: How does the all-knowing Diaz not know that New Team Arrow is shacking up in Helix’s old hideout? Diaz worked with Cayden James and probably knows that this place exists. But, that’s a small quibble.

After thanking everyone for being willing to team up again, Oliver suggests that they take things slowly as they decide their next move. He thinks the best course of action is to use Anatoly to help get the drop on Diaz, which means one great Oliver-Anatoly scene, which is always welcome because their scenes carry so much history in them. After meeting with Oliver, Anatoly suggests Diaz relocate to the SCPD station, which is way more secure, and Diaz agrees.

Team Arrow attacks Diaz’s convoy to the police station, but because we’re barely 15 minutes into the episode, so we know they fail to capture him. Curtis, who is out for blood after his boyfriend’s injury, takes off running after Diaz, but ends up getting his butt handed to him. Luckily, Diaz doesn’t finish the job because he decides protecting a fancy flash-drive he wears around his neck is way more important. The things we do for fashion, right? (Next: More explosions!)

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