Posted: 22 Apr 2018 06:00 AM PDT
It's rare to get an episode that doesn't center on Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), but even rarer for one in which neither he nor his hooded alter-ego make an appearance (I'm not counting his cameo in the episode's epilogue). Instead "Dragon" centers around Ricardo Diaz (Kirk Acevedo) and his quest to join a coalition of mafia families known as The Quadrant. Jerked around by the son (Ashton Holmes) of one of the organization's four leaders, Diaz is forced to prove himself worthy of a meeting with the group. Despite holding up his end of the bargain in locating a Quardrant member in FBI custody, Diaz is betrayed. Diaz doesn't like to be betrayed. I mean he really, really doesn't like it.
Diaz has been a problematic character for me this season. Of the various villains thrown together to help take down Star City, I've found him the least interesting. Spending nearly an entire episode with Diaz, except for a short B-story involving Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and Curtis (Echo Kellum) working on non-vigilante business opportunities, is an unexpected choice that leads to a surprising outcome. Partly through his conversations with Laurel (Katie Cassidy) and partly through his actions in groveling to the Quadrant, taking a vicious manner of revenge when betrayed, and then stepping back and playing the humble business partner once more, Arrow has finally sold me on the character.
Fans primarily turning in for Amell are likely to be disappointed with this week's offering. While the show's hero has gone back to his roots and pushed away various help in the field (or even in the Bunker), Diaz is continuing to build his base and grow an even larger criminal empire. Despite not a single person getting shot with an arrow, "The Dragon" is easily one of the most violent episodes of the series which culminates in Diaz claiming membership in The Quadrant and exorcising and old ghost in brutal fashion. Green Arrow may very well have his hands full with the thug from the streets.
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