“You might be trying to reason with a man who’s beyond reason.”
Oliver (Stephen Amell) and the team’s fight against Cayden James (Michael Emerson) comes to a head in this week’s Arrow, and with only four hours until Cayden blows up Star City, it’s a race against time to prove Oliver’s innocence.
Following the death of Vince (Johann Urb) last week, the uneasy alliance between Oliver and Cayden has been severed, with the villainous mastermind has moved from his original base of operations, disappearing into the wind along with his three compatriots. Yes, two men down, the only people that remain by Cayden’s side are Anatoly (David Nykl), Ricardo Diaz (Kirk Acevedo), and Black Siren (Katie Cassidy), each one more dangerous than the last. However, when Cayden promises his team will be airlifted to safety before the bomb strikes, his followers quickly learn that he isn’t a man to be trusted even if you’re an ally, as he leaves them behind.
It’s every man for himself as it nears the final hour, and when Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and Helix buddy Alena (Kacey Rohl) finally manage to reveal the true identity of Owen’s (Jesse Irving) killer, an assassin who himself has been assassinated, meaning that Oliver must call in a lightning-fast favour to get to Cayden before it’s too late. Not to sound like Comic Book Guy but: Worst Flash cameo, ever.
However, the fight doesn’t end with Cayden learning the truth. When looking at the video’s coding, the tech-mastermind works out that it could only have been doctored by someone within his mini Injustice League – and with only three left standing, he offers Oliver an ultimatum: bring Laurel, Anatoly and Diaz to him, or he triggers the bomb. The sudden change of allegiance causes ructions in the new Helix-based side of the team, as with the loss of Vince fresh in her mind, Dinah (Juliana Harkavy) is determined to kill Laurel, as she did Vince, and returning her to Cayden isn’t on her agenda.
Splitting from her teammates in search of vengeance, Dinah takes on every single man on Cayden James’ payroll, yelling in their faces to tell her where Laurel is – and yet when she finds her, Dinah still cannot be satisfied, as Quentin (Paul Blackthorne) shows up to protect his “daughter.” Indeed, this episode sees both Laurel and Quentin struggling with their relationship to each other – as much as Laurel says with certainty that she is nothing like his daughter, included in her contraband she grabs to flee the city is a photograph of Laurel and Quentin. However, Quentin may find himself fighting a losing battle, as though he believes that she can be more than the person she is now, his methods of making her a better person are somewhat questionable.
‘The Devil’s Greatest Trick’ does a somewhat unsuccessful job of exploring the events that led to both Cayden’s arrest and Owen’s death, as while we can understand the heartbreak of Cayden’s strained relationship with his 18-year-old son, Emerson delivers most of his lines like an automaton, with his uneven performance in this episode ranging from an alien trying to act as a human, to powerful monologues. And while the writer’s try valiantly to wrap up Cayden’s relationship with his son in what amounts to less than ten minutes, we’re left to wonder whether we really needed the context at all, as we already understand that this loss has deeply effected Cayden, and the flashbacks offered little more than the knowledge that Cayden’s work took up a lot of time, which he could have spent with his son.
Regardless of this, when Oliver and his team gather Cayden’s missing allies, we see more emotionality than we do in the rest of the episode. Frightened of losing his father as he did his mother, William (Jack Moore) sneaks from the safety of the Arrow cave to be by his father’s side. Knowing the danger that Oliver faces, his son would rather be by his side than risk becoming an orphan – which, while being a terrible plan, does something to prove to Cayden what a relationship with a son should look like, and how a father must protect his child. In a moment where Cayden is distracted by William’s presence, Oliver takes his chance to remove the trigger from his foe’s hand, saving the city, and allowing the police to take the mastermind into custody.
With Cayden in custody, and all worries of the city being burned to the ground behind them, Oliver and company can finally begin to move on. However, what should feel like a win for the team, does not. Perhaps this is because there is more to fear in Star City. After all, ‘The Devil’s Greatest Trick’ was convincing the world that he didn’t exist.
This week’s Arrow ramped up the action to another level, as it pitted everyone against everyone else. While the story left a little to be desired, it was a fitting climax for Cayden James’ plan, and a thrilling set-up for all that’s to come in the rest of Season 6.
Rating: 8 out of 10.