Tonight got me. I’ll admit it.

Arrow is a good show in the sense that it makes me think and rethink a number of its themes. There have been a few times I’ve given my thoughts/opinions in a #DCTV Couch Club column, only to look at things from a different light a few episodes later. Not that I always recant my views, but there have been times that I’ve come around to the counter arguments made by other characters regarding certain themes.

Tonight was about as good an example that I can remember of two sides presenting their cases on a slow-burning theme that had me thinking pretty deeply.  I’m talking, of course, about the quiet, simmering tension between Ollie and John regarding the Green Arrow mantle.

This subject has always been interesting to me and has become one of my favorite dynamics of the show. I was originally (and still sort of am) all about John taking over the role—it just makes sense. 

I said a long time ago that Ollie needed to make a decision to either be the Mayor of Star City or Green Arrow. Trying to do both is not only difficult, but it’s just plain stupid and leads to more issues. In my opinion, Ollie should have never become mayor if he wanted to be the Green Arrow. He should have flown under the radar in some other job while conducting his Arrow work. Or, he could have chosen to be the mayor and let the team do their thing while he worked to pull the political strings from the inside to help them along. He just shouldn’t have tried to do both.

To go back to my earlier statement about seeing things differently as the show evolves, tonight made me realize a lot of things about Ollie. Where I once saw him as a stoic, no-nonsense guy who was dedicated protecting Star City and its people, I saw a different man tonight.

Green Arrow and Oliver Queen truly are one and the same…and that’s a problem. He needs to be Green Arrow in order to function—he admits that. It’s like a vital organ to him. This is something I’ve respected, but tonight made me realize that I really might not like that about Ollie. Thinking about it, the hood is more like a form of addiction, as the highest highs are met with crushing lows and lasting problems. This all kind of hit me tonight as hard as the blows Oliver and John were exchanging.

Speaking of which…

Two things stood out that I thought were handled brilliantly with John and Oliver’s clash: the physical and the verbal.

Obviously, the situation reaching the levels of physical altercation provides the shock factor for us. I mean, seeing two friends—who are supposed to be on the same side—lose their cool and go after each other makes us question a lot of things. But it’s the verbal exchanges that really cut the deepest. There was a lot of truth in what each man said to the other and that’s what made it difficult to take a side. As I write that, I wonder to myself, maybe we’re not supposed to take sides. Perhaps the idea (or at least how I see it) is that the these “heroes” and/or “vigilantes” don’t live in a black and white world like they think they do—there’s an incredible amount of gray that comes out with the various points John and Ollie bring up.

Actually, my favorite part of the episode came when John told Ollie he was leaving. Not that I was happy to see John go—he’s a favorite of mine. I thought it was a really bittersweet and poignant moment where two friends (now with cool heads) realized they’ve come to philosophical differences and have grown apart. Sometimes when that happens, it means it’s time to move on. While it’s not easy, it needs to happen. A far different response and exit than what Curtis, Dinah and Rene left with.

In other news…no surprises here that Laurel is evil and working with Diaz. Though, I do have to ask what was in that vial that he was holding at the end? I must have missed something. Was that some of the Vertigo drug? Or is it something we’re not supposed to know about yet?

Looking forward to next week!

Until next time,

Matt Ross covers Arrow as a part of the #DCTV Couch Club. Catch new episodes of Arrow Thursdays at 9 p.m. (8 p.m. CST) on The CW.