This week, Arrow wasn't really about the big bad, but about the big change that has happened within the team: Diggle (David Ramsey) taking over as the new Green Arrow. Oliver's (Stephen Amell) right-hand-man took up the mantle of the Star City vigilante last week in 'Tribute', when Oliver decided that he couldn't balance being a father and being a superhero (and being the Mayor). It's a massive shake-up for the team, so this week's episode explored how the other team members are dealing with the change, and how Diggle struggles (at first) to live up to Oliver's legacy (and skills with a bow).
Spending a full episode dealing with Diggle's new position in the team suggests that this version of Team Arrow is going to be sticking around for a little while, at least. However, Ramsey has confirmed that the change isn't going to be permanent, and that Oliver will return as the hooded vigilante. He describes his tenure as Green Arrow as lasting only "a few episodes" and "the appropriate amount of time", but how long will that be, and what will bring Oliver back to the team?
'Next of Kin' put plenty of emphasis on Oliver's determination to stay away from Team Arrow and vigilante work, and he's even making big plans that rely on him not returning to the superhero life. The biggest reason that he's quit, of course, is his son William (Jack Moore). He knows that he can't keep his son safe if he is always fighting criminals, and 'Next of Kin' sees William asking if this new thing is 'for real'. Oliver, of course, assures him that it is. He takes his son to watch the local team, he gets Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) involved as a math tutor, he makes breakfast... in short, he is aiming for a father-of-the-year award, and it's difficult to imagine what will happen to change this new attitude.
Oliver's role as a father isn't the only thing that he is able to give more attention to as an average citizen. He's spending more time at the Mayor's office, and working on improving the situation with the Star City police department. He also had a scene with Felicity that thrilled Olicity fans, as 'Next of Kin' finally reunited these two fully. At the end of the episode, Oliver arrives at Felicity's door with a giftwrapped box, that holds a key to his apartment. He tells her that although they thought it would be best to keep some distance while William gets used to his new situation, he has changed his mind, and that both he and William will be better off with her in their lives. It's an incredibly sweet moment, and one that puts the past behind them.
The Star City Investigation
Oliver's relationship with Felicity could potentially survive a return to his vigilante lifestyle, although it's doubtful that his son would be ok with that, but there's one more reason that Oliver can't become the Green Arrow once more: Agent Watson (Sydelle Noel). This FBI agent turned up when a photo of Oliver as the Green Arrow was released, and she has made it clear that she does not believe Oliver's claims that he is just a regular old Mayor. She's suspicious and very sharp, and noticed immediately that Diggle/Arrow wasn't using actual arrows, leading her to suspect that it's a new man under the hood.
Team Arrow has dealt with that particular issue, as Felicity and Curtis (Echo Kellum) have created a modified crossbow that shoots arrows, not crossbow bolts, so that Diggle can use it. Despite this, Agent Watson is still going to be suspicious, and she is keeping a very close eye on Oliver Queen. As long as she is around, he won't be returning as the Green Arrow.
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