Advance Review: Arrow “Next of Kin” Advance Review: Arrow “Next of Kin”
Advance review of the Arrow episode "Next of Kin" Advance Review: Arrow “Next of Kin”

A new episode of Arrow is airing very soon on The CW, 9PM tonight (October 26). It is yet another sign of how successful Arrow Season 6 has felt [to me] thus far while still not revealing much about the overarching villain plot.

In case you missed the show last week, Oliver Queen has given up his role as the Green Arrow, and he has passed on the mantle to his trusted friend and “brother” John Diggle (David Ramsey). This is all set up in a new Season 6 voiceover which is pretty cool, and already Spartan has been removed from the opening title card since he is now the Green Arrow. At no point this week does Oliver Queen put on the hood; this is Diggle’s job now.

Again like last week, all of the series regulars appearing in the show are given plenty to do. Although she is not the team leader I really like the role that Dinah (Juliana Harkavy) plays, especially when it relates to John Diggle’s situation. But again, Quentin, Rene, Felicity, Curtis… it just works. To see how the team works in the field with a not currently capable team leader is fascinating to me.

Even though Thea is indisposed and he has no idea on how to do everything related to fatherhood, Oliver is trying to be the best father he can be, and despite those worries about how to handle certain situations with William, Oliver seems more at ease than he has ever been. He’s smiling more. Now he gets to see someone else doing the brooding thing. And, yes, that may lead to a reconciliation with Felicity (okay, it does. The photos spoiled it.) Here’s the difference from when “Olicity” was around before, even at the start of Season 4 when they attempted to be domestic and leave it all behind: This time there are no secrets. There’s no lying. No one’s pretending that they do or don’t miss the superhero life. Both characters may be ready to take the plunge at this point. I’m curious where this will go, and those who know me well know if I hated it I would say so.

Another highlight of this episode is William; the casting directors really lucked out in getting a good young actor to play Oliver’s son, and his scenes with Stephen as Oliver and – spoiler alert! – Emily as Felicity are great. Sometimes shows get stuck with really bad kid actors and Jack Moore is definitely up to the task. I’ve said before that the Oliver character seems to work the best opposite family – well, there we go.

Finally, Samanda Watson takes none of Oliver’s excuses and it’s a lot of fun seeing that character develop, and I’d feel bad if I didn’t mention that Arrow ends on yet another cliffhanger that’ll make us highly anticipate what happens next. What exactly happens is on a “Do Not Reveal” list, but trust, it’s gooooood.

If there’s any downside to this story it is that the villain plot was pretty forgettable, but the character stories are what made this story work – particularly the ones between Oliver and William plus John and Team Arrow. Some may take issue with Black Siren not being in this week’s episode, but I see it this way: I’d much rather have episodes that put her to good use rather than having her there just to have her there. The show is going so well with its ensemble right now, I’m okay and expecting to see more of her as time goes on.

“Next of Kin” is absolutely worth checking out. You can see it tonight at 9PM ET/PT on The CW – the countdown forum thread is already open!

Craig Byrne

Craig Byrne has been writing about TV on the internet since 1995. He is also the author of several published books, including Smallville: The Visual Guide and the show's Official Companions for Seasons 4-7.