SPOILER WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for “Irreconcilable Differences,” the midseason finale of Arrow Season 6.
Team Arrow is about to face a threat they've never seen in Star City before: a proper team of super villains. In "Irreconcilable Differences," the midseason finale of Arrow Season 6, Cayden James banded together with the likes of Black Siren, Anatoly Knyazev, Richard Dragon and Vigilante in his quest to exact revenge on Oliver Queen.
As Season 6 has progressed, each member of this new villainous team turned up in Team Arrow's life in one way or another. Cayden James rescued Black Siren, who loves murder and mayhem, from certain death on Lian Yu so that he could get revenge on Oliver for the loss of his son. Anatoly returned to Star City on business, but bitter about how things ended between Oliver and himself. Ricardo Diaz, aka the Dragon, had his illegal drug market destroyed. Vigilante wanted to exact his own brand of justice on the city, only to be stopped at every turn by Team Arrow. Now, James has brought them together for one nefarious purpose: to make Oliver Queen suffer.
At the end of the episode, James and his team watched Team Arrow's major blowout, which resulted in Black Canary, Wild Dog and Mr. Terrific quitting the team. According to James, this had been his plan all along, and so he had sown the seeds of discord. Anatoly quickly pointed out that this was a classic Oliver move: he always pushes away the people closest to him.
Each of these villains corresponds with a member of Team Arrow. For instance, James was a prisoner of A.R.G.U.S. that Felicity helped release and is so skilled with technology that he poses a serious challenge to her. Black Siren, though evil, has a soft spot for her father Quentin Lance's Earth-1 doppelganger. Diggle bought drugs off of the Dragon in order to fix his nerve damage, before destroying his operation. Vigilante's true identity is Vincent Sobel, Dinah's ex-partner and ex-lover. Anatoly was betrayed by Oliver in Oliver's bid to leave the Bratva.
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In previous years, Oliver faced off against one major big bad per season, like Deathstroke in Season 2, Ra's al Ghul in Season 3, Damien Darhk in Season 4 and Prometheus in Season 5. Throughout the years, he has had a team that, while less powerful, generally outnumbers his foes. Now, however, his numbers are dwindling, even as the villainous force plotting against him grows in number.
Starring Stephen Amell as the Emerald Archer, Arrow will return Thursday, January 18 at 9pm ET/PT on The CW. The series also stars Emily Bett Rickards, David Ramsey, Willa Holland and more.