'Arrow' Season 6 Has Failed to Show Ricardo Diaz as a Serious Threat
'Arrow' Season 6 Has Failed to Show Ricardo Diaz as a Serious Threat
Meredith Jacobs
Meredith Jacobs
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Arrow had a very strong big bad in Adrian Chase in season 5, and it has followed that up with ... Ricardo Diaz in season 6? He's a different kind of villain from Chase (and that's not a bad thing), but the show has failed to establish him as a serious threat from the beginning. The big surprise moment involving Cayden James was messy, and that has extended to his plans for Star City and Oliver Queen and the overall impression of him.  

That looks to be changing going into "The Dragon," but that's episode 19 of the season. Isn't that a bit late to showcase the main villain in a way that makes us see why he's able to do what he's doing to the city and to Oliver?

Surprise Took Priority

While Cayden James looked to be the big bad of the season, it wasn't until episode 13, "The Devil's Greatest Trick," that he (and fans) found out who was pulling his strings and made him think that Oliver killed his son: Ricardo Diaz. The crime lord killed Cayden in what was clearly geared to be a big surprise moment (such a big one that Arrow didn't even bother trying to set Diaz up as a valid threat in his first episode) and did at least set the stage for Ricardo having people in high places (like the police captain) in his pocket.

However, the way in which that was revealed was messy. Cayden had a bomb and planned to destroy Star City. Diaz wasn't doing anything to stop him. (In fact, he was trying to leave, just like Black Siren and Anatoly.) Sure, he could have just found another city to take over if Cayden had succeeded, but then what would have been the point of what he had done up to that point (tricking James, getting the right people to work for him)? Had he just decided that Star City wasn't worth it?

Why Are There So Many Dirty Cops?

Somehow, Diaz has managed to get people in all levels of government (the police, the DA's office, etc.) on his side, and sure, we saw that he threatened the police captain's family and paid for the DA's son's medical treatments, but how are there so many easily corruptible cops in Star City?

In episode 18, "Fundamentals," Diaz had a pretty large group of cops willing to die for him. Do they all have pressure points he's found? Is it as simple as paying them off? Have they just all given up on trying to save Star City?

We've only gotten minimal explanation regarding how he managed to build up such a large contingent behind him, and perhaps that's supposed to be part of who he is, that he can have so many people (including in law enforcement) on his side without having to put much effort into it. But does that say more about him or more about the people in Star City willing to go into law enforcement?

His Plan for Oliver Is Messy

I will say that it is refreshing that his problem with Oliver isn't personal. After Chase and then Cayden, we didn't need another "you killed my father" or "(I think) you killed my son." So, Diaz has that going for him.

However, even after 18 episodes, it's unclear what exactly his plan is for Oliver. He told Black Siren that he didn't put a bullet in him because he's more dangerous as a martyr than the Green Arrow. Instead his plan is to dismantle him piece-by-piece, with the impeachment the latest step. But what about the room full of cops who began shooting at Oliver as he (and Felicity) escaped in "Fundamentals"? All it would have taken was one bullet.

It Was a Bad Time to Remember How Good Chase Was

Bringing back Chase in "Fundamentals" was the right move to mess with Oliver and to bring back Josh Segarra without using one of those Lazarus Pits. However, it was really, really poor timing for where Arrow season 6 is with its main villain.

This Adrian Chase may have just been a hallucination, brought on by the vertigo Diaz had Oliver dosed with, but it still reminded the audience that he had been a formidable villain and opponent for Oliver. We have yet to see Oliver and Diaz truly go head-to-head and have only seen a few instances of what Diaz is capable of in a fight.

It's hard to see Diaz as a similar threat as it is, but it's even harder after seeing hallucination Chase messing with Oliver's head in a way that's similar to what the real Chase did last year, something that we haven't seen Diaz as being capable of doing.

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Is a Big Diaz Episode Coming Too Late in the Season?

Episode 19 is "The Dragon," and based on the title, promo (below) and description, it's a big Ricardo Diaz episode. He's looking to expand his empire, and he and Black Siren will be meeting with The Quadrant, a coalition of mafia families who run national organized crime.

Presumably, we're going to see something from him that showcases him as a threat and the right person to be this season's big bad, especially with Oliver now going out there alone as the Green Arrow (without even Felicity as Overwatch.) But that's something that should have happened a few episodes earlier, not when there are only a handful left in the season.

What do you think of Ricardo Diaz as this season's main villain?

Arrow season 6 airs Thursdays at 9/8c on the CW. Want more news? Like our Arrow Facebook page.

(Image/video courtesy of the CW)