This week’s episode definitely helped remind us of the mantle passing from Oliver to Diggle as he fills in as the Green Arrow. 'Next Of Kin’ addresses every concern and worry I have about this sudden leadership change. Will Diggle’s new position be compromised by his physical injury? Will Oliver second-guess his decision? How will the team cope and respond to him as a leader? All questions surprisingly answered within the hour timeframe of the show.

The opening scenes definitely projected John Diggle’s growth as a character and how he is attempting to adapt to his newfound role.

Starting with an amazing stunt scene, where he is seen gliding through the air on the current of Dinah’s sonic cry. This to me instantly assured me of his character’s dominance and strength. Although throughout this episode he seems to struggle when in the field and shows his lack of confidence in taking Oliver’s place. He openly tells us that he has never been the one in charge of making the big decisions and feels as though if he is left to do so, he will let the team down. Which is understandable as Diggle is now suddenly the person who is responsible for every difficult situation the team involves themselves in. It’s overwhelming and seen to be a little too much too handle.

Roles reversed

As Diggle is the new Oliver, it’s so pleasing to see Oliver assume the typical Diggle role. A role that predominantly is there to support and encourage the Green Arrow whenever he is down, in doubt or brooding.

This is where we see the true signs of a strong bond and relationship between the two characters, as each slide into their new roles so effortlessly. It’s here Oliver reiterates just how important Diggle is to the team, and without him, there would be no Green Arrow, period. Explaining that it was Diggle who convinced Oliver to leave Robert’s list behind and actually make a difference in the city by targeting real criminals.

A moment that leads The Hood transforming to The Arrow and The Arrow evolving into the Green Arrow. All transformations that ultimately developed Oliver into the person he is today. You really see how much love and respect Oliver had for Diggle in this scene as he convinces him to just have faith, both in his self and his ability. A trait Oliver clearly learned from Diggle.

Relationships are building

Over the course of the entire episode, it came to my attention just how much focus went into the relationships that surround Oliver’s life and how he is addressing them. As mentioned above we have the obvious friendship relationship between John and Oliver. A bond that is seemingly unbreakable and unbendable, one that has stood the test of time over the countless issues throughout the previous five seasons.

Then there’s the focus on yet another strong and reoccurring relationship, Felicity and Oliver. Felicity remains to be the best and consistent support and the sound of reasoning in his life. Always taking the time to listen and address his problems head-on as if they were her own. As cliché as it sounds Felicity really is Olivers ‘rock’ to lean on. Despite their troubling history and reputation to be on and off, I really gained a sense of satisfaction seeing them re-kindling their intimate relationship on screen and not just hinted at. It’s as if they are back to square one and in the beginning stages of their attraction.

He goes on to tell her she “makes things so simple,” which to me packed so much meaning. Basically, acknowledging how caring and helpful she has been in the past and how important she is to his future. Further illustrating their bond and how its developed over the five seasons, making more and more sense as we see them together. As a viewer, we have always known that Oliver has been in love with Felicity since the moment he met her, so this hint of a new start, one with her, William and himself, is one that truly makes this season all that more enjoyable to watch.

Leading on to the last noticeable relationship development in this episode, which is that between Oliver and his son, William.

As Oliver is no longer the Green Arrow, he is able to spend a lot more quality time with William which seems to be making them closer. Of course, it’s never going to be easy trying to connect with someone who is technically a stranger, let alone vigilantly by night and major by day. But I believe that Oliver’s decision to include William in the loop about his ex-night time antics is extremely re-freshening given how much we have seen a secret like that dictate his past relationships. Although there are still issues very much in the air, both Oliver and William have the capability to become a close unit.

The perfect ending

Towards the end of this episode, I need to admit that I was completely geeking out.

I just loved the writer’s decision to allow John the victory of finding his feet. After all, it seems this change in leadership is working out for the best and therefore a part of the storyline that will continue to progress. I feel as though they ended creatively, both by establishing a way Diggle can better imitate the Green Arrow as well as showing his mysterious transaction in obtaining drugs to better help his tremor. An obvious hook to the possibilities of what the next episodes have in store. What is he injecting? And what I wonder are the possible side-effects of his abusive use?

All in all, a very compact and surprising episode. If the show continues in this direction, then we are in for a very interesting and engaging season ahead.