Arrow delivered one of its darker, if not darkest, episodes this week as Chase tortured Oliver into confessing his ‘secret’ while the flashbacks ramped up Oliver’s transformation into The Hood we met back in season 1.
Oliver escaped impeachment and the wrath of Vigilante, Thea left after falling further into the murky world of politics, Curtis’s balls saved the day and we also discovered a certain someone’s identity.
Arrow tackles gun control and Wild Dog’s past in its thirteenth episode, with mixed results to say the least.
After battling against Black Siren, Oliver sets off to Hub City to track down Tina Boland, someone he feels could continue Laurel’s Black Canary legacy though, predictably, things don’t quite go to plan…
When one threat takes a break, another one comes along just like ‘that’. Vigilante was in town with some questionable methods as Arrow came out swinging with a strong episode.
Prometheus made his first real moves against the Green Arrow as the new recruits learn a secret that could drive the team apart…
Prometheus probably already knew Oliver’s secret.
Last week’s hour ended with Tobias Church (RIP) revealing to Prometheus that Mayor Oliver Queen was the Green Arrow. What that scene failed to confirm or deny was that the villain already knew this information. “So It Begins” pretty much confirmed that he did know, as he began targeting individuals with names that anagrams to those on Oliver’s infamous list. Since this is the third iteration of Oliver’s costume, people aren’t necessarily linking his original get-up and modus operandi to his current one (quite how, I’ll never know; Curtis’s surprise at learning the vigilante, the Arrow, and the Green Arrow are all the same person was frustrating) and so whoever this new villain may be, he knew that Oliver’s been doing this for a long time.
What’s interesting from here is that “So It Begins” didn’t clarify if the anagrammed names from the list were individuals Oliver actually targeted, or if he didn’t get around to them before Malcolm Merlyn unleashed havoc. If it’s the latter, it means that Prometheus has an intricate knowledge of the list, which narrows down the suspect pool quite considerably – assuming we’ve met the man behind the mask before; in theory, it could be one one of Robert’s friends who had access to the list, or something similar.
Quentin is a red herring.
There’s a certain amount of mileage to be taken from having supposed friends turn out to betray a character, and the Arrowverse hasn’t been shy about using that tactic in the past: Arrow, The Flash (frequently), and Legends of Tomorrow have all done it at some stage. And, given the right characterisation, it can work wonders. But let’s establish one thing:
Quentin Lance is not Prometheus.
If he is, then I’ll eat my proverbial hat, because the former police captain is in no way physically or mentally equipped to be Prometheus. Certainly, otherwise benevolent characters can become evil through various means, and even in this fashion – dual personality comes to mind – but the final scene’s reveal was little more than a taunt. A way of showing to Oliver and co. that Prometheus can get at them whenever, wherever he likes. It’s an intimidation tactic because no one in their right minds will believe that Quentin is a skilled killer, particularly now that he’s shown to still be a drunk.
The new recruits learn a painful truth.
Getting back to the team learning that all three green hooded vigilantes are the same person, the new recruits were aghast at realising that Oliver was once, in effect, a serial killer. Their reaction both does and doesn’t make sense: when they joined, they knew that Oliver had killed people (Damien Darhk, at least), so this isn’t outside of his nature; the fact that he, as Diggle described it, considered killing as a first resort and was targeting bankers, lawyers and the like isn’t reassuring and understandably so. Following a man who has dropped more bodies than Prometheus is a tough pill to swallow, and so their hesitance to continue with Oliver is reasonable. Equally, it’s good that the show has addressed this. If these guys are to remain in collaboration for the foreseeable future, they deserve to know everything as Diggle and Felicity (and Thea, Quentin, etc.) do.
Oliver was a slow learner when it comes to building bombs.
Flashbacks this week showed Oliver being taught how to make bombs by Anatoly with limited success, as the Bratva’s newest member nearly blows himself up in the process. (Could be worse – Anatoly actually lost a finger on his first attempt.) Matters quickly got worse, as the bar the pair were in was shot up by Kovar’s men. Here, we got to see Oliver in some undercover action as he went about trying to enact revenge on his target by putting his recently acquired knowledge to good use, though he ultimately got captured before he could detonate the explosives. Kovar, from his one scene, is already proving to be a menacing villain, and it will be interesting to see what he does with Oliver and how this arc develops from here.
Felicity isn’t a hypocrite (again)!
It’s nice to see that after last year’s abomination of a story involving Oliver’s secret child, Felicity isn’t keeping secrets of her own for too long, telling her boyfriend, Billy, that she works with the Green Arrow. It’s a necessary development because Arrow can much better utilise him as an actual character with at least a vague understanding of her world than just being the guy who appears every so often as Felicity’s boyfriend. The scene was a strong one, too, with Malone’s reaction to the bombshell an appropriate mix of concerned and curious.
With Wilddog in the clutches of Church, could the team rescue him? Who is the Human Target? Who used up all their warnings? Was Arrow 5×05 any good?
Arrow met Prison Break Oliver planned to break Diggle out of prison, leaving the new recruits to handle Tobias Church by themselves. How successful was that decision – and “Penance” as a whole? Continue reading Things we learned… 5×04: Penance
After a solid second episode, could Arrow follow things up as Cody Rhodes aka Stardust had round two with Stephen Amell after their WWE face-off, and a seemingly dead character returned?
With the team gone and Oliver having accepted that they won’t be returning, the Mayor/Green Arrow attempted to enlist some new recruits, trying to get them up to speed on fighting crime in Star City. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite go to plan…
Trust goes both ways.
Trust is a theme that recurs more than it should on Arrow. Last season’s debacle with Oliver’s son ultimately boiled down to trust issues, and we’ve had several other threads hanging on the idea of one character being unable to completely trust another. And on almost every single one of those occasions, Oliver has been on one side of the problem. That continued here as Wild Dog refused to follow Oliver’s command, intervening in the attack on the children’s clinic. In this situation, both sides were in the right and the wrong: Wild Dog’s instinct to get involved was a good one, but his refusal to let the Green Arrow handle it when he’s far more equipped to do so was stupid; equally, as Felicity later points out, the group’s trust issue with Oliver stems from him not trusting them. Yes, he has every right to be hesitant to let them loose, and yes, he has every right not to want to reveal his identity immediately, but he was essentially viewing and treating them like complete outsiders, not potential teammates.
Revealing himself to the group by the hour’s end was a smart move, one that will almost certainly enable them to trust him for the foreseeable future. (I’d express qualms about the hastiness of this entire arc, but that would be to poke holes in Arrow’s entire narrative set-up, past and present, so I’ll steer clear.)
In between all of this, however, we learn just why Oliver has such trust issues. The Bratva’s initiation included a challenge (that Oliver used to train his recruits, just with a less violent end): get past some guards and ring a bell. Only the aim of the game was teamwork, and those individuals who didn’t get to ring the bell were shot. “Only person you can trust– yourself,” Anatoly tells him. It’s neither shocking nor especially thrilling that this is another one of Oliver’s flashback-induced issues, but it’s nice to get an explanation as to why we’ve spent 94 episodes with a character who refuses to trust anyone.
An adversary becomes an ally, but there’s a catch.
To say that Ragman does a complete switch in status from his introduction early in the hour to the end of it would be arguably an exaggeration, but it remains the simplest way of describing it. Seeking revenge for his father’s death in Havenrock, Ragman targets AmerTek, the company that designed the nuclear missile. And while there’s malice directed at AmerTek, it’s tough to say that he’s a villain as such; not only does he save Oliver’s life instead of finishing off AmerTek’s CEO, but he explains that he’s only doing this because it’s what his father would have wanted (sound familiar?). Oliver’s offer to Ragman (whose name, we learn, is Rory Regan) is unsurprising, and he’ll be a useful addition to the team. That being said, his past is undeniably going to cause integration problems given that Felicity was responsible for Havenrock being destroyed rather than Monument Point. Oh, and she knows that Regan’s from Havenrock.
Hello there, Mr. Deputy Mayor.
File this one under the “Say what?” category: Quentin Lance is going to be Star City’s deputy mayor. Yes, the (twice) former SCPD detective and captain was pitched the idea by Thea, as a reason for him to stay sober – after his drinking allowed Ragman entry to the clinic earlier in the hour. It’s the kind of logic that’s come to be expected of Arrow: in no way, shape, or form is Quentin in the right frame of mind to take on this job, let alone qualified. Then again, there’s a former billionaire playboy and current vigilante running the city right now, so it’s not especially unusual. But while the show’s quest to drag Quentin from his alcoholic hole is a good idea, this is absolutely ludicrous.
Prometheus has been to the Slade Wilson school of fighting the Green Arrow.
In another cameo appearance at the close of the hour, Prometheus told Tobias Church in no uncertain terms that the Green Arrow is his and his only, threatening to kill Church if Green Arrow dies. Quite why Prometheus has such an obsession with Oliver’s alter-ego, we don’t yet know, but it’s not a dissimilar stance to the one Slade took back in season two. Worth noting, though, that after two consecutive final-scene appearances, Arrow needs to hold off for a few weeks and use him in a slightly different way in future appearances; it’s inevitable that we’ll have to wait until at least Christmas before learning his identity, and there’s only so much mileage to be taken from a 30 second cameo where he kills, maims or threatens a character – Arrow has used up virtually all of its rope in that regard.
A crime he didn’t commit.
When, over the course of the past two years, I continue to argue that Diggle deserves more of a storyline, what “The Recruits” gave to him was not what I had in mind. Framing him for a crime he didn’t commit isn’t the greatest of ideas anyway, but this is now the fourth time that people Diggle thought he knew have betrayed him (Ted Gaynor in “Trust But Verify”, Joyney in “A.W.O.L.”, Andy in “Brotherhood” and “Eleven-Fifty-Nine”) and by this point, Arrow has beyond exhausted that concept. If it leads to some good material for him as he deals with prison – and the eventual escape – then fine, but the introduction of it was poor.
There are still problems here, but this was a much more well-executed hour than the premiere. Like last week, there were enough story threads created to enable a more positive outlook but, unlike last week, they were introduced in a much more coherent way – Diggle excepted. 7.5/10.