Big surprise — Arrow was better than Flash this week! Color me shocked (which, in my head, is a bright combination of red and yellow). Arrow S05E02 was full of action, heart, and intrigue. When the writers skillfully weave these elements together, the show is at its best. While I doubt that Arrow S05E02 will be remembered as one of the show’s all-time great episodes, it was much better than the vast majority of season four. More importantly, it’s a glimmer of hope that Arrow is pointed in the right direction (get it?!?). Now don your spoiler cowl, as it’s time for 10 random thoughts on the latest episode of The Bipolar Adventures of Oliver Queen using the scientifically sound RPad.TV binary system.
Oliver Gets the Band Back Together (Good): After being convinced by Felicity and Diggle to put a new team together, Oliver starts to assemble the new gang in Arrow S05E02. The expected candidates, as seen in last week’s episode, are Curtis Holt (who will eventually be Mr. Terrific), Rene Ramirez (Wild Dog), and Evelyn Sharp (former Black Canary impersonator and future Artemis). Initially, Ollie is a complete dick to the recruits. He trains them harshly and refuses to divulge his secret identity. After a pep talk from Felicity (more on that later), he realizes that he has to earn their trust. Arrow reveals that he’s Oliver Queen and starts using his real voice with the recruits (instead of his crap Batman voice). While some of this plot was predictable, it’s an important step forward for this season. I’m excited to see how the new team shapes up, particularly Curtis, as I’m a mark for Mr. Terrific (fair play!).
The Ragman Cometh (Good): One surprise in Arrow S05E02 was the introduction of Ragman. In the wrong hands, this character would seem goofy on TV. The director and special effects artists did a good job of making his powers look cool. The writers did a nice job of weaving Ragman’s origin into Havenrock and Genesis Day from season four. As a fan of DC’s occult comics like Justice League Dark and John Constantine: Hellblazer, I’m pleased that Ragman is being handled well (so far). I hope he makes a nice addition to Team Arrow v2.
Diggle’s Latvian Adventures (Good): A few of my friends had an issue with John Diggle’s plot in Arrow S05E02, but I think it mirrored Oliver’s activities nicely. Dig is betrayed by a superior officer and set up when a shady arms deal falls apart. Prior to getting betrayed, Diggle was lecturing a new soldier on how trust is a core component of the military. Dig’s trust storyline was a nice contrast to Ollie’s trust storyline.
From Russia, With Line (Good): I’m enjoying the Russian flashback sequences so far (especially compared to season four’s crap flashbacks). As I mentioned last week, Anatoli Knyazev was one of the best parts of the season premiere. While the charming Bratva gangster didn’t have much to work with this week, Oliver Queen’s initiation into the Bratva was fun to watch. The whole “Get on the Line” exercise from Russia was used on the new recruits in Star City. I was shocked, perhaps naively, when the Bratva baddies killed all the other Bratva prospectives. The grimness of it all reminded me of the best parts of season one and two.
Arrow Throws a Fight (Good): Initially, I was annoyed when Tobias Church was going toe-to-toe with Ollie in Arrow S05E02. While he’s large and menacing, he’s just a glorified street thug. Arrow has gone up against Slade Wilson, Ra’s Al Ghul, and Damien Darhk. Church should be a warmup exercise for him. Later he revealed that he was throwing the fight in order to test Ragman’s morals and gain his trust. It was a cunning ruse that pleasantly surprised me. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that Oliver can do more than punch, kick, and shoot arrows.
Friend-Zone Felicity (Good): For most of Arrow S05E02, Felicity Smoak was dazzling. She was quirky, funny, intelligent, and beautiful. With Diggle taking a timeout from the gang, she even filled in as the voice of reason. Her speech about the old gang sticking together because they believed in Oliver, not Green Arrow, helped give this episode a lot of heart. This was a sterling example of why Felicity is the most captivating (pretend) nerd on television.
Bad Liar Felicity (Bad): You’d think being around crafty people and facing off against devious villains would have helped Felicity become better at deception. When she lied to her new policeman boyfriend about why she needed a sample of Ragman’s rags analyzed, she became a bumbling mess. I understand that the writers are trying to play up her cuteness, but this felt like Season One Felicity. I’m confident that the lady has learned a trick or two after being part of Team Arrow for four years.
Drunk Quentin Lance (Bad): The world continues to sh*t on Quentin Lance. Still succumbing to his alcoholism, Lance missed a key security assignment that allowed Ragman to waltz into a building undetected. He was chatting with Thea about working for Mayor Queen, but decided to give up. He’s in a dark place and doesn’t see anything to live for. While I enjoyed how well Paul Blackthorne portrayed Lance as a drunk at the end of his rope, it was all rather depressing.
Thea Queen, Chance Giver (Good): Thankfully, Thea was there to save the day. The chief of staff formerly known as Speedy offered Lance a job as deputy mayor. While Ollie doesn’t believe that it’s a good idea to give a functioning alcoholic a position of responsibility, Thea believes that Lance can be better than he is now. She wants to be the one that gives Lance something to stay sober for and help him rise up. Her “we can do better that” speech was genuinely touching. Also, Willa Holland is pretty and has a sexy voice.
Prometheus Unbound (Good): The dark archer from last week was revealed to be Prometheus. This isn’t comics Prometheus — the flippant rogue that singlehandedly took down the Justice League. The made-for-TV version is obviously different. I’m intrigued, but a little scared. The character from the comics was incredibly cool — one of those villains that you couldn’t help rooting for. TV Prometheus has presence and certainly knowns how to make an entrance, but beyond that…who knows?!? Here’s an off-the-wall theory that almost certainly won’t pan out — wouldn’t it be cool if the Flash’s irritating timeline manipulation brought back an angry version of Tommy Merlyn as Prometheus?