After an almost shockingly strong second episode, Arrow S05E03 was a mild letdown. The show wasn’t bad, but it moved things in a direction where the writers have failed before. There were too many characters and too many storylines going on. The show is best when it has a clear focus and often falls apart when it tries to do too many things at once. Certainly there were several elements introduced in Arrow S05E03 that are meant to pay off later in the season, It will be interesting to see if the writers will be able to keep all the plates spinning. Oh yeah, WWE fans also had a special treat this week. Now it’s time to wield your anti-spoiler recurve bow and get ready for 10 random thoughts on Arrow S05E03.
More Like Wild Dumb (Bad): Wild Dog continues to be annoying. This week, he ignored Ollie’s orders not to go out in a field. His jaunt resulted in the creation of a super villain. Seriously kid, never drop a bad guy in a vat of chemicals. Haven’t you read any Batman comics?!? Bad things will happen. In addition to his insubordinate and insolent behavior, I can’t help thinking about the actor’s character Coach Carter whenever he’s onscreen as Rene Ramirez. I keep waiting for him to save the day with deft three-point shooting.
Felicity’s Not Over Macho Grande (Bad): Felicity was a bit annoying in Arrow S05E03 (though still the hottest pretend nerd on television). Now that Ragman is part of Team Arrow, her guilt about nuking his hometown is at the forefront of her mind. Initially, she’s in denial mode and doesn’t want to mention it to him. Then she gets whiny as she shares her feelings (like a Care Bear) with Curtis. Eventually, she makes a tearful confession. The guilt of redirecting a nuclear missile and killing millions of people is a heavy burden to bear. The writers rushed her confession to Ragman in a way that made it seem forced and a bit trivial. She went through too many emotions too quickly. I suppose that’s one of the pitfalls of weekly television….
Curtis Was Terrific (Good): I really enjoyed Curtis in Arrow S05E03. He was sharp and funny. While he doesn’t have the fighting chops of his teammates, he showed why his intellect makes him a valuable member of Team Arrow. He adds another smartie, but unlike Felicity, he can serve as a field agent too. More importantly, he busted out his “Fair Play” jacket. The goofy catchphrase is an important part of the Mr. Terrific character. As Curtis explained, the Arrowverse’s version of the original Mr. Terrific (Terry Sloan) was a babyface pro-wrestler that wore “Fair Play” on his outfit. While I didn’t really like the writers making Terry Sloan a pro-wrestler instead of an old-school superhero — especially with the Justice Society of America appearing in DC’s Legends of Tomorrow this season — I love that they made Curtis a pro-wrestling mark.
Stardust (Good): There’s a new drug in Star City. It’s called Stardust. One of the mid-level Stardust dealers in Arrow S05E03, a thug named Samson, was played by Cody Rhodes, who played a character named Stardust in WWE. After getting Joker-ized by Wild Dog, Samson becomes impervious to pain. The show did a good job using Cody Rhodes. As a pro-wrestler, he’s obviously telegenic and a natural at fight scenes. His dialogue was mercifully limited, so as to cover up his lisp. As a longtime fan of pro-wrestling and a huge mark for Cody’s father Dusty Rhodes, it was nice to see him do well. That said, I’m sure that viewers that don’t know or don’t care about pro-wrestling found his character generic.
Vigilante Teased (Good): Arrow S05E03 also introduced Adrian Chase. Longtime comics fan will remember the name as the alter ego of Vigilante. I’m excited about this character. In the comics, Vigilante started out as a typical hero that refused to murder villains. He turned dark and darker, eventually becoming a murderer himself. Reading about his inner turmoil about wanting to protect people and feeling guilt about taking lives was fascinating. Eventually, the guilt became too much and he committed suicide. I hope that Arrow’s writers make this version of Adrian Chase as interesting and complex as the one from the comics.
Deadshot Returns! (Good): I was genuinely surprised by the return of Floyd Lawton in Arrow S05E03. The assassin-for-hire known as Deadshot, Lawton is one of my favorite DC villains. The Arrowverse version of Lawton is vastly superior to the crappy phoned-in version Will Smith portrayed (using the term in the loosest sense) in the Suicide Squad movie.
John Diggle, Martyr (Bad): Unfortunately, it appears that Deadshot was only an illusion conjured up by the tortured mind of Diggle. The conscience of Team Arrow v1, Dig is currently in jail after being framed last week. His imaginary conversations with Deadshot have him feeling guilty about killing his evil brother. While he didn’t commit the crime that he’s imprisoned for, he wants to stay in jail for killing his brother. That’s idiotic. Andy Diggle was part of an organization that’s responsible for the deaths of millions of people and had plans to kill millions more. If my brother wanted to commit global genocide, I’d shoot him and wouldn’t feel any guilt.
From Russia, With Instagram Filter (Bad): While I’m enjoying Ollie’s flashbacks to Russia, the cinematography is kind of weird. The writing and acting were fun, but the flashback scenes in Arrow S05E03 looked like they had one of those crappy Instagram filters applied to them. Seeing Russia through the X-Pro II filter was a bit distracting and pulled me out of the show.
Team Arrow, Assemble! (Good): By the end of Arrow S05E03, Team Arrow v2 was up and running. It was great seeing them work together and take down Cody Rhodes’ drug-dealing baddies. Everyone had roles and everyone did well (though perhaps too well for a team making its debut). The scene made me feel like a kid that marveled at superhero team-ups. After two episodes of mostly solo Oliver, it was good to see him in a team setting once again.
Crowded House (Bad): As I mentioned in the intro, I’m a bit concerned that there are too many characters, which will lead to too many storylines. As it stands after Arrow S05E03, Team Arrow has five field agents (Oliver, Wild Dog, Mr. Terrific, Ragman, and Artemis). Felicity is tech support and it looks like Diggle will be coming back to the mix. Roy is coming back for at least one episode. Vigilante is poised to appear. Church is the current baddie and it looks like there will be a bigger one down the line. That’s a lot to juggle in one season. There’s too much potential for a hot mess, but I honestly hope the writers avoid that.