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.
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?
After a terribly inconsistent fourth season (which many fans felt was the worst since season one), Arrow is back. Last year, Ollie found true love and an expanded super team. By the end of season four, he lost it all. Arrow S05E01 kicks off an attempt at going back to basics. He’s mayor of Star City by day and a lone vigilante by night. Sexy nerd Felicity still serves as his operation manager, but has Ollie in the friend zone. This season’s flashback sequences take place in Russia. Now that you’ve been brought up to speed, turn on your spoiler shields. It’s time for some Arrow Points on Arrow S05E01, using the RPad.TV binary system.
Arrow is Back to Full A-Hole Mode (Good): After becoming a nice, well-adjusted vigilante in season four, Oliver Queen is back to being a dick in Arrow S05E01. He’s argumentative and brooding. Four seasons of evolution and positive change have been killed in one episode. While some might feel that reverting Arrow back to a wannabe Batman is a bad thing, I prefer him this way. As he gets happier, Ollie also becomes less interesting. Besides, the more Arrow plays up the gloom and doom, the better it contrasts with The Flash.
The best part about A-Hole Arrow is that we’re spared from Dramatic Arrow. This show is at its worst when the character gets dramatic and emotional. Grant Gustin pulls it off with aplomb in The Flash. When Stephen Amell tries any kind of acting that doesn’t involve punching, kicking, or being a dick, the scenes are unintentionally funny. While I’m certain that Dramatic Arrow will pop up a few times during season five, I hope his appearances are infrequent.
Oliver Queen Sucks as Mayor (Bad): Brooding Arrow also means disinterested Mayor Oliver Queen. He’s late for meetings and doesn’t seem to care too much about governing. For someone that has killed people for “failing this city,” he’s failing it himself.
Arrow Keeps Whining About the Past (Bad): Spoilers have already shown that Arrow gets a new team of super buddies this season. Felicity even has them picked out on her computer. Before the new Arrowettes are assembled, Ollie has to whine about needing a team. He desperately wants John Diggle to return and for his sister to resume her crime-fighting life as Speedy. Thankfully, he gets the message that those things aren’t happening by the end of Arrow S05E01.
Quentin Lance is Drunk Again (Good): The former drunk has turned into a current drunk after losing his daughter, job, and girlfriend. He’s back on the wagon, but the show does’t really convey the severity of alcoholism. Instead, he seems to rebound pretty quickly after a pep talk centered around a Russian proverb. While I would have liked to have seen more of Broken
Matt Hardy Quentin Lance, his character is more interesting when the world sh*ts on him.
Why is Tobias Church a Threat? (Bad): While I understand that the producers wanted a “back to basics” season, the bad guy in Arrow S05E01 seems totally flaccid. Arrow has taken down a legion of super soldiers fueled by
Miraclo Mirakuru. He’s taken down an army of assassins lead by a man with centuries of combat training. Last season, he brought down a most charming sociopath with mystical powers. Tobias Church, while charismatic and menacing, appears to be nothing more than a gangster. In TV and movies, the threats normally escalate. Fighting a gangster seems too easy for Arrow at this stage of his career. Tobias Church is a mid-boss, at best. Hopefully there’s more to him than meets the eye or there’s a much bigger villain coming.
Life-Threatening Flashback Scenes Don’t Work (Bad): One of the cutaways had Ollie tied to a chair while a Russian gangster held a gun to his forehead. This was stupid. We obviously know that he made it of the chair alive. The cutaway was supposed to be dramatic, but since the outcome was never in question, it completely lacked drama.
Star City Didn’t Love Black Canary (Bad): For a hero that stopped hundreds of criminals and helped save the city a number of times, Black Canary didn’t get much love. There were like 30 people at her memorial service. At least five of the attendants were part of Mayor Ollie’s security detail. I guess the citizens of Star City are a bunch of ingrates (or the show didn’t have the budget for hundreds of extras). Also, Laurel’s statue looked more like Stargirl than Black Canary.
Staying on the Black Canary tip, one of Laurel’s dying wishes was for Ollie to make sure there would always be a Black Canary. She’s basically saying, “I’m dying because I wanted to dress up and play superhero. Please make sure another young woman has the opportunity to die dressing up and playing superhero.” Perhaps that was the morphine speaking….
Willa Holland Has Hot Legs (Good): Willa Holland has grown up to become a sexy women. Yeah, I’m being a stereotypical male, but I couldn’t keep my eyes off of her legs. Yum.
Arrow is Cool With Killing Again (Bad): Continuing Arrow’s path of regression, dude just straight up killed a guy to protect his secret identity in Arrow S05E01. After promising his best friend, Tommy Merlyn, that he wouldn’t kill again after season one, Arrow is back to his murderous ways. Maybe killing Damien Darhk at the end of season four has him back on the wagon. Ollie and Quentin should probably go to an AA meeting together to discuss their respective relapses.
Anatoli is the Most Interesting Person on the Show (Bad): Aside from Willa Holland’s legs, the best part of Arrow S05E01 was Anatoli Knyazev. Some of you will remember him as the wise-cracking Russian fellow that was trapped with Ollie on Lian Yu. Others will recognize the name as KGBeast from the comics. Whatever the case, it turns out that he’s responsible for Ollie’s connection to the Bratva. As funny as he was as a castaway on Oliver’s Island, he’s even funnier as a full-on Russian mobster. The bad news is that a supporting character from a flashback sequence was the second-best part of the show. That’s a problem.
There’s a New Dark Archer in Town (Good): The show ends with a archer dressed in black killing a cop. This is potentially interesting. Hopefully it’s someone from the League of Assassins or another menacing group. The show needs a bigger threat than a well organized gangster. In addition to adding some mystery, the new Dark Archer offers hope for bigger and better things to come.