Arrow Re-Nocked: Human Target (5×05)

Human Target” (5×05) is probably among the best directed Arrow episodes to date.  Between the dutch angle close-ups, and turnaround shots, the cinematography builds tension in an episode that contains few action scenes.  Following the events in “Penance” (5×04), we quickly find Wild Dog (Rick Gonzalez) taking a merciless beating from Tobias Church (Chad L Coleman).  In the past it would have taken Team Arrow a whole episode to find their missing teammate, but this plotpoint quickly resolves itself within the opening act.  Alternatively, this serves as a mere catalyst for Christopher Chance (Wil Traval) to take on the Mayor Queen (Stephen Amell) mask and provide some dramatic misdirection.  

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John Diggle (David Ramsey) makes his grand return to the team,and quickly finds himself in the familiar role as mentor to another lost vigilante.  Oliver assigns Diggle the task to debrief Rene on his traumatic encounter with Tobias Church.  Their interaction leads to more information regarding Rene’s past military service, We were transporting a prisoner, intelligence couldn’t get the information out of him they needed, so I decided to do it my way.”  Even though this isn’t quite the revelation I was hoping for regarding Rene’s backstory, I have not given up on his character.  Pairing him up with Diggle didn’t really give his character any favors, the parallels drawn between the duo were really predictable.  Fingers crossed future Wild Dog insight comes later on in the season through interactions with both The Vigilante and maybe even Roy Harper (Colton Haynes).  Star City has proven to be a place where anyone can be a hero, so it’s really important to identify both surprising motivations and character connections.    

Arrow -- "Human Target" -- Image AR505a_0056b.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen and Will Traval as Christopher Chance/Human Target -- Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

“Oliver, I know a guy with a very specific skillset, I think he can be here within twenty-four hours”, suggests Diggle after learning that Rene revealed the Green Arrow’s identity to Tobias Church.  The writers devise a misdirect where the viewers observe the Oliver Queen assassination plot from the Star City citizen perspective.  We were not technically watching Oliver play politics with Councilman Collins, or acquire Susan Williams’ personal cell phone number; it was really Christopher Chance.  This dramatically reduces Wil Traval’s (Jessica Jones) guest appearance on the show, until he gives Oliver some advice about balancing his dual identities,“No one moves forward in life when they’re hiding behind a mask,” explains Christopher Chance to his newfound friend.  This gives me hope that we will see Human Target again later on in the series, as he offers some great insight into being a man of many faces. The Arrow writers do tease during the final flashback scene that these the vigilante and anti-hero have crossed paths before. Here’s hoping that his next appearance in Star City focuses more on the man, Christopher Chance, and features less of the Human Target plot device.   

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“Front doors are more for people who haven’t just faked their own death,” explains Oliver to Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) after scaling her building.  Finally, these two former lovers have a talk about their relationship status, especially considering Felicity has been seeing Detective Malone (Tyler Ritter) for a few months on the side.  Not to mention, the writers are beginning to develop a romantic angle between Mayor Queen and journalist Susan Williams (Carly Pope).  This is not the end of Olicity, I mean the episode continues to strengthen the partnership between Overwatch and Green Arrow.  Meanwhile, their current public separation allows for the Arrow writers to clearly distinguish Oliver Queen from his vigilante mask.  In addition, both new romantic interests for each respective character has some intriguing story potential.  “I’m not seeing anyone, but if I was how would I tell them about my day,” questions Felicity in “Salvation” (1×18) a question that she will struggle with answering as she pursues this relationship with Detective Malone.  Meanwhile, the writers tease Susan Williams becoming a future threat at not exposing Mayor Queen as the Green Arrow, but as a former Bratva member.  Suddenly, I am very interested in seeing where her storyline goes this season, especially if it leads her on the receiving end of Emily Bett Rickards’ right hook (James Bamford tweet).  

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This is the first directorial bookending I have seen Arrow produce in the series.  The final scene illustrates Tobias Church’s explanation about how torture affects the mind to Renee during the opening scene, “It’s not the pain that breaks people, it’s fear.  Fear of the pain.  Fear of what that next pain brings.”  The same fear is shown through Tobias’ mannerisms as he anticipates Prometheus to disrupt his transport to Iron Heights.  Director Laura Belsey takes a page from classic horror films, and increases intensity by showing what’s happening outside of the transport vehicle.  Then, the writers make a very bold decision to have Prometheus kill Tobias Church.  We are unable to see his reaction to learning about the Green Arrow’s real name, but I am under the impression that this wasn’t news to Prometheus.  A suspicion that really excites me to see this new villain rise since “Human Target” ends the street level crime organization angle of this season. Before we can learn about the man behind Prometheus, the writers are doing an excellent job at increasing his threat level to Team Arrow, “You’ve got much worse coming, and you don’t even know it, he calls himself Prometheus and he’s going to end you,” and so it begins.

Tweet me your Arrow season 5 theories @sjbelmont 
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