As my first Arrow Re-Nocked for Season 5, I just want to preface it by saying that I’ll be keeping them a bit shorter and to the point than they were before. With more and more CW shows coming into the fold, I will be trying to cover more so each article will be shorter. Let me know what you think @TheEverwritten.
I am absolutely enjoying Arrow Season 5 so far. With a change up in the team, as well as a change up in the show’s usual formula, I am really finding the new story refreshing and exciting to watch. This week’s episode “The Recruits” focuses mostly on Oliver’s attempt to build a new Team Arrow by using his experiences from the past to guide him.
Warning: SPOILERS for this episode may follow!
This episode’s flashbacks began pretty much where they left off in the Season 5 premiere “Legacy”; with Ollie being tested before becoming Bratva. The parallels from this flashback were pretty strong in the present day; as Ollie and his fellow recruits were tasked with trying to ring a bell standing behind several Bratva toughs. Throughout the episode Oliver touts the Bratva motto “Only trust yourself,” but he has to rely on the other three guys in order to reach the bell. I knew immediately that the other three guys would die once Ollie rung the bell, but I loved Ollie’s reaction to them being shot. This sets up a pretty good viewer understanding to why Oliver is hesitant in the present day to take on new recruits and make it easy for them. I love flashbacks in episodes like this, because they are simple and to the point, but it still carries a clear parallel with the rest of the episode; even Diggle’s storyline.
This episode focused a lot on Oliver’s training of Wild Dog, “Fake” Canary (as I call her) and Curtis aka Mr. Terrific, but it also switched to Mayor Queen’s project with AmeriTek which included Thea and Quentin. I really enjoyed the recruit training sequences this episode. As a viewer, it is obvious that the goal of the exercise is teamwork, but it was fun watching the recruits struggle to figure that out. The best part of the episode was all of the alluding to the original Team Arrow (they mentioned Roy twice); comparing how it used to be with how it is now. This brought about a lot of self-reflection for Oliver and brought one of my favorite moments so far from Curtis Holt. He released his frustration toward Oliver and it was definitely an impacting moment of the episode. With Curtis starting to train and become more than a bumbling nerd, I’m excited to see the Mr. Terrific come out in him. Thea, while she is taking a less action filled role this season, is still one of my favorite characters. I really like her in her new role as the person keeping Mayor Queen’s office running (not sure her title). The short bit of parkour we got to see her do sans-costume was a great way to involve her in the episode’s main drama. The weakest part of the episode for me was the Quentin scenes up until the very end. I am really tired of Arrow characters dealing with alcoholism, but Thea and Quentin’s relationship took on an almost substitute father/daughter relationship which I am liking. My favorite part of this episode was Ragman. I haven’t read any of his comics, so I don’t know much about him, but so far he is a great addition to the cast. The effects they used for him were well done and I really loved his introduction and how they slipped in his origin story in without throwing it in our face. I really hope Ragman is becoming a permanent member of Team Arrow this season, because I honestly don’t know if I can get enough of his character. Apparently he’s one of the few Jewish heroes in the DCU! (Edit: So it came to me after posting this article, the reason that they showed Felicity watching Ragman threaten Janet Carroll! I can’t believe that I forgot that the single missile that hit Ragman’s city was the one that Felicity couldn’t stop! This has me very intrigued for the clash of drama that is going to come between those two.)
The formula in the show has been mixed up a bit by giving us Diggle’s military story, which currently feels the same way as the flashbacks, but we follow him in the present time. Even though it was apart from the rest of the storylines, Diggle’s story paralleled well with the rest of the episode as Diggle works in an extremely close knit group of soldier to complete his missions. Oliver’s “Only trust yourself” motto may have worked well for Dig this episode because he got betrayed and framed. His unit got all but wiped out by fellow brothers in arms that he had trusted. This is a real irony when you watch it alongside the main story with Oliver’s need to trust again. I am really interested in how Dig’s story is going to play out. While it currently doesn’t have a lot to do with the rest of the story, it has to somehow be connected to Tobias Church and his arms buying. I expect Dig’s framing will become public enough for Felicity to inform Oliver about it, but honestly… I don’t know what Team Arrow can do to help Dig out of a court martial.
This episode was seriously fun to watch. While I’m still unsure about Wild Dog and “Fake” Canary, I’m hoping the slow roll out of their characters and the building of the new Team Arrow will put me on their side. With the addition of Ragman to the team to be the member who takes on any metahumans Team Arrow will come across, this new vigilante group is really shaping up. I’m loving the mob drama flashbacks and seeing the old witty Felicity we have come to know and love back on the screen; so bring on the next episode. After both season five episodes ending with Prometheus attacking someone, I’m intrigued at what this new Dark Archer will bring that the others hadn’t before. I just hope he doesn’t turn out to be Malcolm Merlyn or another Jay Garrick.
This week it was insanely hard to pick a winner for best CW show episode. The Flash is starting off extremely strong, so is Supergirl and Arrow. We’ll see how Legends of Tomorrow does tonight and I’ll award my points. - Everett