Arrow Season 5 Episode 1 – TV Review
This hilariously awful Laurel Lance/Black Canary statue is kind of a symbol of where Arrow is right now.
It’s still garbage, but it’s making something of an effort to appease the Olicity-fatigued naysayers. Myself included.
But it’ll take more than one episode to turn around the shit sandwich that was Season 4.
TL;DR Olicity fears to rear its head while Oliver actually gets back to action sequences as the Green Arrow; but some “recruit for the team” plotline spins in the background, and I’m not into it; Thea confirms she’s done with vigilantism; Diggle is still away; Quentin is the best-acted, most compelling character on the show (still); the flashbacks aren’t crap yet.
Give them time.
So after the nuclear disaster of Season 4’s final run, it looks like Arrow has decided to dial things back a little and show us what we’ve been sorely missing: Oliver actually taking on crime and killing goons and stuff. That early seasons goodness, you know? But going out beating guys up is a little inconvenient when you’re also the mayor. And it gets awkward when a new villain on the streets kidnaps you, the mayor, in order to lure out the Green Arrow. Luckily, Thea, reluctant to don the suit, does step in to help, but watching Oliver murder the fuck out of a goon squad only reaffirms her decision to abandon the vigilante life. Despite a constant barrage of nagging from Felicity, and a genuinely retarded Laurel retcon deathbed flashback, Oliver doesn’t take on any apprentices yet, and instead fields help from Quentin and the police. Insane, right? Hostages are saved, Quentin takes a few steps out of the bottom of the bottle, and Oliver establishes a new police unit to take on crime (they evidently weren’t doing much of that before). And then another bow-wielding villain shows up to make things messy. Meanwhile, Curtis decides he, along with a Jason Voorhees/Casey Jones wannabe vigilante, should be part of Oliver’s School for Girls; Diggle is still working as a soldier, somewhere; and Felicity, and the world, ain’t too bovvered about the fallout from a nuke obliterating an American city, and the ensuing crisis caused by complete global nuclear disarmament. Natch. And in flashbacks, we see Oliver getting initiated into the Bratva via Anatoly, his old friend from the freighter, on a quest to murder some gangster or something.
Shirtless, mulleted Oliver is all I need.
You know, as not-shit as this episode is, I just can’t trust Arrow after what they’ve been doing for the past couple of seasons. I truly want to become excited about the promise this premiere seems to show for the upcoming season. I want to believe.
But I don’t. The trailers were all about Oliver’s training fun times with Curtis (hey, I finally name upgraded him from Afrojack), Jason Voorhees, and Slack Canary. It’s just more team bullshit that ends up hurting the action sequences when they’re all together.
This episode excelled because it showed Oliver being ruthless, resourceful, and, most importantly, alone. Yeah, Felicity providing tech support is cute, but seeing Oliver out in the field just fucking people up was such a return to form.
So let’s get ready for the New Kids on the Block to stomp on in all over that. Sigh.
Why I hate this episode:
The fact that Felicity is the one championing this cause does not help. At this point, Felicity should be seen and not heard.
The only thing I would want her to say is something to the effect of “Holy shit I murdered tens of thousands of people a couple of months ago, maybe that should affect me in even some minute way, perhaps?” But nah, Felicity is still bubbly tech girl. When she isn’t being a nagging boor.
And do you know who else is Team Team? Fucking Laurel, apparently. In a spectacular moment of terrible writing (it’s not just for Once Upon a Time, these days), Laurel, although her character should be under the impression that she’s going to be just fine, begs Oliver not to let her be the last Canary, in a scene that screams “I’m dying and this is my final wish.” Perhaps she meant that, because she was going to hang up the bondage suit and be the DA, she wanted Oliver to continue to have sidekicks. But Arrow doesn’t deserve my generosity. We all know that Felicity is going to become the new Black Canary. It’s fucking inevitable. Not even my gag reflex of steel is going to be able to withstand that.
I can’t believe that nothing has changed from the nuclear doomsday event from last season. Not only did Felicity wipe a city off the map, but the whole world has lost its nukes. No more mutually assured destruction would send the world’s political powers into chaos. I know that Arrow is a CW show, and this is only the premiere, but I need to see something, anything, that proves Arrow is aware of this. It’s baffling.
I’m not that excited about the new street-level villain in Star City. He’s just another gangster, like all the other gangsters Oliver has faced before. And he hasn’t even got Kelly Hu’s wigs to make him stand out. I’m just gonna call him Black Boss 2, or BB-2, for now. Until he figures out how to make an impression.
Curtis needs to fuck off. Oh boo hoo, you got beat up (on an errand Felicity sent you on, I think we should note. Lol), now you wanna risk your life to fight crime. Get real, queen. Stick to keyboard tapping and gossiping with Felicity.
Felicity’s new boyfriend and the cop that Mystery Bowhunter #645 kills were indistinguishable to me. Stephen Amell already fills the Blandly Handsome White Guy quota for this show. I can’t handle more.
No Flashpoint effects?
Oh, and that statue of Laurel is really, really bad. How did nobody catch that? Hell, I would have taken an obviously CGI statue as long as it looked halfway decent. What a joke.
But it’s not all bad:
It was worth a shot, though. You tried, Arrow. You tried.
Speaking of trying, Arrow really does try, and succeeds, in getting some much-needed action back in this superhero action show. Watching Oliver literally toss people around felt so fucking good.
Especially when he did it to Jason Voorhees. What kind of idiot thinks they can just slip in and help defuse a fucking bomb? While a hack arrow is already in the process of defusing it? Dumbass! That arrow through the leg from Oliver was warranted.
Oliver’s preceding fight against Anarky was a bit of sweet revenge after Anarky utterly embarrassed the team in combat last season. Oliver needed that morale boost.
The fight against BB-2, though, is the highlight of the episode. If their ground battle wasn’t flashy enough, amidst explosions and a police vs goon background skirmish, then Oliver takes to the skies to follow BB-2 on his escape chopper (is there anything classier in the Villain Catalogue than an escape chopper?). They punch it out as best they can in close quarters, but it’s BB-2 who gets the upper hand and pushes Oliver out to his supposed death. But nah, bro: Oliver has a parachute arrow in his arsenal. It’s cheesy, but it’s pretty comic book-y. So I’ll take it.
Still on the stunt work front, the editors wisely didn’t use that terrible shot of the stage punch from the Season 5 trailers. They cut away from it this time. Good job.
Thea’s decision to stay away from the vigilante life isn’t the stubborn bullshit it might have been. She legitimises her concerns about what that life did to her, yet she still suits up to save Oliver when he needs it. Good on her.
Quentin brings his acting chops to Arrow again, as it’s revealed that his fling with Donna didn’t work out (and she’s nowhere to be seen. Praise), and he’s backslid into alcoholism. The statue of Laurel eventually convinces him to take Oliver’s offer to assist in the tussle against BB-2, and it just feels right when Quentin is barking the commands at the SWAT team.
Quentin is still DILF-tacular, too. Obviously.
The flashbacks don’t show much. But they do show Oliver all sweaty, shirtless, and with his yum-gross old hair. Anatoly is pretty cool, too.
Oh, and despite everything inside me screaming to remain pessimistic, I can’t deny that this episode made me feel like maybe Arrow could get back on track. And at this point, I’ll take any “maybe” I can get it.