Arrow Season 5 Episode 2 – TV Review
Is it wrong that Peppy, Not-Dating-Oliver Felicity is enjoyable, and I’m now dreading the repercussions of Havenrock sneaking up to get her?
Well, that’s what happens when your street-level vigilante hero show plays the nuke card. And now we’re stuck with it.
Unless Felicity dies. Which would be fine.
TL;DR Arrow remains inoffensive in what appears to be a (welcome, I might add) apology tour after Season 4’s atrocities; Oliver struggles with his new recruits, but eventually wins them over; he also gains the favour of a new, magically powered person on the streets; Diggle deals with some bland military bullshit; Thea pities Quentin; the flashbacks show the brutality of Bratva initiation.
I just like that one guy who wanted to get shirtless for it. Power to you, baby.
So it’s time for Oliver’s School for Girls to open, but the inaugural class of Jason Voorhees, Slack Canary, and Curtis don’t take kindly to Oliver, keeping up the Green Arrow hood to conceal his identity from the former two, and his “beat you the fuck up” training style. After some moaning, and a botched mission involving our magic new Ragman on the block, the recruits walk out, forcing Oliver to realise he has to show he trusts them or something. So he reveals himself to them, and they’re back on board. Meanwhile, this Ragman takes on the executives of some company Oliver and Thea are courting to donate money to a health clinic. Through the power of exposition, it’s revealed that the company helped make the nuke that Felicity dropped on Havenrock, and Raggedy Anne over here is the sole survivor of the town, thanks to his magic bandages. Oliver, as the Green Arrow, manages to convince Ragman to join the fight to save Star City, hilariously oblivious to Felicity’s hand-wringing in the background. Burn the witch, Ragman. We’re counting on you. Meanwhile, Thea invites Quentin to take up some job at the mayor’s office because she pities him. But their surrogate father/daughter rapport is pretty cute. Meanwhile, Diggle is betrayed on a military mission by a corrupt senior soldier who’s given up on following the rules after the near-apocalypse of Genesis Day (thanks again, Season 4). And the flashbacks just show the cruelty of the Bratva initiation, and how their creed thoroughly rejects the notion of teamwork.
Why Oliver used that technique on his new recruits is a mystery. But hey, we needed a parallel, goddammit.
So it’s week two, and the Arrow Apology Tour is so far a rousing, but discomforting, success. I’ll again state how this show is going to have to work very hard to earn my trust back.
But each episode that isn’t a steaming pile of Olicity felch is another step in the right direction.
Let the pendulum not swing back.
Why I hate this episode:
The whole Oliver’s School for Girls thing wasn’t as objectionable as the trailers made it look like it would be. But it still didn’t make a lick of sense. Why would Oliver put them through the same training regime as the Bratva, when the point of the Bratva exercise was that you only end up getting everyone killed if you work as a team. Isn’t the point of Oliver’s recruitment drive to put a, you know, team together? Weird.
The solution to making them stay is also, like, huh? Trust and respect should be established over a period of time. It should be earned. Yes, Oliver revealing his identity does give them an indication that he respects them or whatever, but not only is that reckless as hell on Oliver’s part, but that doesn’t change the fact that he spent all episode beating them the fuck up. With a flawed training exercise, too. Weird all around.
Peppy Felicity is fun, but bitch better not push it. The jabs at Oliver are cute, but she’s skating on thin ice.
I respect Thea’s attempt to give Quentin some purpose in life by putting him in that mayoral office job. But he’s also an unstable alcoholic, so. Well, I suppose Thea isn’t necessarily qualified to be in her job, either. Ah, nepotism.
Curtis is garbage. Oliver needs to cut him from the team. It’s the best part of a coach’s job.
In fact, with Ragman on his side, does Oliver even need the recruits at all? Ragman’s powers allow him to survive a direct nuclear strike. I think he should have things covered.
Ragman and Prometheus, our new bowhunter villain, look way too similar.
Felicity is lying her fucking arse off to her new boyfriend (the other Ritter. But he’s not as hot as Jason). But lying is okay when Felicity does it, you know?
Oh, and although I appreciate the baby steps, I can’t believe that Arrow’s answer to the question “Wouldn’t the world have been completely and utterly fucked up beyond recognition after a nuke on American soil and global nuclear disarmament” is “This one soldier decided to break the rules because magic. But mostly because metahumans.” What the fuck, Arrow?
But it’s not all bad:
At least someone, anyone, is talking about it. Again, it’s progress.
Felicity, I’m relieved to say, benefits the most from the Arrow Apology Tour. She’s back to the way we used to like: the bubbly, plucky IT girl comic relief. Olicity pitfalls are everywhere, of course, but she’s yet to stumble into one.
And while the looming darkness of her Havenrock guilt threatens to undo this revived, sunny side, it’s also important for the show to address it. And she hasn’t got the excuse of her twit parents hanging around to distract her from the reality, anymore. You nuked a fucking town, Felicity. Let’s get this guilt trip on the road.
Oliver is yet to fall into those aforementioned Olicity pitfalls, too, so snaps to him. I’d feel more comfortable if a legitimate new love interest would appear (he’s working with the police these days, so why not bring back McKenna?), but proximity to Felicity hasn’t kept him down yet.
His training program with the recruits might not make any sense, but damn, it feels good to watch him beat up on those idiots. More protege-bashing montages, please.
Ragman is a much more exciting prospect for Team Arrow than these rookies, and he actually has a power set to go with the self-righteousness. Couple that with the impending showdown with Felicity, and he very well could be Star City’s brightest hope.
It’s also good to know that under all those radioactive, millennia-old bandages, there’s a hot, young CW actor. Staying on message, CW. I like it.
Curtis failing the salmon ladder replenished my electrolytes.
Thea and Quentin mesh well together. Thea better watch out, though. Quentin’s daughters tend to die. A lot.
Tyler Ritter may be a lesser Ritter than Jason Ritter, but he’s a still a Ritter. So I can dig it.
Diggle doesn’t end up getting out of the pickle he’s put in by episode’s end. The corrupt soldiers steal the nuclear device and arrange to frame Diggle for it. I suspect Oliver might have to save the day (he is the main character), but I wouldn’t mind if Lyla swooped in to the rescue.
BB-2 spends his episode trying to buy weapons from the company executive Ragman is going after, and after a decently choreographed fight with Oliver and an offscreen escape, he ends up under Prometheus’ boot, with our other rag-faced hoodie man playing the “Only I can kill Oliver” card. So is that goodbye to BB-2, already? Or the first strike in a villain civil war? Either way, I’m in.
Oh, and Oliver gets to have some green on him this episode that isn’t from some sloppy after-effect filter.