Arrow Season 5 Episode 21 – TV Review
Thea’s back, Adrian’s back, Zombie Cody Rhodes is back, Kovar’s (flash)back, and the Green Arrow costume is back.
TL;DR Adrian exposes some murder Robert Queen committed ages ago but it doesn’t really affect anything; Oliver “catches” Adrian without realising it’s obviously part of his plan; Wild Dog flubs his chance to get custody of his daughter back; Anatoly and Oliver bum around in the flashbacks until Kovar reappears.
This episode is so inane, and my reaction so apathetic, that it almost makes me yearn for the blood-boiling effects of the Season 4 stupidity. Let me feel something. Anyway, Adrian delivers some corpse of a councilman that went missing in 2002. The team, while also at work tracking Zombie Cody Rhodes now that all of Adrian’s cases from when he was District Attorney are being reviewed and the criminals released, follows the breadcrumbs to find out that Robert Queen kind of killed this dude by accident and covered it up. Considering Robert shot a man in the head in the very first episode of the show, I’m not that shocked. Oliver and Thea go through the requisite motions of pretending to be, before Oliver finally resolves to believe that their memory of him won’t be corrupted by some Adrian mind games. Meanwhile, Zombie Cody Rhodes and his gang are reenacting Justin Claybourne’s plan of weaponising tuberculosis, so the team puts the hurt on them. Adrian, in full Prometheus realness, is also present, and Oliver “defeats” him by making fun of his daddy. Thus, Adrian is captured and imprisoned at an ARGUS facility (but by the book, this time. Settle down, Diggle), and nobody thinks this is too fucking easy. Elsewhere, Wild Dog fails to appear at a hearing to get custody of his daughter back, disappointing Quentin; Oliver puts his Green Arrow suit back on, confirming that Arrow’s seventeen-episode-long arc of Adrian trying to dismantle our vigilante was indeed a total waste of time; and the flashbacks merely entail Anatoly dropping Oliver off on Lian Yu to prepare to be fake rescued, but then Kovar shows up.
I get it, now. We need a final boss battle. And apparently a showdown with Adrian, and the return of Black Siren and Deathstroke for the finale, isn’t enough.
Although I’ve said it many times, many ways, I just don’t care.
The Arrow characters are starting to make the Once Upon a Time gang look self-aware and non-repetitive. That’s how bad things are.
And Arrow already opted out of a musical special (not that Supergirl and The Flash nailed it, either), so they haven’t even got that to save them.
It’s a sad day when OUaT is more satisfying and surprising than Arrow.
Why I hate this episode:
What elevates this episode momentarily from being just lame to being minorly offensive is that the major drama of the present day plot is predicated on the fact that Oliver and Thea would be impacted by finding out Robert Queen is a killer. But, like, how is that a biggie to these guys? Like I said, one of the first things Arrow ever showed Robert doing was shooting a man in the head in cold blood on the life raft. So Oliver seeing footage of him wrestling with and accidentally knocking the councilman into a vat of doom cement shouldn’t result in much fanfare, you know?
And maybe Oliver didn’t tell Thea about Daddy’s gun-toting ways (did he?), but Thea literally used to be a crazed murderer from a dip in a magic hot tub. Oliver spent the formative years of his vigilante career mowing down faceless goons. And the whole team except Curtis (even Tina gets her hands on some gear this episode) uses guns as their powers, now. How is Robert’s one oopsie supposed to shatter Thea’s world? I don’t get it.
And then, predictably, it doesn’t. Because we have to maintain the status quo.
Worst of all is when Oliver supposedly addresses the allegations in a press conference, but then turns it around to spruik the return of the Green Arrow. What was the point of this episode?
And let’s not forget that both of Thea’s other parents, Moira and Malcolm fucking Merlyn, were/are terrorists.
If the point was to show how fucking dumb the team is by not realising how pathetically easy it was to catch Adrian, then mission accomplished. Really, guys?
I know I’ve bagged the flashbacks a lot for their pointlessness, but this episode is pushing for top place. And we didn’t need Kovar back. For fuck’s sake, just let someone die on this show. Jesus.
Oh, and Zombie Cody Rhodes doesn’t feel pain, but surely he’d be slowed down by the blood loss and/or fatal injuries of wave upon wave of real bullets the team (but we’re not killers. We swear!) lay into him.
But it’s not all bad:
I can’t resist the return of a minor character from earlier in the season to play mini boss again. Good for you, Cody Rhodes.
The only subplot with some potency is the one that received the shortest end of the stick: Wild Dog’s fear of the custody hearing. Yeah, his self-flagellation is pretty groan-worthy, but this subplot could have actually been mined for some drama, particularly with Quentin, a father whose daughters have been taken from him (a lot. Like, a lot), involved. I wouldn’t want it to metastasise and overwhelm the proper plots, but don’t overlook it, Arrow.
I’m glad Thea’s back. And I’m glad that she refused Oliver’s offer to suit up and join the team. It’s about time someone on this show stuck to their resolve about suiting up/not suiting up.
While Oliver is sticking his fingers in his ears over the possibility of Robert’s dubious virtue, Thea is like but what if he was a cunt, tho. Thank you.
Oh, and praise be to the return of Adrian’s hot face. If Arrow’s going to get its writing from the toilet, it might as well go full old-CW and showcase some improbably hot cast members. The CW: even our insane serial killers are fucking gorgeous.