It seems the good folks at ‘Arrow’ heard the praise from the premiere episode, and have decided to keep things on track, and the second episode of the season, in my opinion, mostly kept everything going right that was started in the premiere, even with the inclusion of the new recruits. The show remained dark and edgy, Oliver stayed on edge and still mainly worked alone, the flashbacks were still brief and to the point, and there were not any ridiculous character decisions that were made for plot convenience (the kind of thing that plagued Seasons 3 and 4). The only thing that bothered me in the entire episode was a moment during the attack on the medical event where Oliver Queen walks inside the event in a business suit, the camera cuts to a 10 second exchange between two of the recruits, an attack starts, and then suddenly the Green Arrow is there in full costume. There was LITERALLY no time for the man to change. He is not the Flash, and there is no way he could be hiding the ridiculous leather outfit under his suit. Rant over, moving on.
Oliver’s story this episode basically had him recruiting and beginning to train Evelyn Sharp, Wild Dog and Curtis, all while maintaining his secret identity, and training them in the most brutal way he knows. Ways which in the flashbacks we find out he learned while training to join the Bratva, and while he is seemingly cruel to his recruits, the flashbacks reveal he is much kinder than his Russian masters, who shot and killed every recruit but Oliver once they finally passed the FIRST stage in training. However, in the present, the recruits are not about it, especially when he clearly doesn’t trust them, and goes off on them after a botched assignment, and they can tell from Felicity’s reactions that she thinks he is being too hard on them as well. They quit, and Felicity reminds Oliver that the original team stuck around because they trusted Oliver Queen‘s leadership, and wanted to work under him. So he calls back the recruits and reveals his identity to them, and it seems like everyone is back on board.
As for Mayor Oliver, he is hosting a free medical event for the city with the help of a company named Ameri-Tek that (surprise-surprise) goes south pretty quickly. His new recruits fail to protect the event from a new threat, code-named Rag-Man, who attacks the company CEO, and Thea is partially to blame as she had assigned Quentin Lance security detail unaware that that man was drinking again. As Oliver, Thea and Felicity investigate the new threat (I’m dubbing them Team Queen), Felicity uses her new boyfriend to run some lab tests (as apparently the equipment down in the Arrow cave has been damaged), and Thea tracks the Ameri-Tek CEO and learns she is selling arms to Tobias Church. So Oliver decides to head over to the weapons exchange to shut it down alone, as by this point the new recruits have quit. He arrives second to the party though, as Rag-Man gets there first, attacking and getting to the Ameri-Tek CEO, who he blamed for destroying his hometown of Havenrock, as Ameri-Tek was responsible for building the nuke that Damien Darhk (and Felicity) sent to his city. Oliver takes on Church, but is knocked down, yelling for Rag-Man to help him. The new hero(?) lets the CEO leave and saves (?) the Green Arrow, and Church escapes (I inserted question marks as we later learned that Oliver suspected that the Rag-Man was a fellow vigilante and let Church beat him so he could test Rag-man’s heroism). Oliver finds out the Rag-Man is a just a young kid who was saved by his father before the bomb fell, the rags being ancient and capable of shielding one from the blast (huh? OK whatever, hopefully we will find out more later). Oliver then asks the Rag-man (I am seriously hoping for a better code-name) to join the team, and he does. We just might have a real Quiver Crew ready by this time next week!
In other news, Diggle is part of a mission to recover pieces of nuclear warheads used during Darhk’s Genisis day, but is betrayed by his commanding officer and most of the rest of his squad, who want to sell the parts for money, blaming the danger of living in a meta-human world as part of their motivation. When the deal goes south, they decide to pass the blame onto Diggle, using his gun to kill the one remaining man loyal to Diggle, and writing a false confession and leaving it with a tied up Dig at headquarters. Thea meanwhile, wanting to help Lance, decides to offer him the role of Deputy Mayor, as Oliver had told her that Lance had said he no longer had a reason to stay sober, and she hoped being Deputy Mayor for the city his daughter loved would be reason enough. Lance accepts, but we know it is going to be a real challenge for him. In the final scene of the night, as Tobias Church leaves a nightclub, two of his goons are shot down with arrows, and the man laughs, thinking that the Green Arrow is back for a rematch. Unfortunately for Church, it is not the Green Arrow, but rather another, scarier archer, who knocks him to the ground, informing that gangster that he is not allowed to kill the Green Arrow, as he alone will be killing the hero. When Church asks who he is, the man announces his name is Prometheus.
- For those not watching ‘The Flash,’ it was revealed that the Flashpoint arc changed things on ‘Arrow’ as well, resulting in John Diggle no longer having a daughter named “Sara,” but rather a son named “John.” As a friend of mine pointed out, over on ‘Legends of Tomorrow’ they once visited an alternate future of Star City where John Diggle’s son took on the name ‘Connor Hawk’ and became the new Green Arrow. Could this be the new future for Star City?
- Is Lyla still the head of ARGUS? Seems like she could pull some strings pretty quickly to free Diggle and clear him of those BS charges. I really hope this whole “John Diggle is a traitor” storyline is not dragged out too long this season.
- For those not aware, Curtis and Evelyn may not have been using code-names tonight, but we already know which DC heroes they are going to become. Curtis is, of course, Mr. Terrific and Evelyn is going to become relatively new archer heroine Artemis.
- For a show who kept talking over the summer about going back to its gritty and realistic roots and dropping the metas and magic, they did not wait long to introduce a new character with powers. Unless the Rag-Man is somehow not magical or not a meta-human, which would be odd.
- I think there will eventually be a show-down between Rag-Man and Felicity as she was the one who directed the nuke at his hometown. Hopefully he will be more forgiving toward her than he was toward the Ameri-Tek CEO.
Like I said at the beginning, lots of good momentum this season, especially since so many characters are finding their own roles and sticking to it (I’m thinking of characters like Thea) and I like it as they have something unique to do and contribute to the story, and we are not mired in every major character being out on the streets punching bad guys, which can get repetitive. And I know, we are running the risk of the show going that direction since Oliver just recruited 4 new heroes, but these are most definitely side-characters for now, and not main characters, and I do not think they will taking as much screen-time as Thea, Diggle, and Laurel did when they were on team Arrow. They might be more akin to Roy, who did his job but was more in the background for his fight scenes. Anyways, definitely looking forward to seeing where they are going with the season, and I hope they keep up the quality we have seen so far! See you back here next week!
Nick is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles, who belongs to the privileged few who enjoyed the ending to ‘Lost.’ For more of Nick’s thoughts and articles, follow him on Twitter (@starfro67)