arrow the longbow hunters

“You think you’re some kind of hero? Did you ever stop to think that you made things worse.”

In a show centered on a masked vigilante, it’s quite the departure when Team Arrow is forced to (mostly) play by the rules.

Oliver is looking to join Brick and his merry band of baddies in an effort to gain info on Diaz.

He may be stuck behind bars and surrounded by criminals, but Oliver Queen is still trying to get things done. Understanding that his one avenue to gaining information on Diaz is Brick, Bronze Tiger, and Sampson, Oliver makes the decision to join their merry gang. Well, sort of. Like most of the world, prison is a quid pro quo kind of place and in order to discover what Brick knows, Oliver must take Yorke, the lead guard, out of the picture by any means necessary. Problem is, Yorke may be a hardass, but he’s an honest one and Oliver can’t bring himself to ruining an honest man. Even Stanley ’s suggestion of blackmailing the guard doesn’t sit well with Oliver but he eventually relents, framing Yorke for stabbing him that accomplishes the task and gives Oliver the juice needed to gain Brick’s trust and eventually get the intel on Diaz.

Felicity’s more aggressive nature is a welcome change and has been slowly developing over the last few years.

While there’s no real emotional component to Oliver’s prison escapades, Felicity’s story is another matter. Understandably pissed for Diaz’s attack on her and William, she will stop at nothing to take down the crafty villain. Even if that includes breaking into A.R.G.U.S. computers, putting Diggle in danger on a mission, and eventually partnering up with the person that put Oliver behind bars (special agent Watson). Yes, there are a few overly dramatic moments from her (par for the course when dealing with a CW show) but her general state of emotions is a viable result of what’s happened to her life. Coupled with the fact that Diggle seems to be taking his job seriously and compartmentalizing information—just like a government agency would do—Felicity is unable to align herself with Diggle and stay within the bounds of his agency’s protocol. Thinking back over the last six years, this harder, more determined Felicity has been a long time coming and has developed in a very organic way. Whether or not her partnership with Watson accomplishes her task remains to be seen.

Speaking of partnerships, we also get a fun but unlikely alliance between two canaries. Wanting to take down Diaz but for very different reasons (he was responsible for Quentin’s death) than Felicity, Laurel tracks down a potential lead on her former boss and, with a less than enthused Dinah at her side, come face to face with Silencer, one of trio of mercs known as the Longbow Hunters. They work their sonic screams well but it’s the moment when Laurel apologizes to Dinah for murdering Vinnie that we get to her being a different woman. It could be a ruse, yes, but everything about her words on the matter comes across as genuine. As good as Black Siren was as a villain, this change in her character could be more interesting and, were they to take her back to her evil ways, it would be a disservice to Laurel’s arc and Quentin’s effect in her getting in touch with her good side.

Though we get a short glimpse of Diaz late (and an awesome flamethrower/shield fight between he and Diggle), the primary antagonists are the Longbow Hunters. The trio is comprised of Red Dart, Kodiak, and the earlier mentioned Silencer. Mentioned last season, this is their first appearance in action and though it was only a handful of moments, their debut lacks the umph expected when an episode is titled after your crew. Whether it’s the generic costumes or the lack of gravitas by the actors, the Longbow Hunters are far from the intimidating force they need to be. Yes, this is only their first foray into the spotlight so there will be plenty of time to show their true bad-assery, let’s just hope their potential isn’t wasted.

William and Roy’s journey back to Star City is riddled with questions.

Finally, in what has been the most interest aspect of the show these first two weeks, we return to Lian Yu with future William and Roy. The former is looking for answers, answers that Roy really can’t give him. It turns out the Hōzen was a homing beacon to the island, though why Felicity wanted William to return to such a hellish place is still up in the air. But when William and Roy dig up Oliver’s old gear and Roy finds a mysterious note that drives him to return to Star City, it becomes certain that there’s some serious business about that requires the former Arsenal’s full attention. Yes, the entire burn after reading trope is annoying and manufactured drama, it’s no less effective. It makes the audience invested in what’s going on in the future Star City and, more importantly, what happened to Oliver Queen?

The answer to those questions will most likely play out for the remainder of the season.

Arrow – “The Longbow Hunters”

3.75 out of 5