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– by Mark Cook

Arrow is back with its fifth installment in the series!  Viewers have heard that the tone will reflect that of Seasons 1 and 2.  Will Arrow be able to redeem itself in Season 5, or does it look destined to continue its downward slide?  Read my review to find out!

 

****SPOILERS for Arrow: Season 5 Episode 1****

Arrow begins with Oliver needing to make a Mayoral appearance, yet he is busy dismantling a bomb from Anarchy.  We are introduced to Mad Dog as he was trying to help Green Arrow even though it was unwarranted.  Oliver shots him in the leg in order to send a message. 

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The flashbacks return, and I am hopeful they are actually entertaining and develop the plot, unlike last season.  For the flashbacks, Oliver is in Russia taking part in what looks to be a fight club.  The group Bratva makes their power known to him.  They are upset Oliver killed their best fighter, and are also interested in the book of names his father left him.  Anatoly returns and saves Oliver from Bratva, and actually wants him to be “initiated” into the group. Oliver states that he is in Russia in order to kill Constantine.   This plot is interesting to me.  He just received help from Constantine last season, now is out to kill him?  I feel like there is going to be much more to this than it seems.  Does Oliver need his help?  Is he truly out to kill him?  The flashbacks are already better than last year’s. Let’s hope they stay that way.

Felicity presses Oliver to start a new team even though he is hopeful that Diggle will come back.  Oliver feels that there is no way that the new individuals Felicity is considering could compare to his old team.  He doesn’t want to put anyone in danger, especially when they have less training than his old team.  Felicity states that they are out there anyways, so why not train them so that they are more equipped.  Curtis goes to find Mad Dog and is jumped for his troubles.  When Oliver considers speaking to Mad Dog, Curtis states that he wants to be part of the team too.  I really hope Curtis doesn’t turn into the next “Laurel” by having training that lasts a couple episodes then is ready to fight crime.  It took Oliver years, and he was trained by Slade Wilson, Amanda Waller, and a Russian mob.  His training was realistic.  The quick, couple episode training doesn’t pan out, especially if they are trying to make the series more realistic again.

Tobias Church makes his entrance.  He claims to be new in town and his gang disrupts a group of corrupt cops stealing drug money.  Church makes a brutal beat down of the cops and establishes his dominance while beating their leader with brass knuckles.  I do enjoy the realistic, gritty tone the new season has started with.  Church and his men are after Green Arrow to establish that they are a force to be reckoned with.  In order to get to Green Arrow they “capture” Oliver.  He has no choice but to concede seeing as he was presenting the Black Canary statue to the public and can’t reveal his alternate lifestyle.  Interestingly, as Oliver is removed to be “taught a lesson” he ends up breaking the arm of the man attacking him and then breaks his neck.  He later shoots some of Church’s gang members.  This took me by surprise at first because this is something that clearly would not have happened in seasons 3 and 4.  Parts of this episode have been reminiscent of seasons 1 and 2, when it comes to tone, and it is refreshing to see.  He tells Speedy that he can’t show restraint, because if he didn’t show restraint previously, then maybe Laurel would still be alive.  Speedy takes the opposite approach.  She tells Oliver that she only helped this once, but is done as she feels killing is two steps back. 

Captain Lance returns to Star City coming off a bender.  He and Felicity’s mother are no longer together, which has lead Lance back to the bottle.  He eventually tries to get Thea to help Oliver and move forward, putting their differences aside.  He also realizes he needs to move forward and help Oliver.  Lance provides Oliver with a trustworthy group of officers to help him save the hostages Church has.  The climax was when Green Arrow attached himself to Church’s escape helicopter.  The graphics here were alright, but clearly CGI.  The fight in the helicopter was odd and reminded me of the beginning of Batman Forever.  Then Green Arrow falls and releases…a parachute arrow…That part was weird to me.  I get that he has some new tech, but a parachute arrow?  I guess in the writers’ defense, he did have a boxing glove arrow in the comics at one point, but it didn’t match the tone they were setting.  Church getting away and saving a confrontation for the future would have worked. 

Other take-aways:  Felicity is seen dating someone new, who appears to be living with her. Thank frickin goodness.  Let’s keep it that way.

Viewers find out what it was that Laurel wanted from Oliver.  She didn’t want to be the last Canary.  She wants a piece of her to always live with Oliver and help him.  I am assuming this leads to Artemis, who played a copy-cat Black Canary in an episode last season.

The new archer is in town and ends the episode killing one of the cops who helped Green Arrow and was placed as Oliver’s (the mayor) personal unit.

Overall, I thought the episode was decent.  Not too many huge surprises, but more character development.  I do enjoy the tone they are using, and hope it stays consistent.  I am also curious to see who the new archer is and hope he isn’t merely a copy of Dark Archer from season 1.  Although it would be cool if he were a copy and it turned out to be Tommy Merlin!!

What did you think of Arrow: Season 5, episode 1?  Do you think it has potential?  What parts did you enjoy?  What didn’t you like?  Leave your thoughts in the usual place, and thanks for reading!