– by Mark Cook

This week’s officially released synopsis for Arrow is, “Wild Dog defies the Green Arrow’s orders by taking it upon himself to go after drug dealer Garret Runnels, who is terrorizing Star City.”  How Will Wild Dog’s actions affect the team?  What will happen in the aftermath of Prometheus’ encounter with Tobias Church?  What’s next for Oliver in his time with the Bratva?  Read on to find out!

****Arrow: Season 5, Episode 3 Spoilers!!****

The episode begins with the new Team Arrow watching from computer monitors as Green Arrow takes down a drug dealer selling Stardust, a new drug.  The team now consists of Curtis, Wild Dog, Artemis, and Ragman.  As the team watches on, they wonder if Green Arrow will kill the drug dealer.  Oliver doesn’t, but he leaves him in serious pain.  I like the way the writers are establishing the team.  It doesn’t seem as rushed.  Oliver and Felicity have the team watch Green Arrow in action, and break down what they saw.  They need to prove their knowledge of the intricate aspects of fighting crime before he lets them come with him.  This was something that was rushed with Laurel.

Ragman mentions his home town in conversation with the group, which makes Felicity noticeably uncomfortable. Even though Curtis tries to reassure her that she saved millions, she still feels the guilt of sending the nuke to Ragman’s city, killing his entire family.  This is one of the plot lines I am most interested in.  At the end of season 4, I was surprised at Felicity sending the nuke into a town, but for it to come back and haunt her was unexpected.  Felicity ends up telling Ragman that she was the cause of his town’s demise.  He is obviously astonished and walks away. How will this affect Ragman’s partnership with the group?

Without Oliver knowing, Wild Dog and Artemis go after the leader of the Stardust drug (Cody Rhodes as Derek Sampson) on their own. As to be expected, Wild Dog and Artemis get away, but not before Sampson pummels Wild Dog.  I am glad the writers are continuing the dark tone, which is seen when Wild Dog shoots some of Sampson’s men.  Arrow finds out from the city’s new DA that Sampson was “killed” by Wild Dog, which goes against the DA’s plan to flip Sampson, which they can no longer do.  I like seeing the tension between Wild Dog and Green Arrow.  He reminds me of Oliver when he first started, yet with less training / control.  Their stubborn characteristics clash, yet are interestingly similar.  Sampson awakes, mid-autopsy, to realize that he does not feel pain.  He takes down the hospital security when Green Arrow arrives to try and stop him.  Sampson returns to his old gang telling them that they will all be getting the same treatment he got so that they can take the city back from Tobias Church.

The new team wants to help.  They have begun to trust Oliver, but he does not quite trust them yet. Felicity states that if he won’t trust them then why is he wasting his time?  Oliver decides to take the new team to yet another warehouse in order to stop Sampson. Team Arrow arrives at the warehouse in order to bring down Sampson and his men.  Green Arrow slices Sampson’s tendons.  Even though he can’t feel pain, it doesn’t mean he can use his tendons if they are cut.  The team blows up the vats of the chemicals/Stardust mixture.  The team was fine and served a purpose.  The only individual that still seems rushed is Curtis’ Mr. Terrific.  It looks as if they are going to use him as more of a tech. guru in the field which is fine, but it still seems like he could be a liability.  Now feeling that the team has earned it, Oliver takes them from the hive training area to the old Green Arrow base from season 4.  There was some funny banter in the elevator where Artemis makes fun of Wild Dog for wearing a hockey mask, and Oliver replies that he likes it.  This is an obvious nod to Stephen Amell’s role of Casey Jones in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows.  The new team has grown on me.  At first I was not excited that a new team would form due to the balanced screen time of all the characters in previous seasons.  This episode did a good job of incorporating the team, but still using them as support members, rather than equals to Green Arrow.  If this trend continues, I think the new team will provide a better purpose than the former.

Diggle is incarcerated due to being set up by his team last episode.  The commander killed some of the men with Diggle’s gun, framing him.  The best part about this was that when they took Diggle to his cell we find out that his cell mate is…Deadshot!  I didn’t think they would bring him back, but now that DC is allowing the movie characters to be used in TV, he was able to be used!  This was great and brings layers back to the feud between the two.  Will this change now that Diggle knows the truth about Andy?  Diggle tells Deadshot what happened with his brother.  Deadshot tells him that all the anger Diggle put into him should actually have been put into himself.  Diggle tells his wife to stop trying to fight his case because he killed Andy and deserves to be there.  He also says that he is no different than Deadshot, yet when he turns around, Deadshot is not there.  He had been a figment of his imagination.  This was disappointing.  While I was excited to see Deadshot and the idea of he being no different from Diggle was a good story line, having him as part of Diggle’s imagination was not.  Deadshot is too good of a character to not use. 

Flashbacks – Anatoli speaks with Oliver stating that he has two more trials in front of him.  Oliver states that he wants out because the Bratva killed the three innocent men he was with in the training session with the bell.  Anatoli bring Oliver with him where viewers find out that the men in Oliver’s training were actual murderers. He reassures Oliver that if he wants to bring down Constantine that he will need an army, which is what the Bratva is.  One of Oliver’s final tasks is to learn to trust his brothers in Bratva.  Once he states that he does, his Bratva brothers take a knife to carve into his back, explaining more of the scars we have seen on Oliver throughout the seasons.

Minor Story line – Oliver was having issues as mayor when Thea hired Lance without him knowing.  This lead to media backlash.  Finally, Oliver has a press conference saying he trusts his team to make decisions, and will stand by them.  He then makes Lance his deputy mayor.  This message was a two-fold for not only his role as mayor, butas Green Arrow as well.

 The show concludes with Diggle’s wife coming to meet Oliver and asking him to break Diggle out of the military prison.  This leads to next week’s episode where the new team doesn’t seem keen on breaking someone out of a military penitentiary. 

What were your thoughts on this week’s episode of Arrow?  Did you like the new team?  What do you think will happen with Diggle?  Were you disappointed Deadshot was only in Diggle’s imagination?  Leave your thoughts in the usual spot, and thanks for reading!