Arrow: Season 5 Episode 2 ‘The Recruits’ review

Can Arrow successfully introduce a new team?

After what felt like a rather lacklustre first episode, we pinned our hopes on the second outing from this series of Arrow to up the ante and start to give us something to care about, and it tried. It really did.

The problem is, when you have such an established team (Oliver, Felicity, Diggle, Thea, Laurel) and you get rid of more than half of them (some of them for good) replacing them is a tricky business. It rarely goes well. So to bring in Rene ‘Wild Dog’ Ramirez (Rick Gonzalez) and Evelyn ‘Not Laurel’ (so forgettable that we’ve already forgotten her codename – we just looked it up, she doesn’t have one) Sharp was a risk and they had to pull it off. Our first thoughts are that Evelyn is a 16-year-old girl, how is that a good idea? She’s a minor, an actual minor and Oliver (Stephen Amell) is just fine putting her through his ‘tests’? Honestly, we were half expecting him to shoot her in the back a la Barry in the first crossover event, but we’re glad they drew the line. Gonzalez is a bit more of a character, “Don’t call me Wild Dog” actually seems to have a bit of a character unlike Evelyn who just seems to be bitchy teen…

Bringing in Curtis Holt (Echo Kellum) as a full-time member of the team was always going to work. He’s brilliant. So we’re glad that they got it right with one of the members of the team. Perhaps if they just thought through the other two characters a little more we wouldn’t keep wishing for Digg and Thea to come back. Or Roy. Or Laurel. Or anyone else.

Watching this new team fail to capture the bad guy (while we accept Quentin Lance was supposed to be on the door the bad guy escaped through, he isn’t a hero so to speak), and their training strikes us as a tenuous way to keep giving us pointless and entirely unwanted flashbacks.

Lance and Diggle are both given a bit more to do, and it’s a welcome break from the awkwardness. Actually being able to see the affects of Lance’s alcoholism and his failing to cope with losing his eldest daughter (after losing his youngest for the second time, and then her not being dead and really, it’s not a surprise he’s struggling). On the other hand, Diggle left Team Arrow because he was sick of the killing and constantly being in danger, but now he’s back in the army and he’s still having to kill people and he’s still in danger… and we want to know if what Felicity said in the second episode of The Flash is true! Is Sara Diggle now a baby boy instead?

Overall, it’s not without it’s problems, it seems the creative teams have given more of their focus to the intricacies of Arrow‘s young siblings.