After a rather lacklustre first couple of episodes, the fifth season of Arrow seems to have found its stride in the third outing. While the new team still feel a little out of place, the lack of awkward introductions and actual look into their characters outside of Oliver (Stephen Amell) beating on them. He does some weird ‘training’ that involves the new team watching Oliver drop somebody off the side of the building.
In true Arrow fashion, we do see a little bit of a rehash of a previous season plot with Stardust, a drug. It whiffs a bit of the Vertigo storyline from yesteryear. In an attempt to prove himself, Rene (or Wild Dog as Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) is pushing to call him, which is a terrible, terrible alias) (Rick Gonzalez) takes Evelyn (Madison McLaughlin) on a ‘recon’ mission which goes fairly badly with it ending in Rene killing the target.
Somehow, the victim later reanimates, seems unbeatable and unkillable. The most impressive part of the storyline is the effects when it comes to Oliver shooting him with an arrow and him just letting it go all the way through his chest as he unpins himself from the wall and the whole thing goes through him. Special effects done properly. We love it.
When the new team finally work together it works well together, especially when we get the nod towards Curtis’ alter ego, Mr Terrific. He’s so excitable about the entire thing, compared to most other people’s grumpiness that it’s hard to ever dislike him. We’re not entirely convinced by his ‘mask’, but whatever, we’ll take it. He’s delightful, and always looking out for everybody and not always as the hero, but as a friend.
The standout part of the episode, however, comes in the form of Diggle (David Ramsey). Having been arrested at the end of the last episode, we see him in jail, he’s a broken man with a good beard and rocking the orange jumpsuit better than anyone we’ve ever seen. Enter Lyla (Audrey Marie Anderson), coming to visit her husband and the first mentions of John Jr, their son that seems to be the only change from the Flashpoint storyline from The Flash.
Broken Diggle is convinced that his cellmate is none other than Floyd ‘Deadshot’ Lawson (Michael Rowe). And when he first shows up we didn’t care that he was very much dead the last time we saw him, we would have accepted it as a Flashpoint change and left it at that. The Berlantiverse’s continued tactics to stick to the man when it comes to using the characters they’ve been banned from because of the movies is brilliant, and we’re glad that Rowe gets the chance to come back. Even if he’s a hallucination, we’d happily take more of him.
Elsewhere, and Thea (Willa Holland) is taking the flack of Oliver being a somewhat terrible mayor and not making any of his own decisions, but when he finally stands up and does what it right, we can’t help but cheer. Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne) is an (sometimes recovering) alcoholic, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve a chance, and so Oliver finally supporting him being the deputy mayor gets the thumbs up from us.
Once again the flashbacks are forgettable, and don’t seem to really serve anything to the plot. If they stopped doing them at this point we wouldn’t miss them, or the return of Amell’s terrible wig.
It’s the strongest outing of the series so far, but still with some gaps to fill, and some pizazz to get back.
Arrow is currently airing on Sky1 on Wednesdays.