So far this series we’ve found it a little difficult to get enthusiastic about Arrow, especially when Supergirl and The Flash have been leaving us feeling happy and (for the most part) fulfilled and excited for what is to come. But Arrow has been struggling to really capture our attention. It was never a show that had that awkward second season, if anything, the second season could be considered its best (strongly rivalled by the third for sure). Somehow, it seems, that Season Five is that season.
That being said, this week’s outing, ‘Human Target’, offered us a few hooks to get caught on and it moderately worked.
Having Diggle (David Ramsey) back in the Arrow Cave is definitely an improvement, we know he’s been one of the biggest missing links. He humanises the team, and connects them to the audience. With the team having retrieved Rene (Rick Gonzalez) from Tobias Church (Chad L Coleman), Diggle spends the majority of the episode getting him to open up about what happened to him. It finally gives us something to care about with a new character that we couldn’t wrangle before. Perhaps it was the way that Rene couldn’t connect to any of the other members of the team (like Curtis (Echo Kellum) connects to Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and Evelyn (Madison McLaughlin) connects partially to Oliver/Thea) that made him feel inaccessible, but now he shares elements of his past with Diggle that it brings the audience closer to him.
Of course, in his time being tortured by Church, Rene gave away that Oliver (Stephen Amell) was the Green Arrow, which made him an instant target. It takes us to the most important part of the episode.
Oliver spends his mayoral part of the episode with Thea (Willa Holland) trying to convince some nay-sayers that they want to put affordable housing into areas of Star City which instantly gets poopooed, with they being told that the last time they tried something like that, it was the Queens that stopped it from happening. Later, as Oliver, or who you think is Oliver, turns it around on him, because they have profitable interest in the area, and building affordable housing there would ruin it. Just as ‘Oliver’ leaves the building, he gets gunned down (along with one of his staff) with Thea only just making it out alive.
Jump back into the cave and Felicity watching Lance (Paul Blackthorne) give a touching tribute to a mayor who was snatched from them too young. Cue Felicity turning around to Oliver and declaring Lance having never been that nice to him when he was alive. Enter the other Oliver, in a shot up and bloody suit. Not dead. This is Christopher Chance, better known as the Human Target. He pulls off his convincing mask (Mission Impossible‘s tech wizard Benji (Simon Pegg) would be incredibly jealous) and throwing it towards Felicity who proceeds to put it on her face and take the mickey out of Oliver’s famed “You have failed this city” only for it to fall on unimpressed ears. We found it funny, Felicity, don’t worry. Chance later tells Oliver of Felicity’s new boyfriend (whom it would appear he didn’t know about) who has just joined Oliver’s taskforce (we’re calling it that he is 100 per cent evil, by the way).
All that remains from the episode is the reappearance of the man in the black mask, who takes out the police detail escorting Church to Iron Heights. With the information given to him shared with the mysterious figure, Church gets finally defeated (honestly we were expecting him to be freed to continue on his boring reign of terror as is usual of Arrow but alas, we were surprised by the shuriken to the neck) and the man in black looks as if he’s not going to start on his crusade after Oliver, despite seemingly protecting elements of the Green Arrow so far.
While it’s not hard to say “it’s better”, this was one of the stronger outings so far this series, once again proving the point that getting to know their characters is where the writers do it best.