TV Review: Arrow - Season 5 Episode 2 "The Recruits"
Join us each week as we review the latest episode of ARROW. Warning: the following review contains major spoilers for the newest episode of the show.
Episode 2: "The Recruits"
Synopsis: Oliver’s new recruits for Team Arrow are Curtis, Wild Dog and Evelyn Sharp. Unfortunately, the Green Arrow’s training methods prove to be too much for some of them to handle. Meanwhile, in the flashbacks, Oliver’s initiation into the Bratva continues.
Review: The soft reboot of Arrow was always a risky endeavor. Taking away all of the characters we have come to know and love and replacing them with new recruits requires the audience to care about investing in new heroes the way we did with Laurel Lance, Thea Queen, and John Diggle. The difference is those characters all grew into their roles as heroes rather than just being dropped into them over the course of a pair of episodes. Still, Arrow wants us to care but manages to throw us a couple of curveballs along the way in the form of an unexpected hero and villain added to the roster this year and both make big splashes this hour. But, are they enough to make season five worth watching?
Oliver Queen needs a new team and, at the behest of Felicity, recruits new members for the team. In addition to Curtis, Oliver recruits Evelyn Sharp, the wannabe Canary the team faced last season along with the hockey mask wearing Wilddog. All three are hesitant to work for the masked Green Arrow who doesn't have the most friendly teaching method, forcing them to try and ring a bell with the goal to be working together as a team. Oliver berates and abuses them, refusing to allow them to get close to him the way Diggle and Laurel did, feeling that if they do they will lose their lives like Black Canary did. Despite Felicity's protests, Oliver continues his method and brings the new recruits on board to work securty for a free clinic Mayor Queen is opening with the support of a corporation. The CEO and one of her employees are attacked by the mysterious RagMan whom Team Arrow think could be a new villain. This also comes in the wake of Quentin Lance failing to man his post as he has fallen off the wagon in the wake of his daughter's death.
The real question of this episode is why do we care about Oliver pushing these characters away from him? None of them show much personality and do not seem to be long for the series. We spend a good deal of time this episode with John Diggle, serving overseas in the Army. Diggle gets embroiled in a subplot involving his superior officer framing him for the theft of a stolen bomb trigger. Either Diggle will need to get Oliver's help to stop the crooked officer or he will be court martialed and have to rejoin the team. Either way, we are spending too much time following him and Thea to have energy for this new team of recruits. Once Oliver learns that the CEO helping fund the hospital initiative is working with Tobias Church, Oliver uses the connection to lure in Ragman but not for the reason you would expect.
After letting Church and the CEO go, Oliver learns that Ragman is actually a young man named Rory Regan, the lone survivor of the nuclear blast on Havenbrook last season. His father wrapped him in these ancient rags to protect him and now Regan has powers which he will use to avenge his father. Ragman is an underrated DC superhero and one of the few Jewish comic characters, making him a distinct character to be realized on screen. Oliver sees parallels with Regan wanting to avenge his father and his own life and invites Ragman to join Team Arrow. While it does not appear he will be a direct member of the team, having him recur through this season is more incentive to watch this show.
Oliver realizes the value in bringing the team back together and reveals his true identity to the recruits who all agree to rejoin their training to try and protect Star City. Thea also offers Quentin Lance the position of Deputy Mayor so he can quit drinking and focus his energy to follow in Laurel's footsteps and make their hometown great again. There is so much positivity here that it doesn't really matter that Tobias Church is a free man. In the closing scene of the episode, we see an archer take down Church's men outside of a nightclub before attacking Church himself and threatening him for almost killing Green Arrow. The new mysterious archer claims that Arrow belongs to him. When Church asks his name, he says he is Prometheus. There have been multiple versions of Prometheus in the annals of DC Comics but none were foes of Green Arrow. It will be interesting to see where this goes.
A better overall episode than last week, but we are still saddled with the weak flashbacks that show Oliver being trained by the Bratva in Russia. I know we are going to be seeing Dolph Lundgren soon and that is the only reason I am okay with this season's flashbacks, but the narrative is beginning to really try my patience. By focusing on Diggle overseas, there is little time for these flashbacks, especially when they do not seem to be driving the episode forward in any way. I feel a renewed interest in where the recruits will be headed, but mostly because Ragman's introduction was handled very well. Here's hoping we get more of him and Prometheus and less of Quentin Lance's recovery and Oliver's time as mayor. Those are plot elements I could do without. And I sincerely hope Prometheus turns out to be more than another lame archer and actually a foe with a plan better than anything from Damien Darhk, Malcolm Merlyn, or R'as Al Ghul.
Next on ARROW: "A Matter of Trust" airs October 19th - Now that Oliver has his new team, they are ready to hit the streets but Oliver doesn't feel they are ready. Headstrong Wild Dog defies the Green Arrow's orders and sets out on his own after a new drug dealer, Derek Sampson, who is terrorizing Star City. Sampson proves more powerful than Wild Dog and it is up to the Green Arrow to go head to head with Sampson to save his teammate.