TV Review: Arrow - Season 5 Episode 5 "Human Target"
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 5: "Human Target"
Synopsis: When Tobias Church captures and tortures one of Oliver's new recruits, Oliver must turn to an old friend, Christopher Chance AKA the Human Target, for help. Meanwhile, Felicity's worlds collide when Detective Malone joins the ACU
Review: I can't believe I am saying this, but that was a pretty damn good episode of Arrow. With all of the DC Comics series flailing a bit (aside from Supergirl), Arrow has gotten the short end of the stick due to a couple of off years. Since expanding to a full team of vigilantes, Arrow has just not captured the same intensity that the first two seasons had in ample supply. Last year, the producers even tried to reboot the tone of the show by adding some of the levity seen on The Flash. The result was not met with good reception. Even this season with Oliver creating a new team of heroes to fight alongside him has not done much for me, that is until this hour of the show which sees the return of John Diggle to the Arrow cave while also introducing yet another DC Comics character to the small screen DC universe. The results are a solid episode that captures the fun we haven't seen since the first year of the show.
With Rene kidnapped by Tobias Church last week, Oliver and company (I have been waiting four years to use that joke) are on the hunt for their comrade. Questioning every single potential criminal or thug who could direct them to their friend, the team eventually narrow his whereabouts to a section of the city which allows Oliver the chance to rescue his protege. But, while Rory and Evelyn are able to locate clues to point them in the right direction, Oliver quickly learns after rescuing WIld Dog that he has revealed to Church that his true identity is that of Oliver Queen. Now, Oliver must figure out a way to stop Church before his identity is exposed. Hence the introduction of Christopher Chance. Previously star of a short lived FOX series (and an even shorter one a decade before that), Chance is better known as Human Target. Taking the identity of his employer, Chance embodies a person to protect them from assassins.
Here, Chance is played by Jessica Jones actor Will Traval and serves as a small supporting role much like the one John Constantine played last year. Chance also has a connection to Oliver's flashbacks to his time in the Bratva, but we will not discuss those crappy memories. Sure, the Bratva storyline is marginally more interesting than anything since season one, but just marginally. In the main storyline, Chance poses as Oliver Queen during an assassination attempt by Church's hired goon, Scimitar. Everyone is in on the plan. Well, everyone except the entire population of Star City, but it is all a ploy to try and capture Tobias Church. Church is a pretty generic villain this season despite being played by the talented Chad L Coleman but he is still enjoyable to see on screen. Tonight, Church's actions to try and take out Green Arrow do little more than piss off our true bad guy this year, Prometheus. We probably should have guessed this was coming, but this hour represents the farewell for Church's short stint on the series.
While Oliver prepares to showdown with Church, the episode also manages to squeeze in two significant subplots that actually work well compared to others in recent episodes. The first is the mentorship of Wild Dog by John Diggle. Since Diggle is a fugitive after his escape from prison, he doesn't have much to do. Having shared a military background with Rene and both experiencing the horrors of torture, Diggle forges an immediate connection with the young vigilante. Wild Dog has been the most unpredictable member of the new team but there is an instant reparte between Diggle and the hockey masked young man that should prove fruitful for their development this season. We also have the final nail in the Oliver/Felicity romance as Christopher Chance inadvertantly tells Queen that Felicity is dating Billy Malone, the newest cop on the ACU taskforce. Oliver and his ex-fiancee have a heart to heart which pretty much seals that relationship from ever coming back. Sorry, shippers.
The episode culminates in another well choreographed fight scene, this time a rematch between Oliver and Church. The best element of Church has been his hand to hand fighting style which has been loaded with brutal punches and hits. Tonight, that comes to an end as Church dies in an effort to push Prometheus as the main foe this season. Clearly, the motivation behind everyone's actions this year is related to the waterfront of Star City which is prime real estate for bringing drugs into the country. What exactly Prometheus' endgame is still remains a mystery. It will be sad to see Church go but he was never used nearly enough in his time on the show. The real question will be who this new masked villain is. Could it be someone from Oliver's past? Maybe an old Bratva contact? Or is it once again Malcolm Merlyn with another insane plan? Whatever the case, we won't be finding out soon.
While the title of this episode made it seem like Christopher Chance would be a more integral character, the hour was still an exciting and well executed story. The action was good and Oliver Queen was compelling in both versions of his personality. It was also a good night for all of the supporting characters, especially Diggle and Rene, who managed to expand their characters while propelling the story forward. I would give anything to have more episodes of Arrow like this one. There was very little cheesy humor an a lot of action all wrapped together with some really entertaining character work. And am I the only one glad to finally see Oliver acting a bit more like a playboy as he pursues a potential relationship with reporter Susan Williams? Okay, so it was actually Christopher Chance who got her number, but it was nice to see Oliver being less moody and more like a comic book hero. While I am still cautiously optimistic, I am optimistic about where this season is headed nonetheless.
Next on ARROW: "So It Begins" airs November 9th - When Prometheus ups his killing spree, Oliver searches for connections between the victims. Felicity and Curtis discover the victims have a mysterious link to Oliver's past and this new secret could upend his new team. Meanwhile, Thea has a heart-to-heart with Lance, and Felicity considers telling Malone the truth about her work.