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TV Review: Arrow - Season 5 Episode 18 "Disbanded"

03.30.2017

Episode 18: "Disbanded"

Synopsis: Diggle and Felicity are shocked by Oliver's decision to call on the Bratva to help take down Prometheus. Concerned the Bratva may overstep, Diggle has a hard conversation with Oliver about what happens if things go south. Meanwhile, Felicity learns something shocking at Helix.

Review: There was something special about the first season of Arrow. Before Oliver Queen was a legitimate superhero, he was a vigilante who murdered with a single-minded focus on justifying his father's legacy. Since then, Arrow has wallowed in darkness but has also become a bit repetitive. In an effort to return the series to the tone and narrative that made it so intriguing to watch, this season has ushered in the era of Prometheus. For better or worse, Oliver Queen has been forced to hold a mirror up to his prior actions and decide on what type of man and what kind of a hero he is meant to be. I have found this season to be something of a mixed bag but tonight's hour does a decent job of balancing the old and the new while aiming the series towards this season's endgame.

Last week's Arrow was a breaking point for Oliver Queen. We saw the full creation of his Hood persona as he killed Konstantin Kovar in the Russian-set flashbacks while in the present day he finally broke under the mind games of Adrian Chase and admitted to killing because he enjoyed it. Oliver disbanded his team in the closing minutes of that hour and tonight the repercussions were felt. The problem, like many big sweeping twists on Arrow, is that it didn't last very long. By the end of tonight's episode, Oliver has reconvened his team even if he himself is not quite ready to don the Green Arrow's uniform again. Diggle said it right when he compared Oliver's quitting to when he himself was in prison and accepted it as penance for the death of his brother. Where Oliver convinced DIggle to atone for his sins, the mayor himself does not do a great job of taking his own advice. So, Oliver calls in the Bratva to kill Chase for him and Diggle and the team don't like that decision.

Facing off against Anatoly and The Bratva, Diggle leads the team sans any of the gadgets or tech from the Arrow cave to stop Anatoly and his men from stealing diabetes medicine from a company in Star City. When Diggle confronts Olivers about allowing the gangsters to operate in his town, Oliver orders his friend to stand down. At the same time, Felicity learns from Helix that they have proof of Adrian Chase unmasking on camera but cannot unscramble the footage wiithout accessing Chase's physical cloaking technology. So, while Diggle and the team try to thwart the Bratva, Curtis and Felicity break into Kord Industries to get what they need to get the footage of Chase. The dual heists are a nice touch but they leave Oliver in the difficult position of having to stop his old friend or help his newly disbanded crew.

Ultimately, Chase ends up in federal custody after the team took down his car to get access to his cloaking device. Oliver visits Diggle and punches him in the face in anger and they talk about why Oliver truly is better than he believes himself to be. It seems ridiculous that Oliver can give everyone else advice but cannot take it himself. He even breaks things off with Susan because he believes Chase has finally won and defeated him. After fighting immortal warriors, resurrected thugs, and mystical kingpins, it baffles me that this human foe has so completely deconstructed Oliver Queen and beaten him. I like that Adrian Chase is just a man but it is starting to seem far-fetched that he is as good at the psychological torture as he is. Oliver eventually decides to suit up with the team and go against Anatoly and The Bratva.

By the episode's end, Oliver has performed one last Robin Hood heist in Russia in the flashbacks which cemented his friendship with Anatoly while in the present they are at odds. Anatoly tells Oliver he was unable to stay good after his friend returned to Lian Yu which rings true with Oliver's current conundrum of being a better man that he has been. With the proof that Adrian Chase is Prometheus given to the Star City police and media, it now seems to be only a matter of time for the district attorney to be taken down. Oliver believes the news to be unexpected, but Chase kills his guards with a pen and chokes another to death before madly stabbing one over and over again. As a bloodied Chase sings a cheery song and drives back to Star City, we see a slew of police cars heading in the opposite direction to try and take him into custody.

This was a solid albeit formulaic episode. I found Oliver's change of heart at the start of the episode and then the end of the hour to be way too convenient and tidily fit into a single episode but that is usually how things go on Arrow. The Russia flashbacks were minimal this week but the dichotomy of The Bratva's involvement in both storylines was pertinent to where Oliver Queen's mind is these days. I appreciated the heist handled by Curtis and Felicity as those two characters don't spend nearly enough time in the field together as they should. I am still not convinced as to why I should care about Helix at all but they are shaping up to be an important factor in storylines to come. The team was great this week, especially Diggle who always shines as Oliver's conscience. I still want to know exactly why Chase is doing the things he does and with just a few episodes left this season, I hope we find out soon.

Next on ARROW: "Dangerous Liaisons" airs April 26th

Source: JoBlo.com

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