After a promising season premiere, Arrow is back for its second Season 5 episode. It’s a mostly fulfilling entry, if not ultimately a bit forgettable.
‘The Recruits’ starts with Wild Dog and Curtis, two of the titular recruits, failing spectacularly. Oliver invites Wild Dog to the lair and schools Curtis at the salmon ladder (he really does make it look too easy).
Meanwhile, Diggle is in Chechnya, preparing to lead a military operation. His team is planning to recapture one of the unexploded nuclear missiles from “Genesis Day” (apparently the official name for the day Damian Darhk tried to blow up the entire planet).
Mayor Queen gets the Amertek corporation to sponsor a free medical clinic to help treat victims of Star City’s new crime wave. Thea decides she’s tired of covering for Ollie at city hall and prepares to gather a team of her own.
When the recruits arrive at the lair, Green Arrow coldly challenges them to get past him and ring a nearby bell. They fail. Repeatedly. In the flashback, we learn where Oliver got this particular idea. It’s the same challenge he had to complete to join the Bratva.
Amertek’s vice-president stops on the street to give money to a homeless man, only to be attacked by the man’s ragged coat (that’ll make you think twice before giving money to a panhandler).
Back in Chechnya, Diggle is taken captive by his own soldiers. It turns out they were there to take the weapon for themselves and sell it. Or something. None of it made a lot of sense.
Oliver brings the recruits to the clinic opening as back-up. Within minutes, the Amertek CEO is attacked by the same homeless man. Wild Dog screws up Oliver’s chance to take him down but does get a piece of his rags.
Green Arrow explodes at the recruits when they return to the lair. Felicity (continuing to emasculate Oliver as she’s done the entire episode/season/series), pulls him aside and tells him to knock it off.
Later, when Wild Dog and Artemis quit the team, Oliver opens up about his technique. After Laurel’s death, he was afraid to let anyone get close to him. Felicity convinces him that it’s not Green Arrow that inspires people to follow him, it’s Oliver Queen.
In the flashback, Oliver realizes the only way to get past the Bratva soldiers and ring the bell is through teamwork. It works, but then the rest of the Bratva recruits are shot and killed.
Thea somehow manages to overhear Amertek’s CEO promising to sell weapons to Tobias Church. Enough weapons to “take over a country” to be exact.
Green Arrow intervenes at the actual sale, but is interrupted by “Rag Man.” It turns out he’s seeking justice for the people of Havenrock, the only site actually destroyed on Genesis Day. Apparently, an Amertek subsidiary designed the bombs themselves. Felicity seems horrified when she hears Rag Man explain all of this (she’s the one that diverted the bomb to Havenrock, remember?).
Thea offers Quentin Lance a job as Deputy Mayor, Oliver unmasks himself before the recruits. At last, he seems to gain their trust.
Tobias Church exits a strip club in a jovial mood, only to be attacked by the same mysterious archer we met last week. He identifies himself as “Prometheus” and tells Church that Green Arrow is his to kill.
I suppose it’s nice to see Felicity confronted with her decision to bomb Havenrock, but honestly given her choices, she has very little to feel guilty about. It’s also strange prior to Rag Man’s confession, Felicity seems to feel no remorse whatsoever. She talks very flippantly about Havenrock earlier in the episode and even makes a distasteful joke about a bomb at one point.
I’m so happy to see Quentin Lance given a new role. I never considered him taking a role in Oliver’s city hall, but it makes so much sense. Quentin continues to be my favorite character on Arrow, so this all bodes well, in my opinion.
With no disrespect to actor Chad L. Coleman, doesn’t Tobias Church seem a little…”big” to move around as quickly as he does? Both this week and last, as soon as Church began to fight with Green Arrow, I was completely taken out of the scene. It’s so obviously a stunt fighter; Church is an imposing figure, but he’s a bruiser, not a martial artist.
Rag Man and Prometheus look so similar, it’s downright annoying. If it turns out they’re connected (or even the same person), then perhaps it could be forgiven. If not, it seems like a poor costuming decision.
Anatoly will forever remind me of a mid-80s Russian Ray Stevens.