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Green Arrow AND Mayor Oliver Queen face off against Tobias Church in the ‘Arrow’ Season 5 premiere

When the first episode of Arrow‘s fifth season begins, we quickly understand how dire things have become for Oliver Queen. He’s doing a pretty terrible job as mayor, mostly due to his nightly habit of dressing in leather and running all over town with a bow and arrow. His chief of staff, Thea, is doing her best to hold things together, but with a corrupt police force, there’s a lot for the mayor to handle right now.

Things aren’t much better on the flip side either. Team Arrow now consists of just Oliver and Felicity (with the occasional assist from Curtis). Ollie’s still out fighting crime every night, but it’s a lot for one person to handle. Much to his chagrin, there actually are several new vigilantes out trying to help. But, even though he inspired them to suit up, Oliver would rather they go home than take them under his wing.

Then Tobias Church explodes onto the scene, causing trouble for everyone. Church (played by The Walking Dead‘s Chad L. Coleman) is a brutally violent gang leader. He’s new on the scene in Star City, but quickly makes his presence known by killing an entire squad of corrupt cops. In the aftermath of this mass murder, we’re introduced to a new member of the Star City police department: Detective Malone, played by Tyler Ritter.

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Prior to a dedication ceremony for a new statue dedicated to Laurel Lance/Black Canary, Mayor Queen pays Quentin Lance a visit. He’s been back in town for a few weeks (sans Donna) and is back to drinking again. Without his daughter or his job, he doesn’t have much to keep him going. Ollie asks for his help with Team Arrow and to come to the statue dedication.

Quentin does indeed show up at the dedication, but so does Tobias Church. He and his gang interrupt the ceremony and kidnap Mayor Queen. It’s all a ploy to attract the attention of Green Arrow. Church knows that he needs to take out Green Arrow if he wants to take over the criminal element in Star City.

With no one else to help Oliver, Quentin convinces Thea to suit up one more time. She helps Oliver escape, but not before she witnesses him brutally murder one of Church’s men. Oliver is afraid that it’s his restraint that led to Laurel’s death, as he could’ve killed Damien Darhk multiple times but didn’t. Thea tells Oliver she can’t be Speedy anymore.

Lance puts together a team of trustworthy cops and they lead a mission with Oliver to infiltrate Church’s lair, rescue the hostages, and disarm the bombs he has in the building. In the meantime, Felicity sends Curtis to investigate one of the new vigilantes in town, Wild Dog. He fails to find the hockey mask-wearing crimefighter, but is assaulted by a couple of muggers.

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Oliver and the police squad rescue the hostages but fail to disarm the bomb. They escape with only seconds to spare before the building explodes. Oliver launches a grappling hook arrow onto Church’s helicopter and climbs up to confront him. They have a savage close-quarters fight before Church throws Oliver out of the open door. Luckily, Oliver has a new parachute arrow he uses to sail to safety.

Mayor Queen creates a new crime task force comprised of the four cops who helped him in the assault on Church’s compound. Meanwhile, Church gathers the leaders of all the Star City gangs and basically proclaims himself their new leader.

After a video call with Diggle (back in the Army, remember?), Oliver finally agrees to train the new vigilantes and form a new Team Arrow. Curtis, determined not to be assaulted ever again, demands that Oliver train him, too.

As one of the members of Mayor Queen’s new police squad is leaving the station after work, he’s attacked by a mysterious masked archer. He mistakenly thinks it’s the Green Arrow. “No. Not the Green Arrow,” the attacker proclaims in a deep muffled voice.

At the end of a long day, Felicity returns home and kicks off her shoes. Someone comes up behind her and begins to massage her shoulders. When he finally leans down, we’re introduced to Felicity’s new boyfriend: the aforementioned Detective Malone.

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Other tidbits:

  • The flashbacks in ‘Legacy’ were more interesting than they’ve been in two seasons. Oliver infiltrates an underground Russian fight club and kills the star fighter. Just before being shot for this injustice, he’s rescued by his old friend, Anatoly Knyazev. At the end of the episode, Anatoly begins Ollie’s initiation into the Bratva via a brutal beatdown with four or five other men.
  • We finally learn Laurel Lance’s dying words — and they’re fairly controversial. Laurel asks Oliver to promise that she won’t be the last Black Canary. That way, there will always be a part of her out there with him. We know Laurel’s coming back in a few weeks one way or another (Katie Cassidy has a new multi-show contract), so it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.
  • Tobias Church’s nickname is “Charon.” Lest you think otherwise, though, he apparently has nothing to do with the existing DC Comics character named Charon. Also, though it’s not stated in the episode, the new archer we see at the end is supposedly named “Prometheus.” And again, he has no relation to the existing DC Comics character named Prometheus.

All in all, this was a fairly nice start to Arrow‘s new season. It was brutally violent, with numerous callbacks to Season One. If anything, parts of the plot moved a little too quickly, which is the opposite complaint issued toward recent seasons. It seems that Tobias Church’s rise to power could have been spread over two or three episodes at least. Let’s assume it was for good reason, though.

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Next week, Oliver begins training his new Team Arrow in ‘The Recruits’!