‘Arrow’: “Penance” Extended Preview

The next episode of Arrow will see how Oliver reacts to learning Diggle is now in prison after he was framed by his corrupt commanding officer for the murder of several officers from his unit when he discovered the CO was going to secure the triggers from Darmien Darhk’s nukes for himself in order to sell to the highest bidder.

The next episode of Arrow will see how Oliver reacts to learning Diggle is now in prison after he was framed by his corrupt commanding officer for the murder of several officers from his unit when he discovered the CO was going to secure the triggers from Darmien Darhk’s nukes for himself in order to sell to the highest bidder.

Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.

OLIVER STEPS IN FOR DIGGLE — Oliver (Stephen Amell) and Lyla (guest star Audrey Marie Anderson) team up on a secret mission for Diggle (David Ramsey). Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) finds out and disapproves of the plan and opts to stay behind. When Tobias Church (guest star Chad L. Coleman) launches a deadly assault against the city, Felicity must decide if she wants to send the recruits out sans the Green Arrow. Dermott Downs directed the episode written by Brian Ford Sullivan & Oscar Balderrama (#504). Original airdate 10/26/2016.

‘Arrow’: “A Matter of Trust” Spoiler Review

A matter of trust is a return to form for the series. After last week I was starting to lose faith again but this episode is a step back in the right direction.

A matter of trust is a return to form for the series. After last week I was starting to lose faith again but this episode is a step back in the right direction. Things get started with the Green Arrow back on the rooftops of Star City hunting down a drug dealer who sells “Stardust”— the latest designer drug in circulation on the streets which makes Vertigo look like child’s play. It was a good action scene that got the episode started in the right way to get us interested. I really appreciate when the score kicks in ramping up to the main title card.

The recruits are still in training and continue to prove they still have a long way to go. It’s good to see them getting some experience, even if they are making some pretty bad mistakes. Wild Dog is reckless and shortsighted but after his screw up when he killed (or so he thought he killed) the Stardust supplier, Derek Sampson (Cody Rhodes) — who the District Attorney was working on flipping — he was able to see the error in his ways and was better for it.

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Rick Gonzalez as Wild Dog in Arrow. (The CW)

Echo Kellum was hilarious this episode as Curtis Holt/Mr. Fantastic. We even got the backstory for the inspiration behind his super persona. Echo has really started to come into his own on the show. As far as I’m concerned he needs to put Felicity in the backseat and take over for the comic relief full time. He needs to toughen up quickly though otherwise, he’s going to get himself killed.

Ragman was a big surprise for me this week. I absolutely hated him in the previous episode. I think his costume looks like something he pulled out of the trash and I can’t understand a word he says with his mask on, but as Rory Regan, he was actually pretty good. Definitely one of the most reasonable personalities bouncing around the training facility. Felicity coming clean about her decision to redirect one of the missiles on Genesis day to Havenrock — sacrificing thousands in order to save millions — was a good surprise. It’s not often I find myself happy with Felicity these days but telling Rory the truth showed growth and maturity on her part. Let’s just hope she doesn’t scold Oliver in front of his subordinates again (so inappropriate).

It’s not all positive for the recruits, though. Evelyn Sharp wasn’t bad but she has a long, long way to go. While she had an awesome moment jumping off the wall onto the stairs and taking down a goon, most of her action was pretty sloppy. I just don’t buy her as a crime fighter yet. Her young age doesn’t help very much either.

Continuing with the negative, the flashbacks are still pretty half-baked. If the last we saw from them wasn’t what seemed to be the final test in Oliver’s initiation into the Bratva, they would have been totally worthless in this episode. But I guess anything is better than chopping up a scene and doling beat after beat in flashback after flashback throughout the episode like the past two seasons.

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Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen in Arrow. (The CW)

Diggles’s storyline was a major improvement from last week. He’s now in jail and working through his demons. Literally. When it was revealed his cellmate Deadshot was a figment of his own imagination I was shocked. I was really excited thinking Floyd Lawton was back after the big wigs at D.C. wrongly forced the producers to exit the character from the show because of the Suicide Squad film. Will Smith was an alright Deadshot but he wasn’t able to bring the depth to the character that makes you care about him while still being a really bad guy like Michael Rowe is able to.

Now for Stardust. Everybody give Cody Rhodes a round of applause. The former WWE superstar obviously cut his acting teeth in the ring over the last ten years but never has he been involved in a Hollywood production. I thought his performance in this episode bested Chadwick Boseman’s performance as Tobias Church in this season so far. The action was great and exceeded my expectations for the rematch I had hoped to see between Amell and Rhodes in the ring. It’s a shame the producers didn’t cast him as something more than a throwaway villain. But death isn’t enough to stop some people in the Arrowverse from returning so I have hope a couple of sliced tendons won’t be enough to keep Derek Sampson down.

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Cody Rhodes as Derek Sampson in Arrow. (The CW)

Overall, I think Gregory Smith did a fantastic job directing this episode. Smith directed season three’s episode titled “Nanda Parbat”, one of my favorite episodes in the series to date (just before things went completely off the rails). Smith fell in love with the show in it’s early days and was definitely the right guy to help steer it back to how great the show used to be. Arrow still has a long way to go but this episode had the style and tone that made the show great but also felt fresh as it balanced Oliver as the Mayor while he also continued to train the new recruits.

Quick Thoughts:

-The new D.A. is totally sketchy and I don’t trust him, however. I do appreciate his sense of urgency.

-Quentin is definitely still drinking.

-Shut up Felicity. Just shut up.

-Hey, wait. We didn’t actually see anyone under the effects of Stardust…

8.0 – GOOD

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‘Arrow’: “The Recruits” Review

In the second episode of season five, Oliver begins to train his recruits for Team Arrow 2.0. The episode is a mixed bag but ultimately a step backwards for the series.

In the second episode of season five, Oliver begins to train the new recruits for Team Arrow 2.0. The episode is a mixed bag but ultimately a step backward for the series.

Things kick off with Rene Ramirez A.K.A. Wild Dog chasing down a clumsy goober of a criminal. Unfortunately, Rene proves himself to be just as clumsy as he trips over a ledge — falling off of a building himself and nearly dying. Lucky for him, Green Arrow was there to catch his fall. Maybe he should give his leg some more time to heal before he’s out traversing rooftops in Star City again.

He does deserve some credit though. He doesn’t give up and that’s exactly what gets him an invitation to train with the Green Arrow.

We get to see Oliver in action as the Mayor again. It’s good to see Oliver isn’t skipping out on important meetings like he did with Queen Consolidated, ultimately costing him the company. He still doesn’t like doing press but who can blame him? What matters here is that the writers aren’t breezing over this aspect of the show. The scene in which Oliver acquires the funding for his free medical event was thin but it still felt complete. Even if it did move at the break neck pace this show is notorious for.

The first training scene proved just how much Curtis, Rene, and Evelyn have to learn. None of them were taking it seriously. Oliver had to explain to them crime fighting isn’t a game and used Laurel as an example. It was a bit ironic as he expressed the same sentiment when Laurel hit the streets as the Black Canary in an attempt to honor the life of her sister, Sara.

Surprisingly, the flashbacks were actually decent this episode. Even though they didn’t cover much, they didn’t feel half baked like they normally do. Maybe it was because the point of them was actually relevant to the training taking place in the present day storyline. In the next step of his initiation into the Bratva, Oliver had to learn to work together with the rest of the Bratva’s tryouts in order to get past some baddies and ring a bell. Oliver used this same exercise with Curtis, Rene, and Evelyn in order to teach them the only way to win is through teamwork.

It was a good lesson to teach but Oliver didn’t go about it the right way. But the bigger issue was Felicity as she undermined his authority in front of the recruits rendering his leadership completely ineffective. Oliver needed her feedback but the way she approached the issue was inappropriate. Maybe Oliver should pull her aside and give her some feedback as well.

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The episode begins to lose itself once it gets to the free medical event. First Oliver enters dressed in a suit and tie and then moments later appears in full Green Arrow gear just as a Ragman crashes the event and goes WWE on the CEO of Amertek.

After Rene gets a piece of the cloth from Ragman’s costume, Felicity goes to the Star City police department where we discover her new boyfriend is actually working as a detective. Okay… no one cares. Moving on.

Ragman wants revenge for the nuclear missile that destroyed his city, killing his family on Genesis Day. While his motives were there, the problem was the exposition got muddled by the show’s breakneck pace along with the awful voice modulation used for Ragman. Oliver has a conversation with him about the choices he’s made. The writers tried to make it something meaningful as Oliver convinces Ragman to honor the legacy of his dead father just like Oliver wants to do for himself. He even extends his hand to Ragman, offering him a place on the new team. But god no, please no. I just couldn’t understand a damn thing he was saying and by the time it was over I didn’t care. For me, Ragman is nothing more than a throwaway villain I want to forget about by tomorrow.

Diggle’s storyline this week is a bit unremarkable. He is off on assignment to secure a nuclear weapon but instead he’s taken captive by his unit after he discovers they are corrupt when they try to steal the weapon for themselves. It’s understandable people would be afraid of metahumans or evil men with mystical powers but ultimately the storyline doesn’t deliver and is extraneous the to rest of the episode’s plot. Maybe next week Diggle will reach out to Oliver for help or the weapon they have will become part of the main plot.

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Overall, the episode was not satisfying. The villain was weak and his motives were unclear until it was too late and now we are supposed to accept him as a new member of Team Arrow? Last week things seemed like they were getting back on track but this episode indicates otherwise. If the writers want to make Arrow a hit show again they need to focus back on what made the show great to begin with. Long gone are the days of Arrow traversing the rooftops of Star City with his brother Diggle taking down drug dealers and crime bosses — and thwarting terrorist attacks. The show has unfortunately become a victim of its own success after it lost focus when it became a breeding ground for other superheroes. At this point I have little hope the Arrow we all came to know and love will ever return.

6.3 – OKAY