The fifth episode of season five titled “Human Target” gets off to a clunky start but quickly finds its footing, resulting in the strongest episode of the season thus far. I found myself giggling at the goofball criminals hunted by Team Arrow 2.0 in the opening scene. It’s just hard to take these extras seriously with their corny costume design and oversized ball caps.
Once past the intro things quickly got moving in the right direction as Diggle met the new recruits for the first time. The producers teased Diggle not taking a liking to the new team but as we saw he was quite welcoming although reasonably weary for their safety. Oliver’s newfound optimistic attitude was refreshing and seemed to be for the benefit of the new team as much as it was for himself. The end of his relationship with Felicity cut him deeply but it’s good to see he is finally moving forward. More on that later.
Tobias Church finally revealed his big plan and considering that, his demise at the end of the episode should have come as no surprise. His plan to consolidate all of the drug trafficking through the port was a smart one being that it would cement his hold on the drug trade in Star City but he was foolish to think he was going to get away with it with the Green Arrow in town. Church was over confident as all he brought to the fight against the emerald archer was his brawling skills and a pair of brass knuckles. I’m actually surprised he lasted this long. At this point his character’s inclusion feels more like a buffer to hold back from Prometheus becoming a major player in the series. Now with him out of the picture, Prometheus will finally make his presence known. Killing Tobias Church and the entire police convoy helped us to see just how much of a formidable villain he will be but the writers have still yet given us a reason to be interested in his character. The mystery of who he is just isn’t enough to get invested in the storyline.
Wild Dog and Diggle absolutely stole the show tonight. David Ramsey turned in his best performance in the series to date as John Diggle and the chemistry he had with Rick Gonzalez as Wild Dog was fantastic. Oliver has struggled to break through to Rene and tonight showed us he just isn’t the guy to train him. Rene is a (dishonorably discharged) soldier and it’s going to take another soldier to show him the way of vigilantism.
Wil Traval as Christopher Chance A.K.A. Human Target was great. The twist when Oliver was pronounced dead at the press conference after being shot on the stairs of City Hall left my jaw on the floor. While I’m familiar with Human Target becoming his clients to protect them, I definitely didn’t expect a Mission: Impossible type mask to come into the picture. It was a great reveal after a fantastic twist although once Chance removed the mask it looked nothing Oliver’s face. It left me cracking up because it didn’t even have any stubble on it. While I enjoyed Chance’s character, his inclusion in the flashback storyline in Russia felt a bit shoehorned in at the end. It was unnecessary, however. It will provide a great payoff when Susan Williams reveals the truth about Oliver’s time spent on Lian Yu, or rather lack thereof. But none of it will make sense it the writers don’t fully explain just how someone traced Chance back to Russia resulting in the discovery of the photo that was taken of Oliver at the bar.
Now it’s time for Olicity so let’s just dig right into it. I was a big supporter of the relationship between Oliver and Felicity. Their relationship felt organic as it was born out of the natural chemistry between Stephen Amell and Emily Bett Rickards. Their love for each other was involuntary and glaringly obvious. Maybe that’s why I was so baffled when Felicity took a left turn and turned into the attitude monster she is today. How Oliver could still have feelings for her is beyond me but I think tonight showed us that Felicity also still has feelings for Oliver. Billy is just a distraction to keep her from facing the truth. When she went to see Oliver at the end at City Hall, it was pretty obvious she was going to tell him she still had feelings for him. But Oliver hit her with the whole deserving to be happy and moving forward talk so she naturally she put her guard back up and agreed. This scene feels like a seed planted to bring the two back together by the end of the season. I say if you are going to do it, then just do it. But having the two at conflict for the sake of conflict can’t happen again. Relationship drama isn’t interesting. Take a note from The Flash and have them face these crime fighting experiences together and growing as a couple because of it just like Barry and Iris are now.
Overall, I really enjoyed this episode. The showdown between Tobias Church and the criminal organizations of Star City against Team Arrow 2.0 made for an awesome climax. I really appreciated the way the final fight between Green Arrow and Tobias Church was shot wide so we could take in every kick and punch thrown in the fight. James Bamford crushed it with the stunt coordination. My only issue with the scene – which is a real nitpick – is that the stuntman for Chadwick Boseman was totally obvious but it didn’t detract from the enjoyment of the battle.
“Human Target” helped to close the chapter of Tobias Church and gave us Wild Dog’s first turning point as he put his guilt behind him and stepped up to the plate thanks to Diggle’s fantastic mentorship. Team Arrow 2.0 is starting to shape up and I’m excited to see their development moving forward. Prometheus is starting to make a name for himself but we need to know who he is to get invested in him. I hope this isn’t a rehash of the “Who is Zoom?” mystery from the second season of The Flash because not knowing someone’s true identity doesn’t allow for a compelling or transformative experience. Imagine if we didn’t know Deathstroke was Slade Wilson until the finale of Season two?
7.9 – GOOD