The first episode of Arrow season 5 was all about (besides Oliver killing a bunch of people) Oliver accepting the realization that he needed a new team. In “The Recruits,” as the name would suggest, it is all about Oliver (and nearly everyone else) finding that new team. While it is very smart of Arrow to smart fresh in season 5, things go terrible for Oliver (and nearly everyone else) in this episode.
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On the Line (of Abuse)
Oliver is training his three new recruits, Evelyn Sharp, Curtis Holt and Wild Dog for his vigilante team in the most terrifying way possible. Oliver has his (green) team stand on a (green) line in the (green) Arrow Cave. Oliver in full Green Arrow regalia (to protect his identity) stands in front of a bell and tells the team to get past him and ring the bell.
We learn in the flashbacks that Oliver did this with the Bratva and the point is to work together to ring the bell. Oliver doesn’t really tell his newbies that fact and just kind of beats them up in the most brutal ways. In the Bratva, they kill the ones who don’t ring the bell, so by comparison, Oliver is positively cuddly, but he is still pretty horrifying.
Things come to head when a new villain starts hitting Star City’s streets. Another metahuman with radioactive rags (who has the very creative name of Ragman) is attacking members of a disgraced company. Oliver, as mayor, is working with the company. Oliver, as the Green Arrow, tries to protect the CEO from Ragman’s next attack at a public event with his new team. Infuriatingly Wild Dog messes things up and Ragman escapes.
If Oliver was scary before, he becomes a nightmare now. Following Wild Dog’s mistake, Oliver rips into them all including Curtis. Oliver tells that they are worthless losers and pathetic. They don’t deserve a spot on his team and the recruits prove him right. They all quit, but Curtis sticks around just long enough to tell Oliver he is a terrible leader and emotional abuser. Oddly, my favorite moments of Arrow, even as late as season 5, are still the ones where the show points out how awful the main character is to other people.
Thea Does … Whatever it is Thea Does
Anyway, Thea, whose official job title remains suspect, is basically running Oliver’s entire mayoral office single-handedly. Trying to get more of a staff, Thea hires Quentin as deputy mayor. The reasoning is pretty weak. Now that Laurel is dead, Quentin is basically the only person Thea knows that who is not dead, presumed dead, in the military, a vigilante’s assistant or evil. (Thea really needs widen her social circle.)
Quentin is kind of disaster at the job because he is barely holding on to his sobriety, by which I mean he is totally drunk most of time. Thea though gives Quentin a second chance and a pep talk. Thea tells Quentin that he needs this job to stay busy, off the bottle and to honor Laurel. It doesn’t make a perfect amount of sense, but it is a nice sentiment so that’s what matters, I guess. At the very least, I didn’t instantly dislike Quentin the moment he was on-screen, so it’s a step in the right direction.
Flashback Diggle Break
Normally, we would go into the flashback story here, but while the Bratva story is present and still interesting, there is not much of it discuss. Instead, we get to see what Diggle is up to in the military outside of a single Skype call with Oliver. In the army, Diggle befriends a young soldier who is CW handsome and of indeterminate age. He could be anywhere from 18-35, but who really cares? He’s not going to live long.
Diggle’s plan to reconnect with honorable roots in the military goes horribly awry because it turns out his commanding officer is a garbage person. On a mission to secure WMDs, the commanding officer tries to steal the weapon for personal gain. When Diggle discovers the plot, the general (or whatever higher rank he fills) kills Diggle’s new friend and blames the whole thing on Dig. Presumably, this is the way that Arrow will get Dig back to Star City and on Team Arrow but for now it is a total head-scratcher on how the show will get Dig out of high treason without executing him.
From Rags to Rag-Tag
Back in Star City, Oliver is smarting over Curtis and his accurate assessment of Oliver’s character. Felicity finally steps in and tells Oliver that the original team didn’t work because Thea, Laurel and Dig trusted and loved the Green Arrow. The Green Arrow is a total violent maniac. They loved and trusted Oliver Queen. If Oliver wants his recruits to follow him, he needs to open up and maybe not treat them like they are a part of the Russian mafia.
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Oliver puts a pin in that discussion and goes off to find Ragman. Though Ragman looks like a Lovecraftian nightmare, he’s not actually that bad of a guy. He is after the company because they are responsible for the nuclear missiles that destroyed his town, Monument Point. (Little does he know that Felicity actually directed those missiles to Monument Point at the end of season 4 trying to save Star City from Damien Darhk’s attack.) The company is also secretly working with Tobias Church.
When Oliver finds Ragman he doesn’t so much fight him, but works with him. The CEO and Church escape, but Oliver finds a new friend in Ragman. Ragman takes off his rags to reveal a pale skinny kid underneath named Rory Reagan. Rory Regan was saved from the nuclear destruction because his father put these ancient magical Jewish rags on him. (That might be the best and most ridiculous sentence I have ever written.) Bonding over the dead fathers who saved their lives, Oliver offers Ragman a spot on the team and he accepts.
From here, Oliver goes back to the original team and apologizes. Oliver then unmasks in front of them and tells them they have to trust each other if this is going to work. The recruits agree and the new Team Arrow is formed … until Thea, Dig and everyone else comes back because we all know that is happening at some point.
But what do you think? Do you like the new team? Do you hope they stick around? Do you still enjoy when Oliver is taken down a peg?
Arrow season 5 airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW. Want more news? Like our Arrow Facebook page.
(Image courtesy of The CW)