It only took Arrow four episodes in but the new Team Arrow has already broken up … kind of. In “Penance” Oliver breaks up with his team to go on a foolhardy and highly illegal mission, breaking John Diggle out of prison. It’s a move that the new team, specifically Felicity, disagrees with strongly and they make their opinion know with their fists. The only problem is that Oliver is way, way better at punching people, especially his new recruits. So while Oliver goes to break his best friend out of prison for a crime he did not commit, the new team is back at Star City and dealing with Tobias Church all on their own.

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Arrow Meets Prison Break

It’s a tale of two episodes in “Penance,” three if you count the flashback storyline, and somehow Arrow manages to give them all their due within one hour. In our first story of the night, Oliver, with the help of Lyla, breaks into federal prison. The breaking in of the prison is pretty easy, ridiculous easy actually, but it is probably best not to look to Arrow for realism. The problem for Oliver (and Lyla) is to get Dig out of the prison alive and in one piece. 

Oliver puts a terrible mask, that puts Dig’s Spartan “identity concealment” to shame. Despite his terrible disguise, Oliver manages to get Dig alone his cell and away from the prying eyes of the guards. (Again don’t look for realism here, but Oliver does look very cool breaking into a prison, horrible mask aside.) When Oliver is alone with Diggle, he finally manages to reach Dig where Lyla failed. Oliver explains that Dig probably does need to do penance for killing Andy. Dig has been going about it the wrong way. Diggle can’t abandon his family or the team, he should do his penance as Spartan. 

Dig agrees and they escape via the sewers Shawshank style, though there is thankfully much less human excrement involved on Arrow. With Lyla’s assistance, the pair make it to the prison yard and then are whisked away by a plane right in front of the guards. This fixes the imprisoned Dig issue but it also makes Dig a fugitive from the law. The guards aren’t going to forget any time soon how one of their prisoners literally flew up into the air and out of custody. 

Ragman as Team Arrow MVP

Back at Star City, Church is engaging in an all-out assault on the government while Mayor Queen is out of town. The recruits realize that they are going to need to make Star City safe in Oliver’s absence and it is all hands on deck. Rory and Felicity even put aside the awkwardness over their connection about the destruction of Haven Rock. They resolve to help each other through their complicated feelings. Rory will help Felicity come to terms with her guilt and she will help with his grief. The unsteady reconciliation even threatens to make Rory slightly interesting as character, outside of his admittedly very cool powers. 

Tobias Church attacks the police department when our new DA, Handsome McBlandlyFace, is interrogating one of Church’s former goons. The building is under siege and it is up to the new Team Arrow to save everyone inside. Though, if we are being honest, it is really just up to Ragman. Rory might be boring out of costume, but inside he is a basically a H.P. Lovecraft’s idea of Superman. Those Rags protect him for nearly everything.

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Proving my point that most of the new team is useless in a fight, during the battle, Curtis is injured courtesy of a knife to the back. While Rory and Evelyn help Curtis out of the building, Wild Dog stays behind to take on Church. It goes exactly as you would expect, Rene is easily beaten by Church. However, because he is a villain on a TV show and not an actually evil criminal, Church just captures Rene and does not murder him. 

Flashback Break

The flashback “Russia version” of Oliver is doing the same thing as the present day version. Oliver is breaking into a prison. This might be the first time that Arrow flashbacks actually have really thematic resonance in the present-day story since season 2. The Russia story is exactly as brutal as you would hope and think since it is supposed to set up the dark Oliver of season 1. Oliver is sent into a prison by Anatoly to get dirt on a rival Bratva captain from a prisoner. Oliver does this job and then immediately murders the prisoner. Oliver is one step deeper into the Bratva and his dark headspace from season 1. 

In the (Wild) Dog House

Oliver stashes Dig at the abandoned HIVE HQ until they find “more permanent solution.” Translation: until Arrow just gives up the Dig being accused of treason storyline. Oliver has to rush out though when he hears from Felicity that Rene has been captured. Oliver comes back to the team and for once he doesn’t scold them. Oliver tells his new recruits that no matter what, they will get Wild Dog back.

It’s a good thing too because we see what is happening with Wild Dog in Church’s custody: a whole lot of torture. It turns out that Church keeping Rene alive wasn’t totally about him being a TV villain. Church is trying to get information from Wild Dog about Green Arrow and the team. Given Wild Dog’s impulsive history thus far on the show, it is a plan that will more than likely succeed. In one episode, Rene and Rory might have flipped as the most and least valuable members of Team Arrow. 

What do you think? Did you like the new team breaking up for an episode? Are you excited that Dig is back? How do you think Arrow will solve the problem of him being accused of treason? 

Arrow season 5 airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW. Want more news? Like our Arrow Facebook page for the latest updates!

(Image courtesy of The CW)

Derek Stauffer

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Derek is a Philadelphia based writer and unabashed TV and comic book junkie. The time he doesn’t spend over analyzing all things nerdy he is working on his resume to be the liaison to the Justice League.