Spoilers for Arrow Season 4 and Season 5 Episode 1.
The UK premier of Arrow Season 5 aired last Wednesday, and I was not disappointed.
At the end of last season, we saw the Arrow team falling apart.
Thea couldn’t bring herself to be a vigilante any more. Laurel had died. Diggle had left to rejoin the army, because he was struggling to cope with the murder of his own brother in cold blood. Felicity could no longer be with Oliver: although, despite their breakup, she remained by Oliver’s side on Team Arrow.
Hopefully Felicity and Oliver will enjoy the camaraderie that they had in the earlier seasons, without the drama, when Felicity was a joy to watch.
At the end of Arrow season 4, Oliver became mayor, and it looks like nothing has changed with regards to Oliver and his responsibilities outside of being the Green Arrow. Oliver is late to events and misses meetings, much as he did when he was running QC. Only this time, instead of Felicity covering for him, it’s Thea who gets that job. Thea explains that late is Oliver’s on time, and lets the police Captain believe that Oliver is with a woman.. (On a side note, if Thea and Barry Allen ever spend more than 5 minutes together, Barry will learn that Oliver is generally late too, and will never let Oliver tease him for being late again!)
Thea is doing a fantastic job holding everything together for Oliver, and seems to have adjusted to life without being a vigilante. Although to me, part of her seems restless, and I think that maybe she will be back in Team Arrow someday. I hope so, or I hope that Evelyn comes to provide an equally kick ass female character instead. One thing I love about Arrow (and Legends) is that the female characters do more than sit on the sideline as cheerleaders. (Looking at you, Flash.)
Oliver seems pretty useless at being mayor, and starts by accusing the police department of being corrupt at their own gala. Thea would make a better mayor, as she clearly understands what is expected of the position: to take responsibility and not play the blame game. Oliver complains that he can’t focus on being mayor because he is alone as the Arrow, yet remarkably, he had time to binge watch the entirety of The West Wing. Clearly Oliver loves a good Netflix binge as much as the Flash. Thea is not fooled, and refuses to come back to Team Arrow. Nice try, Ollie.
Oliver is showcasing some amazing fighting already this season, with a lot of awesome flips and shots, and he has some awesome new trick arrows. I wonder if he had some help from Cisco (Team Flash) with these, or if he made them himself? He now has an arrow designed to let Felicity hack into things and disarm bombs, and a parachute arrow. I’d really like to know how he remembers which arrow is which when he’s in the middle of combat though. Are they coded somehow? Or is Oliver just that good?
Oliver is reluctant to accept that Diggle and Thea are not coming back to the team. He is also reluctant to recruit another team, because of the dangers involved in what he does. Oliver lost Laurel, and this is weighing heavily on him. He does not want anyone else getting hurt, so he shoots Wild Dog in the leg to discourage him. Felicity points out that the vigilantes she has been watching, including Wild Dog, are out there because of Oliver, so why would it hurt to recruit a team? She has already been doing the research on potential candidates, in the hope that Oliver will agree.
Oliver’s reluctance to move forward links nicely with the Russia flashbacks. ‘A shark that does not swim, drowns,’ or, if you don’t move forward, you will die. I am hoping that the Russia flashbacks show how Oliver became the hardened, determined, vigilante who returned to Star city in the beginning of season 1, and we find out why, after being reluctant to return, Oliver eventually returns home.
Perhaps he finally feels ready to use his fathers book?
At the ceremony to honour Laurel and unveil her statue, Oliver is kidnapped by Tobias Church to draw out the Green Arrow. Oh the irony. Even with Oliver in trouble, Thea is very reluctant to suit up. She only does so after encouragement from Quentin Lance, who is back, and struggling, but doing his best given that he lost his daughter and broke up with Donna. Becoming Speedy again doesn’t ignite a desire to return to the vigilante life within Thea: instead it puts her off more than ever.
I loved Oliver’s line, ‘I have it on pretty good authority that he’s tied up right now.’ Oh Oliver, I love it when your sense of humour shines through! I’m pretty sure that Oliver riled them up on purpose so that he could be taken elsewhere and escape. Oliver is not messing around any more though. He is back to the killing, and I guess that, now that he is mayor, it is even more important to guard his identity as Green Arrow.
Thea calls Oliver out on his killing. She wants to feel like herself, not a killer, and she makes it clear that she is not coming back. Oliver doesn’t want to take prisoners any more because he blames himself for Laurels death: he had many opportunities to kill Darhk before the night in Iron Heights, but he didn’t. Perhaps if he had been a killer, Laurel would still be here. Thea doesn’t agree, it is a big step backwards and she wants nothing to do with it. I can see why Oliver would feel that way though. He doesn’t want to lose anyone else close to him, and believes that killing any threats will help with that.
Oliver finally agrees to take on a new team, Wild Dog, Evelyn Sharp, and Curtis, who, after being beaten up, wants to join too. I will be interested to see how he explains all those bruises to his husband…
Some of the dialogue was amazing this episode. Diggle telling Oliver that the people will come to their senses and vote him out of being mayor. Felicity complaining that she has been trying to get Oliver to work as part of a team for months, and sassing him when he says that the police are not a team.
At the end, Oliver concludes to Diggle via video chat that he has to accept that things are not going back to how they were with the team. Diggle asks if that includes Felicity: Oliver doesn’t know, and immediately we are shown that Felicity has already moved on and moved her new boyfriend into what used to be Oliver and Thea’s place.
Who is this other archer that appears? Dressed like a cross between Malcolm Merlyn and Ragman, (who will appear later) he takes down one of the members of Oliver’s trusted anti crime unit, newly formed by Oliver after his abduction and escape. I think it’s too early to guess who he is, but if I had to say, I’d go for the guy in Russia who tied Oliver to a chair and took his book. This is based purely on body build and his interest in Oliver though…
All in all, I really enjoyed the premier of Arrow Season 5. It felt a lot like season 2 so far, and that had to be my favourite one. I am looking forward to next episode, when Oliver trains his new recruits. I wonder if any of them will get shot in the back with an arrow!