New Kids on the BlockDirected By: James Bamford
Written By: Greg Berlanti, Wendy Mericle and Greg Berlanti
Starring: Stephen Amell, David Ramsey, Willa Holland, Emily Bett Rickards...
Air Date: October 5, 2016
Review by: Branden Murray
Arrow and the rest of the CW television shows that feature DC Comics mainstays as their characters lost me a little bit last year. I guess you could say that after following four seasons of Arrow, two seasons of Flash, and a season of Legends of Tomorrow, my interest is beginning to wane a bit in how the network presents its DC related material. The shows have fallen in a trap of all beginning to feel very much the same. However, when last season of the Flash ended, with that Flashpoint type situation, I was cautiously optimistic for all this seasons coming offerings. I really hoped they would use the opportunity for Arrow to mix it up a little bit giving us a different take on the character. Well the season five debut aired this past Wednesday, so let’s see what changes are in store for Ollie and who the Green Arrow’s shooting at now.
Things start off with Thea attempting to buy Mayor Ollie a little time at a fundraiser he’s supposed to be gracing with his appearance. Instead of eating pigs in a blanket and sipping martinis though, Ollie’s suited up as Green Arrow, chasing down familiar face Anarchy, trying to defuse his latest attempt to bomb the city. So yeah, the action starts fast and furious as we get some great fights to kick the episode off on a high note, while catching glimpses of a more brutal heartless Arrow in battle. One thing I’ve always loved about this show is the action scenes, it’s excellent for network a TV show, not something you’d expect on the CW.
After an assist from Felicity in defusing the bomb, Ollie puts an arrow in the knee of a new local vigilante trying to assist him, promptly warning him to “stay away”. This vigilante, called Wild Dog (or Dawg I’m not sure how cool he is yet), looks just like Casey Jones. I had no idea he was actually a real DC character until about 5 seconds ago … thanks Google, I was just too curious and had to break the no research policy around here to find out.
Ollie eventually reports to this designated fundraiser which happens to be a Police Ball. As mayor he pledges to clean up police corruption in the city, which goes over like a fart in a wind storm in this crowd, before heavy handedly leading to our next big moment in the episode. Of course we see some dirty cops squaring off with a new group of villains in town led by Tobias Church, sporting some brass knuckles, so you know who wins this fight. Spoiler alert: not the cops.
Meanwhile back at Arrow team headquarters Felicity tries to talk Oliver into looking into building a new team. Sexy Felicity suggests, Casey Jones look alike, Wild Dog as a possible partner which Ollie deflects in hopes his ex-partners Black Canary (dead), Speedy (retired), and Diggle (army deployment), will one day return. The reintroductions continues with an “off the wagon”, newly single, former Detective Lance now looking for love in the bottom of a bottle. He becomes motivated by hints of helping Ollie again if he can get his shit together.
Things pick back up at a dedication ceremony for Black Canary (killed last season) when Oliver, leading the somber celebration, is interrupted by a gang of gun toting maniacs directed by, Mr. Brass Knuckles himself, Tobias Church. Kidnapping Ollie, in an attempt to get Green Arrow to appear, they hole up in a warehouse and wait like cookies baking in the oven at 350 degrees.
Thea briefly un-retires to rescue Ollie but discovers he no longer has a “no kill” rule in place anymore during her efforts. This leads to some CW style brother/sister drama. For about the 8th time in five seasons Thea wants nothing to do with killing, after all she’s been through, and Felicity tells Ollie “told ya so”. These are all played out angles on this show; the whole Ollie keeping secrets people don’t like, and Thea’s flip flopping are persistent themes, so I hope this it’s finally all over and we can move on, but it will be revisited I’m sure.
As our episode winds down we get some interesting tidbits of information for the season moving forward. Ollie gets in touch with Diggle. He runs the concept of building a new team by his old friend, receives Diggle’s blessing, and now seems to be content with the idea. Felicity arrives home to show us she has found a new prototypical CW white guy to fall in love signaling she’s moving on in her love life.
We wrap up the flashbacks we’ve dealt with throughout the episode, currently in Russia, as Ollie was formerly a part of a Russian fight club and looks to be working his way into the mob. All before finally being introduced to yet another big bad this season. This guy looks like Scarecrow found Malcom Merlyn who then taught him how to be an sick archer named Prometheus … and that’s it for this episode.
Overall I like Arrow but I haven’t loved it since season two ended. I really want to love it again so I hope bringing new blood into the team injects new life into the show but this first episode wasn’t overly thrilling as far as new and exciting stuff goes. I think a big opportunity was missed to link all the CW shows to the Flashpoint type situation and really mix things up.
Getting over that and to what I do like. I’ll enjoy a more brutal take on Green Arrow this season, if it sticks. The show was most interesting when he wasn’t afraid to kill “bad guys”. While Tobias Church and his brass knuckles don’t interest me too much I do want to know more about the archer we saw at this episodes conclusion, he looked pretty bad ass.
Bits and Pieces:
To sum up these ramblings basically we really have a middle of the road introduction to our season. It’s a new coat of paint for Arrow that can still catch eyes moving down the road if it gets away from some familiar tropes.