Written by: Greg Berlanti
Arrow has attempted to reinvigorate itself this season by introducing several new heroes and villains in an effort to keep things fresh. The show runners, by reaching into the long forgotten DC character catalog and giving Green Arrow his brutal approach back, have season five off and running in the right direction so far. So without further ado lets jump into episode 503 and see who and whats new in the Arrow-verse this week before I start reading all these comics and forget what happened altogether.
WWE’s Stardust, known as Samson (Smarty Pants) here, gets the full villain treatment when Mad Dog, out fighting the good fight, when he shouldn’t be, pushes the wrestling superstar, a la Joker, into a vat of acid. This transforms Samson into a veiny, no pain feeling, cross-fit loving, zombie-ish bad-ass who recruits his former gangster buddies in an attempt to undergo the same treatment and take down Tobias Church.
As we peep in on our various side characters in the Arrow-verse we find that guilt is a running theme throughout this week’s episode. Diggle decides his best course of action for being framed for murder is to go along with the setup like a loon locked in Arkham. Ol’ Diggle foolishly feels he deserves to be in jail after last season’s events, where he killed his brother despite pleas from his baby moms to fight the good fight. Felicity wrestles with the idea of telling Rag-Man that she was responsible for diverting the missile that took out his home town last year. Meanwhile Thea tussles with a media related blowback in the midst of hiring former town drunk, a.k.a. detective Lance, as new Deputy Mayor.
Amidst all the various guilt and trust issues, which CW lays on with the same subtly as a Lifetime movie special event, we also start to see some genuine team building moments between our heroes I enjoy. Oliver begins to let his new teammates into his “circle of trust” introducing them to the Arrow Cave and its jaw dropping equipment. As our episode winds down Team Arrow 2.0 is able to band together to take down Samson (Smarty Pants), or Stardust whatever you prefer, and now we can move forward with this new “band of brother/sisters” operating as one this season.
At the conclusion of the episode Mrs. Diggle arrives to the Arrow base asking for help in rescuing Mr. Diggle since he wont do it on his own. It appears she’ll be damned if she’s taking care of that kid alone would be my guess Diggle you arent getting out of Daddy duty that easy. If Jim, the other listeners, and I have to suffer you will too buddy.
Overall I’m glad time was taken in the story to get to know each new character on the team, while revealing issues each had to be ironed out, all while allowing team trust to be built organically over the culmination of these three episodes. The action scenes continue to be well constructed and beautifully put together to the point I forget I’m watching network TV at times and I welcome the reintroduction of a more brutal Oliver. If you watch the CW super hero shows you have to accept just a little cheese in your diet, that factor will always rear its ugly head. However, if you can overlook these small moments of the show, there’s a lot of fun to be had, especially with this season and the team Arrow 2.0 vibe going down.
Although I enjoyed the first two episodes a little more, solely for the other villains presence alone, this was another strong showing for Arrow even for the first “filler” type episode. If you gave up last year because the show felt stale I urge you to give it another shot the new blood has been a welcome addition and something I look forward to each week again.