ARROW Season 5 Premiere Recap: Denial, Thy Name Is Oliver Queen


It has been a long hiatus, ARROW fans. I know, I’ve been here suffering too. But tonight we got to see exactly what our heroes have been up to all this time. It has been five months for them too, since Team Arrow officially imploded. After defeating Dahrk and Laurel’s untimely demise, the team just kind of fell apart, so they each could deal with their own issues.

Dig went back to the army and Thea decided to step away from the Vigilante life, so she could find herself again. When we return this season, all the characters are in a very dark place, but Oliver is the one who just seems to be stuck in limbo. He has his two feet planted in denial land, and he has no desire to leave that place. He keeps expecting that things will just go back to the way they were and that Thea and Diggle will eventually come back to the team. Until then, he just needs to stick it out alone.

That’s why when Felicity brings up recruiting new team members, he is completely against it. Another important thing to notice about Oliver is that, following Laurel’s death, he has basically returned to his season 1 self. He is ruthless, he does it all alone and he has no qualms about killing people. So, even though we can see a clear parallel between Tommy’s death and Laurel’s, the way Oliver reacts to them is completely opposite from one another.

When Tommy died, he vowed that he would make the city a better place, but he wouldn’t kill people anymore if he could help it. And that worked for nearly three seasons. Then Laurel was murdered, and now Oliver is convinced that she only died because he hesitated to kill Dahrk when he had the chance. So that means he’s not taking any chances anymore.

So while he is busy being growly Green Arrow, putting arrows in bad guys, his job as mayor of Star City is suffering a lot. He is basically a really, really crappy Mayor – but that is because he is more focused on his night job as the Green Arrow, then on his job at City Hall. Thank God for Thea, who is trying to cover for him as best as she can.

The thing is, Oliver is kind of right when he says that being the Green Arrow is the priority now, because the city is crawling with bad guys. There is a particularly evil dude, by the name of Tobias Church, that has it in for the Green Arrow. So he kidnaps Oliver and a bunch of people from the City Hall, just so he can draw the vigilante out. Little does he know that he’s already got him. But here is where Oliver shows just how ruthless he is now. In a space of a few minutes, he kills about four guys. Granted, he was trying to get away – and the fight scenes were on point – but he was very trigger happy.

Even Thea is shocked to see it. The old Oliver would have rendered them unconscious, but he wouldn’t just kill everyone, adding a couple of shots in a guy just for good measure. This Oliver is lost in his grief and in his denial that everything is fine and things will get back to normal in no time.

Thea, on the other hand, wants nothing to do with crime-fighting. She suits up the one time because her brother had just been kidnapped; but when she sees what Oliver is doing, she wants nothing to do with it. Diggle is in the army and has been deployed to Chechnya. So Oliver basically has only Felicity, who is doing her very best to help him. It is up to Lance to finally get Oliver to accept that he needs help, sending a few of his most trusted cop friends in with the Green Arrow to help rescue the City Hall employees.

However, it is only when Oliver talks to Dig, after everything is over, and his friend tells him that maybe it’s time to put together a new team, that he finally accepts that Felicity might be right and gives her the okay to recruit some of the vigilantes that are already out there. Curtis also volunteers after being attacked, so that should be interesting.

Now, while Oliver is living in denial land, our Felicity has run in the total opposite direction and is eager to move on with her life. She wants to put a new team together, she has a new boyfriend and she just wants life to go on. And that – I am willing to bet – is going to come back and bite her in the ass. The Olicity shipper in me wants this new boyfriend of hers to be a total douche, maybe even a villain, but he seemed to be a sweet guy, which absolutely breaks my heart.

But hey, if Felicity is happy, then so be it. After everything she went through with Oliver, she deserves a little happiness. Even though I think that, in her hurry to move on and live her life, she is also ignoring everything that happened. In a twisted way, she is kind of in denial too and I really think that when those conflicting emotions finally get the best of her – and hey, the girl has been through a lot in the past year and was responsible (however inadvertently that was) for thousands of deaths – all those repressed feelings will just blow up in her face and it won’t be pretty.

Now let’s talk about Russia. I am so, so excited to see the Bratva part of Oliver’s life. I’ve been waiting to find out more about it since season 1 and it’s finally here! Finally, flashbacks I actually care about and will have to pay attention to follow the story. I was so happy to see Anatoly again and I can’t wait to see how this is going to unfold. Of course, the return of shirtless!Oliver doesn’t hurt one bit either.

A new episode of ARROW airs next Wednesday, October 12, at 8/7c on The CW.

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