ARROW 5.02 Recap: Back to Basics


It is no secret that ARROW has struggled with storylines and cliché plot points for the past season and a half. However, last night’s episode was surprisingly fantastic. I’ll be honest and be the first to admit that, despite the sometimes weak storylines, I just really love the characters and they are what keeps me coming back every season. That said, “The Recruits” brought to the table a new and exciting energy and a very “back to basics” vibe to the show.

The new recruits. Following Felicity’s advice, Oliver assembles a new team, calling in Rene Ramirez, Evelyn Sharp and Curtis. Of course, things don’t go well because Oliver is not used to teaching people as the Green Arrow. In fact, he is not used to teaching people, period. In his stubborness to keep his identity a secret, he tries to train the new team members with the hood on and uses the methods the Bratva used to initiate new members. Things go south pretty fast, especially after he puts them to secure perimeter at an event he is attending as Mayor. When Ragman attacks, Wild Dog does not stand down as Oliver ordered and, when they get back to the lair, Oliver basically tells them they’re all worthless pieces of crap and that he’s done with them.

It turns out, however, that in his attempt to stop Ragman, Rene actually caught a piece of the weird creature’s suit, so that becomes their only lead to find him. Felicity – bless her heart – intervenes when things start to get really heated and uses her loud voice with Oliver, telling him he needs to tone it down and change his training methods. They don’t trust him and he’s not even doing anything to encourage them to be on the team, except yelling at them and not explaining anything in the process. In fact, Felicity was fantastic in this episode and it’s amazing to see how far she has come from that babbling, adorkable nerd to this self-assured, confident woman who can go toe to toe with the Green Arrow and not shy away when things get intense.

It takes Curtis telling Oliver what a ridiculous bully he is – and dropping so many truth bombs in the process – for Oliver to see that he is going about this all wrong. In the end, he realizes he can’t face everything alone and he needs backup. When he finally faces Ragman and discovers that he is actually just a young guy – who was the lone survivor of Havenrock, and is just trying to avenge his father’s death by going after everyone who worked with Dahrk – he invites him to be part of the team and do some good.

In the end, Oliver reveals his identity to the new recruits and everything is back on track with the new team. Let’s just hope Oliver can keep his end of the bargain.

City Hall duties. Thea is not happy with Oliver because, as she said so herself, her brother is a “vigilante moonlighting as mayor”, not the other way around. Oliver is basically dumping everything on her and she is fulfilling his role as Mayor all by herself, which is so not fair. However, having Thea play the role of Mayor – and basically make all the decisions – gave her the opportunity to extend a helping hand to Quentin Lance, whose life is spiralling out of control after Laurel’s death. She offers him a job as deputy Mayor, so that he once again has a reason to stay sober and take care of the city he loves.

That was such a touching moment and I’m just loving this new dynamic between them. Meanwhile, Oliver still sucks as a Mayor.

What is going to happen to Diggle? When it was first announced that we were going to see Dig in the army for a little while, I didn’t know what to expect. I loved seeing him as a Sergeant and how much of a mentor he is to his fellow soldiers. All his scenes just proved that Dig is probably the most loyal, kindest and bravest guy in this show. Now that those dirty guys are trying to pin a crime on him, I can’t really see how he’s getting out of it without outside help. My guess? Lyla is going to be her kickass self and go to Chechnya herself to rescue him. That said, I can’t wait to see him back at the lair.

Felicity. My girl Felicity was pretty amazing in this episode. Although I am not happy that sometimes they have her in a scene just so she can be comic relief, her scenes with Oliver last night showed just how much she’s grown as a character. Long gone is that babbling nerdy girl and what we have now is a confident, kickass version of Felicity Smoak, who is not afraid to tell Oliver exactly what she thinks and does not back away from a challenge.

Even though her relationship with cop WhatsHisName breaks my heart, she is stronger now, even if she sucks at coming up with cover stories. Now, I didn’t really understand why she would involve her cop boyfriend in her pursuit of new leads – let’s be honest, she could’ve just asked Barry to do it – but I have a feeling that this can go in two different directions. Either all the secrets she is keeping about her night job, plus the guilt she still has to deal with about nuking Havenrock, are going to be what ultimately ends their relationship; or she is going to crack and tell cop WhatsHisName everything and that can either nuke their relationship or make it stronger.

Either way, I am so glad we are going to get to see a more serious storyline for Felicity, especially now that Ragman is going to join the team. That secret is going to eventually come out, and when it does, it will not be pretty. And I can’t wait to see this because I know Emily Bett Rickards will knock it out of the park as she always does.

A new episode of ARROW airs next Wednesday, October 19, at 8/7c on The CW.

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