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Arrow -- "The Recruits" -- Image AR502a_0051b.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Echo Kellum as Curtis Holt, Rick Gonzales as Rene Ramirez/Wild Dog, Madison McLaughlin as Evelyn Sharp, Stephen Amell as Green Arrow and Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak -- Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Last week on Arrow, our hero was still fighting the good fight, though he didn’t have much of a team to work with anymore. Though reluctant, it seemed as if Oliver was going to have to find some new blood to fill out the ranks. Meanwhile, a new gangster by the name of Tobias Church came into town and was looking to take over the city. And, to make matters even worse, another angry archer showed up and started putting arrows into people. This week, ‘The Recruits’ has Ollie finally settling in on some amateur vigilantes to join up with Team Arrow.

We begin by jumping right into the night. Mister Wild Dog is hunting criminals when Arrow shows up to offer him a job. But he’s only part of the team. Curtis is also looking to get a little more physical and Ollie even extended a hand to the Black Canary pretender from last season. But training doesn’t go so well. The new team gets a firm ass-whoopin’ and they’re not too happy about it.

Naturally, Oliver can’t just be running around as Arrow the entire time, as he has mayoring things to take care of. He’s looking to put on a charity event in hopes of helping the city a bit, but someone’s out to get his chief investors. So it’s up to Arrow and his noobs to guard the event against a crazy, mystical dude wrapped in rags. This little test leads Oliver to throw a tantrum and run his new team off, at least for a little while.

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A short time later, Thea discovers that Oliver’s investor isn’t quite what she claims to be. Furthermore, Ragman has a bone to pick with her that seems to line up with Arrow’s goals. So Team Arrow finds an unlikely ally in the form of some guy wrapped in 2000-year-old magic bandages. Unfortunately, they still have the new dark archer, AKA Prometheus, to deal with.

And on Diggle’s side of the story, we get to see him doing some military stuff. And while his new job may be less complicated than working with Oliver and Team Arrow, at least then he never had to worry about being betrayed. In the end, he’s left with some serious bullshit to deal with. Then there’s the bit about Oliver’s past. He’s bashing his way into the Bratva in order to get close to his target, but getting from point A to point B is proving to be quite scar-inducing.

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This episode brought a little less action than the first one, but it was still pretty good overall. The writers took their time and slowed it down a bit so that we had time to ingest and digest everything that was going on. And, while tossing a half-dozen new (and new-ish) characters into our faces was a bit confusing, we were provided with a list of names and some general motivations, so there’s plenty of time to figure out the deeper shit as the season progresses.

I enjoyed the pacing of this episode in particular. I didn’t feel overwhelmed as I have in the past, when they writers tried to cram too many things into the season. Hopefully they’ll take the long-term approach so that we get a nice, even spread across the required 23 episodes. And hopefully they’ll avoid the problem that killed last season, whereby they ran out of new ideas and forced us to watch the same events unfolding with only slight variations so that they could fill up every episode regardless of the actual story length.

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I’m also eager to see what’s up with Ragman. They spurted out a brief back-story to explain why he’s willing to work with Oliver, but I’ve a feeling that there’s more to it than that. If the writers are going to get us to like the new team, they’re certainly going to have to make it more than that. Not only with Ragman, but with Wild Dog, mini-Canary and Curtis as well.

The biggest issue I had with this episode – and I’m guessing it’s an issue I’m going to have with the entire season – is the presence of yet another Dark Archer type. They did that with Malcolm Merlyn, so there’s really no need to do it again. Perhaps Prometheus is going to turn out to be interesting in the long-run, but he’s going to have to be really fucking interesting if I’m going to get past the fact that he’s basically a clone villain.

So far, so good, Arrow. Keep it up and don’t drop the ball like you did during season 4.

Category: reviews

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