We’re finally back from the long mid-season break and Arrow is once more with us. When last we left, Team Arrow was, as usual, having more than its fair share of problems. Curtis was having relationship issues, one of the team turned traitor and teamed up with Prometheus, Felicity lost a boyfriend, Diggle got thrown in jail, and, to top things off, it seems as if Laurel is back from the dead. How will all of this pan out as the next half of Arrow brings us closer and closer to the ultimate climax? We begin with ‘Who Are You?’, a nicely executed reintroduction to all the things that Team Arrow has to deal with in their battle against the baddies.
This week begins right where the last episode left off. Oliver came down to the Arrow Cave to find Laurel chilling there as if nothing had ever killed her. When grilled on why she was still breathing, Laurel 3.0 tells a tale of being rescued by her sister via the power of the Legends of Tomorrow time-travelling spaceship.
They throw a little party to reintroduce Laurel to the world of today, but not everyone is sold on her story. Felicity in particular is unimpressed with her former friend’s return from the grave, so she runs a DNA scan. That checks out, but the truth is revealed a short time later – the evil version of Laurel that was stolen from one of the parallel Earths is their new guest. Prometheus broke her out of her prison in Central City and set her up as his new ally.
After a little bit of brawling and a quick escape, Black Siren gives Oliver a phone call. She claims that she’s only being evil because Prometheus threatened her and that she can help Team Arrow track down their season 5 arch-rival. When the meeting goes wrong, Black Siren finds herself captured and caged by Oliver and his crew. Even confined she claims that she wants to help them, though Felicity doesn’t believe her for a second. In fact, she instigates an escape so that Team Arrow can track her back to Prometheus and make yet another attempt to fight and capture the creepy archer.
As the main bad guy showdown unfolds, we also see Curtis trying to deal with his relationship issues. He finally comes to the conclusion that maybe he’s not the best Team Arrow brawler, but that he’s pretty decent when it comes to improvising some anti-baddie technology.
Then there’s poor Diggle, locked up for a crime he didn’t commit. Oliver makes sure he has a lawyer on his side, one that they all can trust. And when the military shows up to haul Diggle away (and presumably to an untimely demise), said lawyer finds a legal loophole and at least manages to put off the inevitable for a short while longer.
And, of course, there’s a little more of Oliver’s past to look into. The Bratva aren’t too happy with him after his attempt on their new business partner’s life, but they’re willing to give him one more chance to join up and stay loyal. Staying loyal also involves getting the shit kicked out of you in this crew. Lucky for Ollie, rescue comes in the form of none-other-than Talia al Ghul.
‘Who Are You?’ was a solid return after the mid-season break. The main showdown with Black Siren was typical of an Arrow bad guy brawl and one might hope that everything that happened here will lead to something better, but it set the stage for the better elements of tonight’s episode.
The best thing by far was the facelift they’ve given to the character of Felicity Smoak. After losing her boyfriend in a Prometheus set-up, she’s really become a force to be reckoned with. She’s acting just as much the leader as Ollie does and has no fear of putting herself right into the middle of it. In my opinion, it’s the version of Felicity that should have emerged several seasons ago, considering all the crap she’s been through. Hopefully we get to see plenty more of the new, hardcore Smoak rather than having the writers revert her back to a second-hand form of comic relief that just happens to have mad computer skills.
The Diggle storyline is another interesting element. It would have been easy to break him out of prison and just leave him as a rogue element in Team Arrow, but instead they chose to keep him involved in the military subplot. I’m interested to see what connection this has with the main story arc or if it’s just a tangent that the writers decided to go on in order to make Diggle more intriguing. Hopefully it’s the former, as the latter would prove anticlimactic in the long run.
The only real complaint I had this week is that I finally realized exactly how ineffectual and absolutely terrible Team Arrow truly is. Now matter how many fights they get in to, they always seem to get knocked down as fast as they show up. I’d enjoy seeing a bit of improvement in them from time-to-time. Alas, those moments are very few and very far between.
All-in-all, a decent episode that (hopefully) promises a string of more decent episodes. Prometheus is already getting old, given that they never seem to do more than punch-kick him for 2 minutes at a time and his “attacks” on the team are pretty ineffectual thus far. Crossing my fingers that the season ends with a real bang instead of a whimper.