“Recruits”: ‘Arrow’ 5.02 Recap and Review

Warning! Spoilers Ahead For Season 5 Of Arrow! Read At Your Own Risk!

After Arrow started off fairly strong last week, fans were hoping that this season would remain strong and help repair some of the issues from the last two seasons. After watching this episode, I have to say that the show is definitely going in the right direction for now. Let’s break it down.

This episode, as teased in the title, focused on Oliver recruiting his new team to help him fight crime in the city. We first see him meet Wild Dog, and then Evelyn Sharp suddenly appeared at the base. It was a bit odd, since fans didn’t know who she was from last season had no idea why she was there. The training for this mission is all about the recruits working together to complete one goal, ring a bell. But in order to do that, they must get past Oliver. This technique used by Oliver came from his training in the flashbacks, which I enjoyed seeing the past and present intertwining like in Seasons One and Two. Speaking of flashbacks, they are still not too relevant, but they are far better than in the previous two seasons. The cold, heart-wrenching scenes do make us feel some emotion for flashback Oliver.

The “villain” this week is Ragman. I use the term villain loosely because we discover that Ragman was trying to do something good. Oliver, as the mayor, was trying to have a health clinic and the company that sponsored it was selling guns to Tobias Church, one of the season-long villains. While Ragman was not after Church, he did help Oliver defeat him and later joined the Team. I personally thought that the moment between Oliver and Ragman at the end of the episode was touching, and having them share stories about their fathers definitely hit the episode home for me.

The smaller arcs in the episode revolved around Diggle, Thea, and Quinton Lance. Diggle is still on active duty, and the episode follows a mission that he is on. When his own men turn against him, he loses a new friend and his trust in the United States Army. Because of this betrayal, it appears that Diggle will be Court-Martialed. This episode was very impactful for Diggle, and I thought made up for the complicated and awful arc last season with his brother Andy. I’m fascinated to see where his arc goes from here. As for Thea and Quinton, Thea is trying to help a drunken Lance get on his feet. But when he slips up and lets Ragman enter the health clinic, Oliver thinks it is a bad idea to have aboard. Still, Thea does not lose hope and continues to support Lance as he begins to work with the Mayor’s Office. I feel bad for Quinton this season. After seeing him go through multiple promotions and demotions, he is now jobless. On top of that, he has lost his daughters now (some several times) and really has no one left to turn to. I look forward to his redemption later on this season.

Finally, some of my favorite moments from the episode were the show addressing issues fans have had for years. One of which was Laurel Lance, and how quickly she became a vigilante. Oliver talks about how the recruits need to be better trained, because if they aren’t, they end up like Laurel. While the show can no longer fix the issues with Laurel in the past, they can improve on how they handle these new recruits. However, there is a problem I have with this that I will address in a moment. The other moment was when Curtiss brought up how Thea and Diggle left because of the lack of trust between them. This reminded me of the bonds between Oliver and Diggle in Season One and between Oliver and Roy in seasons 2 and 3. I hope that we can return to those tight knit relationships the show thrived on in Seasons One and Two.

As usual, there are some issues with the episode as well with the trailer for the upcoming episode. The most prevalent issue I see is actually in the trailer for next week’s episode. After stressing the importance of training these recruits for a long time, it appears that they are going out in costume next week, completely going against one of the lessons of this episode. I’m predicting/hoping that the team makes a really, really bad mistake, causing Oliver to keep them hidden until at least the mid-season finale. That gives us more time with Oliver fighting on his own and for the characters to develop. Some issues I had with the episode were once again the dialogue and Felicity’s boyfriend. Most of the dialogue worked in this episode, but some lines did not work and tried to be fan service. As for Felicity’s boyfriend, he seems like an unnecessary thorn in the side of fans every episode. While I, along with many other fans of the show, are not fans of Oliver and Felicity together, her new boyfriend popping in and out like that seems to┬áhurt the show even more. I hope that while he comes off as a bit of a dork, he turns out to be Prometheus. I stand by this theory because he is somewhat of a mysterious character. It is obvious he is important to Felicity, but he doesn’t show up very often, which is strange when the show wants to try this new romance with fans. Once again, Arrow‘s romance is not the best on TV. Speaking of Prometheus, he is already a problem for me. The fact that he has only been showing up in the TV version of an end-credits scene means that he is becoming predictable. Either show him in the actual episode, tease him in the episode, or don’t show him at all that week. It is going to become very annoying very quickly if they continue this trend.

Overall, Arrow still has a lot of things to work out, but I am excited about the upcoming season. As long as the story with the new recruits is handled correctly and characters like Diggle return to the team we should be fine. Arrow is attempting to go back to its roots, and it is actually working.

So, let me know what you guys thought of this episode? Do you guys like this direction, and are you hopeful for the rest of the season? Let us know in the comments below and on Instagram and Twitter @comicdrops!

Arrow shoots into your TV every Wednesday at 8pm EST on the CW

Sean Hussey

Sean Hussey is a writer who enjoys both Marvel and DC, as well as Star Wars. He also has two YouTube channels as well as hosts a Podcast.