Did I mention that Arrow is still committing to the flashbacks? While Oliver lied to audiences about being on the island of Lian Yu for five years, he has in fact traveled through various levels of “hell” in that time, and the worst of it all is finally catching up to him as he closes in on the tenth anniversary of his father’s death. While the true nature of Arrow’s flashback sequences this season have yet to reveal themselves, the convenient plot device storytelling we saw last year has been dwindled into significant character notes carried from Oliver’s experience training in the Russian organization, The Bratva, and currently attempting to train his newest recruits to help his aid in protecting Star City. The majority of Oliver’s struggle in this week’s episode ties into his reluctance to train new teammates, and his methods in doing so make him appear detached and untrustworthy to everyone around him as both the Green Arrow and as Oliver. This particularly comes to a head as Oliver attempts to set up a medical clinic event with a multibillion dollar company, and it turns into a lot of bad PR when both a robed monster terrorist shows up on the scene in conjunction with the Green Arrow. This mummified individual who had appeared throughout the episode is revealed to be the Ragman, who is providing a proper dose of magical elements to the action sequences so far in the wake of Damien Darhk last season, and so far appears to be acting in accordance with Oliver’s goals for Star City, save for doing so by questionable methods.
In tandem with Oliver being lectured about being too closed in on trusting new people or accepting help, Thea’s subplot proves her to be a quality politician by getting Quentin back on the wagon after he slipped off so ungracefully into a bottle of cheap whiskey as of last week as Paul Blackthorne shows, once again, that he is the prime performer on the show. However, we can’t count out Willa Holland yet as she conveys Thea’s conflict with simplicity as the character remains slightly attached to her old life, and is still using her detective skills on the fly as she snoops about to discover what exactly Tobias Church, the season’s new overarching bad guy, had to do with any kind of bad deal that went on with the military armaments company Oliver had struck a deal with previously.
While there was still plenty of plot going on in this episode, the pacing of it all moved quite briskly out of necessity by also adding a plot for John Diggle, who is now back joined up with the armed forces, and gets framed for the theft of one of Damien Darhk’s Genesis missiles. I’m unsure if this is supposed to be similar, structurally, to Oliver’s flashback sequences, or we’re seeing a slow swing back to vigilantism for Diggle, but either way, this was inconclusive and feels like it should have had it’s own episode to cover as a topic.
As the episode concludes, we get to see yet another stinger starring our new scary, ultimate bad guy for Arrow’s fifth season, who dubs himself Prometheus, who actually has nothing to do with the God of fire or the Alien prequel film, but is actually yet another villain from Batman’s rogues gallery who has been remodeled to be a shadowy reflection of the Green Arrow. Whether he’ll be just as lame as most of his 1990’s villain counterparts remains to be seen.