Arrow: “The Recruits” Review

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.

Ollie and his new team have a lot to learn from each other.

Warning: SPOILERS! Nothing but spoilers, people.

Rebuilding Team Arrow has proven to be rather challenging. There’s a learning curve for both the new recruits and for Oliver. The trainees need to learn the value of teamwork and Oliver needs to learn the value of trustworthy leadership. This was the basis of the strongest plotline in what was a pretty good episode.

As I watched episode two of season five, I was entertained throughout, as I am with every episode. Like most episodes, once again, the action sequences and stuntwork were terrific and eye popping. However, I do see a show struggling with the changes it’s made in its narrative. The rebuilding of Team Arrow is a lot to take in for both the characters on screen and on us, the audience. It’s just hard to accept. While I did enjoy Ollie and Felicity takes steps to make Team Arrow 2.0 happen with Curtis, Wild Dog, and Evelyn Sharp, in the back of my mind, all I wanted to see was Thea return as Speedy and Diggle as Spartan, so that they all could be back to kicking ass again. But the show, in its five season, has made it clear, these new recruits will be our new Team Arrow. Thea is committed to keeping Ollie’s political career afloat. Diggle is still in the military.

I mentioned last week that I wasn’t a big fan of Curtis. Well, this week, homeboy stepped up and told off Oliver for not having any faith and patience in his new recruits. Even though I appreciate Curtis not being annoying in this episode, I still don’t buy this decision to make him a crime fighter. While I certainly understood why Oliver was being so hard on his new team, Felicity had the right idea to put him in check and remind him why the old team worked so well. The new team had to trust in Oliver Queen and not necessarily the Green Arrow. In truth, the whole storyline played out exactly how I imagined it. It was predictable. Still, I enjoyed seeing it play out. I was annoyed with Wild Dog. The whole lone wolf, wannabe bad ass who has a problem with authority thing is so played out. Not to mention, Rick Gonzales’ performance isn’t exactly very good. So it’s going to take a while before I can start liking this guy, unless they pull off a drastic turn around. As for Evelyn, I want to like her, and she has the skills to be there, but this episode didn’t allow her to win us over. It was most entertaining watching Oliver toss them all around, blocking them from ringing the bell in the training exercise. I just thought it was kind of stupid of them not figure out that the point of the exercise was to work as a team. So yeah, we have a long way to go before this new green team can start making a real difference in Star City, which I’m fine with. I’m glad they didn’t all turn into bad asses by this episode’s end. That would have been a mistake. I mostly enjoyed the dialogue between Ollie and Felicity. I love how Stephen Amell and Emily Bett Rickards work so great together. Felicity’s jokes were cute this week.

Arrow -- "The Recruits" -- Image AR502a_0137b.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Stephen Amell as Green Arrow and Rick Gonzales as Rene Ramirez/Wild Dog -- Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Every other plotline was okay for the most part, except for Diggle’s. While it had some decent action in it, there’s a significant disconnect from his subplot facing a corrupt general to everything else that’s going on in the show. I bet he wished he stayed in Star City by now, huh?

We now know Felicity’s new boyfriend – grrr – is a cop, played by Tyler Ritter (John Ritter’s son). He seems like a good guy… but I hate him… kinda.

Keeping Quentin Lance on the show and giving him stuff to do is becoming quite challenging. It’s also becoming a little sad. I give Paul Blackthorne all the credit in the world for playing this character at his lowest point, being an alcoholic and all, but he’s just more interesting as a cop. I do however love that Thea is looking out for him. I hope they keep up these moments between Thea and Lance. They are always quite touching.

A new character, Ragman was introduced. Um, I don’t know what to say about this guy. I like his backstory and how he and Ollie connected with one another instead of him just becoming another bad guy so quickly. Yet, I don’t know if he’ll be a valuable asset to the new team, if he in fact chooses to be on the team. Kind of a wild card, if you ask me.

The villainess plot was pretty weak, actually. Didn’t care too much for the Amertech woman. She was a waste, and really just a reason to introduce Ragman, as well as have Tobias Church show up. With all that, we did get the episode’s final action moment, which was cool.

The Bravta flashbacks were cool because they were directly tied into how Oliver tried to train the new recruits. Although, it was disappointing to see that the whole bell thing wasn’t an original idea from Ollie. Great stunt work during those scenes though.

And finally, the evil Arrow impostor revealed himself as Prometheus in the final scene, right after he handed Tobias’ ass to him. Okay, so now we have a name to this crazy bastard. Let’s see where this goes.

Arrow -- "The Recruits" -- Image AR502a_0162b.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Rick Gonzales as Rene Ramirez/Wild Dog and Stephen Amell as Green Arrow and Echo Kellum as Curtis Holt -- Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

“The Recruits” was a good watch overall. There are plenty of things haters can pick apart from this second episode, sure, but I just choose to enjoy the show while it’s on. That may not make me a good critic, but hope it makes me a good fan. I will continue to call out the show’s flaws and things I wish were better. But as long as the show can continue to entertain me and not make me ill with disapproval, I’ll keep supporting it. Besides, this episode worked with the themes of teamwork and change very well. I would like to see stronger writing though, as well as darker themes explored. Most of all, get Diggle out of the military and back by Ollie’s side, man

Written by
Big Gabe was raised and lives in Pico Rivera, CA. Although born with moebius syndrone, a rare congenital neurological disorder which affects Gabe's ability to form full facial expressions and causes a speech impediment, he does not allow that to stop him from expressing his love and passion for film, music, comics, and all forms of pop culture. Big Gabe's YouTube channel is called Stuffed Burrito Entertainment, where he makes weekly comic book haul videos and occasional movie reviews. His favorite movie genre is Action, has named Terminator 2: Judgement Day his all time favorite film, and often calls Big Trouble in Little China one of the greatest films ever made.

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