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Arrow - The Recruits - Review

Arrow “The Recruits” was written by the team of Speed Weed and Beth Schwartz and was directed by James Bamford. It’s really nice to see Bamford taking on even more directing as it really pays off in the terrific fight sequences. This episode focuses on Oliver’s (Stephen Amell) building a new team – both as Green Arrow and as Mayor, though really, as Mayor, he’s simply passing the buck to Thea (Willa Holland). This episode was not as tightly written as the last episode, though again, the flashbacks proved to be extremely well integrated with the main plot – did they notice all my bitching last season? LOL!

The episode begins with GA once again saving Wild Dog – Rene Ramirez (Rick Gonzalez) and inviting him to join the team. He also recruits Evelyn Sharp (Madison McLaughlin) and Curtis (Echo Kellum). Sharp makes sense with her ties to Black Canary, but both she and Ramirez are a bit annoyingly snide. Kellum is great when the character is allowed to be serious, but he’s utterly grating when he’s trying to be funny. They would do better to rein him in a bit and not be quite so over the top – though his trying and failing at the salmon ladder is pretty funny.

The flashbacks really worked in this episode as you see Oliver put through the same exercise as he puts the recruits through. Did anybody else fail to see the point was to work as a team from the moment GA told the kids the rules? Of course, that wasn’t the point of the Bravta exercise. I’m quite sure that GA never intended to kill whoever didn’t ring the bell. But then, in the present, the exercise actually teaches GA to work as a team by revealing himself to the recruits. Secrets are what drove the first team apart, so it’s nice to see Oliver perhaps have some character development. The flashbacks also help to illustrate how Oliver came to believe so strongly that the only person he could trust was himself when Anatoly (David Nykl) tells him that. Though Anatoly proves to be a loyal friend.

As Mayor, Oliver tries to work with Amertech to fund a free hospital. Of course, it turns out that Amertech is trying to avoid bankruptcy and CEO Janet Carroll (Suki Kaiser) is in league with Tobias Church (Chad L Walker). Oliver uses the two of them to lure out the latest seeming threat to Star City – Ragman aka Rory Regan (Joe Dinicol). Rory was created from the atomic bomb that destroyed Haydenrock when his father covered him with these ancient rags. He puts his vengeance aside to save Oliver when it seems Church is about to kill GA. Ragman isn’t a bad guy after all and seems like a perfect fit for the new team as he and Oliver share a bond to their fathers’ sacrifices.

It seems like Ragman’s story is the only real tie to Diggle’s (David Ramsey) story in the episode – which really seems like it almost doesn’t belong in the episode. Diggle befriends new recruit Collins (Houston Stevenson) only to see him senselessly killed. Diggle’s commander, Colonel Walker (Garry Chalk) is actually setting them up in retrieving part of one of the atomic bombs that Damian Dahrk had. Diggle says that he’s found peace in just following orders and not having to figure out right and wrong and clearly has that peace shattered in this episode. Don’t get me wrong, I always enjoy Ramsey’s work and this episode is no exception, but the storyline could be better integrated.

In the end, Walker intends to have Diggle take the fall and be court martialed. I’m still wondering if the fallout from Flashpoint on The Flash is ever going to be explained on Arrow. For those not also watching Flash, information about changes to Diggle’s life were revealed on that show. It’s one of the reasons I was reluctant to keep watching Arrow to be honest. My personal feeling is that I don’t want to be held hostage to watch four separate shows in order to understand one of them… but maybe that’s just me. No doubt we will learn more as Diggle’s story unfolds.

Oliver does empower Thea to build her own team. Her attempt to utilize Quentin (Paul Blackthorne) is initially a failure as his turning up late for her first assignment to provide security for the free hospital event leads to Ragman’s attack. Oliver tells her Quentin isn’t up to helping them, but Thea is determined to help him and offers him the position of Deputy Mayor! It’s a way to give him a reason to stay sober and a way to honor Laurel. It’s also great that it means will see more of Blackthorne!

One thing that did irritate me about this episode was Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) taking the piece of Ragman’s cloak to Detective Malone (Tyler Ritter). And not because I’m hating her being with someone else, but because it doesn’t make sense because they used to have all this lab equipment in the lair! Where did it all go? And shouldn’t Curtis be able to help with this stuff? Has he quit his day job? And how good a Detective is he if he has no idea what Felicity is up to?

We also learn that the other mysterious hooded figure stalking Star City is Prometheus. He attacks Church to warn him off of hurting the Green Arrow because he is going to the one to kill the Green Arrow!

I’m still liking this season a bit more than last season. I’m hoping the new recruits get over being sulky and full of themselves pretty quickly, and I’m really hoping that Oliver can help Diggle out of his jam and bring him back to the team – think what a great mentor Diggle could be to the new recruits! He’d likely be a better teacher than Oliver too… What did you think of the episode? Do you want to see more of Ragman? Any of the new recruits impressing you? Do you think Thea is wrong about Quentin? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

About the Author - Lisa Macklem
I do interviews and write articles for the site in addition to reviewing a number of shows, including Supernatural, Arrow, Agents of Shield, Agent Carter, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, The X-Files, Defiance, Bitten, Killjoys, and a few others! I'm active on the Con scene when I have the time. When I'm not writing about television shows, I'm often writing about entertainment and media law in my capacity as a legal scholar. I also work in theatre when the opportunity arises. I'm an avid runner and rider, currently training in dressage.
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