Arrow Review: Taking it to the Next Level

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Arrow, Season 5, Episode 5 “Human Target”

If Arrow were a video game rather than a TV series, we would have been treated with a flashing “LEVEL UP” at the top of the screen the moment Church was captured and the cut-scene establishing the next level boss began.

This episode was all about the upping the ante and by the end, the new team was more cohesive and better skilled and the threat to Star City, in the guise of another masked archer Prometheus, was greater than a brass-knuckled street kingpin can ever be.

Fortunately Arrow isn’t a video game so we were treated with some nice character development rather than busywork item quests.

On center stage was the pairing of Diggle and Wild Dog. Digs is still on the lam and laying low inside the Arrow-cave, and takes to mentoring the recently rescued Wild Dog while the young vigilante licks his wounds.

It’s a fruitful relationship for both. Wild Dog needs the one-on-one attention and encouragement from a figure he probably respects more than the Green Arrow. Diggle is still struggling with killing his little brother, so showing the raw rookie the right path to follow is as good of a path to redemption as any.

The main story opens up the door to Christopher Chance (played deftly by Wil Traval), the titular Human Target, who promptly steals the show.

During his time in Church’s clutches, Wild Dog gives up that Ollie and the Green Arrow are one and the same. This falls perfectly into Church’s plans to use Star City’s many ports (and presumably abandoned warehouses) as a hub for a worldwide drug operation. All he needs to do is get rid of the mayor and the Green Arrow – thanks to Wild Dog that job became half as hard.

Enter the mercenary/master of disguise, Chance, whose skills go beyond merely the ability to take a bullet (or three). In the job of taking on his latest role, he becomes a better Oliver Queen than Ollie by out flanking a political rival on a zoning dispute, and getting a reporter who has been criticizing the mayor’s every move to go all weak in the knees and give up her digits unprompted.

The parts where Chance gives Ollie an ego boost is laying it on a little thick, but we’ll overlook it because it is encouraging Ollie to work on his life without the hood, and this show is so much better when Ollie is functioning in the real world.

Chance even got Oliver and Felicity to talk like grown-ups rather than, say, characters in a CW show, about her new relationship. It kept the ship in port but still preserved that spark the two have for one another.

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The episode hit all the high notes you expect out of Arrow: Wry humor from Thea, some self-referential jokes about the Arrow cave’s open door policy and Felicity being goofy with an Ollie mask before it all got wrapped up in a nice bow, thanks to a full team boss battle at the end. It fits right in with the tone and execution of this comeback season.

Craig Wack

Craig Wack

For a weekly discussion of comic book TV shows please join Craig Wack and Tatiana Torres for the Agents of GEEK podcast updated every Friday and now on iTunes

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  • Despite the fact that I fell asleep like an exhausted person, upon full watch I thoroughly enjoyed this ep. More so than the other offerings this week. Also can I have a Chase of my own? Or can he stay for a while? i love me some Wil Traval as some of you may know. Plus, he doesn’t turn into a bad guy in this like in JJ!

    SIDE NOTE:
    I did however SUPER side eye the end reveal that reporter lady is going to take down Olly by getting a photo of him in russia and they somehow got THAT because they tied him to the HT. I’m sorry are you telling me that no time ever did any other tabloid reporter got photos of him in Russia? Also isn’t the HT like super secret? who was following him that allowed olly to get photographed?