Arrow: Season V – Ep. 4 “Penance”: A Review

Posted: 10/28/2016 in Uncategorized

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Another run re-establishes Arrow as one of the best shows on television. When Lyla (Audrey Marie Anderson) reaches out to Oliver (Stephen Amell) to help her break Diggs (David Ramsey) out of jail, the stage is set for a two tiered ep in which the Green Arrow’s actions leave his new team to act on their own to stop the threat of Tobias Church (Chad L. Coleman). Tight action, great flashback progression and absolutely no fillers. Now, on to my review.

The penance aspect covered both the story arcs of John Diggle and Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett-Rickards). Felicity’s telling Rory/Ragman (Joe Dinicol) that she essentially destroyed Havenrock, his home and family, when faced with an impossible decision via Damien Darhk’s (Neal McDonough) missile launch leads to his leaving the team as he can’t work with a constant reminder of his loss. Diggs can’t get over the guilt of killing his brother  Andy  (Eugene Byrd) and opts to stay in jail for a crime he didn’t commit to atone. The progress of each character’s moving forward is its own self contained arc.

Oliver promises Lyla he will help and break her husband out of jail. Felicity balks as “John is not on board”, not to mention the countless other reasons that this is a bad idea. Ollie will not leave his ‘brother’ behind and makes his way with a quick B & E stop at Palmer tech. The team stand up to him charging him with stopping his latest mision  or else. The “or else” goes exactly as we’d expect as honestly this is the Green Arrow. The character arc for Oliver/GA this season is superb. Fulfilling dual roles as Mayor and vigilante, Oliver is done playing. We are back to the hard ass-ery of season one and with all he has coming at him, this is a good thing.

Both arcs were very solid. Again, GA this season so far features no filler. Oliver’s trip to the prison with Lyla as “harbinger”, a nod to another DC character, easily illustrates why his “I won’t get caught” dismissal to his new team, when they question his decision, is not bluster. His assessing, breaking in and addressing all threats in the prison made for stellar t.v. The buttressing of the present day story arc with a Bratva flashback sequence in which he deliberately gets himself arrested per Anatoli’s  (David Nikl) council was seamless. The ruthlessness demonstrated in the flashback arc plays well in giving the viewer insight into how he has become so formidable. The current prison sequence is no less so. His ability to reach John, however, shows he is not the man he once was. His charging Diggs with obtaining penance by working with him had proper dramatic oomph.

Back to the new recruits…there is no question that “Wild Dog”/Rene Ramirez (Rick Gonzalez) is being primed to be the next gen Green Arrow. He is hasty, quick tempered but very physically capable. He is also willing to make a sacrifice play when a situation proves unwinnable. The team manages to get a new run and Evelyn Sharpe (Madison McLaughlin) gets her new field name, “Artemis”.  Curtis Holt (Echo Kellum) as Oliver has stated, “has the furthest to go”. While unquestionably athletic, he gets his ass handed to him repeatedly. The teasing by Wild Dog and Artemis about his actually being an Olympic athlete still plays well with the nascent “Mr. Terrific” explaining that he is a bronze medallist, among other rationales. The team is coming together but is a long way from being good. Artemis/Evelyn gets it. Rene does not as his drive exceeds his abilities.

The penance arc between Rory and Felicity gains some resolution with his agreeing to rejoin the team and proving mvp on several occasions. The supernatural aspects of his costume are lower key and as such maintain the street level feel this season is going for. The notion that Rory and Felicity will keep each other in check regarding guilt and aid each other in moving forward is earnest and not the least bit hammy. The question of why didn’t he go back to grab Wild Dog after the all out assault by Church at the weapon storage facility is an apt one. He is essentially invulnerable with his “rag-fit”…

The pairing of D.A. Adrian Chase (Josh Seguerra) and Deputy Mayor Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne) allowed for a glimmer of Chase’s own eventual story. While he balks at the potential damage caused by the actions of masked vigilantes, the tactic he was about to employ with a member of Church’s crew, before the incursion at the police facility incursion, leads one to perceive he isn’t the boy scout he purports to be. His arc will bear watching.

Overall, another very solid run with few missteps. I did wince a bit at the liberal ‘procurement” of an escape method used in Chris Nolan’s “Dark Knight”, but damn it if it didn’t look cool as  heck. With “Penance” Arrow Season V is on course to remaining simply outstanding and well worth your time.

 

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