Arrow – Season V – Ep 18 “Disbanded”: A Review

Posted: 04/03/2017 in Uncategorized

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If last week’s ep ranked among the show’s most brutal episodes, this run would be a close second. Again, the show runners remain on point, presenting Green Arrow’s/Oliver Queen’s (Stephen Amell) deconstruction to the point of near absolute despair. His return to Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and  John (David Ramsey) is met with Diggs saying “He’ll  get through this” and her aptly discerning…’this time its different”. Within the opening segments, the stage is set for Oliver disbanding his team and locking everyone out of his hq. Where we go from here is what makes this a superior effort.

After the punishment absorbed the week before, Oliver shuts his vigilante operation down. Naturally, Diggs – GA’s conscience, attempts to reason with him but knows him well enough to give him his space to work through his ordeal. Felicity, knowing Oliver equally well recognizes that the damage done this time around is again “different” and more personal. She opts to reach out to her new ‘people’, namely Helix, to out Chase (Josh Segerra) as Prometheus.

Oliver Queen is a hard case. Despite the physical and mental toll endured, we who have followed his 5 year mission so far know he is not about to let things stand. As with his insane plan of joining the League in Season 3…his current plan is equally dangerous. Not wanting to stain his friends/family, Oliver reaches out to his criminal contacts to do what his team should not. Enter Anatoli (David Nikl) and the Bratva now openly invited to Star City. This is a terrible plan in numerous ways, not the least of which is the price to be exacted by the Bratva captain for his group’s services.

The Bratva arc flash backs and present work astoundingly well. Each man’s respective journey is mired in darkness and hard decisions. The connection between Anatoli and Oliver is at the heart of this season. The diverging path taken makes for superior television drama. Upon assuming the lead position of the Bratva, Anatoli explains to Oliver how the Bratva once worked for ‘the people’ and ably illustrates this via the duo obtaining needed supplies for those in need. He charges Oliver with staying to work with him to keep both his organization and him in check. Anatoli warns Oliver about travelling a darker path while simultaneously requesting that he stay to keep him in check, preventing what he could become.

The price asked by Anatoli for eliminating Chase is high and establishes that the self proclaimed “gangster’s” fears were warranted as he has become that which he feared. The inevitable discovery by Oliver’s team about the Bratva’s presence and price, the theft of diabetic medication to synthesize a new powerful opiate for distribution, pushes Diggs to call out Oliver on his actions. The scenes between the two as always deliver as Digg’s proclamation that they are brothers is earnest. He believes however that should this deal go ahead, this might be the point from which GA cannot possibly return. The burning of Oliver’s Bratva tattoo via Chase’s torture becomes symbolic of his breaking with that part of his past. Even though the toll will be unquestionably high and Oliver earns the acknowledgement from Anatoli that he has indeed turned into that which he despised, the lines become interminably drawn between the crime lord and Star City’s guardian.

Action sequences as always were good, even with the muted style as  the crew now cut off from their weapons and uniforms basically wear standard B&E apparel. This too is relevant as regardless what they wear, the group now led by John are heroes. As always, Juliana Harkavy’s Dinah Drake/New Canary delivers with both her dramatic and physical performances. I truly hope she returns for next season.

MVP for the episode is unquestionably “Dark” Felicity. Despite her current association with Helix, she manages to do good. Her current story line gives her arguably the best opportunity to walk a mile in Oliver’s shoes. This group helps her expecting in turn that she help them against organizations they deem worthy of being brought down. Inevitably they will ask her to do something unconscionable, but until that moment they are more ally than foe. Curtis (Echo Kellum) tracking her to the group played well and showed the “Hacktavist” group in a less menacing light.

Ultimately, though he might battle the idea that he is at heart a killer, GA will work his way back as John predicts. The road back in this season, however, is a bit harder won and no less engaging. The end sequence establishes both the ferocity and penchant for violence that makes Prometheus/Chase the threat he truly is. Still on course to an epic denouement, Season V remains simply outstanding and well worth your time.

 

 

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