Arrow – Season V – Ep. 19 “Dangerous Liaisons”: A Review

Posted: 05/01/2017 in Uncategorized

Ok, CW’s DC offerings have gotten dark…reeeeaal dark. Following the standard template that no one in this line of work, namely vigilantes, can be romantically fulfilled that I have so often railed against, this week’s Arrow offering extends this trope to fan favorites John Diggle/Spartan (David Ramsey) and Lyla Michaels (Audrey Marie Anderson). Dark Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards), Dark Thea (Willa Holland) and now Amanda Waller rising. Sheesh.

Ok, I get that this is a heavy season and the scope and breadth of what is being attempted is assuredly laudable. That this season will end where the show began stands to be monumental. That spoilers of who will be included every GD minute is galling but very much how it is now, sadly. The topic of this latest run however is “division, division, division”. While the team undeniably share the goal of taking down Prometheus (Josh Segerra), the manner in which they do so is called into question. Oliver (Stephen Amell) still eschewing his Green Arrow apparel as he feels unworthy, works with his team to track down the brilliant serial killer to no effect. Taking his lumps in his other identity as Mayor is equally hard to watch but gives the show an authenticity via public outcry for not seeing a killer in  their midst.  Felicity has a way of finding said killer but the quid pro quo portion of her deal with Alena (Kacy Rhol), the current head of Helix, is costly. The price is betraying Argus which in turn leads to greater knowledge that Argus 2.0 isn’t all that different from Waller’s original version. Layla’s repetition of “it’s different when you’re on the other side of the chair.. ” rings hollow over time, but honestly with the amount of sacrifice and nasty plays most of the team has pulled, and endured, can anyone really be judgmental?

The revelation that Argus has taken the ‘hacktivist” founder of Helix,  Cayden James, and interred him without trial does give his group some due cause for their actions the government sanctioned organization. Neither side is free of guilt, but when even Diggs feels his wife’s group’s actions are troubling, while allowing his own previous wrong doings, gives one pause. This season has stretched a bit thematically, allowing for such social issues as gun control as well and with this ep, personal rights and freedoms. Lyla’s noting James is a worse threat than Prometheus, therefore justifying his incarceration for the ‘greater good’, again rings hollow. Oliver’s decision to have his team back Argus comes a little too easily considering all that Felicity has sacrificed for the group and especially him. Her goal of obtaining a biometric tracker to locate Prometheus in exchange for an incursion to free James doesn’t seem like something GA would not have done. His “you are better than this” argument is now empty. She too has seen and done too much and with the losses incurred,  including making a brutal decision (last season)  to target one group of innocents in order to save an even larger group of innocents, Felicity 2.0 has become much closer to Oliver moral code-wise.

About the only light in this otherwise heavier themed ep was in the sub arc involving Rene Ramirez/Wild Dog (Rick Gonzalez). Working closely with Deputy Mayor Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne), Rene has evolved into a more balanced character including taking his assistant role seriously. Not so seriously that he will cease calling Lance “Hoss”. Lance having lost one daughter sees in Rene a chance of restoring his to him,  Zoe (Eliza Faria), presently being raised in foster care. Lance pushes Rene with admitting why he had not taken Curtis’ (Echo Kellum) offer of working with an attorney to restore his full custody. Rene shares the why but Lance being in a position where he would give almost anything to bring back his daughter, pushes past the young man’s denials and hurt. A superb moment occurs when Lance arranges for a reunion albeit a temporary one between Rene and Zoe. The moment is earnest, occurring organically, including a funny moment in which Zoe refers to Quentin by Rene’s nick name for him.

The battle between Helix, Argus and Team Arrow ends with the revelation that Felicity is capable. Her out thinking the group strategically might piss off GA, but had to earn his respect. Juliana Harkavy’s Dinah Lance/New Canary continues so slay both with the depiction of her fighting skill and demonstration of her meta human abilities. It was a wise decision to make her part of the regular cast next season. Even Curtis/Mr Terrific gains some needed push via his using his scientific skill with weapon-ized spheres in lieu of  pure physical engagement. The fact we never meet James and the manner in which Elena  breaks ties with Felicity might lead one to to conclusions regarding the Helix founder’s true identity but chances are this will not be answered this season as there is a hell of a lot more ground to cover before the season ender.

Overall this latest run was solid. The cliffhanger might allow for some reconnecting and relationship ‘re-building’ in next week’s episode. We appear no closer to figuring out Prometheus’ end game. There are many arcs in play and if the show runners can maintain the craft required to tie everything up in a flashback ending finale, season 5 will unquestionably rank with the first two seasons as simply outstanding and well worth your time.

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