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ARROW “So it Begins” Review

By on November 10, 2016

Photo © CW Network

By Justin Carter

And So It Begins

In the lead up to the fifth season of Arrow, TNT has been airing the past four seasons, since they apparently get the most popular CW shows to air for syndication. (Supernatural has been on the network for years, and I imagine it won’t be too long before The Flash or The 100 show up on there as well.) With that in mind, it’s a good way to be reminded of what’s happened over the last four years of the show, like Oliver’s List.

It’s been a really long time since the show brought that into play–I think the last time was season two with Isabel Rochev?–and it’s understandably fallen to the wayside for both the show and our titular hero as priorities have shifted. The List was what drove Oliver’s crusade in the old days, crossing names off his father’s journal by him threatening them or more likely putting an arrow in their chest. Such acts don’t really endear one to a city in a relatively stable state of peace, which led to him being labeled as a serial killer during those early times.

With such a large time gap since it was last brought into play, the revelation that Prometheus is killing Star City citizens and determining them with Oliver’s kill list doesn’t hit with quite the impact it should. Neither, for that matter, do the reactions of the new recruits. While there have been copycat killers in the past, they also didn’t show until Oliver was truly ensconced in his career. Malcolm showed up two months after he first donned the hood, and Maseo did it only under the order of Ra’s al Ghul two years later. I was perfectly willing to believe Evelyn’s resentment at his hypocrisy after all she went through, and Rory’s made some degree of sense as well, but Curtis and Rene? Not so much. There wasn’t much of a reason for Oliver or the others to bring up the List since he hasn’t used it in four years, and like he said, they had heard he was a killer when they signed on.

As far as reasons to give Oliver his Internal Crisis of the Week goes, it’s a bit of a flimsy one. Even though he’s still playing things close to the chest, he’s doing it to gain information and because he knows that Prometheus is gunning for him specifically. This is one of the rare occasions where Oliver made the right call, and even though he can’t see it himself, he definitely has grown over the years. The flashbacks help in this regard too, as we see him now getting into the nitty gritty of his business with the Bratva. Much like Evelyn in the present, young Oliver isn’t keen on being given vague instructions from someone who clearly knows more than they’re telling. They’re both in over their head, but whereas Evelyn had Oliver to stop Prometheus from ending her, Oliver didn’t have anyone to save him from meeting Kovar those years ago.

For those hoping that “And So It Begins” would provide some more insight to our season long villain, that’s not entirely what happens here. Aside from learning that he can apparently shrug off an arrow to the chest and knows Oliver’s list, we’re no closer to finding out his identity. There’s a bit of a hint of that at the end, with the revelation that he’s possibly connected to the SCPD in that he melted down Oliver’s arrows over the years to re-purpose as his own murder weapons, and may even be Lance, who never recovered from drinking. It’s likely not going to be Lance, of course; the show tried that misdirection two years ago with Roy and being Sara’s killer, and the explanation for that if it were true would be convoluted and flimsy at best. Still, it’s an entertaining episode regardless of the lack of real villain insight.

Additional Notes

  • Okay, so Evelyn is 17, but those last stretch of interactions with Oliver just had a weird vibe around them.
    “I can’t believe you were flirting with that woman.” “I haven’t done anything yet.” “I hate that you said ‘yet’.”
  • Thea shooting down Rene’s attempts to hit her up will always be entertaining to me.
  • I’m so here for Rory and Curtis bonding as BFFs.
  • Dolph Lundgren is totally fine as Kovar, and I love that he was able to break a guy’s neck with very minimal effort.

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