ARROW Recap “The Recruits”
By Justin Carter
When there is a superhero, there must eventually be a team to join them.
Just about all of the big superheroes have a minimum of two other costumed heroes of their similar ilk–Spider-Man has Spider-Woman, Silk, and Miles Morales, Green Lantern has the other Green Lanterns, and so on and so forth. The last few years of Arrow have seen Oliver form a team slowly but surely; first with Roy and Diggle, then with Sara. Even with Laurel dead and Thea and Diggle leaving last season, there was never any real sense that Oliver would be going solo again. Last week saw him come to grips with the reality that neither his sister or Diggle were going to be coming back for the foreseeable future, and now the time has come for him to get a new team and begin training them.
To that end, our recruits are Wild Dog from last week, Evelyn Sharp from season four (that girl who jacked Laurel’s Canary Cry necklace and managed to make it work for her somehow), and Curtis. No surprise that Oliver’s idea of training doesn’t exactly work with the three differing personalities, particularly Wild Dog’s stereotypical hot-headed self. That, combined with Oliver’s frankly stupid and abusive way of training, doesn’t bode well for the team. Yes, his “ring the bell” routine and being hard on them is rooted in his initiation into the Bratva, but as we learn over the course of the episode, that same routine also ended with his fellow initiates getting shot.
The fact that he can’t see that the hardass approach isn’t going to work with someone who’s only been in one fight, a girl locked away for months, and a guy he put an arrow into just makes him come off like he forgot the last three years have happened, despite the fact that he claims to be treating them the way he is because of those last three years.
Like with Roy, it’s more than a little obvious that the only way he’ll get them all on the same page after they’ve up and left is to reveal his identity. A training storyline is definitely needed to showcase what these guys can bring to the table–and to be honest, I was surprised that the three of them didn’t figure out that the big lesson to ringing the bell was to come at him as a team instead of one at a time, which is what their group scenes in the background looked like. And since the three of them don’t even have a comeback moment, the lesson doesn’t hit with the oomph that it should.
Curtis, Evelyn, and Wild Dog don’t really get the chance to show off their action chops this week, which is to be expected. Instead, the action highlights go to the final new member of the team, Ragman. That nuke that Felicity diverted in the finale last year gave him his powers after his father wrapped him in ancient rags. As the only survivor of the nuked town, he’s on a warpath to kill the higher ups of the company that made the missile, who also happen to be helping Oliver with a charity drive. He’s suitably creepy in costume, and the effects of his clothes works, which makes the reveal that he’s a relatively young man underneath all those wraps all the more tragic of his situation. The conversation between him and Oliver at the end about legacies hits all the right notes, and it’ll be interesting to see if and when Oliver and Felicity spill the beans about their involvement in his origin.
Speaking of nukes, Diggle’s story line this week involves leading a mission to recover one of the triggers to the nukes. It’s largely unconnected from the main plot and is functional, though it’s not at all surprising when his commanding officer turns out to have aims of acquiring the trigger for his own means and frame Diggle to cover his own ass. It’s also incredibly easy to tell that the rookie soldier he talks to before the mission starts will die; the kid is too green and scared, and war stories in media haven’t changed that much over time.
The problem with Arrow–of all the shows I watch for both this universe and in general, it feels like it has this issue the most of them all–is that it’s difficult to tell what stuff is intentionally being saved for later, and what stuff got shuffled around because of a lack of time. The action in “The Recruits” is good, and I’m willing to give it some leeway because Ragman seems like an interesting dude. Maybe this episode will be looked at better over time, but for now, this one should’ve trained a little more.
- Quentin gets made into deputy mayor, to give him something to do, and also so he stops drinking. It would not surprise me that much if he got promoted to mayor full time after Oliver flaked too many times on his duties.
- “They’re too green.” “*punches chest* Some could say the same about you.” Okay, that was a funny line read from Emily Rickards.
- How old is Evelyn supposed to be? Oliver calls her a little girl, which indicates early teens, but I swear during her first appearance, someone said 15-17.
- Prometheus is still doing his jump on stuff to land safely on the ground thing, I see. It’s going to be very confusing to see him and Ragman on screen at the same time.