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ARROW Review: “Bratva”

BY The Screen Spy Team

Published 6 years ago

ARROW Review:

By Justin Carter

Arrow has asked viewers to swallow a lot of pills in the five years it’s been on the air. One of the biggest came early on in the series, when Oliver casually mentioned he was a member of the Russian mafia like it was no big deal. It was a completely ridiculous mic drop that the show has slowly pulled back the curtain on over the years, with this season finally going all in with flashbacks featuring Oliver in the Motherland.

Sadly, this week’s flashbacks don’t feature him talking with a delightfully entertaining Dolph Lundgren again, but they’re still compelling. Talia’s tutoring helps Oliver grow into the Arrow, and while the transformation is a little too quick, the action scenes are fun and nicely paced, and serve to compliment the main plot. More than anything, his adventures with Talia have instilled in Oliver a greater need to protect those he cares about, which is what fuels him to stop a drug deal in the hopes that it’ll get Thea off drugs (which we know it doesn’t).

Now that Diggle is a free man, the only missing link is the general who framed him in the first place. Having gunned down the men who were supposed to arrest him, he’s in the wind with the other corrupt soldiers and the nuke, prompting Team Arrow to jet across the world to find him and stop the sale. Doing so requires Oliver to meet up with Anatoly again, who’s none too pleased to see his old friend. (In his defense, the last Bratva member Oliver talked with back in season two wound up with an arrow in his eye for his troubles.)

Diggle is naturally hellbent to see Walker dead and the nuke secured, even going so far as to nearly beat one of his men to death. Felicity, meanwhile, is using the flash drive given to her by the rogue hacker group last week to find said nuke and she’s justifying her methods in a way that screams “I will go mad with power,” even going so far as to threaten a phone employee for information.

Even though Oliver can’t control the actions of his friends, he still sees their actions as failures on his part, because he wants them to be better and make smarter choices than he. However, Dinah’s right in saying that going with Anatoly’s Bratva request and busting some heads won’t stop Diggle and Felicity from making their own choices and coming to Oliver beyond being extra muscle.

Choices are at the heart of “Bratva” and how they affect the veterans of Team Arrow, right down to Lance, fresh out of rehab. With Thea out of town and an interview about his recovery looming the next day, Lance is stuck with Rene to help him prep. It goes about as well as expected at first: Rene is well meaning but pushes too far, and Lance blows up. It’s a fairly straightforward story boosted to heartwarming levels when Lance apologizes and makes an effort to connect with Rene. In return, he tells Lance of the time that they met during his younger years when Lance gave him a lecture instead of arresting him. It helps give them both some depth, and Rick Ramirez and Paul Blackthorne have a fun dynamic together.

“Bratva” is possibly one of the most focused episodes of the season in how it handles all of its characters. Everyone’s used to their strengths, with Rory in particular taking home the medal for MVP of the week. He’s the only one to notice how the contents of the flash drive have changed Felicity, and later on, he uses his rags to cover the nuke and contain the blast. The rags are rendered useless as a result, sidelining him for the foreseeable future, but he promises to Felicity that he’ll return. Here’s hoping that it’s before the season closes out.

“Bratva” is an enjoyable episode, and while it doesn’t answer much as far as Oliver’s time with the titular Russian gang is concerned, I still liked it. Whenever Team Arrow has to leave Star City (or the country), there’s guaranteed for some fun to be had, and this one certainly keeps up that streak.

Additional Notes

  • Okay, last week, I asked for Lance to come back and he showed. Now it’s time for Thea.
  • Curtis’ Russian is apparently bad, and I would like a series of shorts where Team Arrow has to learn a new language.
  • Oliver’s reporter girlfriend Susan is getting closer and closer to finding out that he was in Russia and is also the Green Arrow. By the show’s logic, she’s either going to die or leave town to avoid being killed by Prometheus.
  • The Lego bumpers this week in preparation for Lego Batman have me really desiring a crossover where all four shows are just Legos. I don’t know how that would be explained, but I want it.
  • Was anyone else expecting Rory to bite it when he was covering the bomb? I would’ve been sad, but his whole arc this episode has “character death” written all over it.

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