Arrow -- "The Recruits" -- Image AR502a_0051b.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Echo Kellum as Curtis Holt, Rick Gonzales as Rene Ramirez/Wild Dog, Madison McLaughlin as Evelyn Sharp, Stephen Amell as Green Arrow and Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak -- Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
ReviewsTelevision & Film

Recap: For These Recruits, There Is No ARROW in “Team”

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Episode 502 “The Recruits”
Written by Speed Weed & Beth Schwartz
Directed by James Bamford

[photos: Bettina Strauss/The CW]

Now that Oliver has decided — well, now that Felicity has decided for him — that he needs a new team, Green Arrow goes about delivering cryptic fortune cookie notes to Wild Dog (Rick Gonzales), Canary 3.0 Evelyn Sharp (Madison McLaughlin) and Curtis (Echo Kellum) with the address for the new ArrowCave. This is going to turn out so well, amirite?

Spoilers_ArrowInsisting that everyone wear masks, Oliver (Stephen Amell) starts training Team Arrow 2.0 with techniques he learned trying to get into Bratva in Russia — thus justifying the use of flashbacks for this final (praise be!) season. He and several other candidates are given the very simple task of ringing a bell. Only they have to get through a line of Bratva thugs to reach the goal. It’s one of these life lessons that gets drawn out over the course of the episode because the lesson Oliver learns in Russia has to time out to the lesson Oliver learns in Star City five years later, because MEET THE HAND OF THE WRITER.

Actually, the whole hour gives all of our main cast stories playing to a central theme — very much like Seventh Heaven used to do — and this week we get “Team 2.0” as our theme. Oliver and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) have to build a new team at the Arrow Cave, Thea (Willa Holland) starts to build her new team at City Hall, Diggle (David Ramsey) loses his team in Chechnya, and the bad guys are forming their own new team in the dark slimy underbelly of Star City.

Thea is coming into her own as a political expert. (Bettina Strauss/The CW)
Thea is coming into her own as a political expert. (Bettina Strauss/The CW)

Let’s do that last one first, because it’s easily the most “hand of the writer” bit in the non-flashback part of the show. Oliver and Thea want to revitalize Star City with a free health clinic, asking AmerTek to foot the bill for the opening ceremonies. Instead, they decide to foot the bill for the clinic — lock, stock, and barrel — because it’s PR gold.

Of course, it’s a cover-up for AmerTek’s CEO Janet Carroll (Suki Kaiser) being in cahoots with Tobias Church (Chad L. Coleman), as another branch of the Umbrella Corporation that owns AmerTek also makes weapons, some conventional and some nuclear.

The nuclear variety is the subject of the mission that gets Diggle in trouble, as his team is sent to retrieve a nuke that was stolen, only to find out that his commanding officer is planning to steal it for himself and sell it on the black market. Because soldiers can be bought really easily on television… and the CO decides to leave Diggle in the lurch and let him take the fall for the nuclear theft.

Farewell, #Olicity -- we hope. (Bettina Strauss/The CW)
Farewell, #Olicity — we hope. (Bettina Strauss/The CW)

That’s the same brand name nuke that Felicity diverted to the small town of Havenrock, where Rory Regan (Joe Dinicol) is the only survivor of the nuclear blast.

Regan was protected by rags wrapped around him by his father, who said the rags were ancient. Turns out they were also special… as Regan now has abilities beyond those of mortal men. As Ragman, he’s going after the Evil Corporate Sharks who were responsible for the destruction of Havenrock.

When he attacks at the opening for the medical clinic, three things happen:

  • Ragman gets in through a door Quentin (Paul Blackthorne) was supposed to be covering but wasn’t because he was late because he’d been drinking
  • Team Arrow 2.0 blows it because Wild Dog doesn’t follow orders, attacking Ragman and causing Green Arrow’s net arrow to miss
  • Thea, following up on the attack later, finds that the AmerTek CEO and Tobias Church are doing business together.

The attack also sets up a side story item: Felicity using her boyfriend’s police resources to run a gas chromatograph on the piece of rag that Wild Dog managed to grab. Honestly, this whole thing between Felicity and her detective boyfriend (Tyler Ritter) feels exactly like what’s going on with Leslie and Mario over on Gotham — a relationship purely contrived to get under our hero’s skin. It feels so forced that I’m not even going to bother learning the detective’s name, because he’s a Function Character, not a Real Character.

But it does give us a “classic Felicity” moment when she spins the yarn about the cleaning lady…

In the end, Oliver decides to recruit Ragman and give him a purpose besides avenging his father’s death — something with which Ollie has a passing familiarity. And he also gets the rest of Team Arrow 2.0 back together to let them know his identity, because “A team that trusts, is a team that triumphs.” … wait, that’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Nevermind…

The sister is always better at politics, right? (Bettina Strauss/The CW)
The sister is always better at politics, right? (Bettina Strauss/The CW)

One nice bit that came out of this episode: the scene between Thea and Quentin where she offers him the job of Deputy Mayor, invoking Laurel’s memory and reminding him that he needs a reason to stay sober. It was a very well written scene, and kudos to Willa Holland and Paul Blackthorne for knocking it out of the park.

Bonus tease: Prometheus attacks Tobias Church and warns the gangster off killing Green Arrow. Because that’s the job of the next Dark Archer to hit town (how many is that, now?).

 

By the way, what do you think Ragman will do when he finds out Felicity was the one who diverted the nuclear bomb to Havenrock? Yeah… that won’t end well.

 

 

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Jason P. Hunt

Jason P. Hunt (founder/EIC) is the author of the sci-fi novella "The Hero At the End Of His Rope". His short film "Species Felis Dominarus" was a finalist in the Sci Fi Channel's 2007 Exposure competition.

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