Arrow So It Begins review: S5, Ep. 6

This week we learned the problem with calling things too early, but I’m calling it. Arrow isn’t going to go off the rails this year and this will be the strongest season since Season 2. So It Begins might have been a nod to Green Arrow’s first encounter with Prometheus, but it marked another consistent episode in a vastly improved season. Looking for early season superlatives? Chalk Arrow up for Best Series Recovery and it’s not even close.

I’m enjoying the changing dynamic of Team Arrow. Despite bringing four new recruits to the fold, Oliver is still more comfortable tackling problems with his OG squad of Diggle and Felicity. Beyond keeping the new kids in the mix, Felicity’s nagging to bring them in on the Prometheus investigation felt forced. Wasn’t she just chewing Oliver out for letting Wild Dog and Curtis get banged up?

The writers are smartly delaying the first real conflict with Green Arrow and Prometheus. So far, Prometheus is content to play the long game and taunt Arrow like that cool flame message of So It Begins. There’s plenty of time for the two to battle it out, but I’m digging this slow burn approach. It definitely makes this vendetta more personal.

Prometheus’ seemingly random murder spree had a surprising reveal, namely a connection to the names in Oliver’s Murder/Death/Kill ledger. There’s one fascinating theory going around about Prometheus’ identity and it’s someone we haven’t seen all season. Or much of the last four for that matter…

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One suspect I’m crossing off right away is Quentin Lance. The thought of a blacked out Lance not remembering he’s suddenly turned into a ninja with a penchant for killing people with throwing stars is a nice tease, but I’m not biting. This might be a cry wolf scenario from Roy’s nightmare of killing Sara.

An unexpected benefit of the Mayor Queen subplot is it’s given Thea something to do. She’d been limited to dealing with daddy issues with Merlyn and being a redundant archer. Helping Lance battle through his latest fall from the wagon is a nice way to keep them as an important component of the show. And it helps to beef up Oliver’s off duty moments.

Although the Prometheus sighting at the carnival scene didn’t flow all that well, it was nice seeing the full Team Arrow (with Spartan) in action. A problem that was starting to surface was a lack of a significant role for Artemis. This episode provided a nice showcase for her as she was the team member most disappointed by Oliver cluing them in on his murderous path. That wasn’t all the effective — it’s not like Green Arrow isn’t killing people right now in the series — but it created some much needed bonding time for Oliver and his youngest recruit. Battling the super ninja certainly helped mend some fences.

While I appreciate Oliver isn’t the focus of all her neurosis, I’m still failing to be even remotely invested in Felicity’s romantic subplot. I’m really hoping the Prometheus reveal isn’t just that he’s Billy. The supervillain boyfriend among us plot has been done in the CW verse and it needs a break.

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Naturally, I’m still not getting my fill of the Bratva flashbacks. This episode switched up the earlier format of tying in the flashback to current day events. Oliver joined Bratva to take down Konstantin Kovar (Dolph Lundgren, The Expendables 3), but he fails in his first big opportunity. Lundgren plays the role of a dangerous Russian mob boss with ease. And for a generation of viewers that watched Rocky IV, he’s immensely credible in this role.

Next episode looks like it’s going to keep the momentum rolling with Green Arrow’s first encounter with Vigilante. Arrow has been very steady this season and the plots are still unfolding at a solid pace. It’s taken some time, but Arrow is decidedly back on track.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Photo Credit: The CW

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