Arrow: The Recruits

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This is going well…

Arrow’s new voiceover at the top of the show mentions that he’s working as both hero and mayor. I like that they adapt the voiceover/introductions for the CW hero shows as they go. It’s a nice touch, and a nod that the shows change as time passes. Arrow is now trying to deal with “Recruits.”

The action starts with Wild Dog chasing down a crook. He’s got some decent moves, but manages to almost get himself killed if not for a last minute save by Green Arrow. The two talk, and then GA leaves, dropping a paper with a note for Wild Dog to show up at if he wants to work together. The archer gets in a line about Wild Dog being just a guy in a hockey mask or “becoming something else,” echoing a line that’s been in some variation of every opening for the show.

In the Lair, Felicity is working on the computers, which seems to be about all she does now. Is she unemployed now, as was hinted but not followed up on last season? If so, doesn’t that mean Oliver is the only one with a job now? Or is Curtis still at Palmer Tech? Speaking of Curtis, he tries to do Oliver’s salmon ladder and fails horribly. Oliver shows up to show Curtis up and get lectured about a new team yet again by Felicity. Oliver finally has agreed, but wants everyone masked for the training. Even Felicity, who, while she was wild about getting a codename (and arguably should have been Oracle), doesn’t like the mask idea.

They’re continuing to set up what I suspect will be one of the ongoing subplots this season, with Thea complaining that Oliver isn’t around enough to do his job as mayor. He responds by dumping more work on Thea. They both agree Green Arrow getting a new team together will let Oliver put in more time at City Hall. Thea comments that a team for them at the office wouldn’t be a bad idea, either. I guess Thea is Oliver’s chief of staff? These comments are wedged in around a meeting with high ranking members of AmerTek’s board to get them to help out with a city medical clinic day. AmerTek was one of the bad guy organizations in the comics that was usually causing problems for Superman’s ally Steel.

The recruits that the episode is named after (Wild Dog, Curtis Hole, and Evelyn Sharp, least season’s brief unauthorized Black Canary) show up at the HIVE facility Team Arrow shut down last season. Felicity is there, unmasked, and then Green Arrow makes a dramatic entrance. Green Arrow puts them through some very abusive training and Felicity comments that at least he’s not shooting them. Which he did to Roy. And Barry Allen. And Wild Dog last week. There’s a pattern here…

Just to make everything more complicated, one of the AmerTek executives gets attacked by a new player in town: Ragman. Ragman is a magically powered vigilante that in the comics is usually in Gotham City. Here, he seems to have an issue with AmerTek, which leads the company to almost pull out of the clinic that Oliver wants to fund. To prevent this, Oliver makes some rash promises that trouble Thea. Thea asks if Oliver is going to have his new team help with security, and he says they are not even close to ready. Which is more or less true, but pretty much Oliver’s fault.

Speaking of Oliver’s fault, he does more abuse… err, training… of the team, and pretty much manages to tick everyone off. He then compounds the problem by giving Yoda-like advice that, “The goal of the exercise is to figure out the goal of the exercise.” Gee, thanks for clearing that up. What is it with green guys and cryptic talk? The non-masked Felicity interrupts to show Green Arrow footage of Ragman’s attack, and convinces him to use the team for backup at the clinic, since whatever building they are holding it in has twenty entrances, which is way too much for Green Arrow to cover by himself. Flash maybe, but not GA. Oliver finally relents.

There are absolutely no surprises at this event. The team shows up, Ragman attacks the CEO, Wild Dog disobeys orders, and Oliver gets angry. Other things include Wild Dog hating his code name, Evelyn complaining she doesn’t have a code name, Quentin Lance showing up at Thea’s request, but late, and Oliver somehow both communicating with the team as Oliver with his security detail around him, and then losing the detail and changing into his costume in seconds. Where was he hiding the weapons?

They reassemble back at the Training HIVE, and Green Arrow yells at Wild Dog. Then again, Evelyn does too. Wild Dog defends his actions, saying that he both saved a little girl, which I’d agree with, and that he managed to snag a piece of the mystery man’s costume. Wild Dog is the one that names him Ragman. I guess Wild Dog is going for Cisco’s gig on the team?

Felicity brings the rag to her boyfriend to get it analyzed. I guess she lost access to PalmerTech if she lost her job, but the Lair can’t do this? I think this was an excuse to get Billy Malone some more screen time. Felicity’s excuse as to why she needs this done are even worse than Oliver’s were to her back when he first starting using her for research. Malone mentions that Felicity still hasn’t introduced him to any of her friends. Does she have any friends outside of Team Arrow? Most of the characters on Arrow and Flash both seem to effectively not have lives unless it serves as a plot point.

Oliver and Thea have a tense meeting about Thea using Quentin for, well, anything. They both actually admit to some blame for the bad idea of her using Quentin for backup security (Ragman got in through the door Quentin was assigned to). Frankly, Oliver has no room to criticize how Thea is doing things at City Hall since he’s pretty much not doing anything. After this, Felicity brings Oliver back to HIVE, where Curtis gives him a verbal beat down, tells him the others quit, and he’s quitting too. Oliver then gives a lame excuse to Felicity that he let others in to his crusade and they got hurt, killed, or hurt him.

Thea gets an important clue about what AmerTek is up to by using her sneaky ninja skills. She won’t fight, but I guess she’ll get intel? Better than nothing. Felicity provides some more insight into what’s up at AmerTek, and the three of them realize that Ragman might actually be the good guy here. Thea asks if the team is going to help, and Oliver snaps back, “There isn’t one.” Well whose fault is that, Arrow Boy?

Green Arrow goes off to face the combined forces of AmerTek and Tobias Church by himself, which is not a great plan, as Felicity tells him. Ragman shows up, and we get to hear his origin as he confronts the CEO. It’s not quite the same one as the comics, but it does a nice job of following up on earlier events in Arrow. Ragman and Green Arrow end up teaming up, and GA recruits Ragman for his team.

Thea and Quentin have a talk about what’s going on with Quentin. He admits he’s drinking again. Thea proposes a somewhat novel version of therapy which Quentin eventually accepts. Green Arrow finally starts treating the team like they’re actually people, unmasks, and the recruits agree to rejoin. This is going to be an interesting mix of people.

In a surprising scene, Tobias Church leaves one of his clubs, and his men get dropped by arrows. He’s amused, thinking Green Arrow is coming to pester him again. It’s not. The new player beats Church easily, and tells him that Green Arrow is his to kill, not Church’s. The new archer says he is Prometheus. In the comics, Prometheus is sort of an anti-Batman, using skill and gadgets to both beat the Batman in a one on one fight and later take down the Justice League on his own. This is a different version, but it’s interesting they chose that name.

Diggle has his own plot this week. While’s he overseas, he gets sent in a mission to recover some wayward nuclear technology. There is gunfighting, encouraging the new recruit, ambushes, betrayal and some fairly nasty surprises for Diggle. I’m betting by the end of it, he’s wishing he’d stayed with Team Arrow.

FlashBratva Theater shows Oliver working his way into the membership of the Russian Mafia. Their induction is what Oliver based the recruit training on, which should have told Oliver something right there. You really want to pattern your training off gangsters? The Russian version is even more ruthless, and Oliver gets a nasty surprise as he finishes part of it.

What I liked: I was wondering how they’d do with Ragman, and this is not a bad version, and the first time he’s appeared live action. I’m looking forward to seeing how he mixes with the team. The running joke of Wild Dog hating his codename is amusing. I’m curious to see what Prometheus is up to.

What I didn’t: Oliver is being a dick, even more than usual. He’s being nasty to his recruits and expecting them to put up with it for no apparent reason. He’s also dumping way too much on Thea. I don’t like that Quentin Lance is drinking again, no matter how believable it is. I like Diggle, but his story didn’t seem to really fit in with anything here. And I could really live without the Bratva scenes.

It was a decent episode that focused on the beginning of the new Team Arrow. I’ll give it a 3 out of 5.

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