Arrow: Human Target


And the winner of “Has the Worst Episode” this week goes to…

The writers are really going deep in the DC archives this season. Wild Dog is an obscure character, even if this is a different version, and Adrian Chase isn’t exactly well known. Now they dig up another one who most people don’t know about, even if did have his own show for a while. This episode is the DC CW-verse premier of the Human Target, also the title of the episode.

As we saw last episode, Wild Dog has managed to get himself captured by Tobias Church. He’s not enjoying the experience in the slightest. Church is adept at many different forms of torture, and being stubborn only gets you so far. It’s a bad day to be Wild Dog.

Green Arrow and the team are out hitting the streets, trying to find any sort of a lead on their missing friend. We still don’t have a good explanation about why Artemis is suddenly using a bow and has tossed away her Canary gear that made her so effective. They finally get a slight clue about where to look, at least.

At the Lair, Felicity is fussing at Curtis for being out of bed so soon after his own wounds last time. The team returns, sharing the little they’ve learned, and then Diggle joins them. Rory makes a joke about people just randomly wandering in to their headquarters, which is a running issue that makes no sense both here and on Flash. Diggle reports that Lyla and ARGUS are trying to find Wild Dog, too, and being equally unsuccessful. Oliver then dashes off for a meeting about the Anti-Crime Unit, Lance helping with that, and a re-zoning issue. Maybe that’s why Oliver is so cranky lately. Far as I can tell, he doesn’t sleep.

Artemis/Evelyn and Ragman/Rory are still following up leads about Wild Dog. For no good reason at all, they are doing this in their civilian clothes. Ragman can maybe do the magic change thing, but Artemis can’t and also doesn’t have her weapons. They do find a grim clue that gives Felicity a way to possibly find Wild Dog. The problem is that Oliver left strict instructions that, if she finds that out, he’s the only one she’s supposed to tell. Apparently, this is one time Felicity is actually going to do what she was told.

Wild Dog is being forced to literally dig his own grave. Even doing that, he manages to get Church to tell him about his plans. If Wild Dog was about to be dead that wouldn’t matter, but this is a great time for a heroic rescue, and that’s just what happens. The plan from here is to have Diggle debrief Wild Dog to see if they can learn anything new, while Oliver goes and tries to at least show up at his mayoral job. Wild Dog reveals he gave up some valuable information.

The meeting is off to a bad start, when Councilman Kullons has insisted on bringing along Susan Williams, the reporter Thea clashed with earlier in the season. The Councilman actually has some solid reasons for not going along with the re-zoning plans, and takes both Oliver and Thea by surprise with them. These two really need to start doing better research or hire someone to do it. Wouldn’t that be a great way to bring in a certain redheaded librarian from Gotham? Hey, a guy can dream.

Felicity and her boyfriend, Detective Malone, get together for some afternoon fun. In the aftermath, he tells her he’s joining Oliver’s Anti-Crime Unit. As if that wasn’t going to be awkward enough, Felicity then lies about Oliver knowing about their relationship. No, I’m sure that won’t come back and bite her on the ass anytime soon.

Wild Dog Rene is about as cooperative with this part of Oliver’s instructions as he has been with everything else so far, and walks out on Diggle. Church has another meeting with Prometheus with more threats exchanged. Church now has his own masked thug, who never gets a name, but does manage to catch one of Prometheus’ arrows in flight. I can think of several people this could have been, but it doesn’t really matter.

Trying a new approach, Oliver has a meeting with Susan Williams one on one. No threats, no cameras, he asks her some very honest questions and does his best to reach out to her. It sounds like a fair deal to me, and she even agrees, and gives Oliver her number. Well, Oliver does need a new girlfriend, and there’s a long tradition of superheroes dating reporters after all.

Rene and Diggle have another talk, and Rene realizes that, while he went through a lot, he’s not winning the tragedy/rough life contest on Team Arrow. He’s not even in the top few. Rene was Dishonorably Discharged from the Navy in the past, making him and Diggle fellow vets at least.

Oliver and Thea have another meeting with Councilman Kullons, and this time they have done their research. They completely outmaneuver him, and even get to toss one of his lines back at him, which is always satisfying. After this meeting, things go less well, as Oliver is shot on the steps of City Hall, falling in a shower of blood.

Remember the title of the show? This is what Chris Chance, AKA the Human Target, does. He has Mission Impossible-type disguise skills, and takes the place of people in danger. This is all part of a plan to lure Church out in the open and take him down.

Chance debriefs Oliver on “his” day, and passes on Susan’s phone number. Rene and Diggle make some progress with the debriefing. Oliver and Felicity have a scene about her not telling him about Billy Malone. I think each of them actually have decent points on this one. They finally get the info they need, and Team Arrow charges off into combat again.

The big fight is very uneven. We get to see Spartan back in action, which is good. The unknown masked bodyguard kicks Artemis and the barely-healed Mr. Terrific’s butts with no real effort, but then gets dropped equally easily by Chris Chance, in disguise as one of the thugs. Of course, since Chance usually gets paid and usually impersonates the one in danger, I’m not sure that bit quite works. Green Arrow and Church get their big throwdown, and it’s really not as impressive as I hoped.

The show ends with a press conference (Hey, everyone, sorry you thought I was dead), a bit more with Chris Chance, and Felicity babbling as she usually does. Church gets sent off to jail, and has some misadventures along the way. Exactly why he didn’t reveal the big secret he learned about Team Arrow while he was in police custody is never explained.

Flash Bratva Theater involves more maneuverings within the group. I think Oliver is more involved with politics in the Bratva than he is as Mayor. There are more threats and fights, and no progress whatever with Oliver’s alleged mission to go after Kovar. I will say that, for once, they manage to tie the flashback to the main show a few different ways that actually work, and are going to make things interesting for Oliver later.

What I liked: Chris Chance is an interesting character, and I’m glad they used him here. They even managed to use him in a way that (mostly) fits with his usual character in the comics. The scene with “Oliver” and the Councilman were nicely done, and I liked the meeting with Susan Williams (although I can’t stand the character). I liked seeing Spartan back in action again. They actually made the Flashback relevant for once.

What I didn’t: I still want Evelyn’s change from Black Canary to Artemis, why she’s using a bow, and how she got Cisco’s Canary Cry to work for her explained. The never named mystery thug was build up that went nowhere. Why did Church keep the team’s secret?

I’ll give this one a solid 3 out of 5. It was uneven, but had some good points.