Arrow: Vigilante

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Star City attracts masked men in black

Team Arrow this week is dealing with, “Vigilante,” which some might argue is a somewhat redundant title. Most of the main characters have been referred to as vigilantes themselves at one point or another, by themselves or by others. What they are dealing with is someone who seems to have very little problem with killing criminals. Then again Oliver started off that way, so maybe this is for contrast?

The show opens with what appear to be human traffickers doing a deal. They are pretty despicable, I’d agree. Then they get attacked. At first they think it’s Green Arrow, but they’re in for a shock. Coming after them is the Vigilante, in a decent approximation of his comic book costume. Considering he wears a lot of black and white, and his general attitude about criminals (kill ‘em) and guns (use ‘em a lot), some have called him DC’s version of the Punisher. Fans of the comics have a pretty good suspicion who this is, but we’ll see.

In the Lair, the team is doing the combat drills we’ve seen before, usually with Oliver and Sara. Some of them question the use of this training when they tend to fight bad guys with guns, and Diggle brings up Slade Wilson, who could take them all out… with a stick. Diggle’s being particularly feisty today, going a bit hard on the training, and claiming cabin fever as an excuse, since he’s still hiding from, well, everyone. Ah, the life of a fugitive.

Rory is getting a bit worried about Oliver, comparing him to Ahab. That’s actually not necessarily a bad analogy. This is about when Felicity comes in, bearing news of the newest killings. Some of the team question what separates them from Oliver from Prometheus from whoever the new guy is. Again, it’s a fair question. It’s tough to take the moral high ground when you started your career with a kill list.

Oliver goes to his day job and has yet another meeting with Susan Williams, the reporter. He asks her to keep quiet about the newest killings, and she agrees, easily enough that I’d be worried if I were him. She also mentions a Twitter war with a Russian journalist, which should also be setting off alarm bells for Oliver. Instead, she asks him out for a drink and he says yes. As all this goes on, Quentin drops by Thea’s office to turn in his resignation.

In a rare scene of daytime action, some thugs rob a bank while the sun’s up. The team gets the alert, but gets there late. Vigilante beat them to it, shooting one of the thugs. Things start getting a bit odd when the team seems to be supporting Vigilante. Green Arrow points out that just last week, they were mad when they learned he was the Hood. The moral compass around here swings wildly.

Thea and Quentin have another scene together about his problems, and he shares his worries he might be Prometheus. It’s very nice of Thea and all, but I can’t quite work out when she developed this deep affection for Quentin. They haven’t had a lot of scenes together, and in the early days it was part girl celeb vs. police officer.

The team goes off to follow up on leads. Some of them visit a gun shop, trying to trace the special ammo the Vigilante uses. Diggle snaps here, and beats on a guy with no real provocation. Eventually, we learn he’s all moody because he’s missing his son’s 2nd birthday while he stuck hiding out. Evelyn and Ragman have their own mission, looking for the bank robbers. They use a very effective version of bait and switch, and get a lead.

The next bank job ends up being the Battle of Three Armies, as the thugs, Vigilante, and Team Arrow all clash. It doesn’t go great for anyone, but especially badly for the bank robbers. Vigilante and Green Arrow square off, fighting both physically and over their approaches to crime fighting. Vigilante ends up getting away.

Following on this, the team tries to figure out what to do next. Not coming up with any ideas, Oliver goes on his date with Susan. Thea drops Quentin off at rehab, and promises to hold his job for him. I really wonder if this is another decision she hasn’t cleared with Oliver. He seems to be losing control of the Mayor’s office and Team Arrow. I wonder if at times he wishes he was back on Lian Yu? Later, Thea shares Quentin’s fears of being Prometheus with Oliver.

Oliver’s date with Susan goes pretty well. She apparently hustles pool when not chasing down stories, which surprised Oliver and amused me. They talk, and eventually get interrupted by Diggle calling to suggest they rob a bank. Maybe Diggle really is going stir crazy.

The bank job, is of course, a trap. And while they get Vigilante’s attention and more lectures, nothing really gets resolved. Vigilante does appear to have a slick booby trap built into his mask, which was well done. But, he gets away again. So that leaves two mysterious men in black lurking in the shadows of Star City. We also see that at least one of the team is apparently a traitor. That’s not going to go over well. Rene/Wild Dog does something really nice for Diggle towards the end.

Flash-Bratva Theater is even more irrelevant than normal this week. Basically, it’s Oliver getting tortured, and a little bit of fighting. Then he finds out the Bratva isn’t all that interested in his personal crusade. Gee, gangsters not keeping their word. Stunning.

What I liked: I’ve always liked this version of Vigilante, and it was nice seeing a decent live action of him. Susan’s bar scene was amusing. Rene’s gesture to Diggle was really nice.

What I didn’t: If the team is comparing Green Arrow and Vigilante, he’s in more trouble than I thought. There’s a sort of moral ambiguity settling over the series that I’m not sure I see the point of. There was a weird scene when the team didn’t hear Felicity calling them to suit up that was pointless (much like this week’s Flashback). I’m a bit puzzled by Thea’s depth of feeling for Quentin. The team remains peculiarly ineffective as a unit.

This was just a weirdly uneven episode. I’ll give it a low 3 out of 5. I’m hoping this improves as the season goes.

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