Arrow, Season 5, Episode 7 “Vigilante”
After weeks of secrets, mistrust and mistakes in the field, Team Arrow 2.0 came together and performed like a team … for one episode anyway.
That’s because after dealing with Star City’s new vigilante, named Vigilante (where’s that clever Cisco Ramon when you need him?), it’s revealed in the show’s kicker that Artemis is working with Prometheus. Given the character history of Artemis in the comics and in the Young Justice animated series, there may be more to this than a straight heel turn, but that’s a story for after the Thanksgiving break.
Thematically, most of the season focused on trust but this hour was all about betrayal, both internally and externally.
The most obvious cue comes from the flashbacks, which on the whole have been very good this year. Dolph Lundgren is at his creepy best as Kovar the mob boss he’s sent to kill for the Bratva. Ollie sees his mission as black-and-white, but Kovar introduces a palate of grays when he tells Ollie that the Bratva has really been using him to consolidate power, betraying the message of honor and brotherhood they’ve been feeding him in the process.
Back in the present it’s not a lot better for Ollie.
This new Vigilante is the kind of shoot to kill “hero” that Oliver was during his early days as The Hood. Vigilante’s presence on the scene reopens the debate of justice vs. getting bad guys off the streets by any means necessary. This casts off doubt in Ollie’s mind that maybe the old murderous ways are the best. The team even starts to lean toward Vigilante’s way of thinking until the new guy blows up a seedy motel going after one guy, and killing some innocents in the process.
Through all that Oliver is playing a dangerous game away from his nighttime pursuits by cozying up to the reporter who has that photo of Ollie in Russia. She’s offering Ollie a sounding board that Thea or Lance (who are battling Lance’s alcoholism together) can’t provide. You just get the feeling that the more Ollie lets this woman in, the more it’s going to blow up in face.
This was another episode of Arrow that’s shown remarkable balance, particularly given the way the cast has grown. Everyone was given a significant bit to do. The new team members paired off, and contributed to the investigation of Vigilante in ways that didn’t exclusively involve taking punches. Wild Dog and Diggle’s pairing strengthened after Wild Dog arranged for Lilah and little J.J. to slip their surveillance and soothe Diggle’s recent rage by setting up a birthday party. Quentin admitted his blackouts to Thea, and she got him help and moved the plot forward by taking all the information to Oliver. Even Felicity got out into the field and cracked some jokes.
All of this will be put on hold as this is the last Arrow before the four-night crossover; however, there’s nothing wrong with standing back and admiring a machine that is operating at peak efficiency.