Season 5 of Arrow continued to explore how legacy impacts the present in its sophomore episode, complete with numerous references to Laurel Lance, Oliver's father and that sexy thing Green Arrow does with the salmon ladder. However, as the name 'Legacy' had already been taken last week, the show runners decided to go with 'The Recruits' instead, officially introducing us to the new Team Arrow.
After the season premiere worked hard to set a new tone and direction for Arrow, 'The Recruits' was under pressure to maintain the show's new drive while introducing a host of new characters and situations into the mix. Surprisingly though, the writers are bang on target with their new approach, making the likes of Oliver and Felicity the most likeable they've been in years, while somehow selling the idea of a dude fighting crime in magical rags.
Here's a breakdown of each new cast member, which will bring you up to speedy:
The pacing in this episode was the best it's been in years, flowing between flashbacks, new characters and ongoing plot arcs with ease. But even among all of the bell-ringing and Handsome Mayoring that went on, there's a whole lot more that even diehard Arrowheads may have missed.
While it wasn't exactly an easter egg, watching Curtis Holt tackle Ollie's now infamous salmon ladder was certainly a great fan boy reference for those who have been dedicated to watching topless Oliver over the past five seasons. Amusing mentions of the brutal way that Oliver trained both Roy Harper and Barry Allen were also welcome reminders of the wider Arrowverse, which continues to weave in and out of the four connected shows.
Speaking of which, Felicity's appearance on The Flash this week provided our first glimpse of how Flashpoint has affected Arrow too, with the revelation that Diggle's child has been gender-swapped from Sara to John Jr.. Within the slightly tedious Diggle side-plot that worked hard to keep him relevant this week, Arrow's first mention of this tiny new addition to the cast could be heard.
Amertek featured pretty heavily this week, providing a surprising link to Superman for comic book fans in the know. The weapons manufacturer is inextricably linked with the origin of John Henry Irons, a genius designer/Iron Man wannabe called Steel who designed a weaponised suit to fight crime after Superman died back in the '90s. Amertek tried to kill Steel, who was hellbent on taking all of the company's guns off the streets, but Irons ultimately won the war. He's a superhero after all. What else did you expect?
Finally, The Recruits also gave us our first proper introduction to the character of Ragman, a potentially ridiculous vigilante who was actually pulled off surprisingly well on the show. While the addition of Ragman and his magical rag powers could veer Arrow dangerously back to the poorly received supernatural antics of Season 4, Rory Regan is currently the most interesting new character on the show. It's a shame that the CW retconned his origin so that Gotham City is no longer his home, but it was gratifying to finally see the impact of the nuclear assault on Haven Rock start to be addressed.
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Quotes That Hit The Mark
Felicity awkwardly explaining that Oliver's prowess isn't as difficult to attain as it may appear:
"It’s really hot, I mean not. It's really not."
Diggle doing his best Captain America impression:
"Fear is part of war, the part that keeps me alive. See these stripes? They give me strength, clarity. Right or wrong, up or down, they tell me what to do."
Wild Dog is super pumped to join Team Arrow and is definitely not being sarcastic in any way:
"Robin Hood needs his band of merry men, right?"
Oliver isn't impressed with Evelyn questioning why training doesn't begin with orientation:
"Is that what the brochure promised?"
Oliver angrily shouting at his new recruits every ten seconds for the majority of the episode:
“ON THE LINE!”
Imagine if the cast of Arrow were far happier, living out life like an '80s soap opera:
Real talk between Oliver and Wild Dog:
"This isn't a game and if you think it is, walk down to the pier and look at the statue of Laurel Lance."
Thea has an "Oooh snap!" moment with Oliver:
"[You're] more like a vigilante moonlighting as mayor."
Felicity doing what Felicity does best – hilariously awkward banter:
Ollie — "They’re too green." Felicity — "Someone could say the same about you... I've been waiting 5 years to make that joke. [laughs]"
Wild Dog getting all sassy about Oliver without realizing that he and Green Arrow are one and the same:
"Pretty boy Queen here actually thinks he's saving the city."
Oliver giving the pep talk of the century to his new recruits:
"You are reckless, you are useless if you’re not behind a computer and you’re just a little girl who should be doing something better with her life."
Curtis throwing some painful truth bombs Oliver's way:
"You don't build people up. You tear them down. I thought I could trust you, that we could trust you. I was wrong and thats why I'm out too."
Oliver opens up in the most heartbreaking moment of the season so far:
"Without personal attachment, there can be no loss. Laurel, Dig, even Roy. I let them into my crusade. I let them in. And they left. I was protecting myself."
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Ragman reveals why he puts on that godawful costume to fight crime:
"Your missile killed everyone in my home. I am the very last living soul of Haven Rock. And I carry with me a message from all those souls that you killed."
Oliver finds common ground with Ragman while finally recruiting someone who's actually half decent at this whole vigilante thing:
"I can't do it alone. I need a team. Let's honour the legacies of our fathers. Together."
Quentin's as confused by Thea's proposal as we were:
"You wanna hire a drunk to be your deputy mayor?"
Ahhhh there it is:
"Ollie told me you need a reason to stay sober and I thought maybe this could be it."
Prometheus continues to do the whole mysterious Reverse Arrow thing with Tobias Church:
"The Green Arrow is mine. You kill him, you die."
Questions Raised By 'The Recruits'
- Why is Diggle still here?
- Seriously, how does Oliver do that salmon ladder thing... IN A SUIT!?
- Will the flashbacks continue to be interesting and relevant for a change, or has this just been a weird fluke so far this season?
- Will Ragman ever get a better costume or even just throw away that dishcloth mask?
- Will Ragman's comic book links with Gotham City ever develop on Arrow? Getting some serious Bat-cravings over here.
- Does Ragman suck up souls with his rags, or just catch some flint and drag in puddles?
- When will Todd McFarlane sue Arrow for ripping off Spawn with their take on Ragman?
- Will we ever care about the other new recruits or just continue asking unnecessary questions about Ragman?
- And seriously; Where the hell is everyone's favourite '80s action star, Dolph Lundgren?
Find out if any of these questions will be answered in Episode 3, 'A Matter Of Trust', by watching the preview below:
There's always a danger that shows can quickly lose their drive after pouring all of their energy into the premiere of each season, but 'The Recruits' is an admirable reminder of why we fell in love with Arrow in the first place. Sure, we're still somewhat sceptical about Prometheus, but between the frantic flashbacks and a host of new, green faces, Arrow looks set to become the CW's flagship show once more. Ladies and gentlemen. The Queen has returned.