Arrow – S05E04 Penance

Like the other CW superhero shows, Arrow has been flying high for me and 3 weeks in, it was going alone strong. Coming into the 4th week of these shows being back, I was still waiting for that one episode that didn’t knock it out of the park, and I had a feeling that it was going to be Arrow that brought that miss hit. And it was.

In no way was this a bad episode. I would still rate this as a really strong episode and compared to what we good dished up last season, this episode was a stunner. But compared to how well they started the season and how strong the other shows have been every single week, this episode was a bit of a let down. There was still a lot I liked about it though so I’ll dive into that.

First of all, I thought the opening scene was really well done. I’m really liking this relationship that we are starting to see with Oliver and the new team, especially with Wild Dog. I like how Wild Dog tests Oliver more than we ever saw Roy or Thea do when they were his understudy. I like how Wild Dog is that similar personality to what Oliver was in season 1 when he was just running around killing people. They both show that sense of being reckless and I really like the dynamic it is creating not only between them but the overall team.

The first bit that was a bit of a let down for me was when Rory spoke to Oliver about leaving the team. I’m not sure if it’s because we just had a couple of big farewells on Flash or it was in competition with last season finale with everyone leaving, but it felt a bit soulless. At no point did I ever believe he was going to be gone and never seen again but I wanted them to draw us in as the audience into believing that it may have been an end to him on the team. The flip side of that though, I really liked the scene with Rory and Felicity later in the episode. I like this Felicity we are getting, she is more inline with what we saw and loved in the first two seasons. Out of everyone, they are the friendship I want to see grow the most. There is just something about the situation that I like seeing play out on screen and I think that is mostly because they are playing out as a redemption story of Felicity, who up until the Olicity stuff, I was a massive fan of.

Something that has improved massively this season and it continued to again this episode was the flash backs. I’m really liking the story they are telling but more importantly the pace it is being told at. In 4 episodes we have seen Oliver go from a fight club fighter to a member of Brava. For me, I think the overall pacing of how they have done it has been balanced perfectly. One of the big problems I had with last season’s flash backs was that they seemed to drag on and on and it took forever for the story to actually move anywhere.

My favourite stuff of the episode was the jail break scenes. Firstly, they reminded me so much of early season Arrow where it was just Oliver on his own, breaking into places and taking out guys. What I liked about these scenes most was the meaning behind them. Over 4 seasons, regardless of the individual quality of the seasons, the relationship and brothership that has been formed between Oliver and Diggle is some of the best I’ve seen. These scenes for me really represented how strong their bond really is and how well Oliver and Diggle know how each other works. I was expecting a little more fight back from Diggle for wanting to stay but to me it all made sense that when he saw Oliver coming to his rescue, he would know that he had to leave. I think this was a great role reversal because so often we see Diggle giving Oliver a talking to on why he isn’t thinking straight, where in this episode, we got to see Oliver doing a similar thing for Diggle. A bonus to that, Diggle is my favourite character on Arrow is it is always great to see him playing a large role in the team.

Like I mentioned at the start, this was the weakest episode so far across all the CW superhero shows. But in its own merit I still think it held itself as a solid episode. I just think that there were a few individual moments that were missing a bit of heart that the other shows are hitting us with so it fell a bit short for me. Also, I was hoping that Speedy was going to suit up and go out there to fill into Oliver’s leadership. While I don’t count that as an opportunity lost, it is something that personally I would of liked Thea to step up and do as both a character and to build upon the foundation that has been formed as Mayor of when Oliver can’t do something, Thea is the one to do it.



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