Arrow 5×07 Review: Countless Steps Back

You know the saying, “One step forward and two steps back?” I mean, how could I forget now that Arrow has shoved this useless reporter in my face and has her doling out advice. Cause that’s believable.
Anyway, Arrow season five has proven that that statement couldn’t be further from the truth. In Arrow‘s case there are no steps forward and countless steps back.
Arrow is so obsessed with recreating season one that it’s actually tainting this show that was once the strength of the DC television universe. Like it’s one thing to be inspired by something and it’s something else entirely to become obsessed with something and have it affect your show in this way.

We get it. Arrow season five is going “back to basics.” Whatever the hell that means. If I remember correctly, and I do, Arrow was never this show even back in season one. Arrow was always a show that understood what it was; understood its strengths; understood its characters; knew how to execute storylines in a way that doesn’t feel like a regurgitated mess.
To be honest, Arrow is boring.
Arrow, a show that I could rewatch several times over, has become a show that I can barely make it through one time. It feels hollow. Like it doesn’t have a soul. It’s just existing.
All of the pieces are there — pieces that have proven to make Arrow a success in the past — and yet here is the show squandering those elements because why? They all of a sudden want to cater to the comic book audience? I’m sorry, but the last time I checked the comic book audience doesn’t make up a majority of Arrow‘s viewership.
Most of Arrow‘s audience has probably never even picked up a comic book. They tune in for the characters they’ve come to know and love; they tune in for good storytelling; they tune in because they give a damn about a show that they couldn’t give two shits is based on a comic book. And this is coming from a girl who loves her comics. But I can differentiate between mediums.
I’m getting so tired of writing the same things week after week because nothing seems to be changing. It’s so exhausting. And it’s so hard to have to say such terrible things about a show that I’d considered one of my favorites. But the truth needs to be said. The writers need to know they’ve done wrong by their faithful audience that has been tuning in for five years now.
Donald Trump was elected president. Haven’t we suffered enough?
Here’s a rundown of events that happened in “Vigilante”:

There’s A New Vigilante In Town

As if you hadn’t guessed from the episode title, Arrow introduced a new vigilante (so originally named “Vigilante”) into the fold, which felt like a younger version of Oliver’s Hood. He was brutal. He was nasty. He was a killer. Of criminals, of course. Sound familiar?
This Vigilante tangled with Green Arrow and his team and basically wanted them to leave him the hell alone. He had an agenda. He was saving this city by taking out criminals. Very Oliver Queen circa season one. It’s a nice parallel as Oliver struggles with himself this season.
So we all know that the DA is Vigilante, right? Even if I hadn’t seen the casting news months back, I’d have been able to piece it together given Adrian’s fierce interrogation and desire for justice. It’s all in the body language. I was surprised that Vigilante’s true identity wasn’t revealed (it felt like it was evident), but hopefully that’ll allow for more Vigilante as a separate vigilante for some time.

I’m Sorry, Oliver Trusts the Reporter Because Why?

I’ve made it no secret how nauseous this whole Oliver and the reporter romance storyline makes me. But somehow the Arrow writers made it worse. As if that was possible. So let me get this straight, we’re supposed to believe that Oliver, who has more trust issues than I can count on my fingers, was so willing to open up to this practical stranger about this personal struggle he’s facing?
This is a conversation that Oliver should be having with Felicity or Diggle or Thea. Those are the most important people in his life. Those are the people that he feels comfortable opening up to. Those are the people he can trust. Those are the people that it actually makes sense for him to talk to. But then again Arrow has shown that it takes no stock in sense this season.
But Arrow, being all obsessed with season one as it is, appears to be taking Oliver down the path of playboy. Again. The only thing missing is the billionaire part. Whether it’s this reporter or this newbie (Tina?) in midseason, Arrow really wants to establish Oliver as this man whore even after we’ve watched two entire seasons where Oliver was only with Felicity or with nobody at all. And because we know that Oliver still loves Felicity (and vice versa) there’s no way that the writers can try to reason this entire situation. Do they not understand their characters at all?

Quentin Comes Clean to Thea

This was easily my favorite part about this episode. Not that it was hard to find my favorite thing given my overwhelming disappointment. Thea and Quentin’s relationship has become perhaps one of the few good things to come out of Arrow‘s fifth season. It’s been taking a really interesting direction and it’s really playing to the emotional depths of each of these characters. They’ve both experienced inexplicable pain and tragedy, and both of them have pulled through it. Countless times. Now, they’re relying on each other to get through the tough times. Or, more like Quentin is leaning on Thea.
Following the obvious set-up of Quentin as Prometheus last week, I expected Quentin to keep it to himself until someone else found out. But color me impressed (both with Quentin and the writing) when he actually came to Thea about the incident. It’s evident that Quentin isn’t Prometheus (alcohol can be powerful, but it’s not that powerful). This episode was a really good emotional build for Thea and Quentin. We got to see Quentin admit that he’s still not over Laurel’s death; we saw Thea reach out to help him; and we saw how these two are going to be here for each other. And I couldn’t be happier.

Artemis is a Traitor?

So color me completely shocked and intrigued. In the final moments of “Vigilante,” we saw Artemis meet up with Prometheus where she said, “They don’t suspect a thing.” Okay, so Artemis is a traitor. Or she’s a double agent. But given the fact that we haven’t seen that being alluded to, my guess is the former. So Evelyn, this poor 17-year old orphan, is working with Prometheus to help bring Oliver down. And what? “Save this city?”
To be honest, this just feels like they’re trying to give Evelyn something to do. It’s like the writers realized that they overstocked on new characters and needed to make them relevant in some way. (Except Rory, he’s my favorite and has a purpose and a personality and a likeability. Please keep him.) But this reveal, while shocking, felt like the contrived drama Arrow has been relying on all season.
Arrow season five airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.

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