Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Arrow Episode Guide: Season 5, Episode 2 - The Recruits

For a summary of the episode guide layout & categories, click here.


Oliver seeks out Wild Dog and Evelyn Sharpe with the intent of recruiting them for Team Arrow. Along with Curtis Holt, who seeks Oliver's tutelage of dealing with his own feelings of helplessness following a mugging, the three will start training to become a better class of vigilante. But will they be able to cope with Oliver's strenuous regiment? And how will Oliver balance training his new team with allegations of corruption in a company partnering with the city and the new

In the flashbacks, Oliver continues his initiation into The Bratva.


The Judd Winick run of Green Arrow (Oliver Queen tries to balance being mayor and a superhero.), Keith Giffen's Ragman miniseries (origin and powers of Ragman) and Grant Morrison's JLA (character of Prometheus).


It's a little unbelievable that Curtis or Evelyn - who are supposed to be super-geniuses - wouldn't figure out the purpose of Ollie's "ring the bell" test was to encourage teamwork or at least hit on the idea of working together to overcome Green Arrow themselves. This is particularly damning in Curtis' case since he knows Ollie is trying to build a team!

The subplot with Diggle seems rushed and is a distraction from the main storyline and seems to be occurring only to railroad Diggle back to Star City as soon as possible. There's no logical reason why the corrupt CO should leave Diggle alive and try to frame him for the theft after Diggle refuses to sign a confession for the crime since he already has six soldiers willing to finger Diggle for his crime.

While it seems likely Tobias Church could have walked based on the evidence on hand - particularly with the corruption in the SCPD at present time - it still seems like we could have seen him being arrested after being knocked out by Ragman just as the police were arriving.


It's good to see Emily Bett Rickards bringing Felicity back to her previous levels of snarkiness. While I don't have the mad-on for Olicity shipping that some elements of the fandom seem to have (Personally, I'm still holding out for a Sara/Oliver romance in the end),  I do think Felicity was softened a bit too much during Season Four as she had tragedy after tragedy thrown at her. Her portrayal in this episode is much more in line with how the character was in the first three seasons. Yet there's more of an edge to her here where she is willing to call Ollie on his bullshit but also ready to drag him out of the doldrums when self-doubt starts weighing on his soul.

On that note, Stephen Amell perfectly captures an aspect of Ollie's character from the comics I can't recall seeing on the show before. Or at least, not handled so well - his tendency to lash out at others when he's doubting himself. We see that here as he plays Drill Sargent to the new recruits, being hard upon them because he blames himself for letting things get to this point in Star City and for driving away everyone else on Team Arrow.


Excellent parkour and stunt work on the opening sequence with Wild Dog.

The transition between Green Arrow training the new recruits and the flashback of Ollie doing the same test as part of his Bratva initiation proves well directed.

On that note, the show's writing has done a great job this season of making the flashbacks more directly relevant to the story in the modern day.

The special effects for the Ragman costume are some of the best in the show's history.

It's a nice touch cutting to Felicity as she overhears The Ragman telling his story to Janet Carroll, showing her horror at what happened to this man because of the one missile she couldn't disarm. It adds another human element to an already horrific story.


Green Arrow asks Rene Ramirez if he "wants to be a man in a hockey mask" or "something else". This is a bit of a riff on actor Stephen Amell, who also played vigilante Casey Jones - whose beats people up using sporting gear while wearing a hockey mask - in the second Michael Bay Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie.

Another nod to the number 52 - the address Ollie has Wild Dog, Evelyn Sharpe and Curtis Holt meet him at for training is 52 Matthews Blvd.

Anther mention of Hub City - home of the vigilante The Question in the DC Comics Universe.

AmerTek is a military-industrial firm in the DC Comics Universe. They were original enemies of John Henry Irons (a.k.a. Steel) and first appeared in Steel #1 (February 1994). The company stole Irons' weapons and armor designs and attempted to use them against him and his family when Irons thwarted their efforts to sell military gear to criminal interests. They fill a similar role in this episode, as an amoral weapons manufacturer willing to sell military ordnance to Tobias Church.

Rory Regan a.k.a. The Ragman first appeared in Ragman #1 (August/September 1976). The series only lasted five issues, but is considered by many to be a classic of The Bronze Age of Comics.

A Vietnam Veteran, Rory worked for his father in a pawn shop he ran in Gotham City. Rory's father, Gerry, was a kind man, who frequently overpaid people in need for what they sold him or held on to items with no intent of selling them so people could buy them back later. His father wished to build a better life for his son and seemed to have had his wish granted when he discovered that a mattress he'd bought contained a small fortune. The money turned out to have been stolen during a bank heist and the mattress was meant to hide the money until the heat was off.

Gerry Regan and some of his friends were tortured by the thieves using electrical wiring in the shop and Rory himself was nearly shocked trying to free the elderly men.  The shock passed the abilities of the old men into Rory, giving him the agility of a circus acrobat, the strength of a weight-lifter and the fighting skills of a prize-fighter. Donning a raggedy costume his father had bought recently, Rory Regan became the Ragman and went on to help Batman with fighting crime in Gotham on several occasions.

This background would be modified by writer/artist Keith Giffen in a 1991 mini-series. The background would remain largely intact, with Rory Regan still a dutiful son to pawn-shop owner Gerry Reagan. The biggest change is that unlike the previous series, which identified the Regans as Irish, they were now Jewish and Rory was the latest in a long-line of Ragmen.

Rory became the newest Ragman shortly after he and his father were beaten and left for dead following their refusal to let their shop be used as a front by a local gang. Rory was released for the hospital and returned home, only to find it had been taken over by gang members posing as his aunt and uncle. He discovered the suit by accident, at which point it latched onto him and then attacked the drug-dealers, absorbing the soul of the woman posing as his aunt into it.

A rabbi later told Rory the origin of the suit and of his father's heroic life before journeying to America. The suit was created in the 16th century as a counterpoint to the infamous Golem of Prague. Knowing that some people feared The Golem as a creature that had no capacity for independent thought, The Rabbis crafted a suit that would give a single good man the power to fight great evil. Rory's father, he found out, had been The Ragman during World War II, and used its power to fight the Nazis by defending Jewish communities in Germany.

The Ragman suit allows its wearer to access the physical abilities, mental skills and memories of every evil soul trapped within the suit. This is not done easily, however, and attempting to draw on too many souls at once can leave The Ragman dazed. The suit can absorb the souls of truly evil people who The Ragman fights, but doing so leaves the wearer sick and weak for a time. The suit grants some degree of invulnerability and increases the strength, speed and stamina of the wearer. The suit allows the wearer to sense the presence of evil, albeit by trying to attack the evil in question. The suit can teleport The Ragman to wear he is needed and can remain hidden under other clothing, manifesting once it is needed. Finally, the suit can be reshaped at-will into other forms and weapons.

Comics historians note that Ragman undoubtedly had an influence on both Venom and Spawn, despite never being as popular as the later anti-heroes.

Though his name is not given in this episode, IMDB identifies the DCTVU Ragman as Rory Regan. We do not know the extent of his powers yet, but the Ragman costume is apparently protective enough to allow the wearer to survive a nuclear missile strike at ground zero. Based on how easily he throws people around, he also has some degree of super-strength and super-agility. The suit appears to have some shape-shifting properties, allowing the costume to elongated and entangle a target. Both versions are definitely Jewish and are devoted sons following in their father's footsteps.

Ragman says that his costume comes "from the time of Devarim." Devarim is part of the Torah, corresponding to the first book of Deuteronomy in the Christian Bible. This would place the rags as dating back to the time of Moses - a bit further back than the 2000 years Felicity cites earlier in the episode as Moses was believed to have died in 1200 BC.

The new masked villain who killed Lieutenant Conahan in the last episode identifies himself to Tobias Church as Prometheus. Prometheus is a super-villain who first appeared in the Prometheus: New Year's Evil one-shot (February 1998). 

Created by writer Grant Morrison and artist Arnie Jorgenson for Morrison's JLA, Morrison intended for Prometheus to be an anti-Batman.  The son of career criminals (who were loving parents, regardless of their other crimes), this unnamed boy witnessed his parents being gunned down the police following a tense stand-off. After growing up, he used the fortune they had hidden to finance his training as he swore revenge upon the ideals of justice, law and order. This led to him formulating a series of plans that would allow him to take on the Justice League single-handed in an effort to prove himself the greatest criminal of all time. He returned several times to plague The JLA before finally being hunted down and killed by Green Arrow in the Justice League: Cry For Justice mini-series.

Thus far, there seems little in common between the comics's version of Prometheus and his DCTVU counterpart aside from a costume that conceals most of his features, advanced training with a variety of weapons and a desire to attack and kill lawmen and superheros.


Diggle's team is sent to retrieve a trigger to a nuclear missile before Chechen rebels find it.

Felicity uses a KH-10 Spy Satellite to find footage of The Ragman's attack the AmerTek VP.

Green Arrow uses a grappling arrow to save Wild Dog's life and tries to use a net arrow to catch Ragman.

Analyzing the rag Wild Dog took off of the Ragman costume requires a gas chromatograph.

The rag Wild Dog recovered is found to be 2000 years old and radioactive.

The radioactive chemical on the rag came from a nuclear missile manufactured by Atomic Defensive Systems - a subsidiary of AmerTek - and launched on Genesis Day.

Dialogue Triumphs

Oliver (voice-over): My name is Oliver Queen. After five years in Hell. I returned home with only one goal - to save my city. Today I fight that war on two fronts. By day, I lead Star City as its mayor. But by night, I am someone else. I am... something else. I am The Green Arrow.

(Curtis and Felicity watch Oliver climb the salmon ladder with ease.)
Curtis: Impossible.
Felicity: It's really hot - I mean NOT!  It's not.
Ollie: (jumping down from the top of the ladder) Curtis, if you think this is hard, wait until I actually start training you.
Curtis: What happens then?
Ollie: The last guy got an arrow in the leg before he even started.
Curtis: That was Roy, right?
Ollie: ... also Roy, but I'm talking about Wild Dog.
Felicity: And you did put two arrows in Barry Allen's back.
Curtis: I'm starting to sense a pattern...

Diggle: Fear is part of war - the part that keeps us alive.

Felicity: (refering to the Wender attack) What's your interest in this, anyway?
Ollie: AmerTek is helping us with a charity event and all of a sudden one of their vice-presidents is attacked? It cannot be a coincidence.
Felicity: Not in this city.

Wild Dog: I'm hear to learn something, man. Not just get beat up.
Green Arrow: I told you. I am teaching you.
Evelyn: Teaching us what, exactly? Because actually I find myself agreeing with the scary weird guy.
Green Arrow: (sighing) The goal of this exercise... is to figure out the goal of this exercise. Now get on the line!

Ollie: It took me five years in Hell to turn into someone capable of going out there. You know who didn't have five years? Laurel Lance. And now she's dead.

Ollie: Curtis, do you know what the purpose of this exercise is?
Curtis: To figure out the purpose of this exercise?
Ollie: No! It's to work together because that is the only way that you win. That is what I've been trying to teach you!
Curtis: Well maybe there's a reason why you couldn't. We. Don't. Trust. You.
Ollie: That's on you.
Curtis: No, man. That's on you! Because you don't trust us. Because you don't want us!
Felicity: Okay. This is a set-back. We can salvage this. (To Curtis) They'll listen to you. Can't you just tell them how Oliver usually approaches things, and-
Curtis: I tried that. I told them all about how you and Speedy and Spartan were a family. And even though you were tough and scary and even a little abusive, they clearly trusted you because they stood by you. But then it hit me - no, they didn't. They left. And now I know why. You don't respect people. You don't know how to have partners. You don't build people up. You tear them down. I thought I could trust you. That we could trust you. But I was wrong. And that's why I'm out too.

Ollie: I failed these recruits as a leader.
Felicity: Well, that's because you're not a leader. But in your defense you never set out to be. You never planned on doing this with partners. Though I don't think you ever had any way around that one.
Ollie: How so?
Felcity: When I got to know you - the real you - I was in awe. I had never met anyone so passionate. So focused and determined to make a real difference. The recruits didn't get to see the real you, because all you showed them was this angry guy in a mask. Like, scary angry!
Ollie: I just thought that if they didn't know who I was it would make things easier.
Felicity: How is that supposed to make it easier for them?!
Ollie: For me. Easier for me.

Ragman: They all died in fire. Your fire. Your weapon. All for your money!
Janet Carroll: What are you talking about?
Ragman: I'm talking about the KN-08. Your pride and joy. Over 15,000 missiles launched on Genesis Day. Only one found its mark - yours.
Janet Carroll: (stammering) No! No, we definitely built those missiles to keep people safe! But it was Damien!  It was Damien Darhk, who...
Ragman: - couldn't have done anything if you hadn't given him the tools!  Your missile killed everyone in my home. I am the very last living soul of Havenrock. And I carry with me a message from all those souls you killed.
(Ragman steps in closer as tendrils emerge from his coat and wrap around Janet Carroll's neck. Close by, Tobias Church is trying to drive an arrow into the face of a prone Green Arrow.)
Green Arrow:
(Ragman turns to regard Green Arrow, releases Janet Carrol, grabs Church and throws him to the ground, knocking him out. Green Arrow stands as Janet Carrol tries to run away behind him.)
Green Arrow: Thank you.
Ragman: Thank me by not standing in my way!
Green Arrow: Let her go!
(He nods in the direction Janet Carrol is fleeing, where red and blue police lights can be seen reflecting down the garage walls.)
Green Arrow: It's over.

(Green Arrow stands on the rooftop of the BAM2 Muay Thai Training Center. Ragman emerges from the shadows behind him.)
Green Arrow: Thank you for coming.
Ragman: Your offer sounded... intriguing. Why did you make it?
Green Arrow: Why did you give up your vengeance to save my life?
Ragman: I don't know.
(Ragman pulls down his cowl and mask. The face he makes as he does so suggests great pain.)
Ragman: I think it's what my father would have wanted me to do. He saved my life. On Genesis Day. Wrapped me in these rags. Said they were ancient. From the time of Devarim. That they would... protect me from the fire
Green Arrow: And they did.
Ragman: So you see why I have to avenge him?
Green Arrow: Your father didn't give up his life so you could become a killer.
Ragman: You don't know that!
Green Arrow: My father gave up his life to save mine. He made me promise to be better than him. To save this city in a way he never could. It's been nearly ten years since that day. So far I've failed.
Ragman: Why are you telling me this?
Green Arrow: Because I don't want to fail anymore. I can't do it alone. I need a team. Let's honor the legacies of our fathers. Together.
(Green Arrow offers his hand. Ragman takes it and shakes.)


Lt. Conahan is confirmed to have been killed by an arrow and a sword.

Curtis confirms that Tobias Church killed all the gang leaders in Hub City to unite them under his leadership.

Reference was made to Oliver shooting Roy Harper in the leg before he officially started training him (208) and shooting Barry Allen in the back as part of his training (F108)

Three hospitals have closed within the past 18 months in Star City.

The "get past me and ring the bell" exercise was part of Ollie's first test in joining the Bratva.

Wild Dog was protecting the streets solo for five months.

Diggle is stationed at Camp Braidwood in Latvia.

The VP at AmerTek that Ragman attacks is Evan Wender. He was suffocated according to the ICU doctors.

Janet Carroll is the CEO of AmerTek.

The gas The Bunker was destroyed by HIVE Ghosts.  Felicity has her new boyfriend run the tests for her in the CCPD lab.

Oliver never talks about his time in the Bratva.

According to Oliver, nobody in the Bratva knows one another's names or who they were before they joined The Bratva. This eliminated attachment

We find out the name of Felicity's new cop boyfriend - Billy Malone.

The men whom Oliver worked with to ring the bell in his Bratva test were killed. Oliver was chosen to move on because teaming up to ring the bell was his idea and the Bratva values intelligence. It was also meant to teach Oliver the lesson to not trust anyone.

The day the nukes destroyed Monument Point is now known as Genesis Day.

Janet Carroll made a bargain with Tobias Church - all the material he needs to take over Star City for 100 million dollars.

John Diggle is framed for attempting to steal WMDs and shooting a private under his command. He refuses to sign a confession.

Thea offers Quentin Lance the job of Deputy Mayor of Star City. He accepts it.

Oliver reveals his secret identity to Evelyn Shapre and Wild Dog.

In the final scene, Prometheus threatens Tobias Church and tells him not to try killing Green Arrow again.


Camp Braidwood, Latvia

The Fridge Factor

While Oliver is quick to point his recruits to look to the Laurel Lance statue as a source of inspiration, he also realistically reminds Felicity that Laurel was nowhere near as well trained as she should have been to take on the role of a vigilante.

The Winick Factor

Again, the writers are taking the base idea Judd Winick proposed in his run on Green Arrow following One Year Later but are doing it right.

The Bottom Line

Generally an excellent episode, but it suffers for tying to do too much. Between the training of the new recruits, introducing Ragman, the war with Tobias Church, Felicity making cute with the new boyfriend, Thea helping Quentin cope with his drinking and the flashbacks to Ollie's time in Russia, there's no room for the genuinely awful subplot involving Diggle. The whole is less than the sum of its parts, but some of those individual parts - particularly the Ragman sequences and the scenes of Stephen Amell and Emily Bett Rickards playing off of one another - make it worth coping with the dodgier bits.

No comments:

Post a Comment