Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Arrow Episode Guide: Season 5, Episode 5 - Human Target

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


When Wild Dog gives up Green Arrow's secret identity to Tobias Church, Oliver will seek the help of an old friend of John Diggle. Meanwhile, Felicity finds her secret life and her personal life intersecting when her new boyfriend joins the SCPD's special Anti-Crime Unit as Wild Dog and Digg work through their issues together.


The Green Arrow comics of Judd Winick, Kevin Smith's Quiver (Oliver's line about Tobias Church looking like he's seen a ghost) and Peter Milligan's The Human Target comics. 


Team Arrow is once again all over the place on using lethal force. Yet Oliver doesn't kill Tobias Church, who knows his secret identity, when he killed one of Church's underlings earlier in the season when escaping Church's clutches.


The high point of the episode is the interactions between David Ramsey and Rick Gonzalez as John Diggle and Rene Ramirez - two former soldiers whose moral codes took them outside of the structure they swore to serve - bond over their mutual need for redemption.


Good fight choreography throughout the fifth segment.


Christopher Chance is the second hero to take the name The Human Target, though he is the better known of the two. He first appeared in Action Comics #419 (December 1972). A body-guard, detective, method-actor and master of disguise, Chance filled a unique niche, impersonating his clients to keep them out of harm's way. Chance appeared sporadically in various books, eventually earning a Vertigo mini-series in 1999 and a monthly comic which lasted for 21 issues. The final issue was published in 2005.

Despite his relative obscurity in the comics, this is the third time Christopher Chance has been depicted in a live-action TV series. The first came in 1992, when singer/actor Rick Springfield played him in a short-lived Human Target TV series on ABC. The second came in 2010, when Mark Valley played him a new Human Target TV series. This series lasted two seasons on Fox.

The original Human Target was a man named Fred Venable who appeared in Detective Comics #201 (November 1953). Vernable had a gift for impersonation and offered himself out as a body double to help people in need. Batman came to his aid after Venable's daughter was kidnapped to force him to aid a criminal gang. Ironically, Venable had to come to Batman's aid in the end by using his talents to impersonate Batman!

When confronting Tobias Church, Green Arrow says that he looks like he's seen a ghost. These were the first words Oliver Queen said in the classic Green Arrow story Quiver.

The four cities making up Tobias Church's criminal empire are Bludhaven, Hub City, Keystone City and Whiteholland.  In the DC Comics Universe, Bludhaven is the home turf of Nightwing. Hub City is the home turf of The Question. Keystone City is the sister city of Central City and home of the Jay Garrick Flash and the Wally West Flash. All of these cities have been mentioned in previous episodes of Arrow and The Flash.

Dialogue Triumphs

(A thug is caught by a snare arrow. He finds himself hanging from a fire escape, facing Artemis.)
Thug: Hey, you're a lot cuter than the green guy!
Artemis: Awww.  You're kinda cute too, in a "I feel sorry for you" kind of way. Where's Church?
Thug: Yeah? Who wants to know?
Green Arrow: (from behind Thug) The Green Guy!

(After Diggle walks into The Bunker.)
Ragman: Do people just walk into your secret base of operations?
Felicity and Curtis: Yes.

Diggle: You guys must be the new kids on the block?
Curtis: More like The Backstreet Boys.
(Nobody except Felicity laughs.)
Curtis: It was funny in my head.

Oliver: I'll be fine.
Felicity: Have you ever - (turns to John) Has he ever actually said that and it turn out to be true?

Anatoly: To survivors of Amazo. May we experience as much sorrow as drops of wine about to be left in glass.

(Team Arrow is watching Quentin's press conference on Oliver's death.)
Felicity: He never did say anything that nice about you when you were alive.
Oliver: Probably didn't deserve it.
(The elevator to the bunker opens. Out steps Oliver Queen in a suit full of bullet holes.)
"Oliver": Sorry about the suit.
("Oliver" pulls off his face to reveal that he is Christopher Chance.)

Chance: Ah. We haven't been properly introduced. Heads up.
(Chance throws his mask at Felicity, who fumbles with it, grossed out. Chance shakes hands with Oliver.)
Chance: Christopher Chance.
Oliver: John referred to you "The Human Target". 
Chance: Well, that works better as a job description than it does as a nickname.

(Anatoly notices an attractive blonde woman making eyes at Oliver.)
Anatoly: There is old saying in Russian. Okay - maybe not Russian, but it still works. "There's no problem beautiful woman cannot fix." Now go talk to her before I do.

Oliver: So thanks for doing this.
Chance: Being killed is basically my job.
Oliver:  But, uh - not just for taking the bullets. I heard that you got Kullens to cave.
Chance: Yeah. And scored you a very pretty girl's phone number.
Oliver: I - I heard that too.
Chance: No, but the truth is you did that.
Oliver: I was under the impression that I had been down here all day.
Chance: I don't just put on faces, Oliver. I become my target. And to do that, I've got to learn everything there is to know about them. More than they know about themselves. I've got to become them.
Oliver: (laughs) My apologies.
Chance: What for? Man, you've got a great life.You're the mayor.
(Oliver makes a face.)
Chance: But you'd still rather be The Hood than Oliver Queen.
Oliver: Oliver Queen... has - has never really been my better half.
Chance: Nobody moves forward in life when they're hiding behind a mask. Trust me. You know, it's why you're struggling as mayor? And it's probably why you won't call that girl.
Oliver: That's not the reason.
Chance: Listen, I'm the last person to give dating advice, but...Felicity moved on. You should too.
(Ollie shifts a little. Chance reads the gesture perfectly.)
Chance: You didn't know? Sorry....

(Oliver just climbed onto the balcony of Felicity's loft.)
Felicity: You do remember that this apartment has a front door, right?
Oliver: Well, front doors are more for people who haven't just faked their own death.

Diggle: When it comes to guilt and recrimination, the line forms behind me. I didn't think I was ready to face what I had done but I'm wearing this suit again because I think it's a path to redemption.
(Diggle holds up Wild Dog's mask.)
Diggle: And it could be for you too.


The first scene of this episode occurs some 20 hours after Tobias Church started torturing Wild Dog.

Tobias Church is trying to take over Star City because of its harbors. He plans to start the largest drug-smuggling operation ever by consolidating the criminal underworlds of five cities.

Wild Dog breaks under torture and tells Tobias Church that Oliver Queen is The Green Arrow.

Prometheus tries to kill Tobias Church again. He lets him off with a second warning, saying there will not be a third.

Christopher Chance is an old colleague of John Diggle.

Tobias Church hires a "freak" (i.e. costumed mercenary) who is fast enough to catch arrows as a bodyguard. We never find out his name or backstory.

Oliver Queen (really Christopher Chance) gets Susan Williams to agree to hold off on hit-pieces for one month and gets her personal phone number. He also discovers the secret past of Councilman Kullens as a crony capitalist and his current connections to a real estate developer that would lose money on a rezoning deal he's helping to kill.

John Diggle makes reference to being tortured by his brother during the conflict with HIVE.

Wild Dog was dishonorably discharged from the Navy for beating a prisoner of war.

Christopher Chance tells Oliver that Felicity is dating Billy Malone and that Malone seemed to think Oliver already knew this.

The Brace is the local nickname for Halpin-Brace Airfield - a private airstrip outside of Pennytown.

Bludhaven, Hub City, Keystone and Whiteholland were the four other cities under Tobias Church's control.

Oliver tells Felicity that he is fine with her dating again.

Susan Williams has a source named Ian who gives her a picture of Oliver Queen in Russia, with the Bratva, five years earlier when he was supposed to be stranded on a deserted island. He also tells her of Christopher Chance's involvement in helping fake Oliver Queen's death. She apparently knows who Christopher Chance is.

Prometheus kills Tobias Church, just after Church tells him Oliver Queen is Green Arrow.

We find out in this episode that Oliver did not visit Taiana's family before he joined The Bratva.

Though Oliver didn't know it, he had an encounter with Christopher Chance five years earlier in Russia. Anatoly hired him to kill the underlings of another Bratva named Viktor before they could kill Oliver.

The Winick Factor

Artemis and Mr. Terrific get their asses kicked by Church's hired "freak". The only thing that saves them is Christopher Chance's arrival in disguise as a gang member.

The Bottom Line

Like many episodes of Season One and Two which seemed to be simple filler episodes meant to throw out throw-away references to an established DC Comics character, this one suddenly becomes significant in the final five minutes. The writing is strictly standard but the established ensemble manage to sell the material on pure charisma rooted in the audience's love of the characters. Not a great episode but an enjoyable one.

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