Arrow “Human Target” Review (Season 5, Episode 5)

One of the most important lessons we can ever hope to learn in life is humility. Humility keeps us from thinking that we have all the answers and we need not listen to anyone else. Humility reminds us that just when we think we’ve got everything all figured out, we’re wrong. Humility generally isn’t a lesson one learns in ease and comfort either. It’s one of those life lessons that usually has to come the hard way. That’s pretty much what happened to Rene in this week’s Arrow.

I still haven’t completely warmed up to the new Team Arrow, and a big part of that has to do with Rene. When we first met him in the season premiere, I thought he had potential. He’s clearly got some training and skill, but the more that was revealed about Rene, the less I wanted him around. He’s got training but no discipline; skill but no control. He’s overbearing, impulsive, stubborn and arrogant. His refusal to follow even the simplest orders puts himself and the team at risk every time they take him on a mission. All of that being said, I hope this episode marks a turning point for his character because up until this episode, I had zero empathy or sympathy for Wild Dog. However, getting captured and tortured by Tobias Church may have taught Rene the humility he was sorely lacking. It also led to a few revelations about Rene’s past.

Apparently, he was kicked out of the Navy because he tortured information out of a prisoner he was tasked with transporting. Rene believes that’s where his life went off track, but I would suggest it went off track before that. If you’ve come to a place where you feel justified torturing another human being for information, then you went off the rails long before the situation actually presented itself to you. But that’s just my opinion. The point is, Rene actually stopped to think about the choices he made back then and how they led him to the place he is now. Up to this point, Rene hasn’t spent a lot of time thinking things through, but his recent lesson in humility has forced him to stop and think for a minute. That’s actually a good thing. He needs to spend some time considering how his past choices have impacted his life and how his choices going forward impact not only him but also the rest of the team. Then, he needs to take whatever guilt, shame, anger, or fear he’s carrying and channel it into being a better student. I’m still not entirely sold on Wild Dog at this point, but this episode did soften his rough edges a bit and pave the way for the redemption arc they’ve clearly been setting up for him to be more believable.

It might also help Rene to have Diggle back to help guide him down the right path. It’s not surprising that Diggle would fall into the mentorship role with Rene. After all, that’s the role he held with Oliver for a good while. Not to mention the fact that Diggle and Rene have the shared experiences of military life and enduring torture. Mentoring Rene might actually be what helps Diggle find a way to forgive himself. I still maintain that Dig had no choice but to kill Andy, but if being back as Spartan and helping Rene figure out how to gain some discipline will help Dig get back on track then I’m all for it.

This episode also introduced us to Christopher Chance aka The Human Target. In the interest of full disclosure, I don’t read comics, so I had no idea who Chace was prior to his appearance in the episode. That being said, I kinda like Chance and I hope he gets to come back. However, I do wish the episode had done a little more to tell me who Chance is. Thankfully, Google is always handy and I looked him up, but if you’re going to have a character like that show up in the Arrow universe, it’s probably a good idea to dedicate more than a few minutes to explaining who he is. It’s clear that he helped Oliver out in Russia. It’s clear he’s a master of disguise and hand to hand combat. It’s also clear that he’s a decent guy. What’s unclear, at least to me, is whether he is just human or whether he’s an enhanced individual. Did he actually got shot and just didn’t die or did he die and come back? Does he become other people simply by watching them or does he somehow absorb their thoughts? You never can tell on this show. But either way, I enjoyed him. Although, I do believe he may have created a problem for Oliver by making a deal with Susan Williams.

I really wish I had a sarcasm font to use to convey how completely shocked I am that Susan wasn’t on the up and up when she made that deal with Oliver. I can’t tell whether she’s angling for a Pulitzer or whether she’s got some sort of personal vendetta against Oliver. Either way, she doesn’t seem interested in actually helping him to make Starling City a better place. I know. They keep calling it Star City, but that just sounds so ridiculous that I can’t bring myself to say it. Anyways. Moving on. I sincerely hope Oliver doesn’t get in too deep with Susan because she’s going to be a problem later.

Farewell, Tobias Church. We hardly knew ye. I’m kind of bummed that we lost Church so early. For the last couple of seasons, Arrow has had a difficult time finding villains that Oliver is adequately able to defend against. Malcolm Merlyn and Slade Wilson were strong, difficult opponents, but they weren’t entirely unbeatable. Ras al Ghul and Damien Darhk, on the other hand, involved magic and stuff that was way out of Oliver’s league. As such, his confrontations with them were almost comical in their futility. So to bring in a man like Tobias Church was actually a breath of fresh air. Ultimately, he wasn’t really a match for Oliver though. Truth be told, the only reason Church ever got the upper hand was that Oliver has been spreading himself too thin. Even so, I’m not entirely sure why Church thought it would be easier to kill the mayor than it would be to kill the Green Arrow. They’re the same guy. And even if Oliver couldn’t demonstrate all of his vigilante skills while wearing the mayor suit, it doesn’t mean that he’s helpless. At any rate, if Church’s grand plan was just to set up a drug empire in Starling City, that’s really not a storyline I’m itching to see nor is it an antagonistic relationship I’m interested in developing. Villains are much more interesting when they have a personal connection to the hero. Church didn’t, but it seems that Prometheus does. I’m not exactly sure who Prometheus is or what he wants, but he didn’t seem overly surprised to hear that the Green Arrow and Oliver Queen are one in the same. He may have been. It’s hard to tell with his face completely covered, but his body language didn’t suggest surprise.

All in all, this was a very solid episode. I enjoyed all of the fight scenes, and they were filmed with such a crisp, clean style that it made me think I was watching the first season all over again. The Russia flashbacks continue to be both entertaining and informative. I’m glad that Oliver and Felicity cleared some of the air between them, not that Felicity actually needs Oliver’s permission or approval to wade back into the dating pool. But it is nice that she tried to be considerate of his feelings even if she was also kind of being a scaredy cat. I’m still disappointed in the direction that relationship took last season, but no use crying over spilled milk. I’m just glad they’ve finally found some solid ground again and their relationship is more or less back to the way it was before they hooked up. Team Arrow is coming together a bit better, but I’m still not really invested in the characters as individuals. I’m trying, but other than Curtis, they’re mostly just ok. Hopefully, that will get better as we spend more time fleshing them out. So what did y’all think of this week’s Arrow?