Arrow “Vigilante” Review (Season 5, Episode 7)

One of life’s many big tests is how you choose to respond in the face of disappointment. Do you give up? Do you become more determined? Do you stop and re-evaluate the situation and choose a different path? Basically, what are you going to do when it looks like things aren’t going your way? It’s difficult to keep walking a path when it doesn’t seem like you’re making any progress, and giving in to the frustration and despair may seem like a perfectly reasonable response. But then, as my grandmother would say, that’s when you miss your blessing. If you give up, you’ll never know if what you were working toward was a mere two more steps away. Even more importantly, you don’t know how many people are watching you trudge down that road and are inspired by your perseverance. That’s the crossroads Oliver found himself facing in this week’s Arrow.

Despite Oliver’s best efforts, bad things just keep happening to Starling City and its citizens. Point of fact, those bad things keep escalating too. First it was Malcolm Merlyn and The Undertaking. Then it was Slade Wilson and the Mirakuru army. Then it was Ras al Gul and the League of Assassins. Then it was Damien Darhk. Now it’s Prometheus and this new Ski Goggles fella. Oliver is frustrated by the fact that it appears he’s not being effective as either The Green Arrow or as Mayor Queen and that frustration caused him to question himself, even if only a little bit, when Ski Goggles showed up. Ultimately, Oliver made the right call when he said Ski Goggles was going about things the wrong way. So I agree with Oliver that they couldn’t have Ski Goggles (who is totally the new DA by the way. Mark my words.) running around unchecked. Not just because he was killing people, but because he was killing innocent people as well as criminals. He destroyed half a motel, and killed all those innocent people, in his attempt to take out one bank robber. Even more disturbing was how dismissive he was about all of those people classifying them as “collateral damage.” Yes, there is a war on. Yes, the bad guys have gained some ground in Starling City. Yes, the criminal justice system is broken. But the primary thing that separates the heroes from the villains is that the heroes do not kill innocent people. But I’m guessing Ski Goggles missed that class at Hero Academy. In the end, Oliver realized that the hard thing to do was also the right thing to do. In order for him to be the change he wants to see in the world, he cannot allow himself to go back down the path of vigilantism. And honestly, if Oliver were to stop and think about it for a minute, he would see that he’s making more of an impact than he realizes.

Most of the people who have joined Team Arrow, both the OG Team Arrow and this new version, joined because they were inspired by The Arrow to take a more active part in saving their city. Even before he was The Green Arrow. Diggle started working with Oliver because he believed in Oliver’s cause even if he didn’t agree with the manner in which Oliver was going about it. Roy was so inspired after The Arrow saved him that he was willing to take the blame when the tide of public opinion turned against The Arrow. Curtis was definitely inspired after working with Team Arrow to defeat Damien Darhk despite Curtis believing Oliver to be a scary, pompous jerk sometimes. He’s not wrong about Oliver, but I digress. The point is, Oliver’s return to Starling City and the mission he started five years ago has awoken a sense of pride and duty in people that may not otherwise have stepped up.

On kind of a side note, I appreciate the fact that the show didn’t gloss over the whole ‘we’re killing people now’ thing. It’s a subject that they keep going back and forth about with Oliver, and as frustrating as that is for me as a viewer, it actually works for the situation. Oliver started out his mission functioning as judge, jury, and executioner. With Diggle and Felicity’s help, he realized that he wasn’t actually going to become the hero Starling City needed if he didn’t change his approach. Over the years he’s done his best not to kill anyone, but the truth of the matter is, some folks you can’t save. Some folks you just have to stop, and Oliver struggles with that on a fairly consistent basis. As annoying as it can be sometimes, Oliver should never become comfortable with having to make the decision to kill someone. That should be something he struggles with every time because it’s the heroic path. So I’m glad the show has had him grow into killing as a last resort instead of as a first option.

Diggle isn’t handling being a fugitive as well as he thought he would. He kind of lost it when he couldn’t attend his son’s 2nd birthday because US Marshals were watching his house. I can understand his frustration and disappointment, so it was nice of Rene to bring Diggle’s family to him. But all of that got me to thinking, why aren’t they working to figure out how to prove Dig’s innocence? I mean, he’s still going to have to answer for the jail break, but in the meantime it seems they would be trying to figure out how to make the truth public. I know Team Arrow has had its hands full lately, but it still seems like they’ve just kind of left Diggle twisting in the wind. I’m hoping they’re working on something in the background that we’ll see manifest soon.

So it looks like maybe the show is trying to mislead us with Prometheus’ identity? Because last week it totally looked like Lance was the culprit, but he doesn’t believe that he is and it is plausible that someone set him up. I have to admit, though, I’m going to be kind of disappointed if Lance isn’t Prometheus. Mostly because there’s a great deal of dramatic ground they could cover if he is. But anyways. Moving on. It also appears that Evelyn isn’t as much of a “team player” as she claims to be. Maybe she hasn’t truly forgiven Oliver for not saving her parents from Damien Darhk’s gas chamber, and that’s why she’s trying to destroy Oliver. I don’t know, and that’s kind of a problem. If I hadn’t seen last season’s episodes introducing Evelyn, I wouldn’t really know anything about her this season. She’s been mostly a bland, almost entirely forgettable character so this reveal about her working with Prometheus seems kind of contrived.

This was an ok episode. It introduced us to a new character that looks like he plans to stick around for a while whether The Green Arrow likes it or not. Sadly, Susan doesn’t seem like she’s going anywhere either and that chick is trouble. If I were Oliver, I would sweep my office for listening devices every time after she left. The Russia flashbacks are quite intriguing. I’m not entirely sure what all is happening yet, but it looks like the Bratva leader set Oliver up. If his plan was to make a deal with Kovar anyway, why send Oliver in to blow up the casino in the first place? To get him captured and killed in such a way he could deny knowledge of it? I’m not sure, but I’m interested to find out. So what did y’all think of this week’s Arrow?