#Arrow S5 Ep. 4 "Penance" Recap & Review

            The episode starts out with the team chasing down on of Tobias Church’s men. They set a trap, but Wilddog’s impatience gets the better of him, and he shots at the thug. The team moves in and manages to subdue him. Renee gets chewed out for not following orders. Oliver orders his team to take the man and what he stole to the Anti-Crime Unit and left. Oliver finds Rory waiting for him at the Arrowcave. Rory tells Oliver that he is quitting the team. He acknowledges that it wasn’t Felicity’s fault, but she is a constant reminder of everyone he lost. Oliver reports this to Felicity.

            Lyla shows up, and she and Oliver discuss their plan to break Diggle out of prison. Felicity is not on board, but Oliver assures Lyla that she won’t interfere.  Oliver arrives at city hall to find Adrian Chase, Thea, and Lance waiting for him. Oliver tells them he is taking time off. With Lance as Deputy Mayor, Adrian feels better about the mayor leaving. Lance and Chase go to the evidence lockup to personally deliver the evidence recovered at the beginning of the episode. Oliver breaks into Palmer Tech to get a device to help him break Diggle out of prison.

            At the evidence lockup, Lance and Adrian deliver the evidence, which turns out to be a bomb, which blows a hole in the wall. Church and his men enter the lockup and take the heavy weapons that are stored there.

            On his way to breaking Diggle out, Oliver is confronted by his team who tries to stop him from going. Oliver easily defeats his team and drives away. Back at the Arrowcave, Quentin tells the team what happened at the evidence lockup, and Felicity sends the team out to look for Church. Felicity visits Rory and tries to convince him to come back. We learn about Rory’s family during this conversation. Rory is the third Ragman, after his father and grandfather. He refuses and she returns to the team and Felicity leaves.

            Oliver manages to break into the prison and find Diggle. He uses the device he stole from Palmer Tech to burn a hole in Diggle’s cell floor. They escape through the underground tunnels but are cornered by the prison guards. Lyla flies a plane over the prison and grabs Oliver and Diggle using wires and harnesses. They escape and return to Star City.

            Meanwhile, at the Arrowcave, the team discovers that Church plans to hit the ACU bunker and take out the remaining good officers in the SCPD. Rory appears and shares the teams desire to go after Church. Felicity puts it up to a vote, and they all vote to go in. Church attacks the bunker and corners the officers and Adrian Chase inside. Luckily, the team breaks in and helps the officers escape. Unfortunately, Curtis is wounded in the escape and Wilddog stays behind to hold of Church while the rest of the team escapes. Oliver gives Diggle a place to stay in the old HIVE HQ, which the team uses as an alternate base.

            At city hall, Thea and Lance ask Chase about Wilddog. Chase reports that Church and his men took the vigilante. Back at the Arrowcave, Felicity can’t find Wilddog on the city cameras She and Rory reconcile and agree to keep each other from giving into guilt. Oliver enters and tells the team that they are going to find Renee and not give up hope. The episode ends with Renee getting tortured by Church, who promises to break him.           

            In the flashbacks, Anatoly sends Oliver into a jail to get information on Kovar. In the jail, Oliver finds a man who launders money for Kovar. He presses the man for information and even threatens the man’s wife and daughter if he won't give up the info. The man does but questions Oliver’s humanity. Oliver doesn’t know how to answer him and proceeds to break the man’s neck. The guards appear and release Oliver and dispose of the body. Anatoly meets Oliver, who reports his success. Oliver asks if he had to ill the man. Anatoly tells Oliver that he trusted the Bratva enough to kill the man without question, and now the Bratva know they can trust Oliver. Anatoly congratulates Oliver in passing the third and final test and tells him that he is now Bratva.

       Once again, we are given another great episode of Arrow. After the premiere, I was cautiously optimistic about the season, but the caution is now fading away. I do believe that the writers and show runners have learned something from the fan backlash of last year. The response wasn’t negative overall, but there was enough frustration and concern brought forward that they are doing something different. Whether its Oliver’s diverse new team, the mysterious Prometheus that still remains a mystery, or the charismatic and fun villain Tobias Church, Arrow has definitely succeeded in bringing the show back to it’s former glory with these past few episodes. Though this is my opinion, everyone I’ve had a conversation with, has expressed their delight at the season thus far.

            This episode, similar to this week’s Flash, was fun. We got to see the new team operate apart from Oliver in the field. Though it ended with Wilddog getting captured, the team did succeed in their objective, which was getting the ACU out of the bunker. It is a wonder the team has problems with much considering they have Ragman, who has shown that he can take explosions and gunfire without any ill effect. For people who don’t know the character, this can probably make Rory seem a bit over powered. A few weeks ago, I took the liberty of reading up on some of the characters on Oliver’s team. Upon reading a Ragman miniseries from the early 90’s I was curious whether or not they would go into the fact that Rory is essentially bulletproof in his rags. This week I got my answer. I could only find a four issue miniseries on Wilddog. Though he is a different person in the comics, Renee has a lot of Jack Wheeler’s traits, most notably his brutality in a fight and his tendency to jump head first into danger. It’s nice to see that a lot of the comic aspects of these characters made it into the show. Artemis and Mr. Terrific differ the most form their comic counterparts. However they do the parts well for the Arrowverse.

            On the subject of Tobias Church, I’ll admit that I was skeptical to have a gangster as a reoccurring villain. But, Chad Coleman’s performance as Church has changed my mind. From day one I loved Church’s charisma and brutality. He is truly a fun villain who I love and hate at the same time. I love his performance, but hate what he does and that makes for a great villain. Church is definitely in my Arrowverse top 5 villains. Fantastic villain.

            It is nice to have Diggle back on the team, but let’s be honest; we all knew it was coming. In this episode we see Diggle moving into HIVE, to lay low. Though we kind of knew it already, this shows us more that team Arrow now has the Arrowcave and HIVE to operate out of. Though this is a smaller tidbit, it still has potential to be great, maybe we will see a divide in the team, whether out of disagreement or convenience, and have Diggle run one team out of HIVE and Oliver the other out of the Arrowcave. Far reaching as the thought is, it would be a fun thing to have for a while.

            Real quick, for next weeks trailer we see a new masked character assaulting the team and shooting Oliver in plain daylight. Who could this be. Some say that it’s The Vigilante, though I have trouble believing that a character like him would work for Church. I think that it is simply a really cool weekly villain. It would make sense to have Church know and call in some pretty intense mercs and bad guys to help him out. Though I think he is simply a weekly villain, I am super excited to see him work and see the ramifications of Church sending him after Oliver. Remember that Prometheus, threatened to take Church’s life if he killed the Green Arrow. We’ll have to see.

            In conclusion, it is safe to say that Arrow is coming back in a big way and has taken its original place as my top Arrowverse show (Sorry Flash, but your still amazing).