Spoilers ahead for “Human Target,” the latest episode of The CW’s Arrow!
The short version: Human Target comes to town and helps Oliver fake his death to draw out Tobias Church. It works! Wild Dog works through his PTSD with Diggle, and Oliver tries to make nice with the reporter who has been bashing him. It kind of goes well (but kinda not).
The good: Wild Dog and Diggle, Human Target
Wild Dog has bordered on annoying for most of the season, with his over-the-top bad boy approach to superhero-ing and utter inability to follow directions — but all that changed this week. Wild Dog spends the first half of the episode being tortured by Tobias Church, eventually giving up Oliver’s secret identity while in a state of beaten delirium. He’s putting on a brave face, but he’s obviously ashamed that he cracked under the pressure. It was the most human story he’s had since being introduced, and it was only made better by finally pairing him with a mentor who can actually reach him (sorry, Oliver). With Diggle back in town, the two military vets were able to bond over their shared experiences with torture, as Diggle earned his trust and got him to finally open up about what happened. It works, and Wild Dog provides the key piece of intel that helps the team take down Church’s operation.
With the show introducing so many new players this season, Diggle’s absence has absolutely been felt on Team Arrow. Seeing him do something Oliver couldn’t do for four episodes, reach Wild Dog, was a testament to the role he plays in this ensemble. Oliver needs him, and this team needs him. It’ll be great to see how they explore that burgeoning mentorship in the future.
DC Comics fans were almost certainly delighted to see Christopher Chance, aka the Human Target, pop up to serve as the target (sorry) for the assassination attempt on Oliver. Diggle apparently knew of Chance from previous operations and called him in to help. If you weren’t familiar with Chance’s area of expertise, the assassination scene almost certainly came as a shock. Thankfully, they didn’t linger on the fakeout too long, and it provided the perfect catalyst to bring down Church. Though this version of Chance was solid, and we hope he’ll pop up again in the future, it was also a reminder of Fox’s excellent (and short-lived) Human Target series that ran for two seasons from 2010-2011. It wasn’t exactly faithful to the comics, but was still crazy fun. R.I.P. (the first season is available on iTunes, for what it’s worth).
The bad: The lingering Olicity, Church went down a bit too easy
The on-again, off-again relationship between Oliver and Felicity — aka Olicity — is a major flash point for fans. Some love the pairing, some hate it. Regardless of which side you’re on, this episode was fairly annoying in all the wrong ways. We’ve already seen Felicity is dating a cop, which is now serving in the task force Oliver oversees as mayor (because of course). She hasn’t told Oliver about the relationship, and he finally learns about it from Chance (who Felicity’s boyfriend tells while he is undercover as Oliver, still with us?). Then, Oliver goes to Felicity’s late at night to talk it out, and … yawn. There’s plinky music, lingering glances, then they go their separate ways. They’re obviously trying to keep this relationship subplot alive to revisit down the line, and the entire storyline with Felicity’s boyfriend just seems random and tacked-on as drama for drama’s sake.
Chad L. Coleman has positively relished in his role as drug kingpin Tobias Church, and it was a shame to see his entire operation (and live) get wiped out in a rush during the final act of this episode. Church has been set up as a formidable baddie, and all it takes was some serendipitous timing and a good beat down by the Arrow’s rag tag team to wipe him out? We’ve seen this guy command a small army of thugs the past few episodes. Where were those guys tonight? The entire finale for this story just felt rushed, then Church is taken out by Prometheus (which, hey, he did warn him) to wrap up the loose end of Church knowing Oliver’s secret identity. Coleman deserved better.
It looks like Prometheus is setting himself up as the big bad for the season(?), or at least the next few episodes. Who’s under that mask? Why is he/she out to get the Green Arrow? Now that Oliver knows Prometheus is out there thanks to Church’s warning, how will the gang deal with that?
Oliver is doing his best to win over the local reporter who is giving him grief, but by episode’s end she runs across a legit bombshell that could unravel Oliver’s political (and superhero) career — a photo of Oliver in Russia while he was in Bratva, in a nice connection to the flashback story. Great to see those actually make sense (and Chance’s secret rescue all those years ago is partially to blame for it all, which again, ties it all together).
It wasn’t referenced here, but how the heck will they integrate Talia al Ghul into this series at midseason?
Lines of the night:
“Do people just walk into your secret base of operations?” - Ragman.
“You have failed this city,” - Felicity (giggling and wearing Oliver’s fake face).
Next week: Prometheus makes his presence known. Yeah, this won’t end well.