Arrow: “Vigilante” Season 5 Episode 7 Review

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Arrow has become criminally stagnant, which is mostly thanks to the amount of time being put into the new recruits who simply aren’t working in the show’s favor. “Vigilante” is proof that season five’s new superheroes can even drag down an episode featuring a compelling villain, a rarity for the series. But there’s no denying, the titular foe and his rage smartly brought Oliver back to a time when he was a little more ruthless, a past self that’s much closer to the surface in season five than it’s been the last few years.

Vigilante, one of the better costumed foes this season so far, is a killer, but one that kills the type of criminals Oliver and his team usually lock up. Felicity even suggests, in a wildly out of character moment, but nonetheless, that the team let him do his thing. Oliver’s own struggle with murder this season doesn’t exactly make him the best person to handle the job, but he does anyway. After a few routine run-ins, Vigilante manages to capture Curtis and put a gun to his head. That’s when Oliver calls off his team and tries reasoning with this new mask. He fails, they fight, and Vigilante escapes. If this character is going to be around for the future, which if you know the comics, you know which already introduced character he is, I look forward to when he and Green Arrow can debate their philosophies outside of this show’s standard character introduction processes.

Aside from that, “Vigilante” continued the slow progression of season five’s various subplots. Thea checked Quentin into rehab while Diggle and Rene continue to bond in their close quarters. The flashbacks also kept things moving along with Oliver’s long discussion with Kovar, a stereotypical, but no less compelling, mafia villain. Yet, there’s still a sense that Arrow is pretty much on autopilot. No moment showcases this more than the would-be shocker that Evelyn is working for Prometheus. These are two characters who’ve been showing up since the premiere that have few distinguishing traits. The details of where this is all heading is anyone’s guess, but it seems to be the same general direction the show has always gone in. The problem is that Arrow isn’t a good enough show to sustain itself when just going through the motions, and no added, younger team is going to fix that. Grade: B-

By Matt Dougherty

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