Review: “Penance” is a Step Backward For Season Five of Arrow

Wednesday, 26 October 2016 - 9:59PM
DC Comics
Arrow
Wednesday, 26 October 2016 - 9:59PM
Review: “Penance” is a Step Backward For Season Five of Arrow
Arrow's last two episodes have been a return to form for the show, as they've focused on character development, connections to the flashbacks, and high octane action scenes, all of which are characteristic of Arrow's glory days. However, "Penance" felt more like season three, when the flashbacks began to feel more disconnected to the themes of the show, character development was overlooked, and the action scenes started to go downhill. Still, a few major events did occur within the episode which will hopefully work to set up more exciting episodes to come.

"Penance" details Ollie's attempt to break Diggle out of prison, a task that his team initially opposes. Though they learn the hard way not to get in Oliver's way, they are also afforded their first chance to take on Church without Green Arrow's aid. This turns out to be a mistake, however, as Mr. Terrific gets injured in the process and Wild Dog is left behind and taken captive by Church and his men. Still, Ollie does accomplish to free Diggle, and it won't be long until Dig's back in business as the Spartan. Just as well, Felicity and Rag Man work out their problems, and the new DA continues to drop hints of his own vigilantism.

While this week's episode definitely contains a few important plot points for the season (i.e. the return of Diggle, Wild Dog's capture, etc.), ultimately, it lacks the character development and structural strength that has been present in the past couple episodes of the show. Without the strong connections to the theme, the flashbacks are practically pointless. Likewise, after two episodes full of beautifully choreographed fight scenes, fake punches plagued "Penance," and the bombastic action that's been featured in every other episode yet this season simply wasn't there this week.

Of course, a slower episode of Arrow is to be expected every now and then. However, given that the show is just now starting on an upward trend after two terribly mediocre seasons, it really doesn't help that "Penance" seems more like a step in the wrong direction. Hopefully, season five finds its pace, and more episodes reminiscent of the show's glory days continue to be made.

Arrow returns next Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET.
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