Review: Arrow Gets Nostalgic in “So it Begins”

Wednesday, 09 November 2016 - 10:05PM
DC Comics
Arrow
Wednesday, 09 November 2016 - 10:05PM
Review: Arrow Gets Nostalgic in “So it Begins”
Last week, Arrow delivered its most explosive episode of season five as Church's part in the narrative came to a resolution. The high-octane action, character development, and flashback tie-ins were absolutely reminiscent of Arrow's glory days, and were stark examples of how the show is attempting to revert back to its tried and true methods of storytelling. This week, Arrow successfully shifts gears as the masked serial killer, Prometheus, takes the spotlight as the show's new main threat. While the explosive action of last week's episode may be missing from "So it Begins," it's undoubtedly yet another quality episode in the show's season five repertoire.

In "So it Begins," Ollie and the team begin investigating two murders carried out by the season's apparent big-bad, Prometheus. Though there are initially no common factors in the killings, Felicity eventually finds that Prometheus is using the names of his victims as anagrams for names that were on Oliver's hit list from season one. With that information, the team is able to predict who Prometheus is going to strike next, allowing them to take preemptive measures to protect the potential victims. The plan works, ending in a confrontation between Evelyn, Oliver, and Prometheus, though the villain is able to escape at the last moment.  

With the hit list being brought up, the new team's opinion of Oliver shifts, as they begin to see more hints of a killer than a protector in him. This causes Ollie to evaluate his methods and the progress (or lack thereof) that he's made over the past five years. Additionally, it's revealed that Deputy Mayor Lance is still struggling with alcoholism, and Felicity finally reveals to her boyfriend that she works with the Green Arrow. The episode ends with Lance waking up after a night of drinking with a cut on his arm and throwing star on his coffee table, and with the extra revelation that Prometheus has access to SCPD evidence lockers, it's beginning to look like Lance may be getting framed by the villain.  

There are a number of different things that Arrow definitely succeeds with in "So it Begins." The nostalgic moments (i.e. bringing back the hit list, the scene with Ollie shooting the tennis balls, time spent with just Ollie and Diggle speaking brother to brother) are effective callbacks to season one, and are also a rare treat for long-time fans of the show. Likewise, dealing with Oliver's backtracking on his no-kill rule is an extremely smart move, adding a level of believability to both story and character that's been lacking. This plot-point also serves the purpose of character development; Oliver hasn't been such an interesting and deep character for over three years, and season five's commitment to focusing on character is the obvious reason for that. Just as well, the new team is really starting to seem more likable; though little time is spent on the scene, seeing the new recruits enjoying a drink of homemade schnapps together definitely helps to make them more human and relatable. It's moments like that that helped attach the audience to Cisco, Caitlyn, and Wells in The Flash's first season, and it would be great to see more of that playful dynamic on Arrow in the future.  

There are also a few things that fell flat in the episode, however. The dialogue is weak in a number of scenes, and the action could definitely have been upped in the fight scene with Prometheus, Evelyn, and Green Arrow. The flashbacks also lack a clear link to the story in this episode, though they admittedly make up for it by providing some of the best dialogue and suspense of "So it Begins."

Nevertheless, "So it Begins" is yet another example of how Arrow is committed to bringing back the greatness of its first two seasons. It's undoubtedly a new era for the show, and there are a lot of fans who couldn't be happier that the writers' room is putting in the effort to course-correct. With Arrow back on its game and The Flash and Supergirl both delivering quality episodes, the DC TV Universe has definitely become a force to be reckoned with.  

Arrow returns next Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on the CW.
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