Warning: This recap for the “Vigilante” episode of Arrow contains spoilers.
Vigilante’s violence escalates, forcing a face-to-face meeting with Green Arrow. And while the friendship between Wild Dog and Spartan strengthens, Team Arrow suffers new losses it may not be able to recover from.
Vigilante is stopping criminals, but he’s leaving a trail of bodies too, and the team is undecided as to whether that’s a good or a bad thing. Even Oliver worries that his way might not be doing any good, but he tracks down and saves the leader of a bank-robbing gang from Vigilante anyway. Innocent civilians are killed in the fire Vigilante causes, which convinces everyone he must be stopped. They stage a bank robbery to draw him out. Oliver captures him with a trick arrow, but Vigilante escapes. Oliver hopes Susan Williams (Carly Pope) will keep a lid on the story to keep the city from panicking, and he goes out for a drink with her in hopes of staying in her good graces. Quentin thinks either Prometheus is messing with him or he is Prometheus; Thea convinces him to go into rehab. And Evelyn meets with Prometheus: She is his mole on Team Arrow.
Kovar has been torturing Oliver for a week, and the only thing he got out of him was the name “Taiana.” Unfortunately, that’s enough. Kovar has Taiana’s mother under his thumb and tries to use her as leverage. Oliver makes a break for it but finds out that Kovar and Bratva are now partners and he has nowhere to turn. “Truth is a matter of perspective,” Kovar tells him.
During their search for Vigilante, Diggle loses it on a gun shop owner. Rene and Curtis discover it’s because he’s missed his son’s second birthday party on account of all the U.S. marshals surveilling his house. At the end of the episode, Rene smuggles JJ and Lyla to Diggle’s hideout so he can still celebrate with his family. It’s a really neat moment, not just because a 2-year-old with cake is adorable, but because the new team is starting to forge relationships that don’t go through Oliver. The more they know each other outside their missions, the tenser the missions become because we know they care about each other as people as well as teammates. Rene and Digg have now bonded over military service, torture, and birthday parties, which totally makes sense in the Arrowverse.
‘They tried to make me go to rehab, I said no no no’
There’s a lot of potential in the story of Quentin’s alcoholism, but by cordoning off Thea and Quentin from the rest of the team, it really takes the emotional stakes out of the story. If you started watching Arrow in Season 5, you could be forgiven for wondering why anyone would even care about this useless drunk. We don’t see any emotional ties between him and any of the rest of the team; he never establishes himself as a trusted or useful member of the team or the mayor’s office. So when he relapses, there’s nothing at stake. Sure, he has four seasons’ worth of emotional investment, but if he disappeared this episode, none of the rest of the stories — not Prometheus, not Vigilante, not Susan Williams and all of the mayor stuff — would be affected one bit, and that’s a shame.
Quiverful of thoughts
*Speaking of stakes: It’s hard to care too much about Evelyn being a traitor because she’s such a poorly drawn character. If David betrayed the team, it would hurt because he’d be betraying his father’s legacy too; if Curtis were the turncoat, his history with Felicity would be a lie. Rene has come so far from his days of indiscriminate violence, but all we know about Evelyn is she thinks Oliver’s list is creepy.
*Again, Dolph Lundgren as Kovar is just the best. In any other show, his over-the-top ’80s villain would be awkward and hammy, but here — beating the living hell out of Oliver while philosophizing about heroes and monsters — he’s pitch-perfect.
*A little bit of the old playboy Oliver is showing. He thinks he’s so sexy, he can woo the reporter who chewed up and spat out his sister. When she buries him with the Russian mob story and the city votes to recall him as mayor, just remember: He brought it on himself.
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.