Arrow S05E04 “Penance” Review

reviews, TV


Warning Contains Spoilers

Arrow really has their every-other-episode-is-great formula down to a tee! This week’s episode had character development, plot advancement and awesome fight sequences; it had all the right ingredients for a decent episode. I want to consistently have fun when I watch an episode of Arrow–like in the good old days–but there are still a few issues to iron out– “Penance” was a nice attempt, and I was entertained for most of the hour long episode.

Wild Dog is still acting like an angsty teenager, calling Felicity ”Blondie”, not following orders and making dumb decisions. We are four episodes in and he still hasn’t gotten his act together. I’m all for Arrow sticking with storylines but can’t they stick with some that are less annoying? I know it’s still early, but what does he even contribute to the team? The only reason he’s there is because he would be off wreaking havoc on his own if he wasn’t supervised but honestly, he’s still wreaking havoc just with supervision. The team goes on a run to take down one of Tobias’s men and Oliver tasks Evelyn with taking the shot. Wild Dog doesn’t listen, of course, and takes a few missed shots almost blowing the entire mission. Luckily, they still managed to capture him and turn him into the police. Wild Dog is just a liability and is going to get someone seriously hurt or killed if he doesn’t straighten up soon.

Remember last review when I said I hope the whole awkwardness between Ragman and Felicity lasts a few episodes? Yeah that was resolved this week. It started out that Rory was all about quitting the new team; he couldn’t look at Felicity and not think about his family. Working with the team to honor his father wasn’t enough anymore. Felicity tried to explain to him how impossible her decision was but he couldn’t see it. That is until Oliver was off on his break-Diggle-out-of-prison mission and Tobias had taken over the police station with guns and men. People were going to die if the new team didn’t go out on their own but no one wanted to get killed tonight, except of course Wild Dog.


Rory comes in last minute to rejoin them and convinces all of them to go out and fight. During this mission they rescue the good guys but Tobias hits Curtis in the back with a knife. I honestly thought Curtis was going to die– like legit I was scared. Wild Dog had to be the hero and stayed back to fight Tobias and gets himself kidnapped. Evelyn and Ragman get Curtis out but want to go back for Tobias; once again Felicity has to make an impossible decision and tells them to leave Wild Dog and get in Quentin’s getaway van. This is where Rory realizes that impossible decisions have to be made in this vigilante business to save lives and tells Felicity that they are okay. He still is upset and he understands. So I guess that is done. I hope at least she still feels guilt! I loved this foil to her emotional arc! I have a feeling Prometheus or Tobias is going to use Rory’s family death and Felicity’s guilt to get Rory on their side somehow.

So about that break-Diggle-out-of-prison mission Oliver was on. It was awesome; I love heists! Against Diggle’s wishes, Oliver and Lyla go on a mission to rescue him. He’s in military prison so it would prove difficult to get him out without getting caught. I’m guessing not too difficult since they pulled it off with almost no problems. It honestly was a little too easy to break someone out of military prison, but it was still awesome and my favorite part of this episode. Felicity didn’t feel comfortable helping and didn’t want Oliver to go at all. She even sends the recruits to stop him and Oliver takes down like they were nothing; I don’t know why she thought he wouldn’t hit them.


Oliver gets to Diggle’s and Diggle wants to stay because he thinks it’s his penance for killing his brother. Oliver adorably tells him, “you’re my brother– whatever happens to you happens to me”. I love their relationship so much; the bromance is strong with them! Oliver convinces him to leave and uses an awesome spray that cuts a hole in the floor of Diggle’s cell. (Again, super easy to escape military prison.) They manage to get all the way outside just to be surrounded by guards. Lyla flies a plane over them and Oliver shoots an arrow sending them up to the plane in the nick of time. They take him to old HIVE headquarters and that’s where he will ride this whole ‘he’s a fugitive’ thing out. I’m glad Diggle’s army storyline is over with– I had no idea where they were going with that. I still don’t know how useful he can be in hiding, but we’ll see. I love me some Diggle, I just also love characters having purpose.

Not much happened in the Mayoral world other than new DA Adrian Chase wondering why Oliver has to be out of the office so much. He also was caught in the police station when Tobias took over and realized that Vigilante’s actually do a lot of good– because they saved his life. I think we are closer to him becoming The Vigilante. Thea used a medical excuse of gout (which is awesome) for why Oliver is out of the office which he seemed to believe somewhat. I have a feeling the new DA knows Oliver is The Green Arrow.

There was another nice moment between Quentin and Thea. She told him that if anything was going on she is there for him. I just love this continued support she’s giving him. When you’re struggling with a disease like his you need people in your corner to get you through; you need to know someone is there, even if it’s just one. This dynamic just makes me smile. I hope Quentin is dealing with his disease okay, I love Quentin and want him to be himself again! I still want Thea to stop being normal-girl-Thea and be Speedie again; in the meantime this is a great way to continue to honor Laurel.


Again this was a decent episode and I enjoyed most of the hour. I just want Arrow to stick with storylines to provide a better narrative. They should also have more heists and fight sequences these are their best elements at this point. I also think they should just leave Wild Dog with Tobias. I know that’s harsh but he needs to see the consequences of his actions. They don’t need to exhaust resources for someone that just disrupts missions with his angst. I know he’ll probably get rescued next episode so at least it will lead to another heist!

There was a funny exchange at the end when Evelyn said, “Things have really fallen apart without Oliver, haven’t they?” and then out of nowhere comes Oliver to say, “It’s a good thing I’m back, then.” Rory was all of us watching at home and wonders if he was waiting for an entrance line but Curtis tells him “Nope. He’s just that cool.” I want more fun interactions like this one. Arrow has been afraid to fun and has focused heavily on darkness. It’s okay for a superhero show to be funny; the Flash and Supergirl do this all the time and it works wonders. Just like Wild Dog, Arrow needs to loosen up and stop being so angsty.


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