What “Legacy” did in the premiere was enforce that Ollie had to try and make a new team. What “The Recruits” proved was that just because Ollie became who he is through pain, doesn’t mean that works for everyone. Sometimes, you got to start with trust.
I really liked this episode, not the least of which was because we got to see Oliver well and truly train the recruits. Yes, we kind of got that with Roy back in Season 02, but if you think about it, it was more about giving him focus over his rage because of the Mirakuru, not fighter training. But with Curtis, Evelyn, and Ramirez, Oliver knew he had to start at basic. Funnily enough, the “basics” for him focused not on his time on the island, but his journey to be Bratva. Which of course brought forth a lot of pain and suffering both physically and mentality.
Now, while you might think it’s wrong for Ollie to be this hard on him, he really had a good reason. Laurel. For all she was, you could argue her training wasn’t the best, nor was it prioritized in her journey to be Black Canary. Yes, she was trained by Wildcat for a bit, then Nyssa, but most of it was her own training. So with her death, it wasn’t surprising at all that Ollie wanted to make sure they were ready. Stephen Amell really showed the pain and suffering he was still feeling over Laurel, and he sold Ollie’s line of thinking throughout the episode.
But, as Felicity, in one of her better episodes, revealed, pain isn’t what made the original Team Arrow work, it was trust. Dig, Sara, Roy, Laurel, and yes, Felicity, all learned to trust Oliver Queen, not the Arrow, or Green Arrow. It was a lesson that needed to be learned, and enforced, and thankfully, they do in the best way. With the team failing, Ollie overreacting, the team quitting, and Ollie realizing the error he had made.
I’m glad the first mission failed, as it showed just how different this team is compared to the original Team Arrow. And hopefully, the writers show that this team is still very green and won’t be victorious every time. They need to be broken in, and I’m glad they’re showing that so far.
Which of course brings us to the eventual 5th man of the team, Ragman. This was a very interesting choice to bring into the fold. As in the comics, he’s a magical character, but here they rooted him more. And it worked. His scenes were the coolest of the episode, as his rags literally came to life to take people out. He was a little hard to understand at times, but, it worked well overall. Especially when Ollie swallowed his pride and reached out to him when it was revealed he was the hero and not the villain.
I was also happy that the mayoral side of Ollie’s life got shined on more, as he and Thea worked hard to both help the city, and prove Ollie should still be mayor. I’m really happy with Thea in her role as Chief of Staff, because she sells that she wants to do this job, much more than Ollie does at this stage in the season. This role suits her, and I hope we get to see her do more as time goes on. The use of Quentin and his drinking problem was used very well, and having him as Deputy Mayor could be a really cool storyline if done right.
The flashbacks were simple, but brutal. Seeing start his process towards cold hearted killing machine is very much an antithesis of what’s going on in the present, but it helps show how far he’s come. Watch the other “recruits” get killed after his plan worked was very shocking.
Which brings us to Diggle, who had a surprising return here, and his own story! I’m glad we got to see him in a military mission, even getting to share his own wisdom with a new recruit of his own. The double cross angle was another shocking moment, and if he does get court marshaled, I’ll be very interested in seeing how it brings him back to Team Arrow.
Now, there were some oddities that brings the episode down a little. But overall, “The Recruits” was a very cool episode that built upon what the premiere laid down. With a very special guest coming next episode, and Prometheus now officially revealed, things are looking up for Arrow.