Arrow "S5E18 Dispanded" - Review: Broken Arrow is On-Point
Disbanded – After returning from captivity, Oliver dispands Team Arrow in believing himself to be nothing but a killer that gets his friends killed. Still wanting to be rid of Adrian Chase, Oliver calls in some old Russian friends for the dirty work.
One of the biggest things that frustrates me in any show is when seemingly big meaningful events have little or no actual consequences because of how much it ultimately devalues those events. That’s why I was very happy to see Arrow spend this episode providing such aftermath and justification for Chase’s psychological torture over Oliver. The episode starts with Oliver morally defeated. Even though we see some recovery through the episode’s events, he’s still not the Green Arrow again when he finishes. Not only does that make Oliver’s trauma feel more significant, it adds credibility and value to Chase as a villain, rather than having Oliver suiting back up after half an episode like Adam West threw him a can of “Prometheus Repellent Bat-Spray”. Furthermore, keeping Oliver in that darker place for most of the episode allowed the story to explore themes of necessity Vs morality as Oliver takes extreme measures with little regards to the consequences. As ever, Diggle can naturally voice Oliver’s conscience and the idea of Dig bringing Oliver back from the brink after playing out the reversal in the early season (with Dig having given up in prison) really pulls together their relationship and co-dependent friendship. Now, they’ve become each other’s sponsors for Atonement Addicts Anonymous (well, masked anyway). This did see the rest of the team crowded out to mere minor comic relief but in this case, it felt right to focus on Oliver and Dig.
Like last episode, this was a strong affair for bridging the present and flashback stories as the Bratva come to Star City. Firstly, this gives us more of David Nykl as Anatoli/KGBeast, which is never a bad thing. Secondly, there’s an excellent parallel between Oliver and Anatoli between being idealists of the past and forced realists of the present. In the flashbacks, Anatoli was looking to make the Bratva a force for the Russian people once more. Now, years later, he finds himself flooding his streets with a new highly addictive drug because he needs the money from selling it and there is a clear underlying sense of shame in having to do so. We see Oliver’s present emotional state reflected in Anatoli as they both compromise their ideals for what they believe is the greater good.
I wasn’t too hot on the Felicity/Helix story in this episode as it seems to have taken a step backwards. Rather than the Bratva-like favour system of 2 episodes ago, all the hackers seem to be throwing their help at Felicity. While there is the little tease that Helix knows all about Team Arrow including everyone’s identities, the story seems to have hit a plateau for the time being with no clear direction. Part of me still thinks this is heading more towards being setup for season 6. If that’s the case they have pulled the trigger on it a bit too early.
To finish on a high, ever since Chase was unmasked, he has been magnificent as a villain and this episode is no exception. Josh Segma continues to make him to wonderfully despicable as he fakes the emotional grief over his dead wife even when the only people in the room know he’s lying. It creates such a persona of villainous arrogance, which befits the idea of Prometheus being such a master strategist that’s out played everyone. Then, there are his final scenes and indeed the episode’s final moments. Not only does it feel like an escalation in his character and the season, like from here on it will be all out war, but he doesn’t half look cool doing it.
Arrow completes trio of shows going out strong before a 4-week break (returns on April 26th). We have a hero coming back from his lowest point against an engaging and charismatic villain that now appears to be a rather unhinged psychopath. Throw in a lingering Bratva presence and presumably Talia al Ghul still a factor, and that gives us all manner of ways this could play out. This really is a great time to be Flarrowverse fan.