ARROW – 5×06 – ‘So It Begins’
Directed by: John Behring
Story by: Greg Berlanti
Starring: Stephen Amell, David Ramsey, Emily Bett Rickards, Willa Holland, Paul Blackthorne

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This week’s episode, may actually be the best one yet for story content – and this isn’t said lightly. For starters, we open with some more of the excellent stunt work that this series has been consistently giving us, as the classic pairing of Green Arrow and Spartan follow Prometheus’ trail. Though they know they’re walking into a trap, they are surprised to find Prometheus has left a message in the woefully underused style of fire writing – ‘SO IT BEGINS’.

“So what begins?” A series of random murders by throwing star. Well, seemingly random.

It actually turns out that Prometheus is some kind of world-class anagram solver, and each of his victims’ names are anagrams of the names of those Oliver killed on his father’s list. This revelation shocks the new recruits, who are immediately disgusted by the fact Oliver has killed people in the past, which seems just a little unbelievable because let’s face it – it’s not like he hasn’t done it since. This episode doesn’t do much to change opinions on the new team, as they (after having done one successful mission) continuously moan that Oliver has been trying to protect them from a serial killer. And while this week has toned down the soap opera theme a lot, it’s given us more of the new recruits’ teen drama, with one scene essentially being underage drinking in a garage while the moan about how their “parents” treat them.

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And though the soap opera has been toned down considerably from last week – it’s still there. They can’t let the fan-fiction down. Last week Oliver (when Christopher Chance in disguise) had a little flirt with journalist Susan Williams (Carly Pope), and this week she’s back to make her intentions perfectly clear. While it’s nice to no longer have ‘Olicity’ forced down our throats, they have introduced Susan Williams as a Laurel Lance-type character, who wants Oliver to better himself in a Laurel Lance-type way. Let’s just hope they don’t recruit her.

A personal favourite moment of this week’s episode – the news reports that the ‘Throwing Star Killer’ (it’s like the Arrow writers aren’t even trying) has been seen in an outdoor shopping mall, causing widespread panic. This in itself isn’t entertaining – but the portrayal of masses’ reaction is wonderful, as it would seem that when American’s are faced with the potential danger of a serial killer on the loose, panic takes over and they just start shooting at the sky and running straight into things. The Arrow team have to go in to stop people freaking out – and the best part of it is, Prometheus isn’t even there.

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Once the team have worked out the next names on Oliver’s list and the poor unfortunate souls whose names just happen to be anagrams of them, the new recruits and the original members all must split up, each taking a different citizen to protect, ready to notify the others if Prometheus shows up. Artemis is the lucky one, who comes racoon-mask to hood with the villain, fighting him one on one, holding her own and even going so far as to give him a plot-moving cut on the arm which in classic masked villain style, is used to later identify our mystery man, in a shocking reveal at the episode’s close.

However, the other shocking thing this week comes from Oliver’s Bratva flashbacks – and no, it’s not Anatoly’s bomb-making class – it is the appearance of action heavyweight Dolph Lundgren as Oliver’s Russian target, Konstantin Kovar who comes in snapping necks and cashing cheques, as exactly the kind of character we’d hoped that Kovar would be from his mentions in earlier episodes. Suffice to say, this storyline is going to be very exciting, and Lundgren does a stellar job of portraying a cold mob boss who can go from pouring himself a drink to killing a man without so much as a flinch.

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This week’s episode closes with a final breakthrough for the team on Prometheus’ identity. Felicity, who has done extensive scanning on one of the villain’s throwing stars finds a lead (based on an awesome piece of villainy from Prometheus). No prizes for guessing that next week Oliver who will probably be blaming – and so the fan-fiction continues…

Arrow is really stepping up its game this series, and with the 100th episode crossover with Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow and The Flash on the horizon, let’s hope they can keep it up.

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