A murderous new vigilante makes Oliver wonder if his methods are getting the job done
Credit: Diyah Pera/The CW
S5 E7
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  • The CW

Which is worse, going too far to protect the city, or not going far enough? Oliver and his team grapple with this question when a new vigilante appears on the scene. But first …

Five years ago:

A bloody, battered Oliver and his wig are seated at a dinner table across from Kovar, who sadly is no longer wearing a tuxedo. It’s been a week of questions and a week of torture, and all Oliver’s done is scream about avenging a woman named Taiana. But surprise, surprise, Kovar has Taiana’s mother on his payroll; she’s been working for him ever since her children disappeared.

“Who’s to say who’s the monster and who’s the hero?” Kovar asks.

For example, he says, the reason Bratva had Oliver kill that man in jail was so Bratva could steal his black market business on the dark web. “Good, evil, hero, monster. My friend, truth is a matter of perspective,” Kovar says.

Oliver responds by stabbing a knife through Kovar’s hand, then holding another to his neck. He gets the guards to surrender their guns and hustles Kovar toward the exit.

Kovar’s amused by this turn of events and taunts Oliver that Bratva agreed to a truce in exchange for a cut of the profits at Kovar’s new casino. And why would they let an American into Bratva? They’re just using Oliver for whatever value he can provide. This angries up Oliver’s blood, and they start fighting. Well, Kovar starts fighting; Oliver mostly takes punches. Seriously, that is one big Russian.

The fight comes to an end when Gregor, the Bratva member who sent Oliver under cover last week, strolls into the house, clearly in league with Kovar.

Betrayal! Or is it a double-cross? Tune in next week. Meanwhile, on to …

The present:

The good news: Prometheus has stopped killing random civilians. The bad news: Team Arrow has no idea what he’s going to do next. The worst news: There’s a new guy in town delivering bodies of human traffickers to the SCPD with V’s carved into their cheeks.

“What is it with this city and serial killers lately?” Rory asks, and yeah, he and Curtis officially get the best lines this season.

The new vigilante, uncreatively named Vigilante, has plenty of chances to be vigilant when the Bag of Bones crew starts targeting Star City banks. Recent parolee Eric Dunn’s in charge, and hey, one of his crew is a woman! Yay for representation! It’s always male criminals in these Arrow gangs.

Felicity and the Arrowlettes vote to let the new guy do his thing unhindered, but Oliver disagrees, of course. He’s confused because the Arrowlettes freaked out last week when they learned about Oliver’s murderous ways as The Hood, but they’re cool with Vigilante killing the bad guys. “You can’t have it both ways,” Oliver says. Plus, they don’t want another masked killer loose in Star City.

This prompts Evelyn to ask, “Who gets to decide who’s a psycho and who’s a vigilante?” Indeed, Evelyn. Indeed. Who watches the watchmen? Why does the caged bird sing? Does this look infected to you? (Sorry, I got on a question roll.)

Anyway, the team works together to find Eric Dunn by shaking down his former cellie and his possible ammo dealer. It goes smoothly except for Diggle, who gets a little rage monster in his interrogations. Afterward, he admits that his son’s having his second birthday party, and he can’t be there because he’s a fugitive and the U.S. Marshalls are surveilling his home. That is, most certainly, a bummer.

NEXT: Oliver has performance anxiety

Thanks to their new knowledge, the team accurately predicts where the Bag of Bones will hit next, but Vigilante beats them there. The robbers become secondary targets as the would-be crime stoppers have a quick meeting of the Masked Vigilantes Local 831.

Green Arrow tells Vigilante that he’s out of control, but Vigilante counters that the city’s out of control, and Green Arrow isn’t helping. If Team Arrow isn’t with him, then they’re dead. Vigilante shoots their van (petty!) and escapes.

Back at the Arrow Cave, Oliver frets that Vigilante’s right; maybe he’s relying too much on the justice system to do its job, which is why the city’s a cesspool of crime and corruption.

Speaking of the justice system, DA Chase is interrogating the female Bag of Bones member, who tells him to go to hell. He gets all intense and says, “I’ve been to hell, and that makes me somebody that you do not want to screw with.” I mean, Chase is Vigilante, right?

Somehow, his lame threat works, and she gives up Dunn’s hotel name. Chase goes to get a warrant, and Oliver goes to suit up.

Sure enough, Dunn’s in the hotel with a skull mask and a bunch of cash. He has enough time to tell the Green Arrow that he was framed for his previous crime, and the DA didn’t care. It was his time in Iron Heights that made him a criminal. Him and Andy Dufresne, amirite?

Before they can talk about how awesome The Shawshank Redemption was, Vigilante opens fire from the parking lot, seemingly unconcerned about who’s actually in the room or the neighbors or property values or whatever. Oliver fires an arrow with bullet-proof mesh to cover the window, letting them escape out the back.

In the aftermath of the attack on the hotel, three are dead and five are injured, so now the team’s on board to stop Vigilante.

Okay, a quick break here for an update on Star City’s media: Journalist Susan seems to have undergone a full personality transplant in a matter of weeks, from a stab-Thea-in-the-back, what-even-are-ethics journalist to an earnest wannabe friend for Mayor Queen — or Oliver, as he invites her to call him.

Oliver tells his team that he’s meeting Susan for a drink, and we don’t cut to Felicity for her reaction, so I guess that’s that. Whatever, show. While there, he bounces a hypothetical off of Susan: What if a more extreme mayor out there made him question the effectiveness of his slower, more optimistic approach?


Having gotten that bit of advice, Oliver and the team decide to draw Vigilante out by robbing a bank themselves in full Bag of Bones disguise. But it goes downhill when Vigilante takes Mr. Terrific hostage and tells the rest of the team to beat it, leaving him and Green Arrow to duke it out.

Vigilante wants them to back off and let him work since Green Arrow’s not taking the city’s problems seriously enough. “Maybe because you haven’t lost anyone. You don’t have a full understanding of what’s out there,” he says.

Oh, Vigilante, you have no idea. Somehow, Green Arrow keeps himself from screaming, “You don’t know mah life!” and instead opts for a calmer, “Oh, I’ve lost people, almost more than I can bear.”

NEXT: Well, who saw that betrayal coming?

Vigilante’s ready to assassinate Mr. Terrific to give Green Arrow one more loss, but Green Arrow shoots the gun out of Vigilante’s hand, and they fight. It ends with Vigilante ensnared by a cable arrow that binds him to a column.

Green Arrow says he’s going to protect the city his way and goes to take off Vigilante’s mask, which is rigged with a flash grenade-type thing that lets him escape. Brilliant!

This week’s crime wave ends with Green Arrow depositing Dunn alive at SCPD, making sure the cop sees him and knows that he’s the non-murdery mask in town. Mostly.

And now for the sobriety coach update: Quentin tries to resign his position as deputy mayor, then tells Thea that he’s been having blackouts and the last time he came to, he found blood on his hands and a throwing star belonging to Prometheus. He and Thea quickly agree that there’s no way he’s unknowingly turned into a killer, but he still wants to distance himself from the Queens and the mayor’s office.

“I’m damaged goods, Thea,” he says. She disagrees and takes him to a rehab facility where he can come to grips with his grief over Laurel without using alcohol as a crutch.

“It just hurts so much,” he whimpers. “And the worst thing is knowing how ashamed she’d be of me right now.”

Thea assures him that’s not true, but she gets what he’s feeling. “When we’ve been living in pain this long, it’s hard to even accept the idea of being happy.” She tells him to go to rehab to make Laurel proud, and his job will be waiting when he gets back.

Now for some personal stuff and a stunning reveal:

Thea fills Oliver in on Quentin’s drinking and the Throwing Star Killer frame job, and I’ve just got to say, thank God nobody’s keeping secrets about this, particularly because the Queen siblings immediately realize that Prometheus must know that Oliver is the Green Arrow.

Oliver then leaves to have another drink with Susan, who we’re apparently supposed to root for now? Sorry, but with that disastrous introduction a few weeks ago, it’s going to take a lot more than some pool playing and hand holding to warm me up to her.

Shirtless Diggle (*wolf whistle*) is beating the crap out of a punching bag at his hideout when Lyla and J.J. arrive for a makeup second-birthday party, arranged by Rene. Awwww! And also, a moment of silence for the Flashpointed-out-of-existence baby Sara.

And finally tonight, we see Artemis engaging in a clandestine rooftop meeting with … drumroll … Prometheus! “Don’t worry, nobody followed me. They don’t suspect a thing,” she says.

Betrayal! Or is it a double-cross? Tune in next week …

But seriously, this is juicy! If Evelyn is a traitor, the show’s set it up well. She’s been frustrated with Oliver and his caginess this season, to say nothing of the terrible start to their relationship last season. But do we think she really is working with Prometheus? Could she be a double agent, with or without Oliver’s knowledge? Let me know what you think in the comments!

Thoughts for your quiver

  • Season 5 salmon ladder count: 2.5, one for Oliver and one and a half for Curtis, who’s seen falling off the apparatus tonight.
  • Loved Felicity declaring that Dunn’s first conviction could be Making a Murderer season 2. Can you imagine how much righteous indignation she’d have worked up watching that last year?
  • Look, I love the dynamic between Thea and Quentin, and I’m delighted he’s getting on the right track, but can we pleeeeaaaaase get back to Thea parkouring all over town now?
  • Seriously, Chase is Vigilante, right?

Episode grade: B

Episode Recaps

Billionaire Oliver Queen — under the vigilante persona of Arrow — tries to right the wrongs of his family and fight the ills of society.
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  • Marc Guggenheim
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  • Greg Berlanti
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