Warning: this review contains spoilers. You can find all of my Arrow reviews here.
Arrow‘s strong streak is showing no signs of stopping. Season 5 delivered another all-around great episode in “Vigilante”, which featured a compelling antagonist, excellent character work, and solid flashbacks.
Most of the episode focused heavily on the titular Vigilante, a new masked crime-fighter in Star City whose “shoot first, ask questions later” demeanour made him an enemy of Team Arrow.
Thematically, Vigilante was an excellent villain. His existence and effectiveness raised interesting questions for Oliver. Are these new costumed crime-fighters inspired by Green Arrow, or do they exist because Green Arrow hasn’t been doing enough? For the Team Arrow recruits, it’s likely the former. But for Vigilante? Definitely the latter. Considering Oliver just went back to being OK with killing, Vigilante forcing him to question his methods was also well-timed.
Thematic relevance helped, but Vigilante was also a strong character in his own right, despite never being unmasked. His costume is great, his fight scenes are strong, and his weapons certainly make him imposing. I’m glad he wasn’t dispatched in this episode, either. This is the kind of character you want to keep around.
The major subplot in “Vigilante” involved Thea and Quentin, two characters who’ve truly shone this year thanks to the chemistry and performances of Willa Holland and Paul Blackthorne. This excellent pairing continued to bear fruit, as they dealt with Quentin’s alcoholism head-on.
This subplot was notable in that it directly addressed last week’s cliffhanger. It was yet another sign of conscious improvement on the Arrow writers’ part. Instead of secret-keeping and drawing out the mystery, Quentin told Thea about blacking out and finding Prometheus’s throwing star. Even better, they both dismissed the idea that Quentin could somehow be Prometheus, which was a relief. That suggestion was not believable from the start.
The flashbacks in “Vigilante” were strong as well, mostly thanks to Dolph Lundgren’s Konstantin Kovar. He was both charismatic and powerful, his merciless beatdown of Oliver notably impressive. Plus, the Bratva’s allegiance to Oliver was put into question, introducing some welcome ambiguity.
“Vigilante” ended on a much stronger cliffhanger than last week. I don’t know if Artemis is truly a traitor or if there is more to that reveal than meets the eye. But either way, hopefully with this development Artemis no longer remains the least developec character on Team Arrow.