Oliver is hanging onto the past. In the “Arrow” Season 5 premiere, Oliver kept waiting for things to go back to the way they were. He thinks Thea and Diggle will return to the team, but it’s his promise to Laurel that helps him realize that he needs to move forward.
At the beginning of Season 5, episode 1, Oliver (Stephen Amell) is supposed to be at an event for the police department’s new anti-crime initiative. As the mayor, he should be there, but Thea (Willa Holland) has to cover for him. He’s off fighting a criminal again. He finds a set of bombs in a warehouse. Oliver has a fancy new arrow that allows Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) to hack into the bomb.
The criminal complains about the Green Arrow not killing him, but he just knocks the bad guy out. Someone in a hockey mask (Rick Gonzalez) is trying to disarm the bombs. Oliver tells him to go home and shoots him in the leg.
When Oliver gets to his event, he says is looking into corruption in the police department. Thea pulls him away from reporters and tells him to keep his mouth shut. This is an event for the cops, after all. She also doesn’t accept his excuses for slacking off on his mayoral duties either.
Despite Oliver shooting the new vigilante, Felicity dubs the hockey mask guy Wild Dog and wants to bring him into the fold. She has a few amateur vigilantes that could form a team, but Oliver still thinks Thea and Diggle (David Ramsey) will return.
In a dark warehouse in Star City, a group of corrupt cops are causing trouble when someone even worse shows up. This new villain kills one of the corrupt cops by beating him to death while wearing brass knuckles. This is Tobias Church (Chad L. Coleman).
There is a shortage of good cops, but Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne) is in no shape to return to the force. Quentin has fallen off the wagon. He reveals that Donna (Charlotte Ross) left him to go back to Vegas, and Quentin says that he doesn’t have a reason to stay sober anymore. Oliver offers him a spot on the team, but the former detective doesn’t want to do much. He isn’t even attending the ceremony being held for Black Canary (Katie Cassidy).
Oliver goes back to his underground office to get the scoop on Church, and Felicity points out again that the Green Arrow needs some help. “Church runs with a crew and yours is not coming back,” Felicity says bluntly.
Oliver manages to be on time for Laurel’s ceremony, and even Quentin shows up. A statue is unveiled, but all is interrupted when Tobias’ men with guns come up and start firing. They take Oliver hostage after he realizes that the mayor can’t be seen as a skilled martial artist. They take him and a few others away in a SWAT van.
Quentin and Thea are back in the Arrow lair, but they want Felicity to do as much as possible. Quentin gathers some clues and tells Thea to suit up. Thea finally feels normal and wants to stay that way, which means keeping the suit in the closet. Quentin says that Oliver’s speech made him realize that he has to move on with life too — even if he doesn’t like his life right now.
Church has Oliver tied up, and Ollie says that the Green Arrow isn’t coming. He insults Church and gets sent to a private room with one of the minions for a beating. Oliver easily gets out of his restraints and kills the minion, just as Speedy gets there. Wires rigged to bombs, a “kill cordon,” prevent them from going back for the other hostages.
When they get back to headquarters, Thea admonishes Ollie for killing that guy. Oliver says this isn’t a step backwards. This could’ve prevented the rise of Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough) last year. “I thought that taking the high road was more important than saving lives and that is a mistake that I will never, ever make again,” Oliver states. Thea can’t have anything to do with his new murderous methods.
Felicity tries not to say “I told you so,” and Oliver says her list of potential heroes is full of amateurs. Felicity tells him to think of what he promised Laurel before she died.
Oliver seems to finally get it. He tells Quentin that he doesn’t know what to do without a team. The detective gives him a folder of cops, men he could trust. Quentin says they’re both moving forward. Oliver seems to be accepting that he needs to pick new team members too. He reveals what Laurel asked of him in her last moments.
“Please, please don’t let me be the last Canary,” she told him. “That way a part of me will always be out there with you.”
Oliver promised, so it looks like he’ll have to find someone else to deliver the canary cry.
In the present day, Quentin leads a group of cops into Church’s territory. He is giving them directions from coms in the Arrow lair, but he hasn’t told them where exactly he is. It seems they trust him enough to stay in the dark.
One of the cops says the way Church has wired the building means it’s all going to blow. The hostages get out, and Oliver jumps out of a window with just five seconds to spare. He manages to use an arrow to get into the helicopter carrying Church to exchange a few quick punches. The new baddie eventually pushes the vigilante out of the aircraft. Luckily, Oliver also has a parachute arrow.
Oliver gives a press conference the next day. He speaks about police corruption, but he highlights the four officers Quentin lead last night. They’ll be reporting directly to him about the anti-crime initiative.
Church understands just how powerful the Green Arrow is now, and he knows that he needs a team. “The Green Arrow cannot be stopped unless we work together under a singular command,” Church tells a group of criminals.
Oliver comes to a similar conclusion. He finally admits that Felicity is right and they need to recruit new heroes. Curtis (Echo Kellum) is first in line. He got jumped while looking for Wild Dog, and he wants to be able to protect himself and others.
Oliver calls Diggle just to run the new team idea past him. The soldier says that it’s a good idea, which isn’t exactly the answer Oliver hoped for. He wants things to be normal again. “Does that include you and Felicity?” Diggle asks.
“I don’t know,” Oliver tells him.
It seems like Felicity has moved on with her love life. Felicity goes home and one of the SCPD cops is massaging her shoulders. She definitely has a new boyfriend.
She might want to watch out for him, though. Another one of the cops is attacked by a man with a bow and arrow. The victim asks if his attacker is the Green Arrow, but this is definitely not Oliver. This is Prometheus.
Russia: When the flashbacks start, Oliver is already in Russia. He is fighting for money — and information. His sponsor is happy he won, but Oliver isn’t interested in the cash. He wants to see Mr. Kovar, but he apparently wasn’t supposed to win this fight. He killed one of the Bratva’s men, so they kidnap Oliver.
They find Oliver’s book of names, and Viktor (Mike Dopud) tells him that he won’t survive long enough to use the list. He points a gun at Oliver, but Anatoly (David Nykl) shows up just in time to save Oliver.
Anatoly breaks Ollie’s thumbs to get him out of the restraints. The American explains that he is here to kill Constantine Kovar to fulfill a promise. Later, Anatoly tells Oliver to move forward and forget the past, but Oliver isn’t ditching his mission.
Oliver is lead to a group of men waiting to attack. Anatoly says if he survives, he’ll start the process of becoming Bratva, which will eventually lead him to Kovar.
“Arrow” Season 5 airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. EDT on The CW.