Arrow Recap Season 5 Episode 12

Arrow Recap: From Russia, With Not a Whole Lot of Love

This week on The CW’s Arrow, current-day circumstances led Oliver back to Russia, where his Bratva past was revised, newly freed Diggle’s resolve was tested and Felicity’s dark secret started to leak.

First things first: the Lance/Rene scenes were odd, and a strange way to finally bring Quentin back into the fold. As Lance himself claimed early on, “I don’t know you,” as Rene tried to prep the deputy mayor for a sure-to-be-tricky sitdown with Susan Williams. Lance eventually made nice with his ersatz “assistant” and aced the interview — in part because Rene had looped Susan in on the heartwarming tale of Lance years ago caught him tagging a building, then steered him on a better path. (Next week’s episode is Rene-centric, so this was obviously a ramp-up to it. Still, oof.)

Meanwhile over in the A-story, after General Walker shot his way out of custody and made tracks for Russia to peddle a nuke, Oliver & Co. followed — even if it meant Oliver having to appeal to Anatoly for an assist. To that end, Oliver had to briefly return to his thuggish ways, as Bratva “muscle.” That in turned teed up a convo with Dinah, who advised “brooding” Oliver not to let his past anchor him.

When their initial intercept of Walker turned out to be a trap, Team Arrow nonetheless came away with a prisoner — whom Oliver gave the cushiest of deadlines (“Tell me what I want to know… in, I dunno, 45 minutes, an hour tops?… or else!”). Diggle was less patient, and proceeded to beat the goon to a pulp. Still facing a dead end, that’s when Oliver did Anatoly’s bidding, in trade for the location of Walker’s nuke sale (and a small Bratva army).

Descending upon the hangar, Dinah’s sonic cry crashed a van load of soldiers, while Diggle got the drop on the general who tried to put him away, for good. Walker taunted John into simply offing him, but Diggle instead chose proper justice.

Also as part of the earlier hunt for Walker, Felicity (accompanied by”Bratva” toughs Rory and Curtis) threatened a Russian contact with his own Pandora file, as furnished by Helix. Rory picked up on Felicity’s ploy, and warned her, as he learned with his rags, that with great power comes great responsibility (to quote the other guys). Rory then tipped off Diggle and Oliver that Felicity was crossing lines. That, coupled with Diggle’s beating of the prisoner, led Oliver to remind OTA that he goes dark so they never have to, that he needs them to be better than him, because they are. In the end, though, Diggle argues that no one is “better” than that others, and together as a team, they make each other better.

Concurrent with Walker’s capture, the nuke he pretended to sell was in countdown mode, the clock only sped up by Felicity’s tampering. Ragman got the idea to absorb the blast with his magical threads, and it indeed worked (and with not a lick of radioactive contamination immediately afterward). Still, his rags seemed irreparably damaged, so for now at least, he bid Felicity — and Team Arrow — adieu. Boooo.

Upon arriving back in Star City, Oliver and Susan finally consummated their… whatever… after which Susan lightly probed nekkid Oliver about his scars and “crazy tattoo” from his island (?) solitude. He waved her off, for now. At hour’s end, though, she met with an investigator who confirmed that Oliver was surrounded by Bratva in that old photo — and that around the same time, a hooded archer prowled that part of Russia. No small coincidence, Susan nods, “if Oliver Queen is the Green Arrow.”

Elsewhere, in flashbacks, Talia continued to train Oliver — including as a target the source of the drugs that Thea was hooked on years ago — before urging him to return home and fulfill his oath to his father, by working the list.

What did you think of the episode “Bratva”?

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67 Comments
  1. Brad says:

    So did willia want some time off haven’t seen her character in a long time

  2. equate5 says:

    Keeping with the rest of Season 5, an okay episode. I am not going to say Arrow is back just getting back on course to what it was Season 1-2

    Everyone is actually in their character, Oliver is leader, Diggle second but slighty unhinged now, Felicity as tech support who storyline wise should be betrayed by this hacker group and left out to dry.

    Nu Canary is okay but really unhappy with the knowledge for the last 3 seasons we could have had Full blown Black Canary as they did in 2 weeks.

    It means they could have but refused for katie Cassidy. Not a great way to run a show.

  3. Gale Peacock says:

    I’m getting bored with Oliver’s brooding. Dude needs to snap out of it. I do agree with him that Diggle and Felicity make him better. Stephen Amell is a weird actor in that he needs to spark with his co-stars to deliver a great scene. And this episode just showed how much more he is capable of when he is with David Ramsey and Emily Bett Rickards. Those three are the core of the show and it works when it focuses on their relationship.

    Fascinated with where they are going with Felicity’s story. It’s fitting that after all she’s been through in 4 1/2 seasons, she’s very much willing to cross the line, especially for a friend. I’ve always enjoyed that Felicity is not a total white hat, there’s always been a little bit of gray in her that makes her such an interesting character. Kudos to Emily for the Bratva princess bit. She sold it.

    • Lex says:

      Oh, preach. They couldn’t have drawn a bigger distinction between Oliver with OTA and Oliver with evil reporter if they grabbed a magic marker and drew an evil mustache on her. Oliver with Diggle and Felicity is electric; I don’t understand why the writers don’t just let the characters and the actors’ chemistry lead the story.
      .
      They should just queue up Jack Johnson’s “Better Together” and use the assets they have. They don’t even have to shoehorn Laurel into whatever B-plot is created to make her relevant! Dinah has already established herself and her credibility as the Black Canary, and I can’t wait to see more of her.
      .
      I’m so glad their developing Felicity’s own brand of morality. This show has existed in gray areas from the beginning, and FINALLY we get to explore some of Felicity’s darker nature. If we need to put a pin in Olicity and watch Oliver bang the skanky reporter for Felicity to get a real story of her own I’ll suffer through whatever with Susan (though not silently; with plenty of snark and judgment) and wait until season 6 for a reunion.

    • Elizabeth says:

      All of this. All of it. Beautifully said.

    • Max says:

      If I could like/fave this comment, I would. Truth is Arrow wouldn’t have much heart if David Ramsey and Emily Bett weren’t around, which is why people have been angry at the way they were sidelined in the first half of the season. Not a great way to sell us new characters.

  4. Stormie says:

    Susan pushed sex with Oliver to make sure he had the tattoo all Bratva members have. A tattoo she kept creepily rubbing. Oliver should know this chick is shady but he’s not being smart. I hope Thea follows through on her threat to destroy Susan. I loved the OTA scenes they are the heart of the show. Felicity was an absolute bad a** this episode and I loved it! I’ll miss Rory he was my favorite of the newbies. Loved the scenes with Lance and Rene too. Happy to see Thea is back next week.

    • Max says:

      I hope she outs him – or worse – as payback for him being THIS stupid trusting a pressing journalist so soon after Evelyn’s betrayal. Man, they have truly dumbed him down this season and it’s getting even harder to root for him.

      • Moira herself actually said that Oliver doesn’t have the best judgement when it comes to women in the S2 mid-winter finale, as a way to throw shade at Isabel. So there’s a precedent for it.

        • Max says:

          And here we are, 3 seasons later, dumber as ever. If I wanted a Oliver/Isabel callback, I’d rewatch season 2 and be comforted by the idea that he evolved from the messiness. They’re revisiting that side of Oliver for the same reason they’re making him kill again after 3 seasons of development on the matter. He used to be my favorite character but he’s not even on the podium this year.

  5. Lex says:

    “Oliver and Susan finally consummated their… whatever…”
    .
    Matt, you speak for us all. I honestly don’t think anyone other than the die-hard Olicity haters are invested in Susan and Oliver’s relationship (and even then they probably don’t care enough). She’s filler, everyone knows it, and if she even survives season 5, we won’t be seeing her in season 6.
    .
    But hey, they got their Isabel-Rochev-Skanky-Brunette parallel in there, I guess…

    • kath says:

      But Stephen Amell said that Susan is not like Isabel! Does that mean she’s going to fallin love with him and not betray him? Because if so, that’s the lamest storyline this show has ever done, and there’s certainly a lot to choose from.

      • L says:

        Is that what he said? But…why? If she’s not Isabel the 2nd, there to be shady and release info on him, there’s no point to her at all. I hope it’s not a thing where she suddenly develops feelings. How boring.

        • lilyb says:

          Based on what’s been said about the whole arc, I think that might be the case, unfortunately.

          I think her main point in the plot might be getting this whole who murdered Billy thing out in the open but then ultimately she won’t publicly connect the dots that Oliver is the Green Arrow.

          • L says:

            That legit sounds like the most boring thing ever. I’d rather she was full on shady evil out to expose Oliver for selfish reasons like a promotion or something.

      • Lex says:

        This is why I’ve loved David’s interviews leading up to this episode. With Stephen you can almost feel how painful it is to suppress his Olicity shipper heart and try to sell Susan as something other than a well-used cliche (pun partially intend).
        .
        Susan is just there as filler, though hopefully her betrayal helps Oliver realize leggy brunettes are his kryptonite. Her blatantly obvious evil machinations may be a red herring, she may not betray Oliver, but she is overall not going to matter much in the long run.
        .
        I just wish Iris were there to school her in journalistic ethics. She’s a hot mess even Fox News wouldn’t touch.

  6. Agent 86 says:

    Lol. Would revealing that Oliver Queen is the Green Arrow (for what … the fifth time) really be a journalistic scoop? Surely everyone in Star City knows that Oliver is the Green Arrow and are happy to pretend otherwise because a “secret identity” is inexplicable important to Oliver.

    I thought the reporter had a more interesting angle than that, tied to either Prometheus or some wrongdoing during Oliver’s missing five years.

  7. Mike says:

    Damn Rory was my favorite of the new recruits. Sucks that he’s gone and we’re still stuck with Rene. I guess the silver lining is that they didn’t kill him off and leaves room for him to come back eventually.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      When I showed Wendy our poll results, she was like, “Huh.”


      • pnr says:

        No offense. But I don’t think Wendy is a very good showrunner. She really doesn’t have a good understanding of her audience in general…

        • madison says:

          I completely agree about Wendy. I even think Mark has lost touch. Maybe Kreisberg needs to come in and take the reins for a bit? At this point Im not sure who or what is going to fix this mess.

      • Jim says:

        Yeah . . . they’re writing out Rory and next week’s episode is Rene-centric? Dammit, Arrow. Dammit.

      • ndixit says:

        It’s just indicative of how out of tune the Arrow execs are with what the audience likes or dislikes.

        • Max says:

          It’s becoming more and more noticeable as the interviews pop out, especially from one of the two EPs… I think it would be best if they just let actors speak on behalf of their own characters and keep quiet about the rest. And by actors, I actually mean actors from the main cast. I hope someone interviews either Emily or Willa soon. I don’t think they’ve had one yet this year or am I wrong?

          • Lex says:

            In their defense I would say that the EPs did have to keep writing [bad] material for certain characters long, LONG after they should have been written off. They spent too long compromising their story (aka The OTA Show) to try and please everybody and the show took an overall nosedive.
            .
            I’d love to say they’re back on track, but I just watched Susan bully Oliver into bed, and Oliver act like the man-whore he was in season 1. So much for learning and growing and changing for the better. I think the Susan storyline is even weaker than the newbies… I loved Rory, and Rene’s growing me, but Curtis has been overused and Evelyn was pointless.

      • Lex says:

        The actor also has Betas over on Amazon, doesn’t he? Hopefully he’ll be available for regular cameos in the future.

    • Patrick Lyons says:

      I expect he’ll be back with his powers restored. Maybe he has to make a pilgrimage with the rags, back to the Holy Land in order to recharge the rags.

  8. Butch says:

    I am guessing the show only has a budget for so many actors. With Ragman gone for now perhaps Thea will show up again. Maybe with the team down a member she will suit up.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Series regulars gets paid the same regardless of how often they are actually used. No money is “saved” when Thea isn’t in an episode.

    • Jim says:

      I think it’s pretty obvious the show doesn’t have the budget for the Ragman special effects. Also probably why Curtis doesn’t have his T-spheres yet (which would finally make him useful). So that’s why we get Wild Dog . . . he’s just some guns and a hockey mask.

      • Max says:

        Not enough money for the special effects on ragman but enough for the new canary that popped out out of nowhere a week ago? Yeah, not convinced. The team is overcrowded and has been since the premiere. They just got rid of the wrong newbie. *see tvline’s newbies poll result*

        • Jim says:

          That canary effect is much easier (read: less expensive) to do than Ragman’s rags. Tons of independently moving strands that need to be animated in that suit.

  9. lilyb says:

    I actually enjoyed the episode apart from Oliver’s idiotic sexcapades. Susan obviously slept with him to get a look at his chest, and he slept with her because he’s dumb I guess? What season do we need to get to where he’s not dumb as a rock all the time? I want to be there immediately.

    • L says:

      Oliver is dumb every season. It’s to be expected now, for plot reasons. But he’s extra dumb this season. Sleeping with someone who not only screwed over his sister but is writing a story on him? DUMB!

      • lilyb says:

        I hope there’s a plot twist in there and he’s onto her, but IDK. They make him legit stupid so often now that I can’t tell what’s actual stupidity and what’s a “gotcha.”

    • Rex the Wonder Dog says:

      When it comes to women Oliver uses his other head to think with.

    • Lex says:

      It should be noted that his dumb decisions so often involve a toxic brunette…. the blondes he’s dated have been awesome. Just sayin…

  10. Ellyce says:

    Awesome OTA scenes. It’s been forever. Loving Felicity’s storyline. I can’t wait for more and I hope it doesn’t disappoint. I need the Reporter to go away both for Olicity’s sake and Oliver’s intelligence.

  11. aaron says:

    So when can we get Laurel back?

  12. pnr says:

    Felicity was the BEST part of the episode as well as Diggle/OTA. But what bothered me the most is how gross Susan is and how dumb Oliver is around her. Can Felicity threaten the life out of her and force her to flee the country?

    • pnr says:

      Also the show writing out the best newbie was a terrible mistake and will be extremely missed. This show has plenty of badasses. We needed the quiet, calm, collected character.
      Also not feeling Dinah. Sorry. That pep talk to Oliver should’ve been with Thea. Because it was a talk that should’ve been reserved for a person who actually knows Oliver. And Dinah doesn’t.

      • L says:

        I agree about Dinah. It didn’t sit right because she doesn’t know him at all. I feel like they’re really trying to force her place on the team a bit too soon. A few episodes down the line would’ve been better but it didn’t work when she only joined last week. A talk with Thea would’ve been perfect.

        • kath says:

          There were a number of comments about Laurel being InstaCanary when she got into black leather but the show really has done that to Dinah. She’s not only got the Canary scream, and the fighting abilities, and the tragic backstory, she’s now privy to Oliver’s secrets and his new trusted friend, Oliver who barely revealed anything even to Diggle and Felicity for the first two years. Suddenly he’s an open book to Dinah.

          This show really needs to do a story about how Oliver trusts the wrong people too easily. First Susan and now Dinah. Not saying that Dinah is untrustworthy but wow, she knows Oliver so well so suddenly.

          • L says:

            I don’t think they wanted to waste more time on another canary origin story. We’ve seen 2 already, we don’t need a third. They did it in one episode & that was enough. But I do think it was weird how she was offering advice like she knew him all along. It rang false and didn’t work for me at all. I wish they’d stop forcing the newbies.

  13. Rachel says:

    Ugh Susan….just please someone off her and put us out of our misery. Could she BE more obvious? Let me rub your tattoo and stare at your tattoo and ask questions about your tattoo and rub your tattoo some more…..barf. Otherwise I enjoyed the episode.

  14. L says:

    I enjoyed the episode, apart from the end with Oliver and Susan. My god, could that be any more awkward and gross? No chemistry and also sleeping with him to get a look at his tattoo. Yuck.

    Felicity was incredible though. I loved her so much and I’m really interested in where her story is going. The OTA scenes and just showing that core friendship made this for me. I think this is why I’ve had such a problem with Oliver this season – I only connect with him when he’s with Diggle and Felicity and he’s barely had scenes with them this season. So enough of the newbies, give me more of that core dynamic back. It’s why I stayed with this show so long.

  15. pnr says:

    Felicity needs to run Susan over with her van.

  16. peterwdawson says:

    Oh, so we’re keeping Rene, probably the most annoying of the newbies, but losing the much more likeable Rory? Boo indeed.

  17. Bruce Wayne says:

    1 of the 5 best Arrow’s ever!

  18. 134sc says:

    I very much enjoyed this episode. I calked this at the beginning of the season, but the ending of the episode further supports it: Oliver will be outed as the Green Arrow by seasons end. Its a great bookend to 5 seasons and a great launching point into season 6.

  19. BeckyBoo says:

    I really enjoyed the episode, it was good fun, well paced and I always enjoy ‘road trip’ episodes.

    Rene is growing on me, him and Lance had some really nice scenes and he was funny when he said he had to sneak past his assistant. He’s so much more tolerable when he isn’t being obnoxious.

    The trip to Russia was great – love Anatoly, love the call backs to stuff that happened both in the flashbacks and in season two. Diggle was a man on a mission and it was so good to see him out in the field and not stuck behind bars. Also good to see Oliver being the measured one for once.

    LOVING Felicity’s storyline. Not only is she a total badass (as always, actually) but seeing her exploring the murkier areas of her morality is amazing. I don’t think she crossed a line with blackmailing the dude, but I do think she’s being manipulated into using/revealing the Pandora files by Prometheus. EBR is nailing this slightly gritter version of Felicity and it’s amazing. Can’t wait to see where it goes. Obviously the fantastic OTA scenes were very welcome, and the obvious foreshaddowing about how Oliver needs them to keep on the right side of the line to prove to Oliver that Prometheus isn’t right about him, right while Felicity is teetering on the edge of it is glorious.

    I loved Rory and am so sad we’re not going to see him for a while. Him cautioning Felicity was great, as was him grassing her up to Oliver haha. Rory was the best of the newbies, I’m so glad they didn’t kill him off, I was worried for a moment there.

    I liked how Dinah was used in this episode, and even though the weird unearned pep talk with Oliver was a bit bizarre – you met him a week ago, calm down – I do really like the actress and her performance.

    The ‘love’ scene with Oliver and Susan was hilarious. I felt she almost bullied him into bed and he could not have looked less enthusiastic to be there. I’ve seen people in dentist chairs look more comfortable. Her pawing of his Bratva tat was funny too, she might as well have been a Bond villain stroking a white cat. I don’t think ultimately she’s going to betray him or reveal his secrets, I think she’ll come out on his side, but still…that was some lukewarm lovin’.

    • Max says:

      They might be doing Felicity’s storyline justice if they keep this pace. I don’t want to jinx it because I’m shocked and also very tingly because of what I just watched. Fingers crossed! This could turn out to be season 5’s redeeming storyline (aside from a potential explosive prometheus reveal – please be tommy)

      • Gale Peacock says:

        I to am shocked by how well they seem to be pacing Felicity’s story. I’m most definitely excited more for it than anything they’ve got on right now. Because I can’t watch Oliver right now. The writers are just shredding his characterization. This relationship with Susan is just dumb AF.

  20. Max. says:

    I just really want to know what the purpose of this Susan arc is. Like, will the reporter expose him and make Oliver look dumb for trusting a shady reporter, or are they going down the route of her not wanting to expose him because she has “feelings” for him. Either way, I don’t if it was meant to look like that, but Oliver looked miserable in bed.

  21. Dominique says:

    i thought it was a good episode, with some nice OTA moments, as well as the new guys. it’s a shame to see rory go. out of all the newbies, i like him the most, so i hope he’ll be back.
    i can’t believe oliver is falling for susan’s lies, it’s so easy to see right through her.

  22. Angi says:

    Why does rags haven’t to quit love him find him another use or get his rags working again

  23. Let me remind you again why olicity broke up. – Because he kept secrets from her.
    Yet she was working with the team behind his back when they were living in domestic bliss. Now she’s going on her cyber avenging ways. lets hope she dies with the backstabbing reporter so the New Black Canary and Greeen Arrow can be the partners they were always meant to be.

    P.S The new recruits have been a bust. ragman should have been named water cooler / coffee mug guy for all that he did. wild dog is just undisciplined. Artemis dumps Oliver because he murdered and yet she betrays him by teaming up with a murderer and Curtis is back to the role he always played and coping very well with his marriage breakup.

    • Max says:

      I’d say you’re not seriously comparing Felicity keeping the fact that she was helping out the team without telling Oliver while they were away with his blatant lie to Felicity – even after malcolm merlyn, an actual threat, found out about his son – when she was about to become the kid’s mother in law. But I’ve seen you comment here before so I’m not surprised.

    • Lex says:

      Your hatred is almost adorable! This episode just reminded us that this is, at heart, The OTA Show. This was the show’s strongest storyline in the early seasons, and it remains its strongest storyline now. I’m sorry you’re not getting the comic book show you wanted, but that’s the nature of adaptation.
      .
      I just find it a little hilarious that the comic stans who would defend Laurel unto death have jumped on the Dinah train so quickly. I love her, though there’s nothing romantic going on between her and Oliver. I hope she becomes a vital part of the show, like Thea, but Diggle and Felicity are already well-established as Oliver’s true partners.

  24. frank says:

    Awesome