While there have been some fun moments with the Russian flashbacks and that whole plot arc in Oliver’s past, “Bratva” tried to do too much with too little and we ended up with another one of those messy Arrow episodes that if anything, is almost expected now.
When Team Arrow went to Russia on a mission, you could pretty much nod your head as a fan and think ok, I could see this happening. Mixing in some strange flashbacks that didn’t quite mix with what they were trying to say in the main story line yeah, not surprised but having Wild Dog stay behind to babysit Captain Lance after he got out of rehab…ok, now you’ve lost me.
This is the confusion of this episode. While they tried hard to make things fun and relevant, having the team fighting together in another country, meeting up with Oliver’s old Bratva friend Anatoly, but they constantly shot themselves in the foot with the past and present story lines from Russia overlapping, taking away some of the intrigue and mystery from both and thus making a vacuum that literally sucked the fun out of the episode.
Ok, there were some fun moments, like Felicity’s continued walk down the dark path, into certain trouble for sure, but it has been fun seeing this part of her personality come out to play. I found it ironic that Rory, the one person to call out Felicity on crossing the line, ended up getting the short end of the stick. How this effects the rest of Team Arrow remains to be seen but I’m pretty confident Rory will have his moment before this season is over.
The flashbacks of Oliver morphing into The Archer were interesting but this cold blooded killer is nothing we haven’t seen before. Sure, there is supposed to be a point behind this but the flashback themselves have been so bad for so long I’m surprised at this point if anyone is paying that close attention to everything going on during these moments.
It was good to see Oliver and his new girlfriend take their relationship to the next level, and by that I mean see this plot thread finally get moving but really, we all know she is bad and that this is going to end bad so to continue to draw this part of the show out will only get more and more frustrating.
Watching this episode again left me wondering just where the heck this show was going. It still seems lost in the simplest of things that, being what kind of show it really is, but maybe they are tying all that into Oliver’s constant fight between good and bad. At this point, I’m just hoping the writers have some sort of handle on how the show is going end in season five because right now it seems pretty lost.
Who knows, maybe things will turn around but a great way to start would be to put an end to these kind of episodes and focus more on what Arrow does best, action, chaos and straight forward story lines.
Two and a half stars out of five
- Trip to Russia was a nice change of scenery
- Felicity as a bad-ass is loads of fun
- Confusing mess of flashbacks and real time made for ugly viewing
- A few good ideas felt completely wasted with no end game in sight