By Christopher Ross (@boss_ross92)
Arrow 5x12 "Bratva" has us wondering just how good that vodka really is. Our heroes sure do drink a lot of it in "Bratva." Let us begin!
The episode starts with a familiar face. Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne) is back from rehab and ready to get back to work. First on his agenda is to set up an interview with Oliver’s (Stephen Amell) new fling, Susan Williams (Carly Pope), but more about that subplot later. The real juicy storyline this week deals with the catching General Walker (Garry Chalk) who was able to escape custody with his men and is currently on the run with a nuclear weapon for sale. This leads Team Arrow to travel to Russia, where Walker is hiding out and where U.S. jurisdiction isn't allowed to go. So let’s send in some masked vigilantes to save the world instead.
The team makes its way to Russia and Oliver is greeted by his old friend Anatoly (David Nykl). However, Anatoly gives Oliver a good right hook to the face for burning bridges with the Bratva during the whole Slade Wilson catastrophe. The two eventually mend their differences to an extent and Oliver ask his old friend for help with Walker, but of course nothing comes without a price and Anatoly wants Oliver to do something for him, which Oliver quickly dismisses. This leaves Team Arrow on their own without help from the Bratva.
Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) also has her own time to shine in this episode, when she finds out a way to track Walker and his men. She decides to confront an executive for a phone company that can track Walker’s burner cell. We get a hilarious Bratva impersonation from Rory (Joe Dinicol) and Curtis (Echo Kellum), who try their best to be intimidating, but it's Felicity who really puts the fear of God in the exec. She uses some of the data from Pandora (the drive she received last week from Helix) to blackmail the man in order to get the location on Walker. Felicity, like Diggle this week, are really going over the deep end to prevent Walker from selling the nuke.
Speaking of Diggle (David Ramsey; read our latest interview with him here), after Team Arrow fails to capture Walker at his base of operations, the team takes one of Walker’s men hostage and Diggle loses control while interrogating him. Between Felicity’s blackmailing and Diggle’s temper, original Team Arrow is really taking a page out of season 1 Oliver’s book. Oliver realizes they are getting nowhere on the Walker front and decides to go make that deal with Anatoly. Oliver with help from Dinah (Juliana Harkavy), take out a couple thugs and threaten the men to shut down their business. Oh and he breaks one of the thug’s fingers.
Oliver has a heart-to-heart with Dinah about Prometheus and how he fears Felicity and Diggle are traveling down a dangerous road. Dinah, with some awesome words of wisdom of her own, gives Oliver the pep talk he needs. Oliver uses this wisdom to confront Diggle and Felicity. He asks the pair to be better than him, for that is the reason why the team works so well together. It’s really quite a moving performance between the three original members.
After the three work out their issues, Anatoly shows up with a dozen men to help take down Walker. With the General’s location in hand, Team Arrow and the Bratva take down Walker’s men, while Diggle finds Walker. John is about to shoot him but uses Oliver’s advice and takes Walker into custody.
This isn't however the end of the episode, as Walker’s men never had the nuclear bomb to begin with. Turns out the nuke is in a hangar close by and was activated when Rory and Felicity enter the hangar. Felicity tries to disarm the device but ends up speeding up the countdown. Felicity wants to get on a plane to fly the bomb out to a less populated location but Rory decides to use his rags to wrap the bomb, hoping the magic rags stop the blast. The bomb explodes but Rory was able to contain the blast. We find out later that the blast took away the magic from the Rags and Rory tells Felicity that he has to leave Team Arrow, but that he will be back someday. Who knows what that means.
Before we finish up the recap, let’s take care of a few subplots. The flashbacks this week start with Talia (Lexa Doig) training Oliver by having him attack a couple low level drug dealer, which he does with ease. He also manages to catch an arrow speeding towards his head that Talia shot at him to see how skilled he truly his. Back at Talia’s hideout, the daughter of Ra’s al Ghul has a mission for Oliver: take down a Russian drug supplier who is shipping drugs over to Starling City. Its Oliver’s first true test in correcting the wrongs of his father and puts him on the path of being a vigilante. Oliver makes quick work of the drug dealer and ends up killing the man in charge of getting the drugs to Starling. The final flashback scene, finds Oliver looking for Anatoly, who was beat to a pulp by Gregor. Anatoly finds out Gregor is in line with Kozlov and Oliver recommends killing them both.
Oh and don’t forget about Quentin. It seems Oliver doesn’t quite trust the recent rehab attendee to be quite ready for returning to duty. Oliver leaves Rene (Rich Gonzalez) behind to help out Quentin, but in all reality it’s to babysit Lance and make sure Wild Dog doesn’t do anything reckless in Russia. The pair rehearse for the questions Susan might ask Lance and Rene gets a little too into character and brings Laurel up, which pisses off Quentin to the point where he kicks Rene out. Eventually the two make amends and get back to preparing for that interview. After the interview, Lance finds Rene in the Arrow Cave and lets him know that Susan took it easy on him in the interview. Turns out, Rene confronted Susan and let her know of a story where Quentin, as a cop, caught Rene tagging outside a building and instead of arresting the young man, he gave him some words of advice to be a better man. This put Rene on the right track to become the hero he is today.
The team wraps up their time in Russia with some shots of vodka, because why not? Diggle and Oliver making amends and Anatoly brings up Oliver’s repayment to him for the Bratva aid. Hopefully we get to see Anatoly in Star City this season. Also can't forget to mention that Oliver and Susan have a little "alone" time while in Star City. The two end up cuddling and she tries to get Oliver to talk about his past. He lets her know it’s not the right time, but maybe one day he will let her in. At the end of the episode, every Arrow fan is **screaming at the television** for Oliver to not trust the reporter, who recently got information from a private investigator on Oliver’s escapades in Russia 5 years earlier. Turns out that there are pictures of an archer in Russia at the same time Oliver is there. She puts two and two together and realizes that Oliver might be the Green Arrow! What is Susan going to do with all this information??
-- “Don’t call me Haus”
-- Good to know Oliver can make any foreign city, a sister city of Star City.
-- Good to see Anatoly makes it through the rest of this season’s flashbacks.
-- Anatoly has a lot of favorite Americans.
-- Rene’s true purpose on this show is to be the guiding light to everyone’s issues.
-- Hopefully this isn’t the end of Rory and his Ragman suit.
-- Dinah didn’t have the biggest part in tonight’s episode, but her canary cry is so awesome!
-- Question of the Week: How long is it going to take Felicity to go "full dark side" with her new hacker friends?
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