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Arrow: Penance – Season 5 Episode 4

At Lyla’s request, Oliver goes to extract Diggle from prison, leaving his new team to fend for themselves against Tobias Church.


Oliver takes the team out on an operation, but things hit a snag when Wild Dog shoots early. They’re still able to grab the target, but it’s another sign that the team isn’t coming together correctly. In fact it’s doing the opposite. Rory has been missing for days. He finally reappears after the operation and tells Oliver that he can’t be on the team knowing what Felicity did. While he doesn’t blame her for her choice, she’s still a reminder of everything that he lost. Oliver puts the team on a break for a few days. He doesn’t tell them this, but the break is so Oliver can go break John out of prison at Lyla’s request. Felicity isn’t wild about the idea. After trying to convince Oliver not to do this, she tells the team and they try to stop him as well. The team decides to make a human road block to stop Oliver from leaving. This doesn’t go quite as they thought and Oliver beats them up before leaving.

At the prison, Lyla and Oliver’s plan hits a bit of a snag, but it’s nothing that Oliver’s resources can’t handle. Oliver’s made the choice to show up wearing a tactical black outfit instead of the Green Arrow disguise. They cut things close but, just as they’re getting surrounded by security, Lyla has them airlifted off the grounds.

As Oliver is leaving town, Church attacks the police. The evidence that Team Arrow recovered earlier was a Trojan horse that allowed them to blow a hole in the police evidence storage facility while DA Chase and Deputy Mayor Lance are there escorting the evidence. After the attack, Thea and Lance head to the Arrow Cave to get the help of the team, who are licking their wounds. With Oliver gone Felicity takes charge and mobilizes the team. With Oliver gone, Curtis urges Felicity to go get Rory back so they can have all the firepower at their disposal. She visits Rory to talk to him, but she’s not able to convince him before Church mobilizes again. Church is attacking the Anti-Crim unit, where DA Chase is holding one of his men. He arrives with a huge show of force but, fortunately, Rory decides to come back before the team heads out.

With Ragman back at their side, Team Arrow is able to save Chase and the rest of the officers. However, when the vigilantes try to escape, one of the henchmen hits Mr. Terriffic in the back by with a knife. Church catches up to them and Wild Dog decides to stay behind to buy Artemis and Mr. Terrific time. Church is able to beat Wild Dog quickly, but keeps him alive in order to get information from him. The team is forced to leave Rene behind, as Felicity makes the call to extract before things get worse. The team is frantically searching for Rene as Oliver returns to town, but they are having no luck finding him. As they keep searching, Church starts working over Rene.

The Island / Flashback

Anatoly helps Oliver infiltrate a prison where one of Konstantine Kovar’s men is being held. Oliver reveals himself to the man as a member of the Bratva before pumping him for information. Oliver threatens the man’s wife and children, but he gets the information. When he leaves the prison, he’s upset that Anatoly sent him to assassinate a harmless man. Anatoly explains that there’s no meaningless deaths in the Bratva. He also tells Oliver that his trust has earned him a place in the Bratva.

Favorite/Other/Notable Moments

  • Oliver reveals Evelyn’s new codename: Artemis. Most people probably know her as the Green Arrow sidekick popularized in the Young Justice TV-Show. Obviously, this is a different version of the character.
  • “You do realize that me having a chat with Rory is different than you committing half a dozen felonies right?” – Felicity to Oliver
  • Felicity reveals that Rory is a 3rd generation (at least) rag man.
  • Another code name is revealed during this episode. Oliver refers to Layla as “Harbinger”. All the way back in season 2, I mentioned that her character shares the name of this cosmic comic book character.
  • “I spent most of my life thinking that men in masks were only capable of doing horrible things. I may have to reevaluation that” – Adrian Chase


Despite having some great individual moments, I felt like this was a little bit of a weaker episode just because some elements felt rushed. Both Felicity and Oliver had to convince people to come back. Both of those conversations basically went, “Come Back with me”, “I can’t”, insert emergency situation, “okay, I’ll come with you”. Rory was off the team and then back on again so fast that it made me wonder why the even bothered with the whole Havenrock connection from the standpoint of his character. From the standpoint of Felicity’s character it still relevant even if it is rushed. Diggle’s resolve to serve his time in jail was quickly corroded after Oliver broke into save him. Granted, I didn’t want these parts of the story to drag on for half of a season. I just felt like maybe they could’ve resolved one issue in one episode and another issue in the next episode.

What I did really enjoy about this episode was the idea that the recruits thought they could stop Oliver from going after Diggle. That whole exchange was great, including the recruits’ realization that Oliver had been going easy on them the whole time in training. I also loved how Felicity becomes the default leader of the group when Oliver’s not around, despite the fact that she’s the least capable fighter out of that group (not that any of them are overly capable).

The end of this episode, with Wild Dog being captured, starts off a very interesting arc for his character. The idea that someone could be captured and truly hurt, in this case tortured, by a villain is something that Arrow hasn’t really done before. Usually a person’s a hostage or they’re killed, but the idea of inflicting trauma on a person is new (well, on one of the good guys anyway), especially having it done on screen. While it does kind of get forgotten later in the season, this is a big moment for his character and it really does start to make him feel like a true part of the show.