Arrow, S5 Ep12 – Bratva

Even though Diggle was absolved of his crimes in last week’s episode, his story involving the corrupt General Walker who initially put him in prison is not over. “Bratva” sees Team Arrow make their way to Russia on a mission to stop Walker from making a deal with Markovian terrorists. Coming along for the ride are Ollie, Felicity, Diggle, Curtis, and the new Black Canary, Dinah Drake. Meanwhile back in Star City, Rene stays behind to prep Quentin Lance for his interview with reporter Susan Williams, which will make or break Quentin’s chances at becoming Deputy Mayor again.

We’re off to Russia

In all honesty, the Diggle subplot that has been occurring this season has been uninteresting for the most part. It hasn’t really tied in with the main plot involving Prometheus and is easy to lose track of when focusing on the more compelling moments of Arrow‘s 5th season. While this episode continues to explore this subplot it did allow it to connect to Ollie’s time in Russia and his relationship with Bratva. This episode’s more compelling moments involve Ollie having to work for Bratva in order to get information regarding Walker’s whereabouts.

“Bratva” explores the idea of a character going too far to the point that they change for the worse. Diggle, being so hellbent on catching the man who framed him, nearly beats a henchmen to death while Felicity is off threatening Russian gangsters with information from the Pandora files she received in last week’s episode. While the episode concludes with Diggle remaining on the straight and narrow, not killing Walker and allowing him to stand trial, Felicity seems to still want to go all out and become the twisted hacktivist she once was.

“Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.” – Michael Corleone, The Godfather Part III

That famous line from the worst of the Godfather movies rings true in “Bratva”. Despite their best efforts Ollie still has to complete a mission for Bratva in order to gain their assistance later on. I liked this element of the episode a lot as it cements the fact that Ollie feels like he is the one who continuously needs to sacrifice his own morals for the sake of his teammates. By the end of the episode, though everything seems to be okay, it’s implied that Ollie will always have to remain devoted to Bratva, and I’m interested in seeing how this plays out for his character, considering he is the Mayor of Star City.

Back in Star City, Rene hangs back to help Quentin prep for his interview. Surprisingly, the scenes between these two parties were at times more entertaining than what was going on in Russia. We’ve never really seen these two characters act alone together so it was refreshing to say the least. They played off each other very well, and we get the sense that Rene truly does care about where Quentin ends up and wants to help him as best as he can. Later on we find out why this is so, as Rene states Quentin said some inspiring words to him once when he was a child.

“Bratva” brought about some new revelations for certain characters. Susan Williams, despite being in an intimate relationship with Ollie, continues to investigate him and seems to believe wholeheartedly that he is the Green Arrow. Whether or not she will reveal this to the public is uncertain. It’s hard to tell if Williams is a character we should trust or not.

Talia al Ghul training Oliver Queen

Ragman is temporarily no longer Ragman. After successfully stopping a nuclear explosion with his rags (yeah, I realize how dumb that sounds), Rory loses his abilities. By the end of the episode it’s implied that he is going to take time off Team Arrow for a bit following these events. Felicity and Rory do share a heart-to-heart about what happened and considering Felicity was there when Rory nearly sacrificed himself, it seemed as if this would be the moment in which Felicity would see what a true hero does and would give up her hacktivist stint. But as stated before, it seems she will continue until it gets her into some serious trouble.

While I haven’t found the subplot involving the corrupt General Walker that interesting, I didn’t mind it so much in “Bratva.” It allowed for Ollie’s Russian flashbacks to come forward and have some relevance in the present day and positioned our characters in spots they will find trouble getting out of. As far as where the show is heading in general, I’m not sure how I feel about Dinah Drake yet. She has some big shoes to fill if she is to become the new Black Canary on Team Arrow, but I’m willing to give her a chance. Also, where the heck is Thea? Thea became one of the show’s strongest characters in recent seasons, yet she has been completely off the map in recent episodes. Hopefully, we see her come back soon and maybe even suit up as Speedy. Lastly, while the flashbacks did have more relevance in this episode than others, they are still not that interesting, but at least Talia al Ghul is cool.

On the next episode of Arrow, Ollie will be faced with an attack on City Hall. Check out The CW’s official trailer for “Spectre of the Gun” below and feel free to let us know what you thought of “Bratva” in the comments.

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