Warning – FULL SPOILERS for Tonight’s “Vigilante”:

That’s at least two weeks now Arrow has ended on a cliffhanger likely not what it seems, even if Evelyn meeting with Prometheus is admittedly harder to explain that Quentin framed to look like the “Throwing Star Killer.” In any case, there was a lot to dissect with last week kicking Season 5 into gear, but with Arrow taking next week off, and distracted by an alien crossover (and 100th episode) after that, there really wasn’t a whole lot of room for “Vigilante” to rock the boat.

So it is, that the debut of another (confusingly-named) Vigilante strikes a pretty familiar chord with the themes Season 5 has explored already; whether the eternally-sour status quo of Star City should push Oliver to more brutal, lawless methods. It’s an oddly-forgetful question to be asking after all the reassurance last week – something Oliver himself points out about the team’s indifference to Vigilante’s killer methods – and not one that leads anywhere new by the hour’s end.

On the one hand, “Vigilante” serviceably turns its title character into a figure worth revisiting, but I find it unclear how much Season 5 wants us to invest in a secret identity. Anyone with Wikipedia can identify Vigilante’s comic alter-ego (hint: he’s the only memorable new Season 5 character to show up tonight, and seem aggressively cryptic in the process), so my best guess is an inevitable shell game between Prometheus, Vigilante, and now Evelyn.*

*After all, we never actually saw Vigilante knocking out Evelyn, as he’d claimed, and it’s worth wondering why he’d choose Curtis as a hostage over her.

"I'm just saying, if one of us was going to be written off ... "

In any case, it bears repeating that these Flash and Arrow games of figuring out which characters are under which masks are no where near so substantive as the writers seem to believe, and the fact that Thea and Quentin so quickly dismiss the possibility of his blackouts (where last week they were presented as a viable twist) tells me that storytelling engine is fast running out of gas. They’ve likely also taken Quentin’s alcoholism as far as it can go, so hopefully rehab sticks a more permanent pin in that storyline, rather than keeping Quentin and Thea so isolated as they’ve been. And watch those shoulder-touches, guys! Starting to feel a little funky.

“Vigilante” felt notably thin all around, between Diggle’s brief interludes of anger at missing his son’s birthday (you mean Lyla didn’t volunteer to visit him?), Oliver having a flirtatious drink with Susan Williams, or spending a few stray scenes with Dolph Lundgren in flashback. In that case at least, I’d guess the intent of Kovar partnering with the Bratva was to bend Oliver’s perspective closer to the amorality of his Season 1 return, or perhaps remind viewers of Season 4’s Taiana, who … nope, already forgot.

It doesn't look like anything to me.

As I said, we’re more or less sticking a pin in all of this for the next few weeks anyway, and if “Vigilante” had any more important function than to establish its title character, or cast suspicion on Evelyn and Prometheus, it wasn’t terribly apparent.

AND ANOTHER THING …

  • I’ll grant that Season 4 did the lion’s share of exploring Evelyn’s backstory, but good grief, if Season 5 hasn’t been strangely inconsistent with the character. I’m still waiting for an answer to her inquiry about dating team members, and still creeped out by both her moon-eyes at Oliver last week, and skintight dress this week. 17, guys!
  • Is it too crazy to think Prometheus might be Damien Darhk again? There must be some connection to Evelyn. Older brother?
  • If nothing else, Vigilante’s Predator-vision is neat. He’s awfully well-equipped for someone apparently just starting their career.
  • Does Rory not need to train with sticks?
  • Do you think Star City cops check the back alley every hour or so, to check for criminal drop-offs?

Arrow Season 5 will return November 30 with 100th episode “Invasion!,” second leg of the four-way crossover, airing at 8:00 P.M. on The CW.

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