Season Five takes place a few months after the defeat of Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough, Minority Report, Captain America: The First Avenger), and while Oliver (Stephen Amell) decided that he had to kill once again, he still works hard to be the better hero he has been striving for since the death of Tommy Merlyn (Colin Donnell, Chicago Med). Now Oliver is Mayor, but he spends most of his time in the green hood and running the streets instead the city. This leaves his sister and Chief of Staff, Thea (Willa Holland), essentially running Star City and covering for Oliver. Also helping Oliver at City Hall is Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne) and District Attorney Adrian Chase (Josh Segarra, Sirens). While Quentin starts off in a bad spot (he has lost both of his daughters at the point, after all), Thea eventually sees that he needs a purpose and hires him as Deputy Mayor. Lance has many demons to struggle over this season, but when he eventually finds someone to mentor, his own healing can truly begin. As for Chase, he seems to be exactly the partner Oliver needs in order to bring peace to the streets and hopefully reduce the need for the Green Arrow alter ego. So, while Oliver isn't being the most attentive Mayor he could be, he appears to have a solid support team around him to keep the entire city from falling apart in his absence.
Unfortunately, the reason Oliver is so busy as the Green Arrow is because he is pretty much alone when he's on the streets. Last season, Thea hung up her own hood and bow and Diggle (David Ramsey, Dexter) left Team Arrow and went back to the military. While Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) is still in the Arrow Cave helping out, her and Oliver's relationship hasn't mended since they broke up over him keeping secrets from her yet again.
With Oliver feeling pressure both as Mayor and Green Arrow, he finally concedes to the wishes of Felicity and decides to train a new Team Arrow, and he will need to work fast in order to stop the growing threats. Green Arrow's new recruits include Evelyn Sharp (Madison McLaughlin, Chicago P.D.) whose family was killed by Darhk, and while she initially tries to take up the mantle of the Black Canary, Oliver uses her archery skills and dubs her Artemis. Felicity's tech-friend from last season, Curtis (Echo Kellum, Ben and Kate, Sean Saves the World) also stands up to join the team. While he struggles with many of the physical aspects of the job, he soon dons the name of Mr. Terrific and eventually develops the character's iconic robotic spheres.
One of the new characters that join Team Arrow is Rene Ramirez (Rick Gonzalez, Coach Carter, Reaper) as Wild Dog. He's a hot-headed, hockey mask-wearing vigilante who is inspired by Green Arrow to take justice to the streets, but his weapons of choice are guns, not arrows, and Oliver quickly sees Rene as he was five years ago back when Oliver used the name The Hood.
Green Arrow also recruits a strange vigilante named Ragman. When the team confronts the person wearing mystical robes, they learn that he is Rory Regan (Joe Dinicol, Blindspot, Grey's Anatomy), and he is the lone survivor of Havenrock, the city Felicity was forced to redirect a missile to in order to reduce collateral damage from Darhk's attack. Needless to say, Rory and Felicity will have some tense moments between themselves, especially as the tech girl struggles over telling Rory about her role in the destruction.
Over the course of the season, the new Team Arrow will change some, and while Diggle does quickly return, other members of the new group will leave and eventually they will bring yet another member into their fold. Dinah Drake (Juliana Harkavy, Dolphin Tale, The Walking Dead) is a metahuman with a shrieking voice ability similar to the Earth-2 version of Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy), and when she joins the team, Oliver decide it's time for a new Black Canary to hit the streets.
At first, Team Arrow's mission is to stop a growing mob threat in Tobias Church (Chad L. Coleman, The Walking Dead, The Expanse), a man who is bent on not only taking over Star City's underworld, but also eliminating and exposing Green Arrow in the process. Unfortunately, Church is only the preamble to the season's main villain and this new masked menace, Prometheus, has a personal grudge against Green Arrow that stems back to Oliver's actions back in Season One when he was killing people on his father's list. Team Arrow finds themselves constantly several steps behind Prometheus, and even when they unmask the new nemesis, they are still playing into his plans. By the end of the season, Oliver will question everything he does and even who he is at his core, and those questions seem to be exactly what Prometheus is pushing Oliver to ask.
This season's flashbacks covers Oliver's final year "on the island" and finishes his journey from playboy "Ollie" to murdering vigilante "The Hood." During this year, Oliver heads to Russia to take out a Russian crime boss named Konstantin Kovar (Dolph Lundgren, The Expendables, Universal Soldier, Rocky IV) to fulfill a promise he made to Taiana during Season Four's flashbacks.
In order to get close to Konstantin, Oliver meets up with his friend from the island, Anatoly Knyazev (David Nykl, Stargate: Atlantis) and works to make his way into, and up the ranks of, the Bratva. Along the way, Oliver will have some unusual trials and find himself in some high-stakes Bratva politics, but he keeps his focus on Konstantin to justify everything the Bratva asks of him. Oliver will also get a new teacher, and while I won't reveal the character's name since it's a minor spoiler, I will say that she is played by Lexa Doig of Andromeda, Jason X and Continuum note.
It will be interesting to see how Season Six handles the fact that the flashbacks that have been such a staple to Arrow's story structure are all caught up. Will the parallel stories that take place in Oliver's past take on some other format (like Lost's "flash forwards"), or will the show's format simply change to not include this aspect and more time will be spent dealing with the current crises much like the other Arrowverse shows.
Arrow: The Complete Fifth Season also features a segment of the four-part crossover event that spanned the Arrowverse series. Arrow's portion is the third part to the "Invasion!" event where an alien race descends upon Earth and the heroes from The Flash, Arrow, DC's Legends of Tomorrow and even Supergirl have to work together to fend off the Dominators. In this part of the event, the Dominators abduct many of the heroes and put them in a fantasy world that shows what life could be like if Oliver never got on his father's boat. Like most of the crossovers that happen in the Arrowverse, this event feels like a sudden stop in the plots of the various series and feels shoehorned in, but it is still a fun event, and there are some minor consequences to "Invasion!," but most of them are in other shows and Arrow more or less forgets about the entire mess as soon as it is done.
Besides the standard assortment of special features (deleted scenes, a gag reel, and the 2016 Comic-Con panel), Arrow: The Complete Fifth Season also comes with three featurettes. One is about the Invasion crossover event and focuses a lot on the It's a Wonderful Life-esque nature of the episode. Another featurette is all about Prometheus, but don't watch this one until you've seen the rest of the season because it is chock-full of spoilers. Finally, there is a featurette on the new members of Team Arrow without revealing much beyond the first couple of episodes from the season.
From the start of the series, I assumed Arrow had a general five-year plan based on the fact that the flashbacks in the show covered the five years Oliver was lost on the island. Between the fact that the flashbacks have caught up with the opening scenes of Season One and the huge cliffhanger of a season finale, it will be interesting to see where the show goes next. If you are a fan of the series, then do yourself a favor and don't miss Arrow: The Complete Fifth Season. It is a fun ride with a few interesting twists and turns in it and it does a good job of harking back to Season One.
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a copy of the Blu-ray. The opinions I share are my own.