Arrow: 7.15 Training Day
Team Arrow, you have been missed. The separation of the vigilante heroes last season was designed to offer some real emotional drama to the sixth run of Arrow but ended up something of a damp squib. The subsequent arrest and imprisonment of Oliver Queen opened up a fresh take on the narrative for season seven and the show hasn't been afraid to rush back to the old format. In fact, it still hasn't, with the vigilantes now recruited by Star City PD rather than going off on their own.
Training Day was a somewhat bemusing episode, showing that the Mayor agreeing to deputise team Arrow wasn't quite the return to the old days of fighting villains in masks that Oliver, Rene, John or Felicity hoped for. The training sequence at the beginning provided some decent humour - from John's boredom in the tactical briefing to Rene assembling a gun in two seconds and Felicity's face when faced with outdated police surveillance technology. Forced to wear standard SWAT uniforms and without their trademark weapons, their first joint mission with SWAT ended in disaster; not least because Dinah discovered her throat slashing a couple of episodes ago had left her unable to sonic scream.
The enemy of the week was rather basic; new 'big bad Dante was nowhere to be seen and instead we followed the case of a generic gang with deadly weapons - mustard gas bullets courtesy of corrupt medical company entrepreneur James Midas (Andrew Kavadas). Midas was a fairly stock villain - a businessman with powerful connections that had his hand in some shady criminal enterprises. Certainly not the most exciting of bad guys.
But the drama of the episode was centred around Dinah, who has struggled with her dual identity as vigilante Black Canary and police captain. Juliana Harkavy really sold the internal conflict and pain, particularly when she realised she no longer had her sonic cry. The conflict between the team and the police officers felt a little more contrived, but built to the brilliant return to the Arrow cave, refurbished after its destruction at the hands of Ricardo Diaz last season. And when we finally saw the gang back in costume, taking down Midas and the criminal gang their way it really felt like Arrow was back.
The sub plots bubbled along nicely, though there wasn't anything really dramatic to keep the audience on their toes. Laurel discovered that new Green Arrow Emiko Queen killed Diaz, leading to a frosty stand off between the two women. And in the future, William and Mia traversed the perils of a shady market to find an old tape recorder to listen to Felicity's secret message. It wasn't hugely exciting to watch, but the trip over the wall in the Glades suggests plenty of excitement to come.
Training Day wasn't the most thrilling of episodes, mixing filler and on-going sub plots but without anything really exciting. But it did handle the transition of team Arrow into the SCPD in a fun manner, with a great pay off in the final battle as the vigilantes suited up in style and we saw Black Canary in her element for the first time in ages. I have to admire the season's refusal to follow a season-long bid bad but I'm hoping something big happens in the present day to justify the pay off of the future storyline.