Times are changing in Star City, and no one feels that more than Team Arrow. As the vigilantes learn to work side-by-side with the police they find themselves facing an adjustment period. In “Training Day” Arrow sees the return of the vigilantes as an independent unit, but this time it’s with police approval.
After all members of Team Arrow have been deputized, it’s time for them to learn the ropes at the SCPD. This comes, unsurprisingly, with a few changes. The vigilantes are not allowed to wear their own costumes, but have to sport SCPD uniforms. They’re also not allowed to use their own weapons, only those sanctioned by the police. And, worst of all, they have to work completely by the book and within the confines of the law – so no hacking into federal databases, surpassing warrants or tampering with evidence.
The vigilante/SCPD mashup follows a lead on new weaponry. The team is confronted with bullets laced with an incredibly dangerous chemical which cannot only kill a person within 15 seconds, but also has the bullet disintegrate into thin air. With the team operating at a whole other level than the SCPD, their first mission goes awry, as the vigilantes fail to follow direct orders. The SCPD puts the team in their place, but Oliver claims that the police’s strategy is flawed.
Still, they learn that a man named Midas and his company Midas Medical are involved in the new weapons deals. Dinah enforces strict SCPD rules and since they have no concrete evidence, the team is rendered useless. Felicity, reckless as always, convinces Oliver to go about the situation the old and trusted way. They tell John that they’re expecting, and he tells them that abandoning their police partnership will have them going in circles, and they need it in order to secure a save future for their child.
Oliver reconvenes with Dinah, and they agree that in order for their partnership to work, both the team and the force will have to make compromises. The team goes after Midas the legal way, working alongside the SCPD and together they catch the bad guy. The SCPD allows the team to form their own vigilante task force so they get to keep their leathers and gear and autonomy. In addition, the mayor agrees to sign off on an appeal of the anti-vigilante law – so the team is back in action, but now with a proper seal of approval from the police.
After the crazy day in the field, Oliver and Felicity have settled in at home and start discussing baby names. Felicity suggest Lucas if the baby is a boy, while Oliver wants a girl to be named Mia, short for Moira. They both agree that no matter what, their children will always have each other.
Meanwhile Laurel receives a phone call from Slab Side she meets with Ben Turner (Bronze Tiger), who tells her that Diaz has been killed, and he knows who did it. In return he wants to see his son, who turns out to be a little boy named Connor, nickname little hawk.
Laurel comes through with the request, and Ben tells her he saw a figure in green leather burn Diaz alive, but that it wasn’t Oliver. This causes Laurel to get in touch with Emiko, who she threatens to expose, only to have the other woman surprise her; Emiko knows exactly who Laurel is pretending to be, and that she is actually from another earth.
In the flash forwards, we follow Mia and William to the darker areas in Star City, namely the black market, where they try to get their hands on a cassette player. William tries to buy his way to the old tech, but gets played by the underworld creatures.
It is ultimately Mia who secures the cassette player, and the two of them listen to their mother’s recording with a heavy heart. Mirroring Oliver and Felicity’s earlier conversation the two of them lean on each other as hearing their mother’s voice elicits many emotions.
In the recording Felicity tells them that she and Oliver kept them apart to keep them save. She asks them to give the team a specific set of coordinates, and to leave Star City. She tells them not to come looking for her, which they both decide they will ignore. They follow the coordinates to the forbidden land – the Glades. Will they make it past the wall?
With the CW announcing that next season will be Arrow’s last, and a shortened one at that, every episode counts. There are a lot of stories yet to be told, and we are running out of time. Unfortunately, “Training Day” feels like a filler episode where the main mission has little to no relevance to the overall arc, and the only scenes actively moving the story forward make up less than 25% of screen time.
Too much time is spent on fighting the bad guy of the week, as well as further complicating the conflict between vigilantes and police, a topic which has been dealt with plenty this season. Too little time is spent with the actual team, and this year’s big bad Dante another storyline we hope will be wrapped up rather sooner than later.
Seeing Oliver and Felicity working to build a safer future for their children is heart-warming, especially with John thrown into the mix, but too little is filled in on why this doesn’t actually work. There are too many blanks between the present and the specific future we experience through grown-up Mia and William.
We still like to think that the future portrayed is the darkest timeline, and just an option of what 2040 could look like if the vigilantes failed. We’d like for the actual future to be all unicorns and rainbows.
Oliver: Regardless of whether we have a boy or a girl, I just want to make sure she or he ends up with a better and safer Star City than I did. I want that for both of our children. They’ll always have each other to lean on.
Felicity: And they will always have us.
Catch Arrow Mondays at 8/7c on The CW.