Best Summer Slam Rematch!
For those of you who do not know let me give some background to this episode. The guest star Cody Runnels, playing the role of Derek Sampson, is a former WWE wrestler. During his years in WWE he used the aliases of Cody Rhodes and Stardust. Last year, Stephen Amell went on WWE programming and had a feud with Stardust. It ended at the 2015 SummerSlam PPV with Stephen Amell victorious. There were rumors of that feud igniting again for another wrestling match, but before it could happen Cody Runnels left World Wrestling Entertainment. But that did not mean it couldn’t happen, leading to Cody Runnels guest starring as the main antagonist for 3rd episode and Arrow’s 5th season.
There’s a new drug on the streets of Star City called Stardust (sound familiar). Oliver is facing pressure both in the Mayor’s office by new district attorney, Adrian Chase, and under his mask to find the maker. Rene (Wild Dog) believes through his knowledge of the streets he’ll be able to track down one the dealers. Oliver shuts him down, but that doesn’t stop him. He takes Evelyn (Faux/Black Canary) with him and track down a factory for the Stardust run by dealer Derek Sampson.
One thing I do want to note is while I’m enjoying having a new team of characters, they are not very established. The only one I know well enough is Curtis, due to him being present for a decent about of time in previous seasons. Evelyn, Rene, and Rory are ones that I end up looking up mid episode. Mostly because I know their code names more easily than their actual names. While I believe, their development will come later it seems backwards to the formula they’ve done in the past.
Derek Sampson was sort of a flat-line like villain. He was there and he was powerful. He did have one call to action speech that was good, but it wasn’t anything jaw dropping. I think the fun of this villain came from the fights and visuals. There’s one moment where Sampson has smoke behind him with sparks going off around him. That felt like a fun visual cue from the entrances during a wrestling show: Smoke, Pyro, and a badass without a shirt.
There is potential to see more of Sampson, but I hope they try to do something more grand. Odds are he’ll never be the main villain of a season. But he is a fun villain to have fight the Green Arrow, Sampson unable to feel pain can deal and dish out a good fight. He does have a weakness that Oliver exploits, but I’d be interested in seeing Sampson find a way around that before taking on the Arrow again.
HEAVY SPOILERS AHEAD
I cannot talk about this part of the episode without spoilers. And this part is one I need to talk about. The return of Floyd Lawton, AKA Deadshot. This was an exciting reappearance, if not a little heartbreaking. When Diggle is locked away from the frame job that took place in the previous episode, who else to be his cellmate besides Lawton.
The last we saw Lawton he was going down presumably in a building explosion. But with the body never found anything could have become the assassin for hire. Some of the animosity Diggle had toward Lawton felt off considering how they left off. They were not best friends the last time they encountered one another, but there seemed to be some level of trust and cooperation. But maybe that’s because this version of Lawton was only in John Diggle’s mind.
This seemed like a good choice. It gave someone for the actor and the character to work out his guilt for killing his brother. And who better to work that out with than the guy who he believe killed his brother years before. This can also be the reason for that animosity, that was really Diggle’s misplaced guilt.
I specifically wanted to bring this up and mention this because it could be hope for the return of characters that were lose due to the clash with the movies. Just as we are now seeing Superman on Supergirl, Deadshot of Arrow may return. His death/disappearance in previous season was more over the corporate side wanting to take the Deadshot character for the Suicide Squad movie. But with new people in charge of organizing the DC TV Universe might not be as restricted anymore. So there is some hope for a real and full return in the future.