The second episode of Arrow’s much-improved fifth season moved several plots forward on Wednesday, but it was stitched together by the television debut of Ragman, played by Blindspot’s Joe Dinicol.
Ragman, who looks like a patchwork mirror of Green Arrow mixed with Nightmare Before Christmas’s Sally, wields a powerful, prehensile suit in his mission to take down the corrupt businessmen whose bombs killed everyone else he knew.
In the original DC comics, Ragman is one of the few, proud, Jewish superheroes. Rory Regan wears an ancient, mystical suit that allows him to ensnare sinners and add them to his collection of patches, adding their power to his own. The upside for the sinners, now that they’ve become an article of clothing, is a chance to redeem themselves. By assisting Ragman in his battle for justice, the corrupted souls that make up the suit can eventually redeem themselves and ascend to heaven, rather than the hell they were initially destined for.
Fans knocked Arrow in recent seasons for delving too far into DC’s magical world at the expense of the street-level heroics they’d come to love in the first couple seasons. The Ragman of the comics is explicitly magical — he was part of the DCU’s premiere magical superhero team, Shadowpact, at one point.
Still, Ragman’s inclusion in Wednesday’s episode mostly worked, especially because the rest of the episode, which focused on Oliver’s continued struggles to be a good leader with his fresh batch of recruits, was grounded. (The shocking twist in the Russian flashback, especially, was brutal and immediately gripping.)
It also helped that, as far as magical heroes go, Ragman’s pretty street-level himself. His personal mission of just vengeance against the corrupt honchos of AmerTek, while supernatural, was pretty straightforward — it’s an even straighter line than Ragman’s comics backstory.
Ragman worked in the Arrowverse despite his otherworldly power set. This is great, because any world where a superhero with a magical article of clothing can operate alongside a dude who wears a hockey mask and jersey to fight crime is a fun one.