Olive Queen, the titular Green Arrow of the CW’s Arrow, does not actually die in Wednesday’s episode, “Human Target.” Shocking, I know. But, the way he escapes death — or rather, fakes it — is a major, world-building revelation with the potential for massive repercussions in the future, even if it does seem a little cheap at first.
When the last episode ended, Tobias Church had captured Wild Dog, and in this episode he promises to torture him until he gets what he needs from the captive vigilante. Rene is tough, but not quite tough enough. He breaks under pressure and tells Tobias who Green Arrow really is.
In order to catch Tobias and put a stop to his larger plot, Oliver needs to make it seem like step one of his plan, assassinating the mayor, worked. To pull off the ruse, he enlists Christopher Chance, aka Human Target.
Human Target is an interesting character. Although originally created for DC in the ‘70s, he gained prominence in a series for Vertigo, DC’s mature imprint and two different TV shows. Essentially, Human Target is exactly what his name describes him to be — a decoy. He takes the bullet so superheroes can preserve their secret identity, among other reasons.
On Arrow, when we learn that Oliver’s actually fine and that a new character we’ve never heard of was just pretending to be him, it seems a little cheesy and too easy at first. Human Target ends up being a lot more than a plot device, though. He gives Oliver some personal insights about Felicity, and most importantly — he ties into Oliver’s past with the Bratva. Hooray! The flashbacks are relevant again!
Chance’s presence in the past is a nice bit of world-building, but what’s really interesting is his presence allowed a nosey reporter to figure out that Oliver was in Russia when he should’ve been stranded on an island, according to the official story. The Human Target inadvertently put another target on Oliver’s back.
Now, Oliver’s going to have the press out to expose the mayor’s past, and the intimidating supervillain Prometheus out to get the Green Arrow. And, thanks to some poor negotiating by a now-dead Tobias, Prometheus knows who Green Arrow really is.