As the season goes on, Arrow is getting a lot darker. We’ve seen the lengths Prometheus is willing to go to in order to get his revenge, and there’s been some ugly stuff. Oliver, our notional hero, is drifting along down the dark side himself. We see a lot of this in Kapiushon, the most recent episode. I have to admit I was very disappointed in the “big reveal” at the end of the show. In this one, the show is almost equally divided between Oliver’s imprisonment by Prometheus/Adrian Chase and the FlashBack Theater segments back in Russia. I’m still keeping them largely separated in my review, but they were very closely woven together in the show.
The show opens with Oliver being held underwater by Chase, who lectures that it took 145 seconds for his father to drown after the Arrow shot him. In between lectures, Chase demands that Oliver tell him his secret, something that no one else knows. Oliver says he has no idea what Chase means, and the villain shrugs, apparently in no hurry, and says Oliver will come around eventually before dunking him under again.
While Oliver sputters and gasps on the floor of the cell, Chase surveys the pictures he’s put on the wall and says they are Oliver’s victims. Oliver argues that they were terrible people and that they HAD victims. Chase goes on about them all having families, and again tells Oliver that if he will tell Chase his secret, Chase will release him. Oliver looks pained and confused and maintains that he has no idea what Chase is talking about. When Oliver doesn’t do as Chase asks, Chase shoots him with arrows, which you have to admit is a kind of ironic punishment. What might be my favorite exchange of the episode is Oliver telling Chase to go to Hell, and Chase replying that he’s been there, and has come back with a message for Oliver.
Chase continues to torment Oliver as he pulls the arrows out. Chase says that everyone Oliver loves is in play, from his hidden son to Felicity. These threats anger Oliver, but his roared threats don’t impress Chase, since Oliver is tucked away in a cell. After once again making his demand about Oliver’s secret, Chase says he’ll leave Oliver to think about it and wanders off.
When Chase returns, he brings more motivation in the form of Evelyn Sharp. Evelyn first showed up as the third (and briefest) Black Canary before joining Team Arrow as Artemis and then betraying them to Prometheus. Chase shoves her in, and she looks horrible. He punches her, and says Oliver has a choice. Chase leaves them a knife and says Oliver can kill Evelyn, or Chase will come back and snap her neck. Oliver naturally refuses (I’m not wholly sure why, since he hasn’t been shy about killing of late), and Chase wanders along again. Evelyn acts like she’s been broken, then rushes Oliver with the knife. He defeats and disarms her, but won’t kill her. When Chase returns, he’s furious, raging. Chase shouts that Oliver has killed people for less than what she’s done, and then breaks her neck. Oliver slumps to the floor in despair. Chase again demands Oliver tell him what he’s been too afraid to tell Thea, Felicity, or Diggle.
After more taunting, Chase finally gets what he wants. Oliver bellows that he kills because he likes it, at which point Chase smirks. Evelyn gets up, her “death” part of the psychological warfare against Oliver. Chase mocks Oliver, telling him that he used his father’s memory to justify a killing spree, and that his mother, Tommy, and Laurel paid for it. Chase goes on about Oliver infecting every life he’s touched. Before he lets Oliver go, he gestures to the Bratva tattoo on Oliver’s chest and says it must remind Oliver of a victory. Chase ends that by taking a blowtorch to the tat. That is not the preferred method of tattoo removal as a rule. Just before this happens, Oliver says that he is sorry. Chase nods, saying that he believes Oliver, he just doesn’t care.
Oliver blacked out during that mess, and wakes later, confused and clearly in pain. His chains are gone, and his costume and weapons are on the floor. He slowly and painfully gets to his feet, gets his items, and shuffles out of the cage. At the Lair, Felicity and Diggle are going out of their minds with worry when Oliver shambles in. Oliver says that it’s over and he doesn’t want to do this anymore as he drops his bow and quiver to the floor. He’s shutting everything down.
The very large FlashBack Theater segments show Oliver slipping further into darkness. In the course of stopping Gregor’s plot, Oliver fairly easily resorts to violence, torture, and even manages to shock Anatoli, a hardened Bratva member.
Anatoli is elevated to Pakhan, or Captain, of the Bratva. Viktor is fairly obviously not thrilled about this. Oliver and Anatoli dig in to what Gregor is up to with Kovar, enlisting Galina, Diana’s mother. Eventually, they learn of a plot and a gas attack, which Oliver barely manages to thwart with Anatoli’s help. There are a few surprises and betrayals along the way, and we see that Kovar is in business with a familiar face from Star City. After all they go through, these segments end with Oliver and Anatoli getting matching Bratva Captain tattoos. We see what becomes of Oliver’s, eventually. Oh, and “Kapiushon” apparently means Hood.
What I liked: I’d been wondering what had happened to Evelyn since turning on the team. At least now we know she’s still around and just as twisted as Prometheus. This was a brutal episode, and Chase’s torture of Oliver was really well thought out and well executed. I’m glad the Russian bit seems to be over now. At least I hope it is. And I’m glad they let themselves take an episode to really focus on just two people, the two at the core of the conflict this season.
What I didn’t: This was Oliver’s big secret? That he likes killing people? I’ve been saying that since the series started. He’s certainly the most bloodthirsty of the CW heroes, and that includes Thea when she was under her blood rage issues. It also makes Oliver such a major hypocrite for coming down on so many people (Huntress, Talia, Thea and others) for killing when he does it so much. For that matter, if it bothers him so much, why does he have gunmen like Spartan and Wild Dog on his team? And at this point, does Oliver get to decide things for the entire team?
I’ve said before, often when discussing this show, that I prefer my superheroes not to kill. So many of Oliver’s problems in this series have come from his doing just that. He really should have figured out by now that doing this is a bad plan, at least if you’re trying to be a symbol. You know, becoming something else… someone else? And does anyone believe he won’t be picking up the bow again?
For a big reveal, this fell flat. I’m giving this episode a low 3 out of 5. Most of what gives it higher points came from the bad guys this go around. I’m hoping they turn this show around soon. I liked it before, and want to love it, but this just isn’t doing it for me for the most part.