Season 5 of Arrow comes to an end with “Lian Yu.” That is, of course, the place Oliver allegedly spent his “five years in hell…” when he wasn’t in Hong Kong or Russia. It also later became Oliver’s personal super-prison, holding Deathstroke Slade Wilson and Captain Boomerang Digger Harkness. In the comics, Lian is the name of Roy Harper’s daughter, sort of Oliver’s granddaughter, who died an utterly pointless tragic death that angered many fans.
As a note, there will be both speculation and spoilers here. You probably don’t want to go past this point if you haven’t seen the finale, and I’ll try and keep the speculation to the end of the review with another warning flag. So, bearing that in mind, off we go.
The voiceover is about Lian Yu being Mandarin for Purgatory. I have no idea if that’s true. They do a sweeping panning shot of the island, focusing on such notable landmarks as the wreck of the Amazo, where so much badness happened. Then again, not a lot of good happened on this island. We know magic is real, I wonder if this place is cursed.
Oliver, truly desperate for help, continues assembling his unlikely team. For some reason or other, he decides it’s a better plan to go with villains like Deathstroke, Captain Boomerang, Malcolm Merlyn, and Nyssa Al-Ghul, rather than contacting their various allies like Flash, Vibe, Wildcat (if he’s still alive), or the Legends. Why? Because this is the low-power end of the CW-Verse, I guess. Slade agrees to help, claiming his head is clear now that he’s off the Mirakuru.
Team Anti-Hero (at best) reunite on the beach where Malcolm and Nyssa keep arguing with each other. For some weird reason, they unpacked everything except the weapons (what else did they bring? It’s not a damn vacation) from the plane, which is established just in time for the plane to get blown up. Two warriors like Malcolm and Nyssa left the weapons for last?
They split up, and Oliver takes Slade and Boomerang with him. They find most of the rest of the prisoners (no Dinah or Rene) in cages in a clearing. Naturally this is a trap. Boomerang turns traitor, pulling a gun on the heroes. Where he got the gun, I’m not sure. When Oliver recruited Slade, he was in his cell in prison whites. We never saw Boomerang in his cell, but I can’t imagine he was hanging out down there in costume. At any rate, Artemis/Evelyn and Talia are both there as well, along with the usual horde of ninja soldiers. The fight breaks out, inevitably, with Nyssa and Malcolm showing up to help tip the odds. Talia gets away, like the ninja she is, and Evelyn gets captured, like the essentially useless character she’s been since she turned up. Oliver gets most of the prisoners moving toward the boat after the big, “I’m not leaving you” speech from Felicity. Apparently, when Chase or his minions (how many people are working for this psycho?) grabbed Oliver’s son William, they grabbed Samantha, the boy’s mother as well. Personally, I’d be ok with her not making it off the island.
Apparently, there’s a monastery we’ve never seen before (how big IS this island?), which is where Quentin, Rene, Dinah, and Diggle are. Dinah has a sonic damper focused on her, which is becoming a more and more common gadget it seems. At any rate, it’s preventing her from using her powers to escape. While the prisoners exchange news, Nyssa is trying to track down Talia. The daughters of Ra’s are heading for a showdown. Slade offers the insight that Oliver is suffering from survivor’s guilt.
The freed group of prisoners and protectors are trying to get to a plane (obviously not the one that blew up earlier). Samantha says she won’t leave without William. Felicity still isn’t sure she did the right thing by leaving Oliver behind. Malcolm tries to get Thea to at least talk to him, but their conversation gets cut short when Thea finds a landmine in the worst possible way. Weirdly, this seems to be the only mine, or at least no one seems to remember that mines usually come in fields. After some argument about what to do next, Malcolm takes matters into his own hands in a dramatic and effective way. The others finally regretfully agree to leave him. Boomerang catches up with him and mocks him for being in the open. When Boomer asks what kind of strategy that is, Malcolm says let me show you and steps off the mine. The others flinch as they hear the explosion in the distance.
Apparently out of hearing range of the explosion, Oliver, Nyssa, and Slade find the downed plane that Oliver and Slade lived in for a while during some of the FlashBack Theater segments. They see the monastery off in the jungle, and Oliver says he’s never been there. Nyssa goes to scout on her own, and then Slade echoes Boomerang’s earlier treachery by knocking Oliver cold and bringing him to Chase’s minions. I told you there were spoilers…
Oliver gets dragged in to where the rest of the hostages are, and Black Siren is more than happy to tell the group that Slade betrayed Oliver. The others hadn’t known William was on the island, and Oliver swears he won’t leave without him. Of course, they’re all chained up at the moment, so leaving is maybe more a goal than a real likely event.
The others keep making their way to the plane. Thea is sort of in shock and a bit numb about Malcolm’s apparent death. She and Felicity have a heart to heart about evil dads. It does seem like both their villainous fathers risked their lives to save their daughters, so I guess they can form a support group or something. Curtis comes back with an old Fantasy Island reference, and the joke seems a little insensitive for him given the timing. The Curtis and Felicity brain trust shortly discover that the entire island is rigged with hundreds, if not thousands, of bombs. Again, how many psychos does Chase have working for him? Doing that must have taken forever, especially as big as the island seems to be now.
They set this next bit up way back at Oliver’s birthday party, which was just last episode but feels a lot longer ago than that. Oliver has the gizmo Curtis made to help Dinah resist sonic dampers. I guess it’s a damper-damper? At any rate, once she gets it, she blasts their chains and frees everyone. This is about when Nyssa and Talia find each other and get into their big fight. Slade creeps in and kills Talia’s backup, and we learn that his “betrayal” was how Oliver got the device to Dinah. I’m not sure how he knew that was there, but I guess it was a good bet if they’re holding her prisoner. That or they were keeping her unconscious. Chase/Prometheus finally shows up and the two groups square off. Funny how the pretty much non-combat group ended up out at the plane. Chase goes to his two favorite refrains, that Oliver is ten steps behind him and that Oliver needs to kill Chase. This has to be the most elaborate “suicide by cop” scenario I’ve ever seen.
Somehow or other, Diggle and Rene’s general brawling skill lets them fight the ninja hordes, which I’m sorry, I just don’t buy. Dinah and Black Siren square off, and their powers clash violently, knocking each other backwards. Quentin gets some of his own back by punching out his daughter’s evil lookalike before she completely recovers. He also emphasizes that he’s ok with Dinah carrying on the Black Canary name. I still find it odd that no one has commented on the fact that Dinah (which lets face it is NOT a common name these days) has the same name as Quentin’s ex wife.
Team Felicity is not having a good time of things. They can’t figure out what triggers the bombs, and don’t have a nice little instant miracle to take them all out. Gee, if only they knew someone with super-speed… At any rate, the fight rages on between the other two groups. Chase is still taunting Oliver, who claims that he has made his decision and will not kill Chase no matter what. Chase ups the ante and says he already killed William. Felicity makes a timely warning via radio that she’s figured out that Chase has a deadman switch, so if Oliver does kill him the whole island blows. Chase manages to escape again as the good guys finish defeating the others. Oliver tells them to join Felicity at the plane, but he is going after Chase and won’t leave without his son, insisting that William is still alive.
Oliver somewhat improbably catches up with Chase and they end up on a small powerboat. They fight, and Chase drags William up out of the cabin, scared but very much alive. Nyssa finds that the plane has been sabotaged, so the rest of them aren’t going anywhere after all. Oliver ends the standoff with Chase by shooting him, but in the leg. Ok that was reasonably clever. William rushes to Oliver, huddling by his side. Chase, never one to lose gracefully, shoots himself. Now, if this was a villain gong all “You’ll never take me alive,” I’d be ok with it, but remember that deadman switch? The entire island explodes, with (deep breath): Diggle, Dinah, Felicity, Curtis, Rene, Quentin, Slade, Samantha, Thea, Nyssa, Talia, Artemis, Black Siren, Malcolm, and Boomerang still on it. Pretty much everyone but Oliver and William, who look on in horror. Now that is a major cliffhanger.
Flashback Theater, also on Lian Yu, features Oliver’s showdown with Kovar, Russian mobster from hell. Oliver defeats Kovar’s thugs, a helicopter, Kovar himself, and manages to set of the flare to attract his staged rescue. So hopefully that concludes THAT plotline. Also, since the damn island is now gone, maybe we’ve at least seen the end of the scenes here? Also, he faked at least some of his ragged appearance, including a big shaggy wig. No one noticed that?
What I liked: Oliver did a few clever things here. Bringing the damper-damper, coming up with the plan with Slade, those were great. Shooting Chase in the leg was a good idea, and I’m glad Oliver didn’t kill him, even with the aftermath. And that was a hell of a cliffhanger. I’m glad Nyssa beat Talia, and Malcolm sure showed the sincerity of his feelings about Thea.
What I didn’t: Where did Boomerang get the gun? For that matter, in the Flash team up, they made Boomerang such a badass he had to be put in Lian Yu, where only Slade was being kept. He sure wasn’t that good here. How’d Oliver know about the damper? It makes no sense that Malcolm and Nyssa left the weapons on the plane, and I don’t know what else they were unloading since they never used it. How big is Lian Yu supposed to be? It seems a lot bigger now than I had the impression when they started. William is going to be in therapy for years.
I’ll give the finale a 4 out of 5. There was a lot of good stuff here. And it’s going to be a long few months to see what happened. Speaking of:
Theories about the blast:
It’s possible everyone lived, but I kind of doubt they did something that cheap. It’s also possible everyone died, but that seems really remote at best. John Barrowman, who plays Malcolm, has publically stated he’s not coming back to Arrow, so I think Malcolm is really dead. Boomerang was right next to him, and they didn’t really do anything with him, plus he’s in the Suicide Squad movie franchise, so I’m betting he’s gone, too. They’ve just started developing Dinah and Rene, so I’m betting they lived. Killing Curtis would be a double minority issue, so he’s likely fine. And, of course, people would riot if they killed Felicity, and Diggle to a lesser extent. I’m hoping Artemis died, and it makes a lot of sense to me if Samantha does. I’m really not sure what to make of everyone else. So there are some theories to debate/discuss until season six.
Arrow has almost gotten to their finale, but first, they have to deal with the “Missing.” The news, good for once, is talking about Adrian Chase being behind bars. Quentin, Thea, and Oliver are in his office celebrating his new 70% approval rating. With the major threat dealt with, Quentin goes off to read Rene the riot act for not making it to the hearing for custody of his daughter. We also learn that today is Oliver’s birthday, and Thea teases him for having dinner plans with Felicity. Thea is also still moping about being such a dark and evil person.
Oliver goes to Felicity’s and sees the door ajar. There’s a shape near the door, and… let’s just say Curtis finds out why it’s not a good idea to give a surprise party for a martial arts/action hero type. There’s even a cartoony Green Arrow cake, which is amusing. Curtis has a new gadget to help Dinah with her Canary Cry, but she hasn’t shown up for the party. Lyla and JJ are in Chicago, visiting family, and Diggle tells Oliver all is well on the family front. Quentin shows up with a gift, and reports that Rene is not home with newspapers piled up at his door. Aside from that, there’s nothing but good news and plans for their “summer break,” which seems like an in joke for the end of the season. I guess bad guys take summers off in Star City. Oliver’s wild summer plans include buying socks. Oliver and Felicity even get a few quiet moments. With everything going that well this early in the episode, you know badness is coming.
After the party, Felicity and Curtis are on the phone, and he’s being not at all subtle about pushing for Felicity and Oliver to get back together. Their banter is interrupted when Curtis gets to Dinah’s place and sees the front door broken. He goes in to check on things, and shows why he’s better in the lab than in the field. Felicity hears him getting captured by people we never really see.
Diggle and Oliver respond to Felicity’s call and check the place out, carefully, guns drawn, much better than Curtis did. They find signs of a struggle and Curtis’ phone, but no sign of Curtis or Dinah. With these ominous developments, they reassess their idea that Rene skipped out on his custody hearing. Chase is still in his cell according to Felicity, and Oliver finds a clue that points to Talia al-Ghul. Oliver tells Diggle to get everyone else to safety. You know it’s bad when the superheroes need protective custody.
Oliver goes to Chase’s cell for an utterly unproductive series of threats and smirking. Then he goes back to the Lair, which is mostly empty aside from Felicity with a really big gun. She must have been raiding Diggle’s stash. Everyone else is supposedly safe with ARGUS, but Oliver wants Felicity to stay with him to help find Dinah, Rene, and Curtis. Felicity is a bit freaked out at this idea. Oliver is worried about his son, William, who we saw apparently getting grabbed by Chase a few episodes ago. Then they get worse news- Black Siren is no longer in ARGUS custody. Chase is fighting dirty.
Thea and Quentin complain about being bored in the safehouse. The agents protecting them go down like good little redshirts and Quentin gets a really nasty shock. They never did tell him about Black Siren, who, of course, is the Earth 2 version of his dead daughter Laurel. We’re lucky that supposed heart condition of Quentin’s that everyone seems to have forgotten about didn’t kick in and kill him. Siren is accompanied by Evelyn/Artemis, and is mockingly cruel to Quentin.
Oliver and Felicity (not sure bringing her is a good idea, but then, nowhere seems safe right now) get to the safehouse, meet with Diggle, and realize who the bad guys were. Still think not telling Quentin was a good plan? Oliver decides he needs to do something unpredictable, since Chase knows everything Oliver is going to do, so he tells Diggle and Felicity to get out of town. When you’re under attack, dividing your forces is generally a bad plan, a basic tenet of tactics which Oliver seems to have lost track of.
Oliver goes back to Chase’s cell and beats on him. He also pulls a gun on him, which is pointless, since they both know, and even talk about, the fact that Oliver won’t kill him. Chase continues to smirk through the threats, mentions he’s being transferred to Idaho tonight (Idaho is safer?), and tells Oliver he needs to release Chase before then or everyone they’ve captured will die. So, now we have a deadline to make things more tense.
Locked in the back of a truck, Thea tells Quentin about the multiple Earths and dopplegangers. She also points out that, in a world with metahumans and alien invasions, this really isn’t all that unbelievable. Their scene ends with Black Siren and Artemis telling them, ominously, that they have a surprise for the captives.
Diggle and Felicity debate what to do next as they drive out of town. Oliver stalks through the Lair, alone, looking at the wall of costumes. With everything going on, I don’t see why Oliver’s still in civilian clothes. If nothing else, the costumes are armored. And, for the record, I’m still annoyed there’s no spot for Roy’s costume. Or Wildcat’s, come to that. Oliver is being stalked, and he ends up having a confrontation with an unlikely person who has come to help. As they play the “Why should I trust you?” game, Felicity and Diggle get captured in a really badly done car crash scene. Cars do NOT explode when they hit something, and random dirt ramps do not make Dukes of Hazzard style jumps happen.
Oliver and his ally of convenience go to the scene of the accident, and find nothing useful. It just gives them a new place to argue about methods, means, and how far they’re willing to go. Their debate gets ended when the Marshals call Oliver (why Federal Law Enforcement is reporting to a city mayor, I’m not sure) to tell him they’re moving Chase.
Quentin and Black Siren have something of an argument. She might actually be feeling bad about capturing her father’s lookalike. She makes a really weak argument for her side of the case. As this goes on, Chase taunts Oliver more while he’s being prepped to be moved. Oliver then gets a phone call that puts even more pressure on him.
This finally spurs Oliver and his “friend” to attack the Marshals and let Chase go. Chase takes off (of course he knows how to fly a helicopter). Oliver goes back to the lair, where he brings in another odd choice for an ally. The two others don’t get along at all, and Oliver basically tells them they need to knock it off.
The prisoners, oddly absent Dinah and Rene, are chained together on what I believe is Lian Yu. Chase, Black Siren, Artemis, and the horde of ninjas are all there. Oliver is apparently elsewhere on the island, making another deal for more help.
Flashback Theater is Oliver being tortured by Dragonov. It’s a good excuse for Dragonov to be shown as utterly evil, and Oliver to hallucinate some of his dead friends. Eventually, he escapes. Again, I think this was irrelevant and they could have used the screen time for something better.
What I liked: The birthday party was entertaining, and I like that Oliver and Felicity aren’t growling at each other anymore. I’m also glad Diggle said he and Lyla were good, and that Rene actually did apparently have a good reason for not making the hearing. The Green Arrow cake was funny, and I was amused by the in-jokes about summer break.
What I didn’t: If they’d been really clever, they would have said Lyla was in Central City, not Chicago, as we saw on this week’s Flash. As desperate as things are, there is NO good reason for Oliver not to have contacted Team Flash, Roy Harper, Katana, or Wildcat (if he’s alive, and no, I’m not letting that go). Even on the island, when Oliver goes making deals with the devil, he ignores someone there that could be helpful, and not much worse than the collection he already has. Flashback Theater really needs a holiday, or to be done with completely. And I still want to know what happened to Vigilante.
I really wasn’t hugely impressed with this episode. I’ll give it a very low 3 out of 5.
Team Arrow is very much having a season where they just can’t win no matter what they do. They’ve finally proven to the world at large that Prometheus (still being called the Throwing Star Killer by the press, a much less cool name) is Adrian Chase. That should be a banner day, shouldn’t it? Well, when you reveal the former District Attorney of a major city is a crazed serial killer, defense attorneys start collectively licking their lips and rubbing their hands. As a result of this latest scandal in Star City, a judge has released 36 violent felons back out on the street. Just what the reeling city needs.
Still processing that piece of bad news, Oliver gets another shock. SWAT tells him they need to clear City Hall, because a mysterious package has arrived in Oliver’s office. The sender name is Simon Morrison, Adrian Chase’s birth name. Oliver ignores everyone, pushes past the police, and opens the crate. Inside is a concrete slab with a badly decomposed body in it. Dinah, in her useful (if improbable) secret identity as a Star City Police Officer, manages to ID the body as Henry Goodwin, a former city councilman from the Glades. Everyone is puzzled, as there are no known links between Goodwin, who has been missing for years, and either Oliver or Adrian/Simon.
Down in the Lair, the team is in crisis mode, but I’m having trouble remembering when they weren’t. Some of them are out on the street, following the newly released criminals. Dinah is trying to follow up leads on the dead councilman. Oliver and Felicity at least seem to be on better terms than they have in a while, likely from last episode’s shared near death experience.
The writers of the show finally remember Thea can do more than be “out of town” and she comes back to Oliver’s office to say hi. Her timing is horrible, as Dinah and Quentin (why a deputy mayor is doing an investigation, I don’t know, but they don’t sweat that kind of thing much on this show) have come up with a suspect in Goodwin’s death. Unfortunately, it’s Robert Queen, Oliver’s dad and Thea’s… what do you call someone who raised you as their own not knowing you were the product of your wife having an affair? Step dad doesn’t seem to cut it.
Quentin is sure that Robert is being framed. With all she’s learned, even Thea doesn’t really believe this. Oliver is sure this is all part of some elaborate head-game of Prometheus’. Oliver, because that’s his default setting now, talks about a press conference. Between press conferences on this show and business meetings in Iron Fist, it really is the age of the corporate hero.
Rene and Quentin, who seem to be bonding in spite of themselves, get their own scene when Rene tells Quentin that he’s got a hearing about custody of his daughter. As they share good news, Felicity figures out where the concrete probably came from. Spartan and I’m-dressed-in-black-so-I’m-not-Green-Arrow go to check it out. They don’t find a clue, but they do trigger a really elaborate death trap involving trap doors and fresh concrete. I think this might be the first comic book villain style trap I’ve seen on the series.
Dinah and Curtis get pulled off watching Derek Sampson, the thug made into a metahuman by Wild Dog a while back, to go save Oliver and Diggle. There’s a lot of arguing about Chase’s motives and who is in on what as the rescue happens. Finally, they get a lead on a lawyer called Kaufman, who has ties to both Oliver’s and Chase’s fathers. Are they finally getting somewhere?
No, of course not. Chase really seems to have attained a ridiculous level of knowledge about Star City and the Queen family. I still don’t know how he learned about the Legends team. At any rate, under yet another name, Chase has been in contact with Kaufman and gave him a video to give to Oliver, because Chase knew Oliver would find out. Because Chase knows everything. Have I mentioned I’m getting a bit sick of Chase?
Oliver votes for destroying the video, with the logic that, if Chase wants him to see it, then he will refuse to. I’m not sure if that’s a good idea or Oliver acting like an angry child. Felicity warns Oliver that the team has tracked Samson to another chemical company. As Oliver rushes off to deal with that, Thea sits down at the computer.
To fill the action quota for the show, there’s a fight between Team Arrow and Sampson’s thugs. Weirdly, Black Canary is using a gun in this fight. Between her powers, her fighting skill, and her staff, I’m not sure why she’s adding gunslinger to her resume. Maybe she’s been hanging around with Rene and John too long. The fight gets wrapped up and Thea leaves an urgent message for Oliver. Of course she watched the video, and of course it’s more bad news.
Oliver and Thea spend a scene feeling sorry for themselves at the latest development about their father (for lack of a better term). Oliver muses on Robert’s bit about “I’m not the man you think I am.” Thea calls herself a monster and reflects on Malcolm being her father. Felicity texts with updates on the case, mercifully ending the scene.
Since chemistry is a science that keeps improving, it turns out the chemicals Chase is stealing are going to make an even worse bio-agent than his father’s original plan. Felicity and Curtis techno-babble a lot and work out a way to trace some of the chemicals. Rene is freaked out about a hearing for his daughter. I guess he thought the court would just hand her over if he showed up. Quentin tries to reassure him, but I don’t think Rene is listening.
Oliver watches a different video from his father, one that helped launch his crusade years ago. Felicity sympathizes with him about the pressure he’s under, but says that as long as your dad got you started on this and you’re making a difference, who really cares why? Personally, I think that’s a good point. Turns out Oliver has been hiding a video from Thea all this time, too. The detector beeps, and points them at a new location: The Robert Queen Applied Sciences Center. Irony alert!
It’s showdown time, as Team Arrow faces off with Chase and his not so merry men. While the lower ranks clash and Mr. Terrific deals with the doomsday weapon, Oliver (as Green Arrow again, finally) fights Prometheus in a stairwell. I really thought this was a decoy at first, since Prometheus is largely silent for most of the fight. Usually, he won’t shut up. Oliver finally beats him with the same twisted emotional logic that led to the “MARTHA” moment in “Batman v Superman: Zach Snyder is Still Afraid of Color.”
Things end in a series of ups and downs. The team celebrates their win, which is long overdue. Oliver gives Thea the video from Robert, and she watches it. It’s actually a good thing. Less good is the hearing for custody of Zoe Ramirez, Rene’s daughter. Oliver, naturally, gives a press conference about recent events, which Chase watches from his new ARGUS cell with a smirk on his face. That bodes ill.
They did a better than usual job on the title this time. With all the family drama flying around “Honor Thy Father” seemed very appropriate.
Flashback theater is seemingly increasingly unneeded. Most of this week’s is Oliver and Anatoli setting up Oliver’s “rescue” from Lian Yu. The last few pieces for when the show started get put in place, but then Oliver gets a surprise right at the very end. Ok, I didn’t see that one coming.
What I liked: Oliver is finally back in costume, and Chase is finally behind bars. Those two things right there make it a great episode as far as I’m concerned. It’s nice to see Oliver and Felicity back on better terms. I’m still expecting they’re going to get back together eventually. The judge letting all the criminals out sucked for the team, but made a certain degree of sense. I’m also glad the team, collectively, didn’t try and bury the revelations this week.
What I didn’t: Of all the bad guys the team has faced, we get a rematch with Sampson? Don’t get me wrong, he fights ok, but he’s just not that interesting. The show has done this kind of thing before, but what the heck happened to Vigilante? He’s just… gone, without a word. Did Prometheus kill him in that last encounter? If so, where’s the body and the news? And who was he? I have to admit, I’m sick of both Chase and Queen family drama. It’s like Dallas with costumes.
I’ll give this one a high 3.5 out of 5. There’s a bit of time before the finale, so I’m curious to see what nasty surprise Chase has to build up for the cliffhanger. If he doesn’t have one, this could easily have been a season finale that went out on a high note for once.
Last episode ended quite literally with a bang as Prometheus staged an attack on the Lair. Oliver and Felicity are trapped, alone, with the lights dimmed. Things get worse as they determine that at least part of the attack was an EMP. Not only do they not have power or communications, but you remember that chip that magically fixed Felicity’s paralysis? Apparently being inside a human body doesn’t shield the chip. So Oliver and Felicity are trapped “Underneath” to give us the title. Felicity is grudgingly impressed with the thoroughness of the trap.
Usually, having a high-profile secret identity is a hindrance for a superhero. It works out in this case, though. When you’re the mayor of a city that’s in the middle of a major crisis, people notice when you don’t show up for work. Curtis goes to the Lair to see if that’s where they are after no one can get hold of either Oliver or Felicity. It doesn’t take a genius like him long to figure out something’s wrong when the doors won’t open and there’s no response at all from down below. Curtis then hears a series of explosions, which we see is Oliver trying to use his explosive arrows to get out. Unfortunately, while it seems like whoever wants to can just wander in to the Lair (just like STAR Labs on Flash and Luthor Mansion on Smallville), getting out is another story. Quentin Lance and Rene are having their own, if different, problems. With District Attorney Adrian Chase revealed as a crazed serial killer, defense attorneys on every case over the last several months are filing every manner of appeal.
One of the real nice touches to this episode is also a nice bit of world building. Felicity is a hacker, and Oliver is a fighter. So this version of the Lair was built by Cisco Ramone from the Flash show. That makes a lot of sense, explains why it’s so well built, and why Oliver has to go look for Cisco’s blueprints.
Things are not going well for the Diggles, either. After learning about how much shady stuff ARGUS is doing under Lyla’s direction, John is sleeping on the couch. Their attempt at a discussion gets interrupted when Rene, Dinah, and Curtis come calling. They can sense the tension between the Diggles, but the team stays and tells them about the problems at the bunker.
Oliver and Felicity have their own tension from recent events, and being trapped in a small space isn’t helping. At least I think it’s a small space. They never really have given us a good feel for the Lair’s floor plan. At any rate, Oliver decides to try and escape via the elevator shaft, and Felicity warns him it’s almost certainly been booby trapped by Chase. Oliver bulls ahead anyway. Guess who was right? Their situation is not improved when Oliver falls and gets badly injured. What’s a little blood loss between friends? Felicity patches him up with a hefty side order of “I told you so.” They keep arguing about his lack of trust in her as they try to game a new way out.
Curtis briefs the team about what he’s been able to figure out about the Lair situation. Lyla offers to get things to help Curtis break into the Lair, after snarking at John on the way out. Curtis also mentions that they might run out of air in the Lair, which is odd to me. I get it’s an underground bunker, but with all the exits and gadgets, I wouldn’t think it’d be air-tight.
Rene and Curtis trade barbs while they try and access the Lair via the elevator shaft. It doesn’t go as badly as Oliver’s attempt, but isn’t successful. I was very amused to hear what Mr. Terrific named the T Spheres, although I guess that means he only has two of them. While that silliness goes on, Dinah offers an ear to John about his troubles with Lyla.
I didn’t quite follow what Felicity was trying to do next. Something about using one of Oliver’s motorcycles to give them energy to get some stuff working. That, too, failed, and then ruptured a methane line. My various problems with that, in no particular order, are: if there’s a bike down there, there should be another way out that never gets mentioned; starting an engine when you’re running out of air is not a good plan, and why the hell is there a methane line in the Lair? I can’t imagine what purpose it would serve. On the heels of this failure, Felicity comes up with another plan.
The rest of the team tries, and fails, to break in again. Mr. Terrific gets a nasty burn in the process, and Dinah makes a different suggestion from her undercover days. Oliver and Felicity manage to get to get into a steam tunnel under the Lair they found via Cisco’s plans. From my research on steam tunnels, I’m not quite sure why this one is there, but they make some progress towards getting out. Oliver, bleeding badly, is carrying Felicity since her legs still aren’t working.
Lyla pulls another surprise, this one hitting home with Curtis specifically. Eventually, after a lot of drama between Felicity and Oliver, the rest of the team gets in, and Diggle manages to lend a hand in rescuing the two of them. With the usual resolution through too much drama Felicity and Oliver end up in a better place at least. So do Diggle and Lyla, when Lyla makes a surprising offer. The final scene looks bad for one of the supporting cast we don’t see often.
While Oliver and Felicity have trouble escaping the Lair, we can’t escape Flashback Theater. This time they only go back about 11 months, after Felicity broke up with Oliver, but before they started the new version of Team Arrow. It’s mostly emotional drama between the two of them, with a cameo by Curtis, pre-Mr. Terrific. Personally, I think they really could have cut this entire series of scenes, but I feel that way most of the time about the flashbacks.
What I liked: Curtis’ geek comments amuse me. I’m glad the writers aren’t just brushing off the issues John has with Lyla’s job, and also glad they didn’t drag that out. I liked them giving credit to Cisco for designing the Lair.
What I didn’t: This episode really nailed down for me that I don’t have a good feel for the Lair’s layout, which is bad considering how much time they spend down there. A lot of the details on this one didn’t really jibe for me for the various escape efforts. And they’re really reaching for things to do with flashback theater. Just end it already.
I’ll give this one a lower end 3 out of 5. It had some nice moments, but a lot that didn’t make sense, either. I’m really looking forward to the end of the Adrian Chase plot.
The hunt for Adrian Chase/Prometheus continues in “Dangerous Liaisons.” ARGUS is following up on a report that Chase was seen in the arcade of a shut down amusement park, which really seems like something more fitting for a Batman villain. ARGUS is being backed up by Mr. Terrific and Wild Dog. To no great surprise, they don’t find Chase, but they do get caught up in a very clever ambush. Mr. Terrific, true to his geek heritage, gets upset when a classic video game is damaged in the chaos. Spartan and whatever we’re supposed to call Oliver when he’s in black with that weird mask are there, too.
The team meets up in Oliver’s office, which seems like a horrible idea when they are still trying to keep their secret identities. Quentin comes in, knowing it’s not a great time, but having to mention the press is pushing for a statement. When Oliver goes out to make one, he gets picked on for not knowing Chase was a killer. The usual can’t win when the press decides to go after someone, really.
Felicity goes back to her refuge of choice these days, Helix. She tries pushing them to help her, and doesn’t get a lot of interest, which I don’t blame them for. Felicity really is kind of using Helix for her own ends at this point. I’d be annoyed, too. Felicity’s main contact there has dropped her weird handle for the name Alena. In yet another fit of bad judgement, Felicity helps Helix hack into ARGUS, although it seems they uncover a mole in the agency.
That same agent meets a horrible accident in an elevator, and Alena just happens to be there. Coincidence, I’m sure. Later, Oliver, Lyla, and Dinah check on the body. I can see Lyla and Dinah being there, but really, how often do mayors show up at crime scenes where there aren’t a lot of cameras? He’s really pushing it in terms of keeping his secret. Curtis and Felicity investigate via computer, and toss off lines from Airplane!, which annoys Oliver. Felicity pretty clearly recognizes what happened with the elevator, and does a bad job trying to hide it.
Quentin and Rene get a scene which shows a side of things most action/hero shows would ignore, so the episode gets points for this. They’re meeting with the family of one of Chase’s victims, and it’s emotionally draining. This is just one of many such meetings, and it’s taking a toll on them. At least they’re remembering Rene is supposed to be working with Quentin, unlike the ever-absent Thea. I know she’s not working for City Hall now, but she was almost never there when she was, and has been missing most of this season, or that’s what it feels like. There’s a passing reference to Rene’s custody issue with his daughter.
Alena dangles another carrot in front of Felicity to keep her working with Helix. Their founder, Caden James, was developing a special tracker that could isolate individual heartbeats. This might let them find Chase, finally. Of course, Helix wants something in return.
On the other side of that equation, Lyla is asking Oliver and Diggle for help. The dead agent’s security key was taken, and Lyla believes that ARGUS security is coming under attack (and she’s right!). Oliver doesn’t think this has anything to do with Chase, and that’s his current obsession, so he’s not really interested.
Turns out, Oliver isn’t the only one obsessed. Felicity is working with Helix as they drift into deeper and darker waters. Felicity even talks the team into letting a mercenary that Helix hired go… with another ARGUS security key. She keeps telling them to trust her, and that it’s to help catch Prometheus. I’d agree that’s a good cause, but both Oliver and Felicity need to switch to decaf.
Lyla is also not happy about this development, and argues with Felicity a lot. Felicity seems even more obsessed with bringing in Chase than Oliver is. She’s willing to do almost anything, or so it seems. Even Oliver isn’t sure about how far she’s going, and she is not happy to hear this, laying into him about crossing lines.
Quentin and Rene meet up again, starting with an amusing exchange about Rene wondering if he’s being fired, and Quentin reminding Rene that he hates being called “Hoss,” which Rene keeps doing anyway. Quentin is actually trying hard to do him a favor, and talks with him about trying to more forward on the custody issue. Rene is definitely, and loudly, not interested, blaming himself for his daughter Zoe getting hurt in the past.
Team Arrow is a bit less happy when they find out more about what’s going on with Helix founder Caden James. He’s being held by ARGUS, not only without a trial, but without being accused of a specific crime. This makes even the “used to shades of grey” Team Arrow wonder about what’s going on here. Finally, they decide to use James as bait for Helix. Diggle pulls Oliver to one side and asks him to talk to Felicity. Diggle’s worried about her, too, and thinks Oliver is the only one she’s going to listen to.
Oliver goes to Felicity’s place to try this talk, and she greets him with a snarky comment about him using the front door for once. They argue about what’s going on, and she says that she has supported his crusade for four years, even when she disagreed with what he’s doing. She’s upset that he’s not extending that courtesy to her. For what it’s worth, I think she makes a decent point, although I think both Oliver and Felicity are a bit nuts at this point.
Lyla briefs Team Arrow about the operation to use James as bait. ARGUS has a lot of agents there, and Team Arrow is there for back up and support. No one is happy about what’s going on. Lyla calls Felicity twenty times more dangerous than Snowden, and Diggle in turns compares Lyla to deceased ARGUS head Amanda Waller. This isn’t going to end well for anyone. Alena and Felicity share quips about the transition from hacker to vigilante.
Quentin goes behind Rene’s back and sets up a visit with Zoe, which gets at times both cute and painful. It does resolve him to fight for his daughter, finally. Oliver and Diggle, meanwhile, wait for the incoming attack. They compare Felicity and Lyla both crossing too many lines.
The attack is actually really clever, and takes advantage of ARGUS being a bit too in love with secrets. They tried to get clever with Caden James’ location, keeping it hidden even from Team Arrow. But Helix learned the truth, and goes where James is, and everyone else isn’t. The upshot is that Helix gets away with James, and Felicity personally manages to hold off Oliver. Things are going to get really tense in the Lair. Oliver goes back there for some drinking alone time.
Felicity gets her own surprise when she goes to meet up with her hacker buddies. Helix has emptied their base and split, deciding working with Felicity is too dangerous. Credit where it’s due, Alena kept her word and left the tracker for Felicity, along with a video link where she says goodbye. I kinda hope we’re done with them.
Lyla and Diggle are having their own argument after the events of this case. He’s really upset about the choices Lyla is making and keeping from him. Things are sounding bad for them as a couple. Keeping with that theme, Felicity returns to the Lair, and she and Oliver have a similar argument. Her tracker finally kicks in, and tells them that Chase is… right outside. They find this out just as an explosion rocks the Lair and it all goes dark.
And, there’s no Flashback Theater this week!
What I liked: I don’t like them, but Helix is pretty damn clever. The writers are doing a good job of making everyone seem like they are halfway on the dark side. Helix are criminals, I don’t doubt that. But ARGUS isn’t exactly looking good at this point, and Team Arrow has been questionable since it was just Oliver. Curtis got a few good lines.
What I didn’t: Too many shades of grey here. I don’t need a big hero on a white horse with a white hat, but it’d be nice if I had someone to root for on a show like this. I’m running out of people to do that for. Team Arrow is really divided against each other, which is not going to help them catch someone as slick as Chase.
I’ll give this one a 3 out of 5. I’m really hoping this manhunt for Chase ends soon.
Last episode, Oliver was battered and beaten by Prometheus. Now, he’s still looking horrible, and is sticking by his pronouncement that the team is done. I think that’s horribly unfair of Oliver. Even if he’s done as a hero, I question why he gets to decide that for everyone else. Then again, he’s not at his most rational right now. Felicity and Diggle try and talk him down, but he’s not having any. That scene ends with Oliver and Diggle stalking off in opposite directions. While that one is kind of obvious, I was impressed with the blocking and staging throughout the episode. I think they did a great job of saying a lot with character movements this week.
The next day, Felicity is hosting the rest of the team at her place. The loft has been recycled several times, from Thea’s place, to Oliver and Felicity, just Felicity, and now Lair-in-exile. They get a lot of use out of that set. The team is dumbstruck by Oliver’s decision to shut them down, and most of them want to go after Chase on their own. Diggle storms in and gives the team a mini-pep talk, as well as another lame excuse for Thea not being around. Seriously, is Willa Holland doing another show or something? Oliver has apparently reprogrammed the access to the Lair, which is allegedly keeping the team out. Since any bad guy that wanted to managed to stroll right in, I don’t buy that. Lyla’s going to get them some ARGUS surplus gear, and Diggle reminds them they are not the anti-Prometheus team, and are now the city’s last line of defense. Felicity slips out to “keep an eye on Prometheus” which probably means going back to her Helix friends.
In his office, Oliver is having a meeting with Quentin. Quentin covered Oliver’s time in captivity by claiming the mayor was on a spiritual retreat, which is lame enough to at least be accepted by the media and general public. Oliver continues his attitude of utter defeat, which puzzles Quentin. Things get more complex when Chase himself comes in, thanking Oliver for his bereavement leave. After Oliver asks for them to speak in private, Quentin leaves with a snort of disgust. Oliver is puzzled as to why Chase is there, telling him it’s over and that he won. A smirking Chase says he never said that, and leaves a small blade on Oliver’s desk after more taunting.
Felicity, as I guessed, is back at Helix with Kojo. With Helix’s massive, terrifying resources, they’ve even managed to get a shot of Prometheus unmasking. Unfortunately, he’s using some weird tech that blurs his face on camera. The two girl geniuses start working on a plan to reverse engineer Prometheus’ gadget.
In Oliver’s office, he has yet another meeting, this time with Susan. She has head a bit about what happened to him and is worried. She filed a statement with the police about Chase being the one that kidnapped her, but there’s no proof and the police aren’t able to follow up on it. Oliver continues his process of shutting his life down by breaking things off with her. This is at least the first time he’s gotten up from behind his desk, which seems like a mixture of exhaustion on Oliver’s part and using it to distance himself from everyone.
Down in the Lair, Oliver is going to new and bizarre lengths in his struggle. He’s brought in an old friend, sort of. Anatoli is there, and Oliver tells him he wants Anatoli to kill Adrian Chase. I don’t know if Chase saw that coming, but I definitely didn’t. There’s a sweeping shot of the Lair with all the costumes in boxes. That’s actually sad to see. Anatoli is surprised that Oliver is giving up his hood. Anatoli is happy that Oliver has remembered his Bratva oaths, and Oliver just wants Chase dead. Anatoli wants to toast their new deal, looks at all the boxes, and hopes Oliver didn’t put away the vodka.
Rene is not impressed with the gear on loan from ARGUS. There’s a lot of grousing in this scene, but what I found interesting was Spartan commenting that they don’t have their special tranq ammo since Oliver locked them out. I’ve been commenting for a while that it was weird that Wild Dog and Spartan were using guns so often and so casually. Hearing they’re using tranq ammo is something of a relief, but I’m not sure I buy it considering how much damage their weapons do the surroundings when there’s a fight. If something is mild enough to be non-lethal, it’s not shattering windows and sparking off everything metal anywhere near them. The team responds to an alarm about a break in, and gets a few surprises. The thugs are speaking Russian, they are led by Anatoli, and Anatoli tells them the Bratva is in town by Oliver’s invitation.
Diggle storms into Oliver’s office at City Hall and they have a very tense confrontation. Diggle is furious that Oliver has invited gangsters into their city, while Oliver is far from happy about Diggle running the team without him. Diggle gets yet another shock when Oliver tells him that Anatoli and his crew are in town to kill Adrian Chase. They argue a lot more, with Oliver wallowing in self-blame and doubt and such. Finally, Oliver dismisses Diggle after telling him very sharply that the team is over. Again.
The team meets up again at Felicity’s place, and shock ripples among them again at hearing why Oliver has Anatoli in town. Rene, rarely for him, looks at the bigger picture, talking about the company that the Bratva robbed being on the edge of going out of business and hundreds of jobs being on the line. We also learn that Rene is banned from City Hall because Lance is worried that Rene will shoot Chase on sight. That leads to a really amusing look between Rene and Dinah. Those two seem to be on the same page a lot. Felicity is about to slip away again when Diggle asks to talk to her upstairs in private. Curtis takes advantage of this distraction to do something to her computer.
Diggle appeals to Felicity to help him talk sense in to Oliver. They’re the ones who have known him longest and best. Felicity, shockingly, isn’t sure that Oliver is wrong. She suggests they just get out of the way and let the Bratva do its work. She leaves, a stunned Diggle in her wake. I really don’t like the Dark Felicity story.
Anatoli is hanging with Oliver in the semi-abandoned Lair, talking about the drug they stole from under the team’s collective nose. It’s part of the compound they need to make a brand new, highly addictive street drug. Diggle comes in just in time to hear this, and gets even madder. He points out that Curtis, of course, was able to hack the locks to let the team back in. Oliver, for his part, says he doesn’t want to keep having the same conversation and that the team is done. They talk about Oliver’s crusade, and Oliver finally gives some hints of what happened with Chase. The argument ends with Oliver asking Diggle to just let his crusade die.
Felicity’s place keeps serving as their new HQ, and there’s even some team bonding. Curtis wonders if Diggle is the new Oliver, and Curtis is the new Felicity, then who is the new Diggle? Rene and Dinah both claim the role, argue a bit, and Rene cedes it to her, earning a wink from the lovely lady. Rene then says since he’s the only Rene, shouldn’t they be ok with letting the Bratva kill Chase? Diggle pops up again and says no, because now they are fighting for Oliver’s soul. To me, that should have been a cue for a Constantine guest shot, but sadly it wasn’t. They find out Chase is about to leave, and Diggle tells them to suit up, leading to Curtis babbling about them not having suits anymore. I guess he really is the new Felicity.
Safe in his convoy, Chase asks the cop next to him who they think Green Arrow is. We never get to find out as the Bratva attacks, and then Team Sans-Arrow jumps in. It’s a messy fight that ends with Chase getting away, Anatoli getting furious, and Curtis getting a new lead for them to pursue.
Chase is now going to be placed in Witness Protection. The agent from there says that since Chase’s itinerary clearly leaked, no Star City employee will have access to any information about where Chase will be. There’s a lot of multilevel conversation, and, at the end of it Chase pulls Oliver aside. “You actually tried something. Consider me impressed,” he says in a very backhanded compliment.
Oliver goes to Diggle’s place to complain about Chase now being shielded from the Bratva. The conversation veers all over the place, including getting physical. Finally, Diggle seems to be getting through to Oliver. Diggle urges his friend and team leader that if he doesn’t feel worthy of the hood, try to earn it, and let his friends help.
Felicity and Kojo are trying to come up with a way to get Chase’s scrambler gadget so they can unblur his image. Felicity finds out she’s not as slick as she thought when Curtis follows her there, causing a minor uproar. In turn, Felicity and Curtis get a surprise when Kojo calls them Overwatch and Mr. Terrific. They finally decide the best plan is for those two to break into KORD Industries and get the gear they need to break Chase’s code.
The rooftop meeting has become a cliche in comics, and that is apparently spreading to the comic-based tv shows. Oliver and Anatoli meet on a roof somewhere, talking about the team not giving up. Oliver says they’ve convinced him not to give up, either, and he tries to get out of his arrangement with the Bratva. This goes over about as well as you’d expect, and Oliver is back to being ridiculously naive. He gets the team (minus a few members) back in the Lair and asks for their help with the Bratva and Prometheus.
The team is staking out Zarn Corporation, trying to prevent the Bratva from doing another break in. The building is huge, and a frustrated Diggle comments that Felicity and Curtis picked a hell of a night to take off. At that, we see Felicity and Curtis breaking in over at KORD so they can get what they need to undo Prometheus’ video masking. After a lot of sneaking around and fighting, respectively, both teams are triumphant. Oliver and Anatoli have a chat that doesn’t go really well in the aftermath.
A clearly delighted Quentin shows the video of Chase as Prometheus to the Star City police. The police call the Marshals who are guarding Chase. Somehow or other, Chase knows what the call is as it comes in, kills his guards, and escapes. At least we won’t see him smirking around City Hall anymore.
In FlashBratva Theater, Oliver is about to leave Russia to stage his “rescue” on Lian Yu, a place Anatoli never wants to see again. Anatoli comes up with a plan for Oliver’s last few days in Russia. They end up staging a Robin Hood-style drug heist to do a good deed, and then plan to drink until Oliver goes to the airport. Kind of a last hurrah for their friendship, I guess, although they didn’t know about it at the time.
What I liked: I think this was one of their better episodes. The dialogue, blocking, and general character interaction were really a cut above their usual. I was really impressed with how they did most of it.
What I didn’t: While it was nice that they finally addressed the killing issue as far Spartan and Wild Dog go with their “tranq ammo,” I’m not sure I buy it. It doesn’t seem like that’s what they’ve been using. I don’t like what they’re doing with Felicity. Oliver rebounded from his depression pretty quickly, and managed to make things worse for Star City and himself with the Bratva.
It had its flaws, but it really was a good episode. I’ll give a low 4 out of 5. And now we have a few weeks to wonder what’s coming next.
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.
The writers on Arrow have done a great job of letting comic book fans mislead themselves at the series has gone on. Several characters with familiar names from the comics have shown up, and turned out to not be much like the originals at all. Kate Spenser, the first DA in Star City to get killed, was Manhunter in the comics, but was just a supporting character in the series. Likewise, as we found out last episode, while Adrian Chase is the Vigilante in the comics, he wasn’t in the show. And, this episode’s title carries on the tradition. Checkmate is a powerful spy agency that’s been around the DCU since the 80’s. I really expected they might turn up in this episode, but no, “Checkmate” has nothing to do with the organization.
Once again, Oliver is faced with a big problem, and ends up in the mountains. I had thought at first he’d gone back to Nanda Parbat, which had me curious, since Malcolm is off with the Legion of Doom as far as I know. But no, this is yet another isolated mountain fortress full of fighters. We never do find out the name of the place, but this is Talia’s school. After Oliver wades through her current crop of students, she comes out of the shadows to talk with him.
Talia is fully aware of Oliver’s problems with Prometheus. She tells Oliver Prometheus doesn’t want to kill him, he wants to destroy him. We’ve heard this a few times too many this season. Oliver gets a few major shocks in this meeting. He learns that Talia is Ra’s’ daughter, but that revelation gets lost when she tells him that Prometheus is currently calling himself Adrian Chase.
Things aren’t going smoothly in Star City, either. Felicity is ignoring texts from Curtis as she gets in deeper with Helix, the shadowy hacker group she’s been dealing with lately. Kojo, the woman Felicity’s been talking with, calls it an international operation, like a UN that can actually accomplish things.
Oliver goes back to work and finds that Chase is actually there, much to his surprise. They have a veiled conversation with a lot of double meaning to it. Later, in the parking garage, Green Arrow confronts Chase. Chase taunts the archer, saying that he’s the only one who knows where Susan Williams is, so if he’s not free, she’ll die from dehydration. “I’m ten steps ahead of you, and don’t even know what game we’re playing,” he says smugly before leaving
Back at the Lair, Oliver brings the team, minus Felicity, up to speed about Chase. Dinah, newcomer to the city, is particularly surprised that the DA is supervillain/serial killer. No one knows where Felicity is, and the various off-screen characters, including the once-again absent Thea, are “safe.” The team essentially goes around in circles, finally agreeing that they can’t do anything until Susan is safe and don’t have anything to take to the police.
Green Arrow and Spartan go to check on a sub-basement in Chase’s house, while Mr. Terrific and Black Canary go pay another call on Chase’s mother, which seems pointless to me. The second team use Terrific’s T-Spheres to scan the house, amid Terrific’s making horror movie references. They do find something surprising after some tension building. Arrow and Spartan find a mostly empty house and then have a run in with Mrs. Chase, who seems terrified of GA. After Quentin and Rene have another confrontation with Adrian at City Hall, the Anti-Crime Unit storms the Chases’ house, and Green Arrow has to use a ninja smoke bomb kind of thing to get away.
Once again back at the Lair, the team finds no leads from their most recent attempts. Oliver muses that he should never have gotten involved with Susan. Felicity finally reappears, apologizing but not explaining her absence. Oliver clears the room, and just sits and stares at Felicity for a few moments. He finally says he’s not mad, it’s not like she works for him. He’s worried about her. Slightly hypocritically, he says that keeping secrets doesn’t end well. She finally agrees, but says right now isn’t a good time for big discussions, and I’ll grant that point to her. She has dug up Prometheus’ birth name, Simon Morrison, and gives Oliver a flashdrive to prove it. She’s then surprised when he takes off to bring it to Captain Pike right away, and Oliver says he has to make a statement about Green Arrow breaking in to Chase’s home.
Chase plays up the grief and worry of having a maniac attack his family because City Hall has been speaking out against Green Arrow. Oliver takes over the podium and says he will not allow anyone to terrorize the city, shooting a sidelong glance at Chase. Oliver then says he’ll give Green Arrow 24 hours to turn himself in or he’ll issue a shoot on sight order. Ok, 1) the mayor doesn’t run the police department, and 2) “shoot on sight orders,” as much as tv and movies love them, aren’t a real thing.
After the press conference (has a hero show ever had so many of those?), Oliver goes to see Captain Pike. He gives the flashdrive to Pike and tells him about Chase’s fake background. Pike is skeptical, not helped any by Oliver avoiding answering any of the Captain’s questions about it. Felicity goes back to Helix for help in finding Susan, and Kojo mentions that Felicity keeps using Helix for her own ends, but what has she done for them? Felicity agrees and promises to help break into a Homeland Security system without knowing why. I swear, Kojo is the CW version of Mr. Gold from Once Upon A Time.
Pike manages to order a background investigation on Simon Morrison, so at least that much went right. But then he leaves, and in the same alley where cops keep getting ambushed, gets stabbed by a hooded figure. Someone really should put up signs in that alley. Or at least a guard. Oliver and Quentin go to the hospital, where they learn that Pike is in a coma. They go to Pike’s room, and Chase is already in there, for some more threats. Chase says that Oliver is just one more tragic loss away from breaking.
While Oliver goes back to the Lair and has a temper tantrum, Felicity has talked Curtis into helping her hack into the DHS computer. I’m not clear where they’re doing this, since it’s obviously not at the Lair, although that has the best computers as far as we’ve seen. Curtis is really worried about Felicity now, and she claims she can make her own decisions. I’m not sure that’s true from what we’re seeing of late.
Diggle finds the aftermath of Oliver’s hissy fit, and they talk about whether having people around is a strength or a weakness. This gets interrupted by a call from Felicity, who has found where Susan is. Oliver charges off to the rescue, sending Diggle off on his own secret mission.
The team goes to where Felicity tells them Prometheus was earlier. They find 12 heat signatures inside, and debate what that means. Finally, they go in and split up, GA and Mr. Terrific, Black Canary with Wild Dog. Black Canary and Wild Dog get into an amusing argument about kicking down doors, then find out how Prometheus bobby trapped the place. Throughout this mission, they keep using real names, which seems like a bad plan I mean, sure, Prometheus knows who Oliver is, and by extension the rest of the team, but there might be other people listening in. Green Arrow finds Susan, and manages to free her from various traps. Then Green Arrow faces off with Prometheus yet again, with a weird mix of good fight moves and brute force on both their parts. Spartan shows up with their big surprise, and Chase turns even more cold-blooded after a mini-breakdown. Then, after more fighting, Green Arrow gets a surprise visitor from his past, which goes badly for him.
Felicity freaks out over the results of the latest fight. Quentin brings Susan in to the precinct, and has yet another smirking run in with Chase. Felicity, increasingly desperate, goes back to Helix and makes yet another deal. The show ends with things looking bad for our hero.
Flashback Theater is more about Oliver’s time in Russia with Anatoli. They decide they need to go after Gregor, who is cleverly hiding out at… an ice hockey rink? Oliver reveals his new Arrow identity to Anatoli, who is less than impressed. They go into action, with Anatoli making a lot of mocking comments about the Arrow concept along the way.
What I liked: The interplay between Black Canary and Wild Dog was really entertaining. Oliver’s reactions to Talia’s revelations were great. I find him annoying, but Chase’s smugness now that things are out in the open between him and the heroes is well done.
What I didn’t: I don’t like the whole Dark Felicity bit. Helix just happening to always have what Felicity needs is getting a bit old. This episode felt padded to me. I don’t know why the heroes were surprised at how Chase dealt with their surprise. Oliver declaring war on Green Arrow makes no damn sense at all. And what happened to Vigilante all of a sudden? And who is he?
This was not one of their stronger episodes. I’ll give it a low 3 out of 5.
Last episode of Arrow ended with the surprise of Oliver’s cover-up about Detective Malone’s death being released to the media. This episode has its share of surprises along the way, with a big twist I didn’t remotely see coming. I think, overall, this may have been one of their better episodes.
Quentin, Oliver, Thea, and Dinah wade through a mob of reporters hurling questions. Finally they get to Oliver’s office. There’s an amusing bit when Dinah realizes she should be outside the door. Then again, there’s no way someone just sworn in would be protecting the mayor. At any rate the rest of them theorize this is Prometheus messing with Oliver again. As they try and figure out what to do next, DA Adrian Chase comes in with an offer to resign and take the blame. No one wants to go that route. Chase talks about how impeachment hearings work in the city, and Oliver asks Chase to represent him. There’s a lot wrong with that, but I’ll save it for later.
One of the shorter, but more entertaining scene, happens down in the Lair. Curtis is working on his T-spheres, his comic book counterpart’s signature gadget. Rene comes in and mocks Curtis for working on that while Oliver is in so much trouble. They have a disagreement about Rene’s telling Curtis to stick with his strengths a while back, and Rene actually realizes he’s pushing things. Because of how the T-spheres look, suffice to say ball jokes recur throughout the episode.
Elsewhere in the Lair, Felicity is watching the news about Oliver’s troubles when the man himself comes in. They talk about the impeachment, and Felicity continues her bubbling optimism. With everything she’s seen and been through, I have no idea how she manages that. Oliver asks for her help making things right with Susan, since Thea is refusing to do it.
The Vigilante makes a return appearance, in what must be his armory, which is impressively stocked. He aims one of his many weapons at a tv image of Oliver. Oliver gives another press conference, and tries to talk to Susan, who brushes him off. In a very impressive and intimidating chamber, the City Council begins the impeachment.
Curtis gets a call from his estranged husband Paul, and is giddy about it. Diggle and Felicity talk, first about Oliver’s problems, then about what Felicity is up to. She shows Diggle the Pandora data-catch from Helix. He’s worried about her, and she shrugs it off.
At the hearings, the coroner testifies that Malone’s wounds are consistent with what Green Arrow uses for weapons. She also explains how the cover up came through District Attorney Chase from Mayor Queen. Councilwoman Pollard, Oliver’s political sparring partner from the Spectre of the Gun episode, looks fascinated. Things aren’t looking good for the Queen administration.
In their limo, Thea shows Oliver that she’s really on the dark side. She suggests using Malone as their scapegoat. Since he’s dead, it won’t matter. Oliver is appalled, and Quentin doesn’t look too happy about it, either. The discussion gets derailed when Vigilante attacks, shooting up the limo and causing a very unlikely but Hollywood style car flip. Dinah, from the shotgun seat, blasts Vigilante with her Cry (really subtle). Between them, Dinah and Oliver keep Vigilante busy until the cops show up and he retreats. The medics check everyone out. Surprisingly, even the driver lived. I guess he wasn’t wearing a red shirt. Oliver is very annoyed that he’s going to be taken to the hospital. A very concerned Adrian Chase shows up and checks on everyone, asking about the Vigilante attack.
Thea visits Felicity and wants to dig up blackmail material on Councilman Collins, who is apparently the deciding vote in the impeachment. Thea really is Malcolm’s daughter, no matter how much she may deny it. Spartan and Wild Dog go out hunting for the Vigilante.
Dr. Schwartz ends up being the one checking Oliver out at the hospital, which is convenient as she’s one of the far too many who knows Oliver’s secret. She talks about too much stress being bad for the mind and body. She suggests he needs someone to talk to, but apparently isn’t volunteering for the role. Oliver calls Susan again, but gets her voicemail. Again.
Dinah, somehow in plain clothes and in charge of the crime scene, finds a fragment of Vigilante’s visor. Spartan and Wild Dog come back in to the Lair from their hunting, and say the people on the street are more afraid of Vigilante than of them. Considering everyone involved uses guns, I’m not sure how that works. Dinah calls in to tell them she has the piece of Vigilante’s visor, which Curtis believes he can use, along with his T spheres, to track down Vigilante. While Curtis gets excited about Paul setting up a dinner for them, Dinah gets a surprise of her own. Chase heard her on the phone, she covered with “Family emergency,” and he commented that family is important, and took the visor from her to log in to evidence. Doing a favor or covering something up, DA Chase?
A very unexpected showdown occurs on the rooftops of Star City. Vigilante gets tracked down by Prometheus, who clearly has better intel than Team Arrow. The two fight, and it’s an ugly affair. Prometheus shoves the Vigilante off a roof, then calls a sighting of the man in black in to the police. Prometheus then unmasks, and I was completely surprised by finally seeing who he is.
Diggle surprises Felicity in the Lair, and she admits she’s working on Thea’s blackmail project. Apparently, Councilman Collins’ wife died years ago, and he covered up the fact that it was a suicide. Diggle says this isn’t Felicity, and she retorts that maybe it is now. They’ve definitely got Felicity going down some dark path, and I hope it quits soon. I’d say Barry should come snap her out of it, but since he’s talking about killing people lately too, maybe not. Meanwhile, after some cat and mouse at City Hall, Dinah steals the piece of Vigilante’s visor back.
Captain Pike and Adrian Chase have a talk about the mess with Green Arrow apparently going bad. Oliver goes to Thea’s office and confronts her about the plan to blackmail Collins. They argue, and Oliver is clearly disappointed in his sister. So am I, for that matter.
Through some weird tech-magic that doesn’t really make sense to me, Mr. Terrific uses the T Spheres and the visor bit to lock in on Vigilante. The team races off, and figure out he’s in a building just across from City Hall. As Oliver has a disturbing meeting with Chase, the team starts hunting through the building. Somehow or other, Vigilante is able to hold off the combined forces of Spartan, Mr. Terrific, and Wild Dog. The big fight is interwoven with scenes from Oliver’s press conference. As the team battles, and Mr. Terrific pulls out a few new tricks, Oliver tells the press that Green Arrow has gone rogue and must be stopped. How this is supposed to help Oliver’s position, I’m not sure. Him turning on someone he supposedly was going out of his way to help makes him look like a weasel to me.
Oliver and Quentin are in Oliver’s office and Quentin asks what it’s like to make yourself a villain. Susan comes to see Oliver, and they get a scene together. She realizes he wasn’t behind the attack on her reputation, and is grateful to him for fixing it. Before they get to a decision on their personal involvement, they get interrupted by the announcement that the Council voted in Oliver’s favor.
Oliver goes to share the news with Thea, and they have a long talk. She ends up quitting, comparing her Machiavellian maneuvering to her bloodlust last year. So she quits. First as Speedy, then as Oliver’s assistant. Wow, that girl has a lot of quit in her.
Oliver tries to do a big thank you with the team, but Curtis keeps interrupting. He’s very excited about his dinner with Paul. That ends up going horribly, and I think Paul is acting like a dick for how he handled things. Felicity has a secret meeting to move her further down the path of darkness, and Susan gets a creepy visit that looks bad for her for the end scene.
FlashBack Theater: Anatoli puts off their immediate execution by invoking some weird Bratva rite. Gregor refuses at first, but the men say Anatoli’s right. They need to prove Gregor is cheating the Bratva. Oliver suits up in his prototype Arrow costume and sneaks into Gregor’s place to get the data and force the vote. Gregor, naturally a good loser and not holding a grudge at all, starts a firefight.
What I liked: The Prometheus vs. Vigilante fight was really well done, and the unmasking was a huge twist. I like that Oliver is sticking by his guns and trying to do things better now. For that matter, he’s taking his job as mayor a lot more seriously. It’s good that Mr. Terrific is finding a better way to contribute to the team. I like that Green Arrow wasn’t actually part of any of the big fights this time around.
What I didn’t: Dinah’s rising improbably fast through the ranks of the Star City PD. I hate what they did with Paul and Curtis. I feel like they don’t know what to do with Thea, and just keep flailing around with her. I hate Felicity’s descent into darkness. What happened to Rene’s job as Quentin’s assistant?
While a bit uneven, it was a better episode than many lately. I’ll give it a high 3.5
Things get ugly on a few levels in Arrow’s “Sin Eater.” Some earlier villains return for an encore, some allies make some hard choices, and some of the help they were hoping for doesn’t quite happen. It’s an interesting mix of plotlines, and none of them go real well for Mayor Oliver Queen.
The show opens with Oliver and Diggle out in the suburbs. It turns out they’re on a field trip to Indiana, following up on Felicity’s lead on Prometheus’ mother. Diggle jokes about how he used to drive Oliver around in the old days. Poor Diggle. His life used to be so much simpler.
Oliver’s errand doesn’t go at all as he’d hoped, and the team doesn’t make as progress as they could have in their hunt for Prometheus’ identity. Then again, I’m not entirely sure how much help learning that is going to be. I mean, it’d be great to get his name and description, but he’s proven careful and smart enough that I doubt he’s going to randomly pop up on one of Felicity’s camera scanning programs.
Meanwhile, the Department of Corrections around Star City learns something that most places know already. High-profile and/or dangerous prisoners should be transported alone and under heavy guard. But corrupt cop Liza Warner, Tong member China White, and crazy archer Carrie “Cupid” Cutter are on the same bus, and you can imagine how well that goes. Let’s just say the DOC has a few job openings now.
Oliver learns about this when he returns to the Lair, along with the gadget Felicity had him bring along on his road trip. Not trusting in the goodness of people, they pulled a sneaky stunt to get more info on Prometheus. This is also when we learn that Dinah is getting sworn in that day for her new job as one of Star City’s newest police officers. Diggle seems almost more excited than Dinah is. Maybe he’s hoping that someone on Team Arrow ends up with a real job and a life.
Before the swearing in, Oliver has another visit with his girlfriend, reporter Susan Williams. It’s a tense meeting, and Oliver gets surprised when she asks him flat out if he’s the Green Arrow. He handles that badly, and they both laugh it off uneasily. After the ceremony and some small talk about Oliver’s assistant, Thea finds out about Susan’s new interest. This is not going to go well.
Quentin then comes in, very upset about the jailbreak. He’s taking it personally since he has a connection to Liza Warner. Oliver’s vote that he was worried about getting to suddenly vanishes when he gets word of the three escapees striking. Racing to the scene, Green Arrow and Quentin find dead bodies and a security camera they can use to find out what happened. I really question the wisdom of Quentin running around working a case with Green Arrow. We finally got Diggle into a mask and now Quentin wants to cause the same problems? They learn from the video that China is after something that could mean either depository or storage.
While Captain Pike of the SCPD gets a letter that causes him to call in the ACU, Thea pays a visit to the Lair. She and Felicity talk about the new developments with Susan Williams, and Felicity is “persuaded” to hack Susan’s computer. They learn just how much information Susan has amassed on Oliver and what she has to back up her theory that Oliver is the Green Arrow. They plan on what to do next, and they’re at least smart enough to know that deleting it won’t help.
Mr. Terrific and Wild Dog go out after a Triad boss to find out what China is after. After Wild Dog finishes mocking Mr. Terrific for his slight costume upgrade, they manage to find their target. What they learn is that China’s target is something left over from the mess Tobias Church created.
Green Arrow and Quentin Lance go after the three escapees. About the only good thing to come out of it is that Lance and GA talk about Dinah’s eventual codename being Black Canary. That goes well. What doesn’t is Quentin learning what Liza Warner’s excuse for escaping is, and all three of the bad girls getting away. Then it gets worse when the ACU fast-ropes in (from where I’m not sure), ignores the fleeing fugitives, and tries to arrest Green Arrow for the murder of Detective Malone.
Trying to be smart about things, Oliver, along with Quentin and DA Chase, meets with Captain Pike. Pike has a good bit of evidence that Green Arrow killed Malone, which is fair, as he did. Pike, reasonably enough, isn’t going to back off on his pursuit of Green Arrow because the mayor thinks he should. Oliver and Quentin then talk about how Prometheus is keeping Oliver busy and off-balance as payback for Oliver’s trip to Mom’s.
Things get worse when Oliver gets a text from Susan asking to meet up. Susan’s editor got an anonymous report that Susan has been plagiarizing her stories, and lo and behold, there was evidence to back up the claim on her computer. Susan has been fired and is furious. I’d say that particular relationship is done, but I’ve also been wondering how much Susan actually cared about Oliver and how much of it was her going after a big story.
Oliver, not being an idiot, confronts Felicity about this and gets yet another surprise. Thea meets with Quentin and shows she has no concerns at all about what she’s been up to by the jokes she’s making. Deliberately or not, she’s echoing Pepper Potts in the first Iron Man movie. Quentin shares his concerns about Liza, and Thea wisely talks him down from shouldering the blame for Liza’s actions. As they wrap up, the women attack again, and grab a thug to guide them to the depository.
Oliver gets a series of tough meetings in his office. First he lets Thea have it over what she did to Susan. He’s understandably upset and Thea makes some really lame excuses. Quentin then takes Thea’s place and brings Oliver up to speed on the latest attack. Oliver plans to let the police handle it, since Green Arrow is so compromised by the ACU right now. Quentin urges him to fight anyway. While Felicity traces the phone belonging to the guy the women captured, Oliver meets with Pike and tries to explain a bit more about Green Arrow’s situation without giving away secrets. Pike says he’ll consider it, which is probably more than either Oliver or Green Arrow really should expect at this point.
The team heads out for the big showdown, and Felicity gives Dinah a mask, finally. It’s odd that the last two field operatives the team has had haven’t worn costumes, just essentially street clothes. Felicity reassures Dinah she can handle this, and then the big fight is on. The good guys win, despite the fact that the women hired a lot of rent-a-thugs for backup. The ACU shows up and Pike must have listened to Oliver’s story, since they go after the crooks, not the vigilantes.
Quentin makes his peace with the captured Liza, and denies her excuses. Thea and Oliver talk, and he compares what she did to something Moira would do. I think he’s dead wrong. Moira tended to lie to people or buy them off. What Thea did reminds me a lot more of something Malcolm would do. Chase comes in and drops a bombshell that’s going to make Oliver’s future a lot more interesting, as Prometheus ups his game.
FlashBack Theater is still stuck in Russia, as Oliver and Anatoli plot Gregor’s death. Then they get attacked and end up in a running fight. The only real tie to the modern era is the Sin Eater concept.
What I liked: I don’t care what Wild Dog says, I kind of like Mr. Terrific’s new jacket. It was an interesting line up of villains from throughout Arrow’s run. I don’t like what Prometheus’ mother said, but I can understand the motivation, and I’m glad Oliver was smart enough to go in with a plan B.
What I didn’t: What the hell happened to Quentin’s heart condition? He’s damn active this episode, especially for a deputy mayor. Black Canary’s cry seems really inconsistent in power level. She’s killed people with it, and other times her targets just seem to go, “Ow, that’s loud.” Most of Oliver’s problems are from his killing as Green Arrow/Arrow, which is never something I like in my heroes. Of course, his lying about it isn’t helping. I haven’t liked the mess with Susan Williams since it started, and don’t like what happened to her here. I’ve been having issues with Thea since she quit the hero game. Not that I don’t respect her right to make that call, but she’s been acting erratic and sketchy ever since. And, as has been true for several episodes now, there’s no progress in trying to stop Prometheus, although they at least tried this time.
This was an uneven episode. I’ll give it a low 3 out of 5.