Warning: This is a recap and contains spoilers, so do not read this until you have watched the episode. For information on how to watch it, click here.
After last week’s special gun violence debate episode, it’s back to business as usual on Arrow this week, with a three-for-one deal on the standard villain-of-the-week set-up and an all-too-familiar amount of hand-wringing and moping. There’s also a nagging sense of treading water before the tail-end of the season kicks into gear, with very little progress made on any of the ongoing plots.
The episode starts promisingly enough, with Oliver travelling to Opal City in order to confront Amanda, the mistress of one of his first victims (Justin Claybourne – pay attention at the back there) and a woman that Team Arrow strongly suspect is Prometheus’ mum. It doesn’t quite go as planned. Amanda seems positively delighted that her son has turned into a serial killer and basically tells Oliver that she hopes Prometheus – whoever he is – tears the Green Arrow a new one. Either way, she refuses to divulge her son’s identity, so Oliver has to leave empty-handed.
“This is great,” the audience thinks, “Prometheus is bound to be really peeved Oliver’s been to see his mum, right? Surely he’ll lash out with some kick-ass plan now, yeah?” But does Prometheus appear in the rest of this episode? No. No, he does not. So what the heck was all that about, then, Arrow, eh? Honestly.
Back at the Arrow Cave, Oliver is still dealing with the guilt of having killed Felicity’s boyfriend, Billy, even though Felicity herself seems to have forgotten all about it. Fortunately, he’s distracted by the news that three of his former foes – China White, Cupid and Liza Warner – have broken out of jail, so he heads off to capture them. The news of Liza Warner’s involvement triggers some serious guilt in Quentin, as he persuaded her to go straight, but then she saw a news report about him working with Damien Darhk and turned all bad again.
While attempting to take down the Star City Sirens (they’re not called that in the show, but it’s a catchy nickname – based on the Gotham City Sirens comics – so go with it), Oliver and company are suddenly ambushed by the ACU (Anti-Crime Unit), who say that the Green Arrow is wanted for the murder of Billy. Ruh roh! Oliver uses a flare arrow to escape and heads back to the Arrow Cave, where they decide that Prometheus must have tipped off the ACU. Oliver decides he’s going to have to deal with this as the Mayor. He then discovers that Captain Pike did receive an anonymous letter and that it came from – wait for it – Opal City. So Prometheus basically got his mum to do his dirty work for him. Excellent. Later on, Oliver pays a visit to Captain Pike and comes clean, saying that he told Adrian to cover up for the Green Arrow, because he knows the Arrow has helped Star City. Pike seems swayed by his argument.
Meanwhile, Oliver has other things to worry about, in the shape of Sexy Evil Journalist Susan Williams. She basically asks him flat out if he’s the Green Arrow and there’s a lovely moment where he just says “Yes” and you’re all set to praise the writers for wrong-footing the audience so spectacularly, and then he goes, “Oh my God, I thought you were joking – no, I am definitely not the Green Arrow”. Susan shows him her evidence – he was in Russia at the same time as the Hood was in Russia, he has a Bratva tattoo, he arrived in Star City at the same time as the Hood, he has the same chin and eyes, all that – but somehow Oliver still gets away with the denial. He doesn’t even seem that bothered about it.
Thea, however, is mad as hell when he tells her and vows to take Susan down, big-time. She’s never really liked her, to be fair. Also, is it just us, or do Susan and Thea look really, really similar? Anyway, Thea goes to Felicity, tells her that Susan knows everything and asks her to hack into Susan’s computer. Felicity, rather naively, it has to be said, agrees, without asking Thea what she’s planning. Sure enough, Susan storms into Oliver’s office, telling him that she’s lost her job because she was accused of plagiarising all her stories and evidence was found on her laptop. Damn, Thea. You cold.
Meanwhile, the Star City Sirens proceed with their plan and kidnap a mafia goon in order to get the location of a stash of money left by Tobias Church. Team Arrow catch them in the act and there’s a pretty decent fight, during which Curtis gets to show off his new kevlar-enhanced jacket (getting one step closer to the character in the comics) and Wild Dog gets shot in the leg. Then, the ACU arrive, again, only instead of arresting Green Arrow, they capture the Star City Sirens instead. Oliver then has a quick chat with Captain Pike and foolishly repeats the same phrase as Arrow (about having to live with Billy’s death for the rest of his life) that he used as Oliver. Pike notices, but it doesn’t seem like he’s made the obvious connection.
It has to be said that the reality of China White, Cupid and Liza Warner (known as Lady Cop in the comics) teaming up fails to live up to the idea’s potential by a significant margin. There’s precious little interaction between them and no real sense of fun in what they get up to. Cupid has the potential to be Arrow’s Harley Quinn, and yet she barely even gets any lines. The Arrow writers have never really known what to do with China White as a character, either, which is a shame, because, again, there’s a lot of untapped potential. Of the three of them, it’s the least interesting character – Liza Warner – who gets the most to do, largely because of her connection to Quentin. Still, Rutina Wesley (True Blood) has charisma to burn, so she’s always a welcome presence.
Back at the Mayor’s office, Oliver confronts Thea over what she did to Susan and hits her with the sickest of sick burns, telling her she reminds him of their mother. Damn, Queens. So cold this week, the pair of you. It’s true, though – what Thea did was straight out of Moira’s playbook, and it’s obvious that her motives go a little bit beyond just protecting Oliver’s secret identity. Thea initially says she messed up, but Oliver isn’t having that and tells her no, she made a choice, and she’ll have to live with it. Hopefully this is the beginning of a whole new dark side plot for Thea. Either way, her subplot is easily the best part of this episode.
No one else gets much of a look-in, subplot-wise. Dinah gets sworn in at the police department and there’s a sweet moment where Quentin more or less gives her his blessing to be the new Black Canary. (Felicity later makes it official by giving her Laurel’s Black Canary mask.) Diggle has next to nothing to do, other than offering support to Dinah, and Wild Dog’s sole contribution to the episode is getting shot in the leg. Even Felicity’s activities with hacker group Helix don’t merit a mention this week.
Meanwhile, over in Flashback City, not a lot happens either, by which we mean, no Talia and no Dolph Lundgren – sorry, no Konstantin Kovar. Instead, we get Oliver helping Anatoly to fend off an attack from Gregor’s men, when they come after him at the hospital. They get cornered in the hospital basement and Oliver offers his life for Anatoly’s, but Gregor’s not interested and points a gun at Anatoly’s head. A fairly lame cliff-hanger, given that we know Anatoly survives, but that’s this show all over. What’s happened to Dolph Lundgren, anyway? It’s almost as if they’ve rewritten Kovar’s part for David Meunier’s Gregor instead. There had better be some kick-ass Lundgren action in the remaining nine episodes to make up for it.
The one thing the flashbacks do give us this week is the story of the titular sin-eater. Anatoly tells Oliver he’s like a sin-eater, a man who historically eats the sins of the dead and takes them on as his own. This ties in nicely to both Oliver and Quentin blaming themselves for everything (or Billy’s death and Liza’s escape, at least), leading to another nice bonding moment between them.
The cliffhanger has Oliver turning on the television to discover that – gasp! – someone (Prometheus) has leaked the story about the Mayor’s office covering up Billy’s death to the press. News lady Bethany Snow says this could mean impeachment for Star City’s favourite Mayor. Oliver looks… perturbed.
All in all, this is a relatively disappointing episode, largely because the villains of the week make such little impact. Also, we’re at the point in the season where it’s reasonable to worry about not getting much progress in the Prometheus storyline. Season 5 has been really promising so far – it would be a shame to see them fumble the ball at this stage and go back to the shambolic nonsense of Seasons 3 and 4. Tune in next time for Oliver’s possible impeachment!
Slings and arrows of outrageous fortune:
– Gimmick Arrow Watch: Flare Arrow! How does that work, anyway? Surely, you’d spot his legs scurrying for the exit, if you just looked at the ground? Vigilante pulled the same trick the other week and it was just as annoying when he did it.
Arrow Season 5 is available to buy and download on pay-per-view VOD.