Warning: This contains spoilers.
With fake-out Big Bad Tobias Church out of the way, actual Big Bad Prometheus takes centre stage for the first time in Episode 6 of Arrow’s fifth season, resulting in a gripping episode that raises high hopes for the rest of the run. Along the way, we get the usual mix of action, humour and soap opera-style angst, plus the addition of a famous new face and some fun arrow tricks to boot.
So It Begins opens with Oliver and Diggle following a trail of clues to an abandoned warehouse where the episode’s title is handily spelled out in flames. (This would be great, except the writing is the flame equivalent of Comic Sans.)
Shortly afterwards, a series of murders are committed in Star City in which the murder weapon is a throwing star, leading to Evil Sexy Journalist Susan Williams doing some scare-mongering about The Throwing Star Killer that sends the citizens into a panic. Meanwhile, Felicity, Diggle and Oliver do some good old-fashioned detective work and discover that a) Prometheus’ throwing stars are made out of Oliver’s melted-down arrowheads, and b) when you anagram the names of Prometheus’ victims, you get the names on Oliver’s original Kill List from Season 1. Ergo, Prometheus not only knows who Oliver is, he also knows all about The List. Ruh-roh!
Things quickly get worse for Oliver, when he shares this knowledge with the rest of Team Arrow 2.0 and they don’t react in quite the way he expected. Evelyn, in particular, is horrified to discover that Oliver used to be – ahem – notorious serial killer The Hood, especially given that speech he gave her last season about it being wrong to kill Ruve Darhk, despite having a good reason.
Actually, even though this whole conversation feels a little on-the-nose, it does at least serve a number of useful functions. First, it gives Evelyn / Artemis some much-needed focus, given how much she’s been side-lined over the last few weeks in favour of either Wild Dog or Ragman. Second, it allows the show to once again tackle the rescinding of Oliver’s no-kill policy (summary: Oliver has still grown as a person, because now killing is merely a last resort, rather than his primary go-to move). And third, it gives us a handy snapshot of who stands where, when it comes to the whole should-heroes-kill issue – broadly, ex-military types Wild Dog and Diggle are in favour, Ragman is on the fence, but leaning no, Evelyn is annoyed that she was essentially talked out of revenge-killing by a revenge-killer, and Curtis is basically the only one who isn’t shocked to learn that The Arrow was once The Hood.
Anyway, Felicity feeds all the names on the list into an anagram generator and works out the names of the potential next victims, so Team Arrow split up and attempt to stop Prometheus before he kills again. Of course, Prometheus chooses the victim being tailed by Artemis, putting Evelyn’s life in danger, but after an exciting fight aboard a subway train (did we know Star City had a subway?), Oliver swoops in and rescues Artemis with one of his nifty parachute arrows. This leads to a touching reconciliation scene between the two, where they both admit they might have over-reacted a bit earlier. Either way, it’s a welcome focus on Artemis, so thanks for that, script-writers.
There’s also a scene where the whole of Team Arrow have to deal with a panicked, out-of-control crowd, who are shooting into thin air, because they think the killer is about to strike or something. (Best bit: Oliver shooting an arrow into the barrel of a gun.)
In addition to the Prometheus stuff, there’s some reliably solid sub-plot work going on in Episode 6. Thea and Quentin continue their very touching surrogate father-daughter relationship in their roles in the Mayor’s office, which here revolves around Thea organising a concert for some reason. Meanwhile, Felicity bites the bullet and decides to tell her cop boyfriend (I haven’t learned his name yet, but as far as I’m concerned, he’s Prometheus Suspect Number One) that she works with the Green Arrow and rather than freak out, he gets all fan-boy about it and starts asking her a million questions. Nope, not suspicious at all. And finally, we get a little more of D.A. Adrian Chase, who’s going to come into his own next week, if the title of the episode (Vigilante) is anything to go by.
Meanwhile, in Flashback City, Dolph Lundgren finally makes his eagerly-awaited appearance as scary Russian villian Konstantin Kovar and it’s even more delightful than you could possibly have hoped for. The highlight involves him delivering a brilliant monologue about his family village working together to pull a turnip out of the ground, before casually removing his tuxedo and snapping a man’s neck. Frankly, if that’s the sort of thing we can expect from future episodes, I am all for it. As an added bonus, we also get Oliver pretending to be an obnoxious douchebag again, as he goes undercover in Konstantin’s casino, before getting captured and caught.
And so to the cliff-hanger, which feels like the mother of all red herrings. (Or is it? Etc.) Basically, Lance regains consciousness on his couch, after what looks like an epic drinking session (so he’s totally lying about being off the wagon), and it turns out he has a nasty cut on his arm, right where Artemis sliced Prometheus earlier in the episode. Oh, and he also has one of Prometheus’ throwing star thingies on his coffee table. Are they really asking us to buy that Lance basically becomes a vengeance-obsessed, throwing-star-wielding, archery-adept supervillain while he’s blacked out from a drinking bender? Surely not. Still, I guess we’ll find out next week. Tune in next time for some piping hot vigilante action!
Slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
– I’m really loving the amount of trick shots and gimmick arrows we’re getting this season. The logistics of the parachute arrow in particular are utter nonsense (wouldn’t it have dragged them sideways rather than straight up?), but it’s a lovely moment. Check out Artemis’ surprised “Wooo!” as it happens too.
– I said it a couple of weeks ago, but it bears restating: Diggle’s new helmet is a vast improvement and actually makes Spartan look kind of cool.
– Still no T-spheres or gadgets for Mr. Terrific. Poor Curtis. Just how many ass-kickings does a would-be superhero have to endure before he gets his comics-ordained weaponry, anyway?
– Oliver’s love-life is put on pause this week, but everyone goes ahead and assumes he’s “dating” Sexy Evil Journalist Susan Williams anyway. Oliver protests, but Thea immediately points out that what he actually says is he hasn’t done anything with her yet. So, next week then…
Arrow Season 5 is available to buy and download on pay-per-view VOD.