Arrow's fifth season has been a surprise in many ways. After two lackluster seasons, the show returned full strength, making use of great storylines while adding many important characters to the story. More importantly, the show found a way to use a lot of the weak elements in the previous seasons and convert them into something more positive.
Nowhere was this more evident than in Episode 15, "Fire With Fire," an episode that was filled with surprises from the get-go. A lot of shows, after losing their touch once, never seem to get it back. However, #Arrow's miraculous recovery perfectly demonstrates how well a show can find its footing, upon its ascent from the ashes.
Prometheus And Vigilante
Episode 15 covered a lot of ground, and in many ways was a concluding point for a lot of the ongoing arcs on the show. From the "Who is Prometheus?" mystery, to Thea's and Felicity's arcs, a lot of things changed during the course of the episode. After months of guessing, fans finally got the answer to who is Prometheus, and well, the wait was worth it. Comic book readers (and general Google users) had pegged Adrian Chase to be #Vigilante given that this is his given name in the comic books. Arrow's refusal to outright state that did seem a little fishy, but most fans assumed that Arrow was saving this as a revelation for some point in the future. The revelation that Adrian is in fact Prometheus didn't played out like many of Arrow's other revelations in the sense that, apart from Adrian, there wasn't any viable candidate for the archer. So, it was good of the writers to reveal his identity midway. Nonetheless, the reveal certainly opens up a lot of questions that need answering.
Most importantly, if Adrian is #Prometheus then who is Vigilante? The simplest answer to that question would be that Prometheus is simply posing as Chase, with the real Adrian Chase still behind the Vigilante mask. The brief encounter between Vigilante and Prometheus on the rooftop reeked of a history between the two. And since there really doesn't seem to be any other tall male in the picture, could it be that Billy Malone is somehow alive and behind the orange mask?
Note: I found Josh Segarra's (Adrian) acting to be very Heath Ledger inspired, after tonight's revelation it's clear why that was so.
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After almost two seasons of feeling like a useless character, tonight's episode saw the first real appearance of Mr. Terrific. Not only was the repartee between Curtis and Renee one of the highlights of the episode, the balls themselves proved that they were no joking matter, becoming instantly useful after their conception. It's good to see Arrow give Curtis Holt a clear direction on where to take his character and it'll certainly be fun to see where the show takes him with regards to his failing marriage (especially since Oliver's anti-Green Arrow rant must have certainly propelled Paul to rush with the divorce) and vigilantism. Curtis has been under fire for most of this season and it's a great pleasure to finally see why the writers chose to have him stick around. Mind you, Curtis is still far away from becoming the proper #MrTerrific, but with Episode 15 and the introduction of the T-Spheres, Arrow has finally taken the right direction with Curtis Holt.
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Despite Arrow's previous episode ("Sin-Eater") being marketed as a "girl-power" episode, it was "Fire With Fire" that brought the ladies of the show front and center. All the major female characters had a role to play in the episode.
Felicity's decision to join Helix will certainly spur more tense moments with the team, ironic given that at the start of the show it was Felicity holding him back from himself. Five seasons later we've found ourselves in a world where Felicity isn't opposed to getting her hands dirty, and #OliverQueen has become a boy scout. Felicity's dark-arc (as dubbed by the showrunners) has been a highlight for her character these past few seasons. Her increasing interactions with Kacey Rohl's (an excellent actress who hopefully, one day, TV will fully recognize) character Kojo certainly means that huge changes are coming for the hacker, some that might affect the status quo of the Ollie-Dig-Felicity trio, especially since in the comics Prometheus was linked with Helix. Who knows though, maybe we'll end up seeing Felicity align with some of the more dubious characters on the show at some point, like Vigilante (especially if I'm correct about the Billy-Vigilante theory).
However, it wasn't only Felicity who was having trouble following the rules. Thea continued her powerful arc this season by resigning from the Mayor's office after Oliver asked her how far she's willing to go with the "ends-justify-the-means" philosophy. Thea's been a joy to watch this season despite the fact that she's had little screen time and done no superheroing. At times, she feels like the only grown-up, normal character on the show (perhaps even the world, if we consider #CW's #Arrowverse) who's willing to take tough measures to protect the people she loves. And despite her having left the mayor's office, one can hope that she continues her Moira Queen-esque journey on the show. Thea also had the best line of the show, "Plus, I'm never getting in a limo with you again".
Dinah Drake also embraced her role as a SCPD cop, which meant that she was obviously breaking the law in some way or the other. This week, she decided to steal evidence from the Vigilante vs. Limousine fight scene. Drake's scenes so far (despite being few in number) have already established her as a worthy member of the team. A lot of this has to do with Juliana Harkavy's acting who, unlike Echo Kellum, made the most of the limited scenes she's been given. In a short time, Dinah's fit effortlessly into the team and it's great that the writers are making her to be as great of a team player as she is a fighter.
Susan Williams once again regained focus as she and Oliver reconnected again, only for her to be taken by Prometheus. This is almost certainly going to create some excellent character drama next episode. Having said that though, despite the show's insistence that Oliver really cares for Susan (at least that's what the incessant wining is supposed to indicate), the show has given us no real reason to want her to stay alive. In fact, she's received so little characterization that many are going to root for Prometheus to dispose of her come next episode.
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The flashbacks were the weakest part of the episode, and it wasn't until the very end that we saw the similarities between the two. Where Oliver was trying to avoid impeachment through the council's decision, the Bratva flashbacks had him and Anatoly almost face execution, followed by an impromptu election of a new Bratva head. These weren't the weakest flashbacks the show's given us this season, but with the rest of the fast-paced episode, the scenes never quite fit. The biggest problem ultimately weren't the flashbacks, but rather Oliver being, well, Oliver. Asking his ex-girlfriend (whose boyfriend he recently murdered) to help him get back with his new fling, despite her pointedly telling him to do it himself, was a dick move. All season, Oliver's infatuation with Susan hasn't made sense; there's no chemistry, and no real emotion in their scenes. Yet, Oliver pining for her (even through there are much bigger issues) is somehow supposed to feel natural. Oliver's decision to make the #GreenArrow a bad guy would have worked quite well if we hadn't seen this work out many times in the early seasons.
Arrow managed to simultaneously further its character and story development this week, which led to some compelling (and often humorous) drama. With the Big Bad revealed so early, it's going to be interesting to see how the show carries on within its final eight episodes. More importantly, it's going to be entertaining to see how Arrow uses the interesting arcs (Prometheus, Vigilante, Helix, Susan Williams, Thea) it's set all season long to provide a satisfying conclusion to its fifth season.
Check out the promo for the next episode, "Checkmate":
What did YOU think of Arrow's 15th episode?