Arrow has done it again. Three weeks in a row, the show has delivered stellar episodes in a way only it can. And this week, it somehow upped the game by raising the dead. Usually I hate the "kill-em-and-bring-em-back" trope — it's been overused to an extent that it just seems like lazy story telling. But Arrow's most reason Episode, titled "What We Leave Behind" did such a good job in general that even that overused plot device only serviced the brilliantly executed episode.
I recently wrote about how it's great that #Arrow showrunners are focusing so much on bringing the show back to its roots. This was more evident tonight than it was before, with flashbacks from Oliver's maniacal debut into the crime fighting foray four years ago, rather than the usual Russian flashbacks. More than that, though, the show managed to perfectly highlight why this season's Big Bad #Prometheus is a force to be reckoned with.
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It seems self reflection is a big theme for both of #CW's oldest #superhero shows. While the #Flash continues to pay for his most recent errs, this week #GreenArrow had to face his own murky past. It's a clever storyline for Arrow, as it makes us question whether #OliverQueen really deserves to be called a "hero" or not. He's moved too seamlessly between his stance on killing and not killing. So it's great that the show has decided that Oliver needs to take a good hard look in the mirror.
As Diggle so passively stated, Oliver was being "judge, jury and executioner" without really considering the consequences. While this theme's been visited before in previous seasons, it was good to bring it back up now that Oliver's blurred the lines on who he's allowed to kill and who he isn't. The flashbacks worked for another reason, as the last scene of the episode showed that Oliver had changed to a point where he wasn't hiding anything, unlike in the first seasons where he didn't trust anyone.
A Christmas Miracle: Susan Williams
Christmas has arrived in full spirit in the #Arrowverse. The Mayor's Christmas bash seemed like a direct nod to previous seasons' Christmas parties (often hosted by Moira). Once again, it showed just how much like her mother Speedy is becoming. In a surprising turn of events, Susan Williams was actually bearable this week. Not likable, but definitely less annoying than previous episodes, especially as she seems to be the most likely candidate for Prometheus (anyone else notice that she appeared "late" to the City Hall party, at the same time as Evelyn arrived at the Arrow cave?) given that the Arrow fandom's main suspect waskilled this week. It also didn't help that her wine choice is quite Russian. Still, if she does turn out to be Prometheus, the Arrowverse will have their first ever main female villain.
(Note to #Supergirl fans: Astra doesn't count because she got killed before the season ended).
Artemis & Team Arrow
Arrow's version of Artemis finally revealed her true colors to the team, as her affiliation with Prometheus came full circle in this episode. Her shocking betrayal last week now seems a long time coming, if one looks at the ramifications of Oliver's actions last season, when he left her family for dead with Damien Darhk. And while this episode didn't really play out much of the gang's reaction to her betrayal (other than some initial shock), things will probably pick up pace now that she's working with the murderer of Felicity's boyfriend.
The few missteps of the night were as usual due to the treatment of Echo Kellum's character Curtis. It's frankly sad that the Arrow writers put Curtis's marital problems in an already jam-packed episode because all it did was make his arc the least interesting element of the night. But who knows, now that Paul's out of the picture maybe Curtis can really train and become the Mr. Terrific he's meant to be? Nonetheless, had this arc had been reserved for a later episode, and instead more focus had been put on Felicity's relationship with Billy Malone (guest star Tyler Ritter), it might have made his death more heartfelt.
Prometheus in Action
Back in this season's fifth episode, "Human Target," we got our first look at how terrifying Prometheus is. In it, we were given a lot more information regarding this season's antagonist and despite his very humbling roots (given that he's the son of no one special), Prometheus showed what he's capable of. The stunt sequences were on point and Arrow did a great job of highlighting the skill between our hero and his adversary in their last battle of the night. The escalator scene was very well done and fit with the generally superior action scenes of the show's freshmen season.
The way Prometheus manages to make Oliver kill Good Ol' Billy (even though the scene felt very The Dark Knight-ish) is a testament to how much thought Prometehus has given to defeating the Emerald Archer. Prometheus seems to be following a very slasher movie villain approach — from his killing spree to his funky set of knives — but against all odds, that's only made him more alluring.
It's great that while Prometheus isn't really anyone from the #DC world, the writers have managed to make him the amalgamation of the mistakes made by Oliver. Here is an archer who hides behind a hood, has all the same moves as the Green Arrow and kills who he thinks is necessary regardless of what the law states. Basically, Oliver is up against himself from Season 1.
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The Canary Cliffhanger
"Hi, Ollie" might be my two new favorite words. After ripping off any remaining association with Green Arrow's comic book origins back in Season 4 when Arrow made the unwise decision to murder the Black Canary, tonight's episode brought Laurel back to the Arrowverse. How? Well, we don't know, but if anyone remembers what showrunner Wendy Mericle had said before the show began, this may not come as a surprise. In fact, I was looking for the episode number when the Canary would return a day before this episode premiered. Sadly though, this means there there's a very strong possibility that this Laurel isn't really the Laurel and may just be someone Prometheus brought to mess with the team's dynamic. Stephen Ammel himself stated:
“This was the first script in a long time where I read what happened in Act V and it legitimately freaked me out,” adding: “Ultimately where we go in [Episodes] 10, 11, 12, 13, is a very cool development. And it certainly raises the stakes for Mr. Prometheus.”
Now had it been something like a drug-induced vision, this Laurel arc would have stretched no longer than two episodes, but the fact that it's about to span the next four episodes of the show means that there's something more at play. Another more viable theory could be that this Laurel, is in fact Flash's Black Siren, masquerading as the Canary per Prometheus's orders. Who knows though — the real truth could be very different from our theories.
Is 'Arrow' GREAT Again?
Arrow is tearing up its competition this season. With a gripping story and menacing opponent, it's already doing better than the rest of the #superhero shows on TV, and if it continues to impress as this season has done thus far, it may very well redeem the status of the show and bring back its lost glory.
What did YOU think of Laurel's return? And has Arrow regained it's lost glory? Comment below.