Arrow: Checkmate review S5, Ep.16

As disappointing as The Flash is getting near its home stretch, Arrow is thriving. Checkmate was an instant classic as Oliver faced his biggest tormentor since Slade Wilson.

At this point, Prometheus is closing in on Slade as Arrow’s best villain. There’s just something about an enemy with a personal grudge that makes Arrow great.

And the man Oliver knew as Adrian Chase has plenty of reasons for this vendetta. Worst of all for Oliver, Chase/Prometheus is only now getting started.

I’m glad we didn’t have to wait long for Oliver to learn Prometheus’ identity. We learned it last week and the show runners didn’t bother waiting weeks for him to catch up. That was a smart play and was immensely rewarding. For some reason it’s kinda fun watching Team Arrow be so completely outmaneuvered.

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It helps that he’s had the inside track on Oliver thanks to his instructor, Talia … al Ghul. Talia kept this little tidbit from Oliver and she was not happy Oliver killed her father.  She wasn’t done with the bombshells as she told Oliver straight up that Prometheus was Adrian Chase.

Chase was hardly disappointed as now that gave him the opportunity to taunt and otherwise torment Oliver. He kidnapped Susan as insurance that Oliver wouldn’t try and kill him. Josh Segarra has been solid all season, but he truly delivered in his villain reveal showcase episode.

Arrow Checkmate review - Prometheus revealed

Being Oliver’s helpful District Attorney is one thing, but stepping up as this season’s mastermind? An entirely different story. Had Segarra crumbled under the pressure, Checkmate and this season as a whole could have stumbled. He didn’t and the season is in the best place the series has been since Season 2. Now all it has to do is nail the landing and I’m calling this Arrow’s best season.

Chase was smarmy, cocky and doing everything short of twirling his non-existent mustache to stick it to Oliver. I love how personal this has become and how Chase has Oliver completely figured out. He didn’t care if Team Arrow rescued Susan or that Captain Pike had evidence against him. Or even if Diggle brought his wife in to learn he really was Prometheus. For Chase, it’s always been about the big payback. I’m very curious when he puts Evelyn back in play. She’s been absent at a key point now.

Felicity’s storyline paid off in a big way this week as well. She’d been using her magic flash drive to make life a lot easier for Team Arrow, including learning Chase’s real identity. Only catch was now Helix wanted something in return. This made a lot of sense and Felicity is getting further down the rabbit hole. See? Felicity actually can be a terrific character when her entire purpose for being isn’t as a romantic interest and the infallible woman.

Arrow Checkmate review - Felicity and Alena

Even the Bratva flashbacks got in on the awesome. Rule of thumb: I’ll never complain about Arrow fighting in a hockey rink. Now that was an inspired battleground. I loved that little sly Batman reference Anatoly used as well.

Not to be outdone, the fight scene with Arrow and Prometheus was solid. You could see the hatred coming from both guys. This time, Oliver isn’t debating if he should or shouldn’t kill Chase. But he’s got a little problem with Talia making a last minute save to help Prometheus capture him. Now held captive, Oliver has to rely on his friends to save him before Prometheus enacts his revenge.

Rating: 10 out of 10

Photo Credit: The CW

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