Arrow’s Season 5 has reached a point where I’m expecting good episodes. But as was the case with Kapiushon, Arrow is regularly cranking out exceptional, series-defining episodes.
Kapiushon flipped the typical format by focusing on the flashbacks. This was an unexpected twist given the current day situation had Oliver being tortured by Prometheus. In the end, it all came together masterfully.
The episode got off to a fantastic start with the return of Konstantin Kovar…and Malcolm Merlyn. The best part? Neither return was spoiled by the credits. I’ve been griping about episode credit for years now as it’s no fun knowing who’s going to pop up simply from their name appearing in the opening. Hopefully the credits delay will be a regular move when the show has unexpected guest stars.
Kovar is set to up his power base considerably by overthrowing the Russian government. Anyone that falls out of line gets gassed courtesy of a nerve serum.
The Bratva storyline has been a lot more interesting than other flashbacks. Oliver isn’t stuck in Russia, but is largely operating there out of a sense of obligation to honor his promise to Tainia and his friendship with Anatoly.
When Kovar kills Tainia’s mother and Anatoly is threatened, Oliver finishes his transformation to something…else. And that new creation is a remorseless assassin. We’ve never seen Oliver this deadly, vindictive and savage shooting down thugs with arrows at point blank range. He was just a couple of Sandpeople decapitations away from going all-out Dark Side.
Present day, Prometheus/Adrian Chase wants a confession and he’ll do anything to make Oliver speak up. Even killing Evelyn. Prometheus is remorseless and focused with making his father’s killer suffer.
Prometheus represents the results of Oliver’s ironically enough long game of Russian Roulette with his vigilante tactics. Eventually someone was going to come along just as single-minded and obsessed as Oliver in seeking justice. And the scariest thing about Prometheus is he’s kind of correct.
Back in Russia, Oliver faced off with Kovar. Empowered by his rage, Oliver savagely beats down Kovar and leaves him for dead with a knife in his chest. Keep in mind the last time they fought, Kovar easily whupped Oliver. Donning The Hood allowed Oliver to embrace the monster that might have always been there.
Fully broken after seeing Evelyn ruthlessly killed, Oliver fesses up that he kills people because he likes it. Oliver doesn’t kill because he’s cruel, but it’s the easiest way to ensure justice is carried out. But who exactly appointed him judge, jury and executioner? Worst of all, Anatoly warned Oliver putting on a hood would only justify his murderous actions, not be the cause of them.
With this confession, Evelyn pops up — further twisting the knife of her betrayal to Oliver. The shock value of Evelyn getting killed was one thing, but knowing she and Prometheus did that charade to torment Oliver was far more meaningful.
True to his word, Prometheus let Oliver go, but not without one last dick move of burning Oliver’s Bratva captain tattoo. That’s just as well since Oliver didn’t truly earn that tattoo. Merlyn saved Kovar, so he might return once again to cause Oliver major trouble.
But not Green Arrow. Battered emotionally and physically, Oliver stumbles into the Arrowcave and tells Diggle, Felicity and Curtis he doesn’t want to do this any more. And after the mind screw Prometheus laid on him, this time I almost believe Oliver.
Kapiushon followed up a great episode last week and in a lot of respects surpassed it. As we’re nearing the home stretch, Arrow continues to raise expectations that this is going to be its definitive season of the series.
Rating: 10 out of 10
Photo Credit: The CW