Well, ‘Arrow‘ is back, and as they begin their final 4 episodes, they are definitely coming back with a vengeance. This week’s episode was up there as one of the best of the season, which is surprising considering we did not even get to see Prometheus. But what really sold it for me was the conflicts between the main characters. Having the episode focus on the main three, Oliver, Felicity and Diggle, really honed in on the relationship between them, the trust that has developed over all of these years, and it was great to see them all making decisions that made sense and seemed genuinely motivated by things their characters would do, instead of the plot-convenient nonsense that all too often plagues this show.
Jumping in, the episode is all about finding Adrian Chase aka Prometheus, as now his secret is out, and everyone wants the DA-by-day, serial-killer-by-night. So Team Arrow is working with the FBI, ARGUS, and SCPD to hunt the man down, but Prometheus is still one step ahead of everyone, which is demonstrated when they think they have tracked him to an arcade only to discover Chase has led them into a trap where arcade machines have been reprogrammed by him to open fire on the agents with both machine guns and throwing stars, which are stopped by Curtis and his T-spheres (and apparently Chase has some hacking/programming skills of his own as one of the machines has even been programmed to show a digital version of the Prometheus mask). So, desperate for leads, Felicity goes to Helix, who claims they might be able to help if Felicity helps them hack ARGUS. Eventually, we learn that Lyla and ARGUS have arrested the founder of HELIX who in typical ‘Arrow’ fashion is described as more dangerous than 20 Snowdens, and Lyla is apparently holding the man without due trial due to how dangerous he is. Felicity’s Helix friend, Alena, claims the man could finish an invention of his that could instantly track and pinpoint Chase’s location if they could free him from ARGUS, meaning Felicity will have to work against the organization that has always had Team Arrow’s back.
And sadly, this is found out after Alena takes the first keycard she needs to free the hacker, accidentally killing an ARGUS agent in the process after hacking the controls for an elevator turns out to be tougher than it looks, with the agent getting bashed about in freefall. Weirdly though, Alena seems to suffer little to no remorse over the incident (which should worry Felicity more than it does). When HELIX hires mercs to go after the second key they need, Lyla, already wary, asks Team Arrow to protect the agent with the key, so Oliver and company (sans Green Arrow outfit because the hero is still personae-non-gratis in Star City) are present when HELIX’s goons arrive to take the key. As the battle commences Felicity asks Team Arrow to let HELIX escape with the key, and trusting their teammate, they do as she asks, after which Felicity is forced to come clean and finally confess all her illicit HELIX activities to Diggle and Oliver, and Lyla, none of whom are pleased with the plan to use HELIX resources to get Chase, especially if it means freeing the dangerous hacker. Felicity is not bullied easily though and throws it back in everyone’s faces about how they have all used the ends to justify the means before, especially Oliver and Lyla, and storms off, clearly going to follow through on her plan. Diggle suggests Oliver try to talk her out of it since he is the closest to her, but Felicity ends up telling Oliver that after years of watching him sell his soul to save the city and do whatever possible to be a hero, how can she not do the same? They end the conversation with her asking him to trust her, and when he cannot, she tells him that he’ll have to stop her.
And so the end game is HELIX and their mercs heading to the secret ARGUS prison to free the hacker, while Team Arrow helps reinforce the prison, everyone aware that Felicity will be with her HELIX pals. Leading up the battle, Diggle confronts his wife about Felicity’s comments about Lyla also using the ends to justify the means, especially in imprisoning the hacker without due process, and he realizes just how much Lyla is becoming like Amanda Waller, a prospect she says is necessary but one he does not like. HELIX arrives at the prison, but not the one Team Arrow is at, as Lyla lied to them thinking no one knew about her ultra-secretive black site prison, but of course, HELIX did. So pissed off Team Arrow, angry that Lyla did not just give them the real location in the first place, hustles to the black site prison just as HELIX frees the hacker, and while they clash, no one is killed thanks to rubber bullets, though Oliver has a shot at the hacker and the HELIX mercs, but Felicity stands in his way. He is forced to let them go because of Felicity, and the Hacker escapes.
Other stories of the night are few, as there was no flashback, which I honestly did not even recognize until later, which is a good thing. The show frankly does not need flashbacks anymore. We also got some nice moments with Rene and Quentin where they are dealing with Prometheus victims upset the Mayor’s office did not know they had a killer in their midst, and then a nice bonding moment where Quentin insists that Rene take Curtis’s advice and use the lawyer to get his daughter back, claiming he would do anything to get his own daughter back. Rene is reluctant and we learn he once hurt his daughter because she burned her hand making soup while he was passed out dead drunk on the couch. So Quentin sets up a surprise visitation for Rene, and after seeing and talking to his daughter, he realizes Quentin was right, thanks the man, and decides to make the moves to get his daughter back.
In the episode close, Felicity returns to HELIX HQ and finds it abandoned, with Alena popping up via video-chat to inform Felicity her ties to Team Arrow have made her a liability, but still thanking her for all of her help, with Alena ending up a much more gracious character than I thought she would be (despite being an accidental murderer). Luckily, she does leave behind the device to help Felicity track Chase, which Felicity rushes back to the Arrow Cave. Diggle and Lyla talk about the way she is running ARGUS, and it is clear he is not happy about the decisions she is making, but she says it is to safeguard the world and she has no regrets. It is clear this argument is not going to lead anywhere good for the two of them. Back at HQ, Felicity finds it empty as Oliver sent the rest of the Quiver Crew home so he could drink alone in the aftermath of the drama with Felicity and Helix, so she thinks she is alone as she plugs in the device to the computers. Until Oliver appears and they have a tense conversation, where he legitimately says he is sorry that HELIX left her behind, as he knows they gave her a sense of belonging, and she starts to yell at him for not trusting her after all of these years. But right when they start to get into it, the computer pings with Chase’s location, and not very surprisingly, it tells them that Chase is actually right there, in HQ. Right when they realize the implications, an explosion hits and they are blasted away from the computer, ending the episode.
- And no Thea once again….
- Anyone else think for a brief moment that it might be Slade Wilson under that black hood in the secret offsite prison?
- I am very worried about Rene’s daughter being used by Prometheus against the team.
- As soon as the computer pinged I knew Chase was in HQ, I am just surprised I did not figure that out until the very end of the episode.
- I am surprised HELIX let Felicity go so quickly. I thought they were going to bully/blackmail her for more work until eventually she had to choose to leave. This way seems much better for character conflict.
- I love how bad-ass Curtis is getting with his T-spheres in the battle scenes now. It definitely feels earned after how much he got his butt kicked earlier this season.
- Since they are still playing the angle that Oliver cannot go out as the Green Arrow, I suspect that Chase is going to out Oliver as the vigilante before the season is over. I cannot think of why else that particular story point is being emphasized so much.
Lots going on this week, and I loved it. Good on ‘Arrow’ for putting characters in new situations and establishing some conflicts that are not just based on the villain of the week or Oliver feeling guilty for something. Felicity as the “villain” was great, especially since her motivations were justified, and I cannot wait to see what the show has in store for us for the rest of the season. See you back here next week!
Nick is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles, who belongs to the privileged few who enjoyed the ending to ‘Lost.’ For more of Nick’s thoughts and articles, follow him on Twitter.