Arrow Review by Henry Tran

Arrow 5.09: What We Leave Behind

Arrow 5.09: What We Leave Behind

Written By:
Wendy Mericle and Beth Schwartz
Directed By:
Antonio Negret

Coming off the heels of the largely successful four-series DC TV Universe crossover event, it proved to be difficult getting back into the singular stories of each series. This was entirely true of The Flash, which showed a rather forgettable episode recently. For the first few minutes of this episode, it took a bit of effort personally to follow along with what's been happening. Oliver asking Thea at the City Hall Christmas party if she was okay, checking in on her mental status after being ripped away from the idyllic setting the Dominators created in her mind, felt like the show asking the same of its viewers. Now that the Dominators were out of the way -- a one-off kind of thing for the time being -- you have to accept the reality of what's going on in Star City.

 


 

That means having to bring attention back to the threat of Prometheus and his slow and steady disintegration of Team Arrow. Yes, it took a bit of time to get back into the swing of things, but by the end of this episode, it becomes clear that this is possibly Oliver's most dangerous opponent since Slad Wilson/Deathstroke back in the halcyon days of season two. Prometheus thoroughly and systematically brings Oliver and the rest of Team Arrow to its figurative knees by making everything a personal attack on Oliver. This has been proven throughout the season to begin with, as Prometheus has brought up the kills Oliver did as the Hood back in the early days of the series, essentially tying the past with the present. As we've all seen with season two's Slade Wilson arc, that's operating right in the show's wheelhouse. I don't think we've seen Justin Clayborn as one of the Hood's "victims" before, but the show and the episode wastes little time retroactively making him a member of Robert Queen's list. And so that personal connection makes it that much easier for Oliver and Team Arrow, as well as the show's captive audience, to believe that Clayborn is Prometheus.

 

Of course, the show's past history also makes it very easy to believe that all of it is a red herring. A shell game where the audience thinks he's not Prometheus, then has to start figuring out who else it might be. The limited list of suspects left my head spinning at the possibilities. But being a longtime viewer of the series, I learned to go with the flow, and trust that all the answers will be provided in due time. So even while I was trying to figure all of that out, the show can allow enough space to judge Felicity's detective boyfriend as bland and boring, which meant that his eventual inadvertent murder at the hands of Oliver as the Green Arrow didn't initially register as a shock. No, what followed was a series of shockers. Oliver immediately confesses the killing to Team Arrow. It shows that both he and the show have learned from past mistakes. In the past, Oliver would have bottled this knowledge up, creating a dramatic wedge between him and Felicity or him and the rest of the team and that would fuel plotlines for many episodes to come later.

 


 

This action taken by Prometheus (as part of an elaborate reminder of the Hood's killing of Justin Clayborn four years before) shakes Oliver to his very core. He tells the team to stay far away from him, as Prometheus' taunting statement that "everyone he touches, dies" will lead to every one of their demises, yet John and the team shows Oliver that they've got his back. Even if their own personal lives are falling apart. Evelyn betrayed the team to go in league with Prometheus (and I'm surprised that the writers stuck with that given the strong possibility that it could've been some tactic by either Evelyn or Team Arrow to see what Prometheus is up to exactly); Curtis has his husband leave him, for legitimate reasons; John looks to be in big trouble, likely with the military due to his breaking out of prison. Felicity has to temporarily mourn the loss of Detective Tyler. Oliver has to absorb all of this punishment, internalize it, and yet, at the end, it looks like he has been absolved of the guilt that would normally have consumed him otherwise.

 

It's much easier to process this along with Oliver because we've seen what he's been through. We've seen the multiple transformations and changes of hero identity through the years. In comparison with what Barry Allen and his gang are going through right now with processing the consequences of Barry's Flashpoint decision, there is no contest. This is the more mature way to handle what comes for someone trying to fight a force of evil he may not even fully understand. This season has reminded him that he was once a killer. Now, he's very much a hero. Oliver is just in the middle of a maelstrom of bad luck, and one that he can't figure out a workable solution to come out of intact. Then, Laurel comes back into his life. Let's see how he will process that. I know I'm struggling to try and figure that whopper of a plot twist out.


Our Grade:
B+
The Good:
  • Prometheus might be the best villain the series has had since Deathstroke
  • Tyler gets a better sendoff than he probably deserved
The Bad:
  • That twist at the end is going to need a very good explanation to feel earned

Henry Tran is a regular contributor of review for Critical Myth; The Critical Myth Show is heard here on VOG Network's radio feed Monday, Wednesday & Friday. You can follow him on twitter at @HenYay

Arrow by - 12/8/2016 6:44 AM188 views

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