ARROW “Checkmate” Recap
By Justin Carter
As in the movies, a superhero show is only as good as its villains.
The different CWverse shows have had their own share of great villains (Slade, Reverse Flash, Snart) and some duds (Cyborg Superman, Ra’s al Ghul, Vandal Savage). Prometheus’ impact has fluctuated since he first started appearing on Arrow, but this week’s “Checkmate” does a good job helping him climb to the top of the best-of list.
Partly what helps in this regard is (much like Slade), Chase views everything as completely Oliver’s fault. Both Ra’s and Damien Darhk suffered somewhat in credibility in that they didn’t really have a true reason to get tangled up in the titular hero’s life. (Ra’s seemed to suffer from this lack of purpose more so than Darhk, if only because the latter came at a time when Oliver was trying to be both a better man and hero.) Killing Chase’s father inspired Adrian to take revenge, eventually seeking out Talia al Ghul for guidance. Coupled with killing Ra’s, it comes as no surprise when Talia a) says she taught Adrian because she wanted Oliver to suffer, and b) betrays him at the episode’s end.
Another thing in Prometheus’ favor is that his secret is quickly outed to Oliver at the start of the episode by way of Talia. Once he learns what the District Attorney has been doing in his off time, he makes the most logical decision that one could do in that instance: tries to confront him face to face in a closed environment. But instead of that playing out, Chase, with smug smirk, calmly tells him to wait, fully aware that he knows that Oliver is finally up to speed.
He’s so delightfully smug as he taunts Oliver, forever keeping him on his toes, and the script is clearly letting Josh Segarra have all the fun in the world as a man who exudes fear every time he walks into frame. When he came out of nowhere on two separate occasions — once with Rene and Lance, and later on with Lance and Susan — I was really worried that he’d break the facade and lay down the pain. Even his smirk makes it clear that he clearly wants to unleash the beast now that all cards are on the table.
Does Prometheus hold all the cards? We know he’s somehow aware that Team Arrow has information on his real identity as Simon Morrison and stabs Pike once the team hands the information off to him, but it’s nice to have a bad guy who is actually competent and has the means to back it up. With Pike in a coma from the stabbing and Susan Williams’ life literally dependent on him still having a pulse, Oliver is in quite the pickle. Even using Chase’s wife Doris as leverage backfires horribly on Oliver. Instead of it prompting Chase to turn himself in, he decides to kill Doris instead, exhibiting the detachment one might have checking for mail in the morning.
In the lead up to the final fight with Prometheus, everyone on Team Arrow is pulling their weight to help find Susan or Chase … except for Felicity. The hacker folks at Helix have decided that she’s gotten enough freebies and it’s time for her to help them, so she tricks Curtis into helping her hijack Homeland Security drones.
Exactly what purpose Helix has for them is unclear, but all this skullduggery is definitely going to blow up in Felicity’s face. It’d be really weird if she didn’t have some kind of back up plan, because the way things are going, these guys are going to be either the villains for the next season or Prometheus will find out about them and it’ll play into the finale somehow.
Exactly how Chase was placed on the path to becoming Prometheus still hasn’t been explained in great detail. But given that next week’s episode sees him torturing Oliver, the curtain may be finally drawn back on what makes Chase tick. The flashbacks for Oliver this season have been quite entertaining. Not many shows can boast a shootout at a Russian hockey rink — but I would like to know more about our seasonal baddie.
- I had to laugh when Past Oliver does his Arrow Voice for the first time and Anatoly asks him why he does that.
- Oliver: “I should’ve never gotten involved with Susan.” Yeah, that may be underselling it a bit, man.
- Where the heck is Evelyn during all this? What’s she been up to?