ARROW Review “What We Leave Behind”
By Justin Carter
Each season of Arrow has, in hindsight, largely been about something. The first season was about Oliver reconnecting with his family and old life while trying to wrestle with the killer instinct he honed for five years on and off Lian Yu. Season two was about Oliver becoming a straight up hero to make up for failing to save Slade years prior, and so on and so forth. With season five, it’s clear less than a dozen episodes in that the main theme is consequences, legacy and the one that Oliver and company have or will leave behind.
Case in point, we finally get more information on Prometheus, and it turns out that he’s a part of Oliver’s legacy as the Hood. Way back when he was first starting out, the Hood killed Justin Claybourne, CEO of a corrupt pharmaceutical company after he didn’t stop releasing weaponized tuberculosis. That CEO had an illegitimate son, by now a full grown adult who would have an ax to grind and motive to obsess over for the last four years. The gradual reveal of this is really well done, and the show does a good job of making you think that Claybourne could very well be alive again just long enough to hide the reveal of it being his kid that’s Prometheus. (If it is his kid, the show could very well be using that as a smokescreen for a grander reveal.)
It also helps in Prometheus’ favor that the show really knows how to make him unsettling in every sense of the word. Just seeing him is creepy in and of itself, and he straddles the right line between being in the season just enough to be a distinguished antagonist while also having enough mystery around him so it doesn’t feel like they’ve wasted all the best parts on him. Would it be nice if we got a more concrete answer as to why he’s gunning for Oliver and how Evelyn decided to pair up with him? Definitely, but I’m willing to meet the show halfway on this and stay intrigued with what they’re doing with him. (The comics version is different in every sense of the word.)
With Evelyn in his corner, Prometheus decides to take the fight to Team Arrow and starts by beating up on Curtis. This leads to maybe the weakest part of the episode, which is Curtis’ falling out with his husband Paul. It’s not bad to explore the consequences that being a superhero can have on one’s family life, the problem is that Curtis getting his ass handed to him has happened with such regularity at this point that it barely registers as a plot point. Paul has only appeared a tiny handful of times — this may make his third, if I’m remembering right — that walking out doesn’t hit with the emotional weight that it should. (If I’m being honest, I just sort of assumed that Paul was already in on the loop.) By now, it’s a mystery as to why Oliver and Felicity keep him on as Mr. Terrific when he isn’t really contributing much.
This is a similar situation that arises when Prometheus kidnaps Felicity’s cop boyfriend, Billy. Much like with Paul, he just isn’t there enough, and beyond being Felicity’s boyfriend, there isn’t much about him that’s known for it to feel like stakes are raised when he’s kidnapped. He and Felicity didn’t click the way the show wanted them to, and he more or less had “doomed” written all over him from moment one. When it turns out that Prometheus used the old bait and switch move and tricked Oliver into killing Billy, I didn’t have much of a reaction.
With legacy and consequences being the apparent big things of the season, it’s worth bringing up how the show handles last week’s crossover. Much like Flash and Supergirl, their method is to acknowledge it as a thing that happens and not much else, though the show does allow for Thea to suit up again and her and Oliver to have a bit of a talk about the legacies one leaves behind (on a rooftop in the middle of the night, because this is Arrow). It’s nice to see that Thea is the most well adjusted member of the Queen family, and her dream family has helped her see that their parents would be proud of who they’ve both become over the last few years.
Arrow has come a long way in its five year run. What was once regarded as a complete joke (from a channel that’s also been mocked in the past) has also now spawned three spinoff shows and an entire universe full of heroes. Even as Team Arrow likely faces some grim odds later in the season, the scene of them all gathered together shows that they’ll always have each other’s back, and that Oliver’s made real progress since going it solo in his early days.
I’m fairly certain that Michael Dorn of Star Trek fame is voicing Prometheus and if he isn’t (no one on the show has confirmed it at time of writing), I’ll be incredibly in awe of who they got, because that voice is dead on.
Rory and Rene have ended up becoming a weird odd duo that I would love to see hang out with more, especially since it seems like they both sort of really enjoy each other’s company.
So Diggle gets arrested at the end of the episode, which, breaking him out probably won’t be so easy next time around.
Oh hey, so Laurel’s back and hanging around in the bunker! Either she’s an apparition, or she’s just Black Siren from last year’s season of Flash. (I know Katie Cassidy, much like John Barrowman and Wentworth Miller, has a contract that allows her to become a regular across Arrow, Flash, and Legends.)
Arrow’s back on January 25. See ya then!