After last week’s bombshell of an episode which I argued basically undermined Oliver’s quest and the entire darn show, this week’s episode “Disbanded” picks up right where ARROW left off. I’m going to be a bit harsher on this episode than I was on the last because in the wake of such a wild episode, last night was a chance to assure us Arrow faithful that Oliver was still the same fundamentally heroic, albeit even more complicated, person we always knew. The show couldn’t just continue on without confronting all these issues.
“Disbanded,” though, never quite seemed to answer any of the show’s most pressing questions.
Instead, at least at first, it starts to double down on Oliver’s darker tendencies. The Green Arrow disbands the team and enlists Anatoly to come take out Prometheus, who still seems hellbent on annoying, cajoling, and torturing Oliver. With the Green Arrow a marked man and DA Chase in witness protection, it’s going to be a high order to get at Prometheus. It doesn’t help that in everything that Green Arrow and team do, Chase seems to be one step ahead.
As a last resort, Oliver tracks down Anatoly, who’s now arguably a much more nefarious individual that he was in all of those Russia flashbacks. The Bratva are an international force to be reckoned with, and in addition to all of their weapons, they also move devastating drugs through society’s underbelly. So when Oliver puts a price on Prometheus’ head, he’s tacitly funding all of that. (Still, what’s a little drug pushing with what we apparently found out about the true nature of Oliver Queen last week?)
Oliver’s trusted ally Diggle is the first to ring the alarm bells, and the two literally come to blows as the latter keeps trying to get through to his good friend. Some of Dig’s more on the nose lines about “what Prometheus did to him” ring a bit hallow because the show hasn’t resolved the series warping events from last week. It doesn’t mean much if Dig is carrying the mantle of the Green Arrow if his entire mission been put into question. The show seems to make the argument that Prometheus just got into his head but that’s not good enough if the twist was this convincing. We simply need to know whether Oliver enjoyed killing or not. Then we can move on but only then.
Prometheus continues his straight up serial killer ways in this episode and some of this season’s strongest moments have happened when DA Chase unabashedly moves about government leaving Oliver and his friends (Quentin Lance gives a few hallow threats per par) powerless to do anything. This, along with the fact that Oliver was tortured, provides good motivation for why Oliver might call upon the notorious Bratva.
After a time, Dig’s rallying cries get to Oliver, who agrees to let the team help him. That part of the episode, that Team Arrow can be a source of strength for Oliver even when he doesn’t believe in himself is convincing. But still, I feel like there’s a cloud hanging over all of that because the show just went too far with its Great Big Twist. This isn’t the first time Oliver has doubted himself. But it’s undoubtedly the first time I’ve doubted the righteousness of his cause and that’s problem.
While Dig, Dinah, Mad Dog and the rest are working above ground to help Green Arrow, Felicity, also concerned about Oliver’s involvement with the Bratva, works below ground with Helix to help bring Prometheus to justice. With Helix’s help, Felicity finds CCTV footage revealing Prometheus to be none other than District Attorney Chase.
At this point, Chase is in protective custody at some remote house. The call comes in and just before the two officers protecting Chase can react to this new information, Chase slaughters them both brutally and flees. Later on a remote road, a caravan of cop cars heads one direction, as Chase heads the other. Chase gleefully rides off, having escaped justice yet again.
It’s worth noting that this current Oliver seems totally different than the sociopathic Prometheus, who even murdered his wife to keep his crazy quest alive. Here’s to hoping the show remembers that and never conflates these two again.
Season 5, Episode 18 (S05E18)
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8PM on CW
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Ade writes about the philanthropy of billionaires and millionaires by day, and writes screenplays by night.
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Ade Adeniji | Contributor