I’ve had mixed feelings about the second half of ARROW’s fifth season, particularly around the time the show pretty much went scorched Earth on Green Arrow’s entire mission in that torture episode. As someone who’s been watching from day one, that episode left me questioning the entire five year ride. Still, on the whole, over the course of twenty three episodes, season five introduced and developed one of Arrow’s most intriguing nemeses. Prometheus was a breath of fresh air largely because he was so different from, say, Damien Darhk or Slade Wilson. This wasn’t someone Green Arrow could outmuscle, or even, apparently, outthink.
Arrow often went foundational this year, getting at exactly how the Green Arrow came to be, and who he’s grown into, and that’s largely thanks to the relentless prodding and scheming and manipulation by DA Adrian Chase aka Prometheus. I also have to give credit to the flashbacks this year, which were as strong as they’ve been since Arrow’s first and second seasons. There was actually coherence and relevance to them, and in the show’s final episode, “Lian Yu,” both Prometheus’ final plans and the flashbacks come together in an explosive season finale.
What do you get when you bring together Slade Wilson, Malcolm Merlyn, Nyssa al-Guhl, and Digger Harkness? A new Team Arrow, actually. This is the unlikely team that Ollie assembles on the island of Lian Yu to take down Prometheus once and for all and save his friends. One of many things that I appreciated this season was Arrow’s willingness to be more elastic with what actually constitutes Team Arrow. This of course began with the death of Black Canary, the assembling of a new team, a member of that team defecting, and later finding a Black Canary replacement in Dinah. But it also included Ollie questioning whether he just makes the lives close to him worse and disbanding Team Arrow altogether.
Yes, Arrow made a lot of new and bold choices this year.
In the case of aligning with Slade in particular, the man who murdered his mother, I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it. But Slade isn’t under the influence of mirakuru anymore, making him more like the ally that Ollie once knew on the island. Plus, he doesn’t have the kind of super strength that would probably make quick work of Prometheus and his minions.
Ollie and his new allies stumble upon a series of holding pens where some, but not all, of his friends are. He rescues his sister Thea, who’s none too pleased to see Slade and her father Malcolm. Later, though, Malcolm puts his foot on a landmine in place of Thea’s, and appears to make the ultimate sacrifice for his daughter. ” Parenthood/fatherhood has always been a theme on Arrow, but Prometheus own damage and the past he’s trying to drudge up in Oliver exemplifies this. While the Thea-Malcolm storyline wasn’t as prominent as in past seasons, it’s still there, and when the always self-interested Malcolm is willing to put his life on the line for his progeny, Thea can’t help but feel moved. Well, at least a little.
Ultimately, Prometheus pulls one final trick on Oliver. Thinking that he’s saved his friends on Lian Yu, Ollie chases after Prometheus on a boat, where Oliver’s son is. Only, that’s exactly what Prometheus was betting on and once again Oliver is forced to make an impossible choice — save his friends on an island rigged with explosives or his son. In the end, Ollie saves his son, and watches from a distance as Felicity, Dig, Thea, and the rest might be as good as dead.
Away from the present day action, in the flashbacks, Ollie and Konstantin go at it in one final fight. Oliver eventually ends Konstantin and creates a fire to get the attention of a passing ship. Later, he makes contact with Moira Queen, and the two have a heart to heart — Oliver’s first call back to his family. Moira was always one of my favorite characters and her cameo was probably the biggest surprise of the entire episode.
So season five comes to a close with big questions. There’s no way that Team Arrow is all gone. Otherwise there would be no more show. But I’ll be wondering all summer who survived and who didn’t — and how Ollie can come back from this latest setback.
Ade Adeniji | Contributor