Holy crap. Those were the first words that we had after watching Arrow season 5 episode 17, a signature episode that somehow raised the game even from what we saw last time. If this is what the show is capable of, this is the direction that we hope that the writers continue to go in. Never relent, and never go back. Keep being this unafraid.
Tonight, Oliver Queen went full Walter White. He admitted that he killed because he liked it, because he wanted to. It wasn’t just because he had some list of his father’s that he wanted to use in order to get revenge. He wasn’t killing as much as he used to, but we’ve clearly seen that this need, this hunger is not going to go away.
This confession ultimately came about as a result of a lengthy torture scene featuring Oliver and Prometheus, one where he was beaten, broken down emotionally, and eventually forced into admitting why he did what we did. There were so many callbacks to earlier on in the series’ run, and not all of it was based on the story of Adrian Chase alone. The moment that Adrian got what he wanted out of him, he decided to let him go. Prometheus is a man of his word. His goal was to make Oliver realize precisely who he was, and to confront himself in the mirror. He succeeded. By the time Oliver made it back to the rest of the team at the end of the episode, he was ready to shut everything down and call it a day.
We cannot stress enough just how magnificent Stephen Amell was in some of the torture scenes tonight. He’s had several good episodes, but we’d still contend that this was his finest work on the show. It was gut-wrenching, painful, but most of all totally believable. We bought into every single second of it.
Oh, and we should also mention how wonderfully demented the show’s making the Evelyn Sharp character. We had no idea at the start of the season this is what she’d become.
Effective flashbacks? You got it
Meanwhile, back in Russia there were so many important moments that took place. We had the attack on Kovar, a Malcolm Merlyn cameo (apparently, Kovar wasn’t killed by Oliver, after all), and Oliver eventually getting the famed tattoo that Chase later ripped off of him. It was Anatoly in Russia who warned Oliver of the man he was becoming, and the toll that his pain, his rage, and the guise of the hood costume would eventually cause him. He used that outfit and his skills to justify his own hurt at the world and the hell he’d went through; sooner or later, he’d pay the piper.
These flashbacks justified the existence of them all season, and we even got some callbacks from the season 4 arc to go along with it.
What more needs to be said?
We’ve hit most of it hard at this point, but we still should note yet again just how fantastic this hour was. It was intense, heart-pounding, and wonderfully performed. If you wanted Arrow to be like its season 1 or season 2 counterpart, there’s no way this could disappoint. Fantastic. Grade: A.
Next time on Arrow…
Let’s just say that this dark turn for Oliver is not going to be resolved quickly. As a matter of fact, things are going to be getting all the more violent. Head over here to get some additional news regarding what’s next. (Photo: The CW.)