Oliver Queen wanted out. He made this clear to John Diggle and Felicity Smoak early on in Arrow season 5 episode 18 entitled “Disbanded.” Also, he wanted them out. He wanted the team gone.
As it turned out, Oliver wanting “out” was a little bit different than we first assumed. He wasn’t necessarily giving up in his pursuit of stopping Adrian Chase. However, he didn’t want the blood of the team on his hands if something went awry. He hired the Bratva instead to do the deed, not caring precisely how they chose to kill Chase. He just wanted him gone. He paid them in stolen drugs, and then tried to get them to stage an operation to kill Prometheus while he was being transported to a safehouse. This was one of the few ways he could think to surprise him.
Unfortunately, what Oliver learned instead tonight was that his “former” team was far more resilient than he imagined. They stopped the Bratva, and in turn, Chase entered witness protection — this was definitely something that Chase did not see coming. Hey look Team Arrow’s a step ahead! It’s too bad Oliver didn’t appreciate Diggle’s interference and he punched him in the face over it.
It made sense that it was Dig who eventually got Oliver out of his Prometheus funk — he was the first partner he had in this operation, and he knows a thing or two about fighting for redemption. He cannot change that Oliver liked what he was doing killing people and dropping bodies; yet, what he can change is what he chooses to do from here. A Diggle monologue, anchored of course by a wonderful performance from David Ramsey, is what allowed him to start to see the light, to stop Prometheus, and to get the Bratva to listen in the process. It’s too bad that wasn’t so easy.
The showdown and the aftermath
Rather than being Adrian versus Team Arrow, it was the Bratva versus Team Arrow as he did everything that he could to get the team to stand down. They had an intense confrontation in a warehouse, but one that they both emerged from in one piece. (We honestly thought that Anatoly was going to die during this.) Oliver eventually questioned Anatoly on how much he’d changed in the aftermath of his departure from Russia; he was right. Anatoly became far more ruthless, violent, and different from the man Oliver knew.
What also came about in the aftermath in the fight is that Felicity, with the help of Curtis, was able to capture video evidence of Chase as Prometheus. This could be enough to turn the tables on him once and for all … or it would be, in theory. The problem is that Chase STILL anticipated being found out, and was able to kill the U.S. Marshals holding him before the team could get to him.
(Yes, we know that we haven’t said much about the flashbacks — they were fine this week, but we just know where we’re building there with Oliver returning to the island. They were also brief this week.)
It was hard for “Disbanded” to match the greatness of last week, given that this was one of the greatest episodes of Arrow of all time. Yet, what this story did do was present an exceptional story still anchored with strong performances and decisions that made sense. Arrow is now off for a few weeks, and this episode sent it off right. Grade: A-.
When will Arrow return?
Be sure to head over here, since that is where you can get some more news on that subject!
What is your personal Arrow season 5 episode 18 review? Share some of your thoughts now in the comments! (Photo: The CW.)