Consequences. That was the name of the game in this episode. What we do, what we leave behind inevitably comes back to haunt us. In this case, Prometheus is the most obvious example of how Oliver's actions have created a monster.
Except, Prometheus is also very clearly a serial killer (or is he more of a mass murderer?). He dropped so many bodies in this episode, it's surprising the F.B.I. or whatever the equivalent agency in this universe is, hasn't come and taken over the case from the local cops. Maybe that's the next step, with a new faction in play, and new enemies Oliver has to contend with. Not that the F.B.I. would care all that much about a vigilante when they are tasked with finding a serial killer.
Whatever Oliver's actions were in the past, which were justified in a way although very extreme, he only created the motive and persona of the killer, not his need to kill. This is the Batman paradox, where most of the villains came out of the woodwork after Bruce donned the cape and cowl. But would that have changed the his rogues gallery into monsters, or just unique ones? Would the Joker exist without Batman? Maybe, but most likely not as the Joker.
Some might argue that is better, that a common criminal can be caught and brought to justice by cops. That a super-villain is by their very nature an extreme reaction to the heroes that stand up against them. It's a vicious circle of recrimination, made all the worse by how our new super-villain is laying out his plan. He started by setting up Quentin to disappear, not through violence but through mind games. He tried to do the same with Felicity by killing her boyfriend, using Oliver as the weapon.
Except, he doesn't really know the team like he thinks he does. He set up Dig to be captured, but that just means Oliver and company will have to break him out again. Quentin going into rehab might just help him get back to normal, especially if his daughter is suddenly alive again. Speaking of which... holy shit, Laurel is alive again. I mean... how? There are several options available in this universe, including the way Barry has messed with the timeline. But... how?
Unfortunately, Evelyn doesn't really get it. She only sees her revenge, and now that she is working with a monster far worse than Oliver ever was. Oliver was a killer, but a killer of bad people. He did do some things that were very morally questionable. Yet she has gone dark side with a man who kills indiscriminately. It means she was never a hero, and has no moral legs to stand on. Her need for revenge is a blind one, and while she might be brought back around, I don't know if she should.
This was an interesting way to use the flashback tool, and I wonder if it is a clue how they are going to use it in season six and beyond. This time it was a story hook to the case we never got to see in season one. It was fun to see our uber-extreme Oliver again, and dorky Felicity with no fashion sense, and the suit-wearing Diggle still pretending to be Oliver's bodyguard. It was a flashback designed to show us who Oliver used to be, and how different he is now. Sometimes it's hard to recall the difference, since he is still such a hard ass. But this brought those differences to the forefront in a nice way.
This was basically a Christmas episode, with all the usual holiday decorations littering every frame.
Big Belly Burger strikes again.
I hated seeing Curtis get hurt and have his relationship with his husband Paul destroyed. It is the thing he loses to be Mr. Terrific, it is the thing he has to sacrifice to be a hero.
Susan is now Oliver's new lover, but in an odd framing choice a bottle of Russian vodka was highlighted when she grabbed him a drink. Is she associated with Kovar or the Bratva? Or is she a part of Prometheus's plan? Or maybe she just likes the good stuff.
Prometheus has a real name; Justin Claybourne. He still doesn't have a face to go with it. I wonder why they are keeping him hidden. Is it a character we already know, or someone we are about to be introduced to?
Rory: "Were you even listening to the rules?"
Rene: "I don't like rules... or listening."
Rory: "Maybe Barry could do that Flashpoint thing again?"
Rene: "Yeah he does that, then Dig might end up with five kids, stuff makes my brain hurt."
Felicity: "Well, in our town, people who are dead turn out to be secretly alive almost every Wednesday."
Oliver: "My favorite Christmas movie is Die Hard. It's true. My second favorite Christmas movie is It's a Wonderful Life, and I was very lucky to be able to re-watch that movie last week."
Subtle, but funny.
Jam packed as per normal on an Arrow finale (mid or season), this was also an emotionally impactful episode for Oliver and team, and really notched up the threat level of Prometheus. He's not unstoppable (like Darhk), but he is now a real threat.
4 out of 4 Precisely Aimed Throwing Stars
J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related.