So basically, this was an all torture episode. Which makes it hard to look at critically because of the emotional component.
Let me start with the present. Prometheus/Adrian's entire goal was to get Oliver to admit that he likes killing. Why? I don't understand Adrian's motivation or Evelyn's, for that matter. Adrian has committed far greater atrocities in the name of his personal vengeance. And Evelyn's whole thing was that she couldn't be involved with a serial killer. It doesn't make sense.
So what were the writers trying to say? I think at its core, the idea of Oliver enjoying the act of murder is an interesting character choice. It tackles an important underlying plot thread that has run through the entire series, that delves into the deepest aspects of the character. It was something that needed to be explored, although I don't necessarily want Oliver to enjoy killing because that makes him more of a monster than a hero, it does answer why he has some fundamental issues with his relationships with Thea, Felicity and Diggle.
But was this the right resolution for the character? Where can they possibly go from here? Because honestly, they've already done the redemption thing with him, and just now, they took it back. Add to that, whatever Adrian's motivations were, he just won. So again, I'll ask, where do we go from here? At least, thematically speaking. Going in this direction makes our primary character no longer a hero, and it makes it very difficult for him to ever become one. Because Evelyn was right; Oliver is a serial killer. And this isn't Dexter.
At this point in a comic book's continuity, if this were just a comic book, there'd be some sort of mystical removal of his darkness that would suddenly make the character redeemable, or some other massive character change that would absolve him of his previous sins. But that kind of shorthand storytelling isn't what this show does. Unfortunately, I don't know how else they are going to solve this issue, because we're at the point where it needs to happen for Oliver to be a legitimate hero.
In the flashback, we saw things move even closer to the beginning of season one, getting Oliver to that right mindset he had in the pilot. It's revealing that the Hood wasn't just a vigilante. He was a way for Oliver to channel his inner monster. Again, Dexter. Some of the stuff with Anatoly becoming Pakhan and the resolution of the Gregor plotline was wrapped up in a fairly good way. Also it looks like Kovar is going to transition into the present, which I'm a little ambivalent about.
The thing that bothered me most about this episode, and might have been its greatest strength for some people, was how unrelentingly dark, violent and adult the content was. If this had been in a different kind of show (again, I'm thinking Dexter), this would have been an excellent episode, perhaps hard to watch a second time. But it felt too ugly for a show with leather costumes and masks. Am I judging it too critically because it's a comic book series? What did you guys think?
-- Evelyn Sharp is
-- With three arrows in his shoulder, you'd think Oliver would have nerve, muscle and bone damage. Actually, if it were real life, Oliver wouldn't be able to walk at all by now.
-- John Barrowman was in this episode for some reason I didn't follow. He's had a busy week, since he was also in The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow.
-- They used sarin gas but were incredibly inconsistent with it. Like that one guy jumping into the back of the truck with a tank leaking, Anatoly surviving by putting his coat over his face and everyone else dying because they were too stupid to put their coats over their faces?
Oliver: (watching man put money in Gregor's pocket) "Why is he doing that?"
Anatoly: "It's for journey to afterlife. It makes good gift in heaven but even better bribe for Satan."
Anatoly: "See how easy it is to think first and kill people later?"
I'm not going to rate this one because I feel conflicted about it. How many out of four torture scenes?
J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related.