Arrow – Season 5 Episode 6
“So It Begins”
Arrow moves Prometheus to head villain position as Oliver’s past and present start to collide.
Having Prometheus as a potential season long threat could be problematic as repeated appearances where his plans fail could result in him becoming toothless. Alternatively he may seem like he has no real plan if he is overused. All of that could still happen but for now he’s a genuinely threatening and mysterious character.
His plan in this episode is to come across as a serial killer as he is responsible for seemingly random killings. It turns out to be connected to the list that Oliver was following from season 1 which suggests that there is some form of connection between Prometheus and Oliver. Not many people know about the list but we don’t know everyone who has access to it, especially with Oliver’s colourful exile where he interacted with more people than we can possibly imagine.
The public reaction to what Prometheus is doing is also interesting but isn’t developed as well as it could be. Having panic set in and cause people to endanger the lives of others is a strong idea and ties into problems that face the world today but it’s a very quick scene without any meaningful insight into the mindset of the people reacting to this new serial killer. We did get to see Oliver make a very difficult shot into the barrel of a gun though so that was something.
Prometheus has no lines in this episode but his actions say far more than words ever could. He is cold and merciless in the way he goes after his targets and scarily efficient. His physicality is really impressive and I found him genuinely intimidating when he took on Evelyn on the moving train. He also seemed to be a suitable match for Oliver when he shrugged off his attack and promptly escaped.
It’s clear that he has some kind of endgame in mind but it’s unclear what that is. Oliver points out that Prometheus had no intention of engaging him at that point so my thinking is there is some sort of lesson that he wants Oliver to learn before he strikes. At this point it is all shrouded in mystery and it’s really compelling.
Using the list is really interesting as it almost brings Oliver full circle back to his days as the Hood. The show has changed so much since then that it’s easy to forget that Oliver started out as a vigilante crossing corrupt people off a list using lethal force. His father’s notebook has been seen in the flashbacks this season but it’s interesting to tie the present day to the first season in a way that explores what has changed.
Oliver’s conversation with Diggle directly addresses that the show has changed through Diggle’s observations of how Oliver has changed throughout the seasons. After killing Andy, Diggle understands what it means to murder someone and how that affects people on fundamental levels and acknowledges that he hasn’t seen that side of Oliver in a long time. The difference between season 1 Oliver and season 5 Oliver is that he now only kills as a last resort. The whole concept of using lethal force has been hanging over the show since it began and was addressed in the first episode of this season so it’s good to see that a balance has been found. Oliver Queen’s ultimate stance on killing could be to avoid it if he can but recognise that it isn’t always possible. Whether you agree with this stance or not it’s a solid place for Oliver to be and should allow him to be more confident in his vigilante life.
The new team react to the reveal that Oliver used to be a killer in different ways. For some reason none of them have made the connection between the Hood/Arrow and Green Arrow. Clearly Oliver didn’t tell them his complicated vigilante history but it seems like a fairly easy connection to make.
It’s a small issue and the important thing is that this finally gives Evelyn an opportunity to develop. We learn that she struggled with the decision to work with Oliver since she still believes that the Green Arrow left her family to die and she has trouble forgiving him for that. She has her own reasons for wanting to be part of the team and wants to put her personal feeling aside. It seems that she was able to do that as long as she could believe that Oliver genuinely wanted to do good but finding out that he was/is a killer really messes with her opinion of him.
She sees him as no different from Prometheus as he was going around killing people when he started out. In her mind there is no difference and she really struggles with this. Her conflict with Oliver is really well handled and Madison McLaughlin’s performance completely sells the betrayal that Evelyn feels.
Her anger blinds her to the facts of the situation as well. She fails to fully consider that Oliver has changed as she can only see the vigilante who murdered people and isn’t able to consider that Oliver doesn’t really have the personality that you would associate with a serial killer. Her arc throughout the episode is finding a way to put this behind her so that she can work with him and it largely works. I do think that the show should be addressing the fact that Oliver has recruited a 17 year old girl to his cause but finally giving her some development is appreciated.
The rest of the team don’t have as much focus but their reactions are in the mix. Rene seems to be the most accepting as he doesn’t feel that Oliver being a killer is news to him. Curtis isn’t all that surprised either as he knows Oliver better than most of them. Rory is conflicted but still believes in what he’s doing.
I found the conflict between the original Team Arrow and the new Team Arrow far more interesting than this. Oliver, Diggle and Felicity were all of team Arrow in season 1 and are the only members to exist in all incarnations of it. The new team feel that there is a divide between them as Oliver is quick to confide in Oliver and Diggle but not them. This is definitely happening as we see here but it’s a more complex issue than that. Oliver doesn’t quite trust the new team yet as they are all dealing with their own problems and have individual motivations whereas Diggle and Felicity are fully committed to Oliver’s mission and are really close to him.
It’s easy to see where the new team are coming from as they have put their trust in Oliver but see repeated examples of him not doing the same back. Naturally this upsets them as they have pledged to put their lives on the line when following his orders. Having things concealed from them is a slap in the face as far as they are concerned.
On the other hand they are new to all of this and still being trained so Oliver doesn’t quite have a reason to fully trust them at this point. Diggle and Felicity have more than earned his trust and they accept that he doesn’t always tell them everything even if they don’t agree with it. Putting a divide between the old and new team is a good obstacle for the the characters to overcome that the show can explore. It’ll take a while for them to become a well oiled machine and adjusting seems to be one of the major themes of this season.
Quentin and Thea are still making the whole Mayoral side of the show fascinating to watch. Quentin is drinking again and it’s heartbreaking to watch because Paul Blackthorne’s performance is pitch perfect. He puts across the image of a broken man perfectly and his desire to improve is overpowered by his own self destructive nature. It’s a fascinating character piece and Thea feeding into this by almost being the parental figure in this relationship is a stroke of genius. She wants to help him but Quentin feels like he’s beyond help. This will clearly continue to play out in very painful ways and I find it really compelling.
In the flashbacks, Oliver finally meets his target, Konstantin Kovar (Dolph Lundgren). He only appears in one scene but makes a big impression with his imposing physical presence and the sinister edge to the delivery of his lines. When he tells Oliver he has been looking forward to meeting him it’s very chilling. We also get to see the beginnings of Oliver’s playboy persona as a disguise to hide the real him. It’s nothing new but it ties in with the present day tying itself to season 1. We are on the cusp of Oliver becoming that person in the flashbacks so it’s really clever to have the present day calling back to that. I get the impression that Oliver’s past is going to catch up with him and that will be one of the biggest obstacles this season.
As for the identity of Prometheus, the way I see it there are currently three choices. The first is the one the episode wants us to latch onto. Quentin is seen at the end of the episode with the same wound that was inflicted on Prometheus by Evelyn as well as having a throwing star in his apartment. This image comes at the same time as Felicity telling Oliver that the throwing stars are made out of Oliver’s arrows picked up at various crime scenes over the years after they have been melted down. Prometheus must have access to the Star City Police Department lock-up and the implication is that Quentin has that access so could be Prometheus. I also got the impression that the episode would like me to believe that he gets blackout drunk and possibly doesn’t remember being Prometheus.
As ideas go it’s actually fairly solid and might be an interesting twist but I don’t think this is the case. Quentin may have his problems but I don’t believe that he is capable of this and I doubt he would ever be able to get to the level of skill that makes him a match for Oliver, especially when drunk. It all seems too convenient and I suspect this is a red herring.
The second possibility is Felicity’s new boyfriend, Billy (Tyler Ritter). He seems the most likely because we know almost nothing about him and his connection to Felicity could be used as a reason for Prometheus to back down. Billy is a pretty bland character so far but his quick acceptance of Felicity working with the Green Arrow made me suspicious.
Lastly, Prometheus could be Konstantin Kovar. It would be similar to Slade Wilson aka Deathstroke being Oliver’s enemy in the flashbacks and in the present day but it would also make a lot of sense and further connect the flashbacks to the current story. It’s possible that Kovar would come looking for revenge following some event we haven’t seen yet. As for who I’d like Prometheus to be? I honestly have no idea but I hope he isn’t Quentin or Tommy as that would be a betrayal of their characters as far as I’m concerned.
Another great instalment that solidifies Prometheus as a credible threat. There is a lot of mystery as well as menace associated with him and the way he methodically moves between targets while saying nothing is very sinister. It’s clear that he’s more than a match for Oliver and has a bigger plan but it’s unclear what that is. Having his murders tied to the almost forgotten list from season 1 is a really nice touch and it allows Evelyn some opportunity to develop by way of an interesting conflict with Oliver. The reaction to the revelation that Oliver was a killer by the rest of the team is well handled and Diggle helping cement a stance on killing for both this show and Oliver was well handled.
The flashbacks are still interesting as we get to see the beginnings of Oliver’s playboy disguise and get to meet Dolph Lundgren’s Konstantin Kovar. Quentin’s alcoholism continues to be fascinating as does his dynamic with Thea but I’m positive that suggesting Quentin might be Prometheus is a red herring.
- Prometheus and the mystery surrounding him
- tying Prometheus back to season 1
- Evelyn finally getting a chance to develop
- Diggle helping Oliver define his stance on killing
- old Team Arrow vs new Team Arrow
- public panic not as well developed as it could be
- the blandness of Felicity’s new boyfriend