Arrow‘s fifth season has been a massive improvement over last year’s much more divisive entry, focusing more on the street level stories that grounded Arrow‘s early seasons. But when your major antagonist of the year wears a mask, it’s inevitable that most of the season’s questions are going to revolve around the identity of the person beneath said mask. Last night Prometheus revealed himself to the audience and it actually came as a surprise.
(Obvious spoilers are obvious)
The season has done some really effective misdirection when it came Josh Segarra’s Adrian Chase, District Attorney and ally to Oliver as Mayor. Chase’s comic book alter-ego, Vigilante, was introduced as a new antagonist at the same this season and so whenever Chase seemed at all suspicious, the evidence simply pointed to him being Vigilante because of course that’s what’s going on. It seemed almost too obvious, to the extent that it was starting to seem like nothing more than a poorly hidden twist.
It’s a television rule that if a character wears a mask, it has to be someone we know. But because the signs were so obvious for Chase as Vigilante, I never even once considered him. Even in last night’s “Fighting Fire With Fire”, the first half of the episode so clearly sets up Chase as Vigilante, disappearing just before Vigilante’s attack and trying to cover up the evidence afterwards. And of course that simplicity, hiding the answer in such plain sight, is what made it work.
It makes a lot of sense that Prometheus was someone in Oliver’s administration, considering the level of access he has to Oliver’s personal life. While I was a little hesitant at waiting so long into the season to reveal Prometheus’s identity, it also makes sense to take the time to build up Oliver and Chase as colleagues and friends first. It also means that Prometheus as Justin Claybourne’s illegitimate son, a fact revealed in the mid-season finale, likely still holds true. It’s not the most original motivation for a vengeance story and we still don’t really know anything about the character, but now that we have a face to the name, Prometheus has the potential to be much more interesting.
Although truth be told I am a little tired of the audience learning a villain’s secret identity before the characters, across all the DCTV shows. We saw the same thing with the Dark Archer, Brother Blood, the Reverse-Flash and Zoom, just to name a few. It’d be nice to share the surprise with Oliver or Barry for once.
When it comes to Prometheus’s apparent ultimate goal in this episode, I’m not sure how much I buy Oliver’s decision to throw his heroic alter-ego under the bus. It plays with his season-long question of being able to do more good as the Mayor than as the Green Arrow, but it still feels a little off to just admit that the Arrow is a cop killer. Why not go with the Prometheus manipulation? On the bright side, returning the Green Arrow to criminal status should add some extra momentum to the back half of the season, as well as referring once again back to Arrow‘s stronger earlier seasons. We got the brief tease back in Season 3 before Roy took the hit, but at some point I’d love to see Oliver get truly and irreversibly outed as the Green Arrow.
“Fighting Fire With Fire” also sees the apparent exit of Thea, at least for now. After being quite over-crowded in the season’s first half, the show has been dropping characters a lot over these last few episodes, including Ragman and Artemis. A leaner cast isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but Thea is definitely a loss. Thea’s exit comes as a result of her only being contracted for half of the season’s episodes, which is a shame because Willa Holland has been a highlight of Arrow for a few years now.
Arrow also succeeded in swerving my expectations of Susan Williams, who it seemed was likely either working for Prometheus or dating Oliver purely to expose him as the Green Arrow. Once again it seemed like such a big blind spot for Oliver but, as it turned out, she ended up being a victim and even seems open to keeping Oliver’s secret. I still wouldn’t call her or her relationship with Oliver overly compelling, but her capture by Prometheus at the episode’s end could at least be interesting.
The Little Thoughts:
- So if it’s not Adrian Chase, who is Vigilante? He certainly sounded a lot like Josh Segarra, no doubt intentionally, but the lack of de-masking after being defeated implies he may no longer be important.
- We finally get the damn T-spheres! Took long enough, it still doesn’t any sense that Curtis ever considered being useful in the field without any weapons of any kind. I’d still consider Curtis the weakest of the new characters, but his growing friendship with Rene is pretty great.
- Speaking of Curtis, kind of a dick move by his husband. Inviting him out to dinner in a nice, very public restaurant, handing him divorce papers and then immediately leaving seems overly cruel. Could he not have done that somewhere a little more private?
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