"So It Begins" - Arrow S05E06

For the first time in like three seasons, Arrow's flashbacks are actually a little more fun than the current storyline. I mean, you had Dolph Lundgren capturing Oliver Queen. Dolph Lundgren! My heart cannot take this much badassery. Is it wrong that I'm rooting for him even though he's the bad guy?

This week Oliver has to contend with a new villain with a crazy amount of bloodthirst and deal with his past as a serial killer, Artemis gets more than like one line, Thea has to deal with a Deputy Mayor who needs help, and Dolph Lundgren shows up to mess with Oliver and the Bratva.

(spoilers over the fold)

You know it's probably not going to be a good night when you and your bro Spartan are led on a merry chase following the gps signal of Tobias Church's stolen cell phone, and it leads to this:

That's actually kind of impressive. DisneyWorld could learn a few pyro tricks from you, Prometheus.
Our mysterious new baddie, Prometheus, spends this episode killing seemingly random innocent people. While Felicity and Curtis compute their way to figuring out if the killings are random, John and Oliver, as usual, make the mistake of not telling the younglings at first what is going on, which pisses them off. However, when its clear the killings are serious business, the whole team is brought in.

Turns out that the killings aren't as random as they seem. The names of the victims are anagrams for people who were on The List. Hey remember that little brown book that Daddy Queen gave Oliver, that contained a list of all the assholes of Star City, wayyyy back in season one? Yeah that list! So the Young Justice Lite team finds out that Oliver was kind of a serial killer himself back in the day, when he started out as the Hood and killed shitty lawyers and businessmen.

This is greatly upsetting to Artemis, who finally gets some screen time and more than one line of dialogue this episode. She's not sure she can trust Oliver because he's a big fat hypocrite (he told her not to kill Rave Darhk last season in revenge for the death of her parents), and because he and John and Felicity keep secrets from the youngsters in every single episode. Trust me, Artemis, we're tired of the the secret-an-episode formula here.

While it was gratifying to finally get screen time for Artemis, I wish it had contained a bit more substance. It was trumped up drama, really, and it ends when Artemis faces off with Prometheus by herself, gets to fight the baddie briefly and does okay, and then Oliver arrives to bail her and innocent train engineer out. With one of his silly arrows to boot:

Chute Arrows are the silliest thing in Oliver's quiver, I swear. 
I really, really want to see Artemis come into her own, so I was grateful that they finally gave her a storyline. She at least seems to have gotten over her butthurt pretty quick. Arrow, as longtime fans are aware, has chronic cases of butthurt in every season, but this one resolved quickly. She's willing to give Oliver time to prove that he's becoming a better man, and that he's not the serial killer he was a few years ago.

It's worth mentioning that this episode contained one of the epicly bad scenes of Arrow-extras-running-around-in-circles. I think they have a terrible panic scene at least once a season. They definitely did in season four. This one was set at a farmer's market/ren fest looking thing, and there were a bunch of white dudes with guns shooting into the air for reasons (they inexplicably thought Prometheus was there, but they were shooting at nothing, so ?????), while the crowd runs around in circles instead of clearing the area like normal panicked people would. This scene was hilariously bad.

Guys. GUYS. The exit is... all around you. Go away!
The only reason this scene was completely worth it, was when Oliver shoots an arrow into a handgun, and the white guy was so mad that his second amendment rights to shoot at nothing at all and cause a panic were being denied.

I really, really needed this laugh after the election this week. Thank you, Arrow.

Susan Williams, the Nancy Grace of Star City, has once again propositioned Oliver. That sound you're hearing is me screaming at the tv screen that doing so would be a yuuuugge mistake. Don't do it, Oliver. She will destroy your career (something Thea has been telling him about Susan Williams for several episodes in a row).

Speaking of Thea, she has a very quiet but beautiful and ongoing storyline happening this season, as she desperately tries to save Quentin Lance. In this episode, she discovers Quentin hasn't quit at all. His apartment is ridiculously full of bottles. He has been quietly sinking lower and lower into a dark pit, and Thea is the only one with any inkling of it. And she is on a quest to help him.

While I fully acknowledge that the addict and intervention story has been told before, and probably in a better way, I really appreciate this one. I don't know, I just love Thea I guess. She was once a druggy herself and a spoiled shitty rich kid. I guess I am just enjoying that her evolution has lead her here. And she and Paul Blackthorne are fabulous together.

I love this storyline. Seriously, this is the best bit of writing on Arrow right now, and the best acting.
And then there were the Bratva flashbacks, which have been much ado about something or other who knows... until Dolph Lundgren shows up as the new flashback baddy. He's the guy that Oliver is actually hunting down. As Dolph tells some kind of long parable about a turnip, he slowly takes his jacket off, takes a drink and a smoke, and overall manages to look so very menacing. Then he casually snaps a dude's neck and stands over Oliver.

Nobody sells imposing Russian bad dude like Dolph Lundgren. I hope he is around for a while. The flashback scenes, which started with Anatoly trying to teach Oliver to build a bomb, are pretty hilarious and fun overall.

Anyway, the episode ends with the revelation that Prometheus has been collecting Oliver's arrows for years and breaking down the metal to make the throwing stars he's using now to kill people with. And there's a scene that suggests that Quentin may be involved with Prometheus, as well.

Also, there's a thing about Felicity finally telling her boyfriend she works with Team Arrow, and he's shocked, but totes cool about it. Which honestly makes me even more suspicious about him. And to be perfectly brutal, as much as I love Felicity as a character, I cannot muster up a single care about her romantic storyline. Because the show's most beautiful woman is, as usual, involved in some romantic plotline. I much prefer Felicity when she's spouting off science and computer stuff, because she's clearly the smartest person in the room besides Curtis.

Probably not surprising, but we still haven't met John Diggle Jr, so the whole screwed-up timeline and Flashpoint have no bearing currently on pretty much anything here.

Ivonne Martin is a writer, gamer, and avid consumer of all things geek—and is probably entirely too verbose for her own good.