Arrow has been employing more dramatic narrative moments and less randomized ass-kicking scenes this season, and this was particularly effective in this episode. There are only a couple of choreographed fight scenes, and they are just the right amount to get the point across.
Let's take a look at how the winter finale left our heroes in tatters.
(spoilers beyond the fold)
Two episodes back, before Arrow100, we learned that Evelyn, aka Artemis, was in cahoots with Prometheus. This episode begins with her bringing more information about the personal lives and real identities of her teammates to the mysterious black archer.
Let me get my biggest criticism of this episode out of the way first, right here. This story doesn't make any sense. We are lead to believe that Evelyn turned on Oliver the day she learned that he had been, in fact, the Hood, aka the serial killer vigilante in season one. Okay, great, I'm with you so far. But what makes zero sense is why she would turn on Oliver for being a serial killer... and start helping out a guy who is literally, a serial killer. I mean the first time Prometheus started moving against Oliver, he killed a bunch of random innocents just because their names were anagrams of Oliver's first victims. At least the people Oliver killed in season one were awful people, even if yeah, he shouldn't have been killing them.
We don't get a satisfactory conclusion to Artemis' story. Her deception is revealed in a scene where the team tracks down Prometheus to an abandoned building, there's a brief fight, and then Artemis helps Prometheus escape. And that's the last we see of her.
|This city needs saving from you, Oliver... by teaming up with a REAL serial killer #soundslegit|
I'm having a real problem with Evelyn's logic. I suppose the story isn't over yet, but truly, I'm not sure how they can spin this to make any kind of sense. I'm also admittedly bitter because I would rather have the Artemis from Young Justice around, not whatever the hell is going on here. #sorrynotsorry
Anyway, thanks to Evelyn's intel, Prometheus now knows the identities of every member of Team Arrow, and his plan is to torture Oliver slowly by tearing into the team around him. The first attack is on Curtis, when he's in civvies, and leaving the Mayor's Christmas party with his upset husband, Paul. Paul had just realized that Curtis has been lying about his late night excursions, although as we learn throughout the episode, how the hell was Paul not questioning all the bruises on Curtis' body from fighting, when Curtis was supposedly working on same start-up tech company with Felicity? Anyway, Paul really gets a huge clue when Curtis gets into a physical fight with Prometheus.
|Sweetie, I didn't know you could do that... that's kind of hot...|
Later, at the hospital, Paul demands answers, and Curtis ends up admitting that he's been working with the Green Arrow. Despite the fact that Curtis is happy to be doing the work, Paul is really upset, and he drops an ultimatum: me or the Green Arrow.
Their marriage conflict is a major part of this episode, as Paul explains that he understands now that Curtis is really happy doing this, but that Paul can't stick around because he would wonder, every night Curtis isn't home, if he was ever coming home. It's too painful. Ultimately, Paul ends up leaving.
I cannot but help gush endlessly about this plotline. Not only were the actors fabulous, especially during their final scene (and the subsequent heart-breaking sobbing Curtis engages in after Paul leaves), but the story was beautifully written and so very realistic. I think, though, what I truly love the most about this plot is that this loving gay marriage was completely, utterly normal. These exact same scenes, with the exact same dialogue, could have easily taken place between a married man and a woman. There was nothing about any of it that screamed gay. It was just two people who love each other coming to a crossroads. Dear Hollywood, this is how you do gay relationships.
I loved every minute of it. Except the part where Curtis is sobbing. It broke me.
I loved every minute of it. Except the part where Curtis is sobbing. It broke me.
|This moment seriously destroyed me.|
Billy Malone, the detective Felicity is dating, learned a couple episodes back that she was part of Team Arrow himself, and unlike Paul, he took it very well. But when Prometheus beats up Curtis and the team figures out the baddie knows all of their secret identities, Billy expresses concern and wants Felicity to stay at his place for safety. She resists. Billy, at one point, decides to take matters into his own hands, and goes by himself to investigate a building that may be associated with Prometheus. He discovers some hidden documents and a picture of a baby, the latter of which he manages to text to Felicity before he gets knocked out by Prometheus.
I'm so, so happy that the writers chose to make Felicity's conflict here not about her getting kidnapped. She's naturally worried about Billy, so Oliver follows the clues to confront Prometheus and get Billy back safely. But Prometheus has apparently been studying Oliver closely, and he predicts how Oliver is going to act. He also perfectly re-enacts a scene from season one when the Hood kills a Big Pharma Executive whose morality is several levels below shady. It's the same building where Oliver makes that kill, and Prometheus leaves random corpses in the exact same position with the exact amount of Oliver's arrows in them, as Oliver follows the trail to the confrontation. When they finally meet and fight, Prometheus pretty much tells Oliver that everything he touches turns to ash, and he brings only pain to the people around him. There's a fight, and during a lull, Oliver falls into a trap: someone dressed like Prometheus steps out of the shadows, so Oliver fills 'em up with arrows, only to discover the guy had a weapon taped to him and a speaker through which Prometheus had been taunting him. When this person is unmasked, it is, of course, Billy Malone that Oliver has just killed.
|That moment when your ex-fiance's boyfriend becomes your personal pincushion...|
I'm going to gush endlessly some more about how this was done. I mean I didn't want poor Billy killed (although it was predictable that Felicity's new beau wouldn't make it to the end of the season, I kind of called it from episode one), but the entire scene was just awesome. And Stephen Amell kills it when he has to return to the Arrowcave and tell the team what happened, and what he's done. Felicity, much to my relief, doesn't immediately get angry with him. Within her tears, she clearly acknowledges that Prometheus has done this, not Oliver.
The last person that Prometheus sets up to ruin in this episode is John, of course. Near the end of the episode, John gets a phone call from Lyla about something being wrong with JJ. It's a trap, however, because when John rushes to the safehouse to find his wife and child, there are a whole lot of military officers waiting for him. Yikes. So I guess he's going back to jail.
|"Crap.. I really fell for that one..."|
Prometheus prophecy is coming true: everyone around Oliver will suffer.
I'm not sure I care for the kind-of reveal that Prometheus is the son of that Big Pharma asshole that Oliver killed in season one (and thus, the baby in the picture), but that appears to be his true identity. I don't know. The dialogue suggests that the baby was an illegitimate child and there doesn't seem to be much indication that Pharma Daddy was an awesome father or anything. So why would this Son of Pharma be this invested in Oliver's downfall? I kind of wonder of there's a twist that I'm missing. But maybe that's just my disappointment at finding out this guy's identity. I felt like it was a bit of a letdown, because it's not a character we've ever seen before, so why do I care? It's not like that episode of season one was even that brilliant to stick in your mind. I vaguely remember that episode, but it wasn't exactly stellar or particularly memorable. I'm kind of hoping that once Prometheus gets unmasked, that it turns out this was a red herring.
But honestly, at this point, I am just finding things to nitpick.
Oh, yeah, and before we wrap things up, this happened:
Have an awesome holiday break, everyone! See you in 2017!