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– by Mark Cook

Photo Courtesy of CW/DC.

Photo Courtesy of CW/DC.

 Arrow returns with episode 12 of Season 5.  The episode begins with a flashback of Talia training Oliver by telling him to embrace the darkness.  Talia tells Oliver that she has found him in order for him to correct his mistakes.  The flashbacks have been great since Talia’s return, but failed to deliver in this episode.  Aside from the flashbacks being limited, they didn’t reveal anything new.  Talia wants him to avenge his father, which was covered last episode.  This seems like a missed opportunity to take advantage of the hype the flashbacks have recently developed. 

Photo Courtesy of CW/DC.

Photo Courtesy of CW/DC.

The episode also brought the return of two characters; Quentin Lance and Susan Williams.  News comes that General Walker has stolen a military nuke.  Oliver takes most of the team, including the new Black Canary, to Russia where he meets Anatoly who greets him with a punch to the face stating, “You should never have come back to Russia.”  Anatoly was upset that Oliver did not help a Bratva friend 3 years prior which lead to the individual’s death at the hands of Slade Wilson.  The story line in Russia is fine, but why has Arrow stopped focusing on Prometheus?  The episodes leading to the Winter Break were amazing, and I felt like we were finally going to gain more clues as to who Prometheus may be.  Since the show’s return, we have barely seen Prometheus and haven’t seen Artemis since her defection.  I assume they want to drag the reveal as long as possible, but the past couple episodes have been mediocre at best.  The first half of the season constantly kept me wanting more and had the twists, and action that Seasons 1 and 2 had.  The second half of the season has had me wanting…something different.  They seem to be “filler” episodes giving all the team members fairly equal screen time rather than advancing the overall story.  This was one of the downfalls of Season 4. Support characters should be used as that…support.  Trying to balance equal screen time and character development for all of them has lead to a watered down plot.   Keep the focus on Oliver and Prometheus.  

In order for Anatoly to give Oliver the information he needs, he makes Oliver carry out some business for him.  This situation is a reminder for Oliver that every time he tries to move forward, he is brought back to his past.  He also feels that Diggle torturing a man in order to gain information on Walker, and Felicity threatening a man for information are due to his influences. He wants them to be better than him, not the same.  Anatoly arrives with his men and the location of Walker.  Diggle proves to Oliver, and himself, that he is above the darkness when he chooses to turn Walker over to the authorities rather than killing him. 

Rory was the true hero this week as he wrapped his rags around the nuke that Felicity could not disarm.  The rags took the blast of the nuke, just as they had when his home town was destroyed. Unfortunately, the blast affected the connection he has with the rags and he feels the need to leave the group so that he will not be a liability.  This is fine, but also too familiar.  Rory already left the team at one point this season so why have him do it again?  Also, when Curtis felt he wasn’t an asset to the team he was encouraged to stay, but Felicity merely said something along the lines of, “come back when you’re ready.”

The interesting part at the end was that the vodka bottle seen in Russia, and the flashback, was the same brand that Susan Williams had in her apartment.  She also makes the connection betweenthe Bratva and Oliver’s chest tattoo.  The major twist is when she has an informant show her a picture of an archer in Russia the same time Oliver was with the Bratva.  She makes the connection that Oliver is probably the Green Arrow.  My thoughts are that she has some type of connection to Kovar and is actually trying to get close to Oliver for revenge and/or she is somehow connected to Prometheus.

Arrow: Season 5, Episode 12 was…meh.  It seemed unnecessary.  Anytime there is an Arrow episode that barely has the Green Arrow in it, the outcome usually isn’t great. Here is to hoping that the next episode brings back some of the magic we saw in the first half of the season.

What were your thoughts on this week’s episode of Arrow?  Leave your thoughts in the usual spot, and thanks for reading!