Arrow Season 5 Episode 17 – TV Review
At least Oliver spends a good chunk of the episode shirtless.
That’s something, right?
TL;DR Things get flashback-heavy up in here, as Oliver and Anatoly finally put a stop to Kovar (or do they!?); Adrian’s torture of present day Oliver is pretty bland and consists mostly of nagging; Artemis shows up to be a jerk again; Oliver admits that he killed (kills?) because he wants to, and because he likes it.
The Katy Perry mash-ups have already been made. We missed the boat.
So we’ll start with the flashbacks, because that’s mostly what the episode consists of. It’s more of the same inane Bratva bullshit, culminating in Oliver and Anatoly and their dwindling band of loyalists intervening in Kovar’s plan to massacre some government officials at his casino opening, as the first step in a planned coup of Russia. Because huh? Along the way, Oliver lets his darkness shine a little too much, prompting concern from Anatoly (since when are Russian gangsters so conservative?), and Oliver ends up killing Kovar when he doesn’t really have to. Except we then find out Kovar isn’t dead and Malcolm is somehow involved. For fuck’s sake. Meanwhile in the present, Adrian tortures Oliver, stating he will release him once he confesses to his deep, dark secret. He beats and water tortures Oliver for a bit, and then drags in a supposedly-been-tortured-the-whole-time Artemis for a knife fight to the death challenge. Oliver plays pacifist, so Adrian snaps her neck, and then yada yada yada Oliver admits that he killed back in his Hood days not out of pragmatism, but because he wanted to. And because he liked it. These were the magic words Adrian wanted to hear (Artemis also reveals herself to have been acting this whole time, and is still Adrian’s lackey), and he releases Oliver to grimly trudge back to the base and inform the team that he’s giving up vigilantism.
The OTA has disbanded!
I mean, I can appreciate a bit of shirtless, homoerotic torture as much as the next guy who shakily says he watches superhero shows for the hawt chix. But did it have to come at the expense of a near-full flashback episode?
Nobody deserves that.
Why I hate this episode:
So much Bratva bullshit. There’s even a minor subplot about how Anatoly has to take over the position of the evil executive Bratva who they killed. I don’t fucking care!
And the other Bratva executive turns on them during the final caper and the show can’t even muster the enthusiasm to pretend it matters. I don’t. Fucking care.
OSG’s mum comes back for a hot minute, but only so we can see her die. I don’t fucking. Care.
And to top it all off, Kovar doesn’t even stay dead. I thought, what with Anatoly and Oliver getting their tattoos and sharing cigars, that this was the end of it. But then Malcolm shows up to see Kovar getting patched up by some doctor. What the fuck, Arrow?
Adrian’s grand scheme is super dooper lame. Is it a surprise to anyone that Oliver didn’t have any qualms about murdering people? That was the foundation of the show, and the original reason why I liked Arrow: because it differentiated itself from being a straight Batman clone.
And to expect us to believe that Oliver has never honestly examined his own actions in his head is preposterous. Oliver might not go around shouting his love of homicide from the rooftops, but given the ungodly amount of brooding he does, I can’t accept that he’s never had that little thought dance around in his mind before.
And so what if Oliver likes to kill bad guys? Diggle and Felicity didn’t dump him after all his Season 1 murders. Wild Dog’s power is “has guns,” so he evidently isn’t averse to droppin’ bodies. Thea’s bloodlust period speaks for itself. And Tina’s introductory episode showed that she’s always down to scream someone to death (if they’re a baddie). The only person on the immediate team who might not be chill with killing is Curtis (his exploding, sentient murder spheres might suggest otherwise, though), and what a crying fucking shame it would be if he had to leave. Please, God, no. The horror.
Artemis’ switcheroo sucks all the power out of her scenes. It wasn’t real, and it doesn’t matter. Who cares?
Oh, and Adrian confirms he is indeed Justin Claybourne’s son. What a waste. Arrow didn’t even bother to choose one of Oliver’s actual Season 1 victims to which he could be connected. They had a literal laundry list of them, and instead chose to invent one as of this season. What the fuck?
But it’s not all bad:
This is where I again mention Adrian’s hot face.
Oliver might not have the face hotness of Adrian, but this episode was his time to shine in the beefcake category. More shirtless torture scenes, please.
Although Kovar survived, it’s clear that the Bratva portion of the flashbacks has concluded. I hope. God, I hope.
And it’s not Kovar’s fault the Bratva bullshit was so, well, bullshit. Dolph Lundgren was obviously having a great time as this total arsehole. It was all that rubbish with the traitorous Bratva members that was the problem. I am not opposed to more Dolph.
Kovar does not disappoint with his final boss battle. The fight between him and Oliver in the casino bar is fantastic.
Adrian gets the best line of the episode after Oliver, in desperation, apologises to him for the pain he’s caused him: “I believe you, Oliver. I just don’t care.” See, Adrian doesn’t care, either. It’s not just me.
Oh, and where’s Arrow’s musical episode? Can you imagine an Adrian Chase villain song, written by Rachel Bloom? Sploosh.