Arrow Season 5 Episode 18 – TV Review
It’s a good thing Adrian’s season-long plan of getting Oliver to admit he’s a trigger-happy murder machine isn’t undone with less than one episode’s worth of pep talking from minor characters.
TL;DR Oliver is pep talked out of the blues by Diggle, and un-disbands the team; but not before making a deal with Anatoly and the Bratva to assassinate Adrian (which is called off, obv); Felicity and Curtis tumble deeper into Helix’s pockets, but Helix helps deliver public proof of Adrian as Prometheus; the flashbacks feature some Bratva bullshit, but not very much.
Because now it looks like we’ll be having ongoing Bratva bullshit in the present, instead.
So yeah, Oliver is totes serial about disbanding the team. But that doesn’t mean he’s not going to take care of Adrian “Prometheus” Chase, who continues to be a slimy little jerk. With a hot face. Oliver calls in Anatoly and the Bratva to assassinate Adrian, and in exchange he permits Anatoly to rob some pharmaceutical companies or whatever. Despite this being a solid plan, Diggle puts on his “I’m a big boy and I matter” boots (they’re real dusty, you know) because he wants to save Oliver’s soul from the weight of putting a hit out on Adrian. Umm, what? I think it’s okay this time, Dig. Adrian is bad news. But then they also find out that Anatoly’s heists are to create some kind of lucrative street drug to sell, as the Bratva is in financial dire straits, and this spurs Oliver into rescinding the deal and announcing the team’s un-disbandment. Oliver and Anatoly verbally slap fight about ideals versus pragmatism, with the end result being Adrian not having been assassinated, and apparent impending attacks on Oliver and the team from the Bratva. Fuck. Off. For fuck’s sake, really? Fuck. Meanwhile, Felicity, with Curtis tagging along, works with Helix to unscramble some footage they’ve found of Adrian taking off his Prometheus mask while in costume. They have to rob some tech company to do it, but so what? Who cares? Kacey and Helix help them repair the footage, and they out Adrian as Prometheus. But of course, Adrian, currently under witness protection due to an earlier Bratva attempt on his life, pre-empts and murders his security detail and coasts off into the night. And in the flashbacks, hopefully for the last time, we see Oliver doing a farewell heist with Anatoly to provide to sick children in a hospital.
Because that’s what Russian murder gangsters are really in business for: Robin Hooding.
We’ll get to the actual plot problems of this episode in a moment. Don’t you worry.
But did Arrow not appreciate that this episode makes Adrian’s whole plan against Oliver a giant wank? Literally all it took for Oliver to rebuild his self-image is a finger wagging speech from Diggle.
And this is hardly the first time Oliver has been given a Diggle pep talk.
Adrian’s plan was pointless. Utterly, utterly pointless.
Why I hate this episode:
And Oliver’s resolution, to continue being a hero to atone for his past sins, is so fucking obvious. If there isn’t some upcoming reveal that this was also part of Adrian’s plan, then Prometheus might be the dumbest major villain Arrow has had yet. Sure, Ra’s was shockingly oblivious to Oliver’s deception, but at least he almost succeeded in murdering the whole gang (he couldn’t have predicted The Flash would intervene). And Damien’s global genocide plan wasn’t original, but he did manage to get all those nukes in the air. Adrian hasn’t achieved anything. What the fuck?
And again: Oliver’s resolution was so fucking obvious. It was painful to sit through the episode and pretend that Oliver might not be swayed by Diggle’s nagging. Of course he will. And of course he did.
Onto the more mechanical problems, and we have the bizarre opposition to Oliver’s plan of having the Bratva assassinate Adrian. It’s actually a pretty good plan, you guys. Even Felicity, the queen of irrationality, is on board for it. But nuh uh, Oliver ordering a mob hit on a mass-murdering, wife-murdering psychopath will be the final affront to Oliver’s soul, and he will descend into inescapable darkness. Fucking what? We saw flashback Oliver torture a guy essentially for funsies last episode. I think he’ll be okay, Diggle and co. It’s cool.
The revelation that Anatoly is stealing the pharmaceutical drugs to make and sell street drugs is also weird. Is Oliver surprised that the Bratva, a gang (in Russia, no less), would generate revenue from drugs? Isn’t that, like, all that gangs do? And we know the CW probably isn’t edgy enough to do any human trafficking stuff, so this should be an easy assumption to make about the Bratva. Huh?
But then we get the flashbacks showing how Anatoly wants to save sick hospital kids or something. Again, huh? You’re gangsters, right? Huh?
It’ll be disappointing if Arrow is positioning the Bratva as a new villainous presence in the present. Considering the relentless ineptitude and failure they’ve displayed (unless Oliver is on their side), I can’t buy them as a plausible threat.
Thea does not appear in this episode.
Bitch Reporter is swept aside without much fanfare, as Oliver dumps her for her own safety. Again, super original there, Arrow.
Curtis just needs to shut up. Like, come on, Arrow. Don’t pretend you’re not hearing his dialogue. Just stop.
Wild Dog, Diggle, and Tina shoot the fuck out of Bratva goons when saving some hostages they’ve taken. You might have missed it, but there was a quick pan to a bunch of bullet casings on the floor that spelled out “We Are Hypocrites Yes We Are.” Go back and watch the episode again. You’ll find it.
Oh, and to really harp on Oliver’s martyrdom, it’s unfortunate timing that Oliver’s response to Diggle about doing bad things so Diggle and the team don’t have to has coincided with Gold’s identical, and identically infuriating, plan over on Once Upon a Time. If the person who you’re “saving” knows what you’re doing, and that you’re doing it for them, then you don’t really get the points for it. Sorry.
But it’s not all bad:
Diggle’s pep talk, while predictable and wholly underwhelming, provides a welcome Best Bros moment between him and Oliver. I just wish Arrow could give us moments like these without the triteness.
Oliver’s plan to send the Bratva after Adrian is a practical, sensible course of action. It’s a shame it is derailed.
And a huge thanks to Felicity for being totally fine with it. Diggle appeals to her to join him in berating Oliver into submission, but Felicity’s like “Nah, it’s cool.” Because it is, Diggle. Wild Dog also agrees.
Felicity is also distracted because she’s actually getting shit done over at Helix. She has to steal from that tech company, but it’s not like Team Arrow hasn’t ever done something like that before. And the end result is that they’re able to provide to the police (and if Felicity is to be taken at her word, the Internet) concrete evidence that Adrian Chase is Prometheus. Felicity: hero. It’s rare, but she’s earned it.
I’d like to believe that Anatoly might kindly fuck off, and Helix could still emerge as the new villains on the block. Felicity now owes them even bigger for foiling Adrian. And I want Kacey to get her bitch on.
Oliver punches Diggle in the face after he leads the team to thwart the first Bratva assassination attempt on Adrian. I can dig it.
Oh, and did you know Adrian has a hot face?