Arrow 5×09 Review: Unintended Consequences

Arrow writers, You have failed this audience.
This season of Arrow has been disappointing and agitating to say the least. But silly me to have some hope heading into the midseason finale that perhaps would jumpstart a better second half.
While Arrow’s season 5 midseason finale seemed to recapture some of the magic that has made Arrow a success – the OTA flashbacks, Olicity magic, action, and emotion – it wasn’t ultimately a solid episode. 
When you put this midseason finale side-by-side with last season’s, season four’s midseason finale it paled in comparison.
I’m not going to lie, there were certain parts of the episode that I really enjoyed. I loved the flashbacks, I loved the Olicity storyline involving Oliver killing a certain someone and the ramifications of it moving forward, I loved the focus on actual emotional storylines.
God I missed this smitten face:

But there were some things that kind of ruined it as a whole for me. And unfortunately those outweighed the good. I hated how the writers continue to drive this reporter chick down our throats. How they’re trying to make it believable that Oliver, who is the definition of trust issues, would trust this woman after knowing her all of five minutes. How they’re trying to make it believable that Felicity would be left alone – crying – in her apartment after Oliver killed a certain someone while Oliver went to make out with this reporter chick. How everyone’s all “poor Oliver” after Oliver killed Felicity’s boyfriend. The misogyny and lack of logic is not only disappointing but it’s ludicrous.
But even getting glimpses of what has made Arrow the success it is has given me some semblance of hope moving forward. Until the final scene.
I was never the biggest fan of Laurel Lance. But I actually liked her character last season. I cried when she died. But if the writers are bringing Laurel back – the real Laurel – then they officially cannot be trusted with anything. They will have defied their own rules. They will have shown that they cater to a certain fan base instead of just letting the characters tell the story.
Let’s break this midseason finale down:

Prometheus’ Psychological Warfare

If Prometheus really is the son of that man that Oliver killed I’m going to be really disappointed. But with that said, I am so impressed by who Prometheus is as a Big Bad. I don’t think we’ve seen someone exert psychological warfare in this way before. It’s really truly terrifying and intriguing at the same time.
This was the episode where we really got to see the kind of villain Prometheus is. And he’s coming at Oliver in a different direction than we’ve before – at least to this degree. Prometheus has studied Oliver front and back, left to right, again and again. He’s had four years to stew in this hatred and four years to plot his revenge.
This is a guy who anticipated every move that Oliver made to the point where he had Oliver kill the love of his life’s current boyfriend. Like are you kidding me? What kind of person is this? This kind of torture – the psychological kind – s far more dangerous and effective than that of the physical kind.
Oliver is an expert when it comes to physical torture. He’s experienced it all. It doesn’t phase him. But Prometheus has gotten inside his psyche. We got a glimpse of that tonight. But the chilling thing moving forward is that this was only a glimpse. Prometheus surely has more up his sleeve. And he’s going to torture Oliver throughout the remainder of the season.
Like he said, he’s going to make Oliver wish he was dead.

Ding Dong, the Detective is Dead!

How’s that for a literary device? Wishes really do come true! Well, half of a wish. Someone else is still alive and well and being her annoying reporter self.
Arrow finally killed off Felicity’s boyfriend Detective Malone. While he didn’t die in act 5 of the season premiere like Stpehen Amell teased at Comic-Con, he did die in act 5 of the midseason finale. So props to Amell on that tease!
One of the things that Arrow did right was Malone’s death. It was actually shocking the way that it came about. Who would’ve thought that Prometheus was so damn smart that he anticipated Oliver’s moves and found a way for Oliver to kill his true love’s current boyfriend? Talk about shock value with a kick!
Obviously Prometheus’ intentions were clear: he wanted to turn everyone that cared for Oliver against him. Take away those people that drive him in his personal and professional life and you will beat down the man to the point where he would welcome death.
So naturally Prometheus knew that he had to turn Felicity against Oliver. Prometheus has been studying Oliver. He not only knows what the public knows – that Oliver and Felicity were engaged and broke it off – but he also has been studying Oliver personally. He knows that the one person that he’d have to turn against Oliver to cripple him would be Felicity. And he thought he knew exactly how to do it.
He led Oliver right into a trap. He lured Oliver transporting him back four years as Prometheus recreated the scene. He had Oliver right where he wanted him. He made Oliver believe that he was killing Prometheus when he actually killed Malone. There was a legit audible gasp that came from my mouth followed by a smile.
Malone, when compared to the reporter, is by far the less hated one in my book. But we all knew his time was coming. I’m just really impressed with how Arrow managed to execute it. Well done.

Ramifications for Oliver & Felicity

Prometheus sought Detective Malone for a reason. It was because he knew exactly how this would play out. He’d kidnap Malone. Oliver would come after him. Oliver would try and kill him. Prometheus would then put a speaker on Malone’s chest – dressed like Prometheus and his mouth duck taped – and Oliver would then kill Malone, who he thought was actually Prometheus. Prometheus did this for one reason and one reason only.
He wanted to turn Felicity against Oliver.
Prometheus was talking about how he was going to turn everyone Oliver cares about against him. About how anyone close to him gets hurt. Prometheus has done his homework. He knows that Felicity is the most important person in Oliver’s life. He knows the depths to which he loves her. So if he could get Felicity to turn against him, he knew that it would break Oliver.

But Prometheus isn’t as smart as he thinks. What he doesn’t understand is the depth of Oliver and Felicity’s relationship. They’ve endured so much, stuck by each other through so much, you don’t get much closer than Oliver and Felicity. But they’re also incredibly smart.
Felicity understood that it was Prometheus pulling the strings. Oliver might’ve shot the arrows, but it was Prometheus that aimed them at Malone. And Felicity didn’t even have to think twice when believing what Oliver said was true. She trusts him. Prometheus can’t take that.
But looking forward to the ramifications for Oliver and Felicity.
I don’t see this hindering their relationship so much as this stupid reporter lady is hindering it. That’s why they planted the seed so early. They knew they were going to kill Malone, they wanted drama, they want Felicity to pine after Oliver ala seasons 1 and 2; they wanted to do all of this before they put them back together again.
Because make no mistake, Oliver and Felicity will be reunited by season’s end. This midseason finale had that written all over it. Especially the adorable flashback four years prior. The red pen. The cute flirtations. Oliver on bended knee.

Yep, another proposal and marriage is in the cards for these two. It’s just going to be a long and arduous journey over the course of the rest of season five until we get there.
Also I want to ask the writers one thing. Why the hell does Oliver trust this reporter lady after knowing her all of five minutes? A second question: Why did Oliver leave Felicity alone – and crying – in her apartment after he killed her boyfriend? Do you even know these characters anymore?

We Need More of These Kinds of Flashbacks

It’s no secret that the weak spot of Arrow in its now five seasons have been the Island flashbacks. They’ve had their moments – season two – but they’ve been a letdown in the long run. This season’s looked to be promising – and still do – but I haven’t really connected to them liked I’d hoped.
Now, this midseason finale did flashbacks of a different sort. In an effort to set up this Big Bad Prometheus, Arrow flashed back to season one to a case that we didn’t get to see on television. It was when it was just Oliver and Diggle in the Foundry with Felicity at Queen Consolidated as Oliver’s go-to girl.
Watching these flashbacks – watching Oliver and Diggle in the Foundry arguing about Oliver’s mission and watching Oliver and Felicity interact before they were officially on the same team – was the most satisfying set of flashbacks that I’ve seen in this series.
Why? Well sure it had to do with the Oliver & Diggle and Oliver & Felicity interactions – Original Team Arrow scenes are always the best and most organic. But it also had to do with how they tied into the present, which is something that the Island flashbacks have tried and mostly failed to accomplish.
But can we just talk about the flashback scene that had us all swooning:

IT WAS RED.

Getting to see this flashback – one that we were seeing for the first time – really brought me down memory lane. To a time when it was just Oliver & Diggle. To a time when Felicity was pretending to be fooled by Oliver’s ridiculous lies and helped him because she trusted him for a reason she didn’t quite understand but has never questioned since. It reminded me why I fell in love with Arrow. Oliver, Diggle, and Felicity.
These are the kinds of flashbacks that I want to see. Given that this is the final season of Island flashbacks, if Arrow still wants to go the flashback route occasionally they should really do something like this. It would allow us to get to see certain things from past seasons and be a cool way to connect the pieces. But most of all, it would be emotionally significant to us because we care.

Curtis & Paul Are No More

One of the main storylines in this episode centered around Curtis and Paul’s relationship. After Curtis had been lying about how he’d been spending his nights, Paul confronted him with an ultimatum: Be with me or work for the Green Arrow. You would think that Curtis’ first instinct would be to be with Paul. That’s what history has shown us to this point.
But Curtis, who has now found his calling as a hero, said that he couldn’t give that up. Even if it meant losing Paul. Which he did. Well, it sure does beat Paul dying. Room for reconciliation.

But What Now for Diggle?!

This was more of a split moment at the end of the episode, but Lyla called Diggle in a panic and he showed up to an apartment filled with guns aimed at him. Is it the military? Someone else? Who knows. But it’s certainly not good.
What’s going to happen to Diggle? Is he going to be taken away from us again? Why can’t they just take Wild Dog. No one likes him anyway. But we’ll keep Rory cause he’s cool.

Laurel is Alive?

Well they did tell us not to miss the final moment of this midseason finale. Following a harrowing hour filled with shocking cliffhangers and kills, Oliver walked into the Arrow Cave to find Laurel standing there to greet him.
Okay so my first thought – besides being angry that these writers decided to go back on their own rules – was that it isn’t really Laurel. It’s Black Siren pretending to be Laurel. Or it’s some kind of hallucination or a metahuman. But I’d go with the first one. Because there’s no way in my mind that I can accept that these producers just up and decided to say, “Surprise! Laurel isn’t dead!” without any logic whatsoever. Logic is something greatly lacking with these producers. Maybe we can all gift them some for the holidays!
I’m not mad at the fact at the possibility that Laurel is alive so much that I’m mad that she was dead and now might not be. Then why go ahead and kill her in the first place? For the shock value of it all? Really?
Laurel was actually growing on me last season. It was the most I’ve liked her in the entire series. If she was still alive I’d have no problem. But I have a problem that they killed her and might’ve decided to bring her back to life. It’s like they think we’re stupid.
And if these writers try to use Flashpoint as an excuse to bring Laurel back than they’re even stupider than I thought. We all know Flashpoint. We understand Flashpoint. Flashpoint is a timeline where the characters remember these changes as if they were the original story we know. The last time I checked, everyone remembered Laurel dying; everyone remembered that Laurel is dead.
But then again the writers this season have proven to have virtually zero logic and underestimate their fan base. We remember everything. Don’t try to tell us any different.
Arrow returns with new episodes Wednesday, Jan. 25 at 8/7c on the CW.

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