Arrow 5×16 Roundtable: 'Checkmate'

Arrow might’ve just begun its path to redemption in “Checkmate,” where Prometheus emerged as a worthy adversary for Oliver, where Felicity got deeper with Helix, and where Oliver was abducted by his foes.

Our Fangirlish writers Alyssa, Lizzie, Nora, and Sarah are breaking down this week’s Arrow, which has us loving on Josh Segarra as Prometheus, Prometheus’ game, and that Olicity moment that reminded us of those moments we’ve been missing this season.

Describe your thoughts about “Checkmate” using just five words.

Alyssa: Prometheus so rules for me.
Lizzie: Don’t give him back, Prommy.
Nora: Can Arrow be about Prometheus?




Sarah: Can Prometheus just keep Oliver?

Describe your feelings about “Checkmate” using a gif.

Alyssa: 

Lizzie:

Nora:

Sarah: 

What are your thoughts on Adrian Chase as Big Bad Prometheus (using a gif)?

Alyssa:

Lizzie:

Nora:

Sarah: 

Now that we’ve had some time to see Josh Segarra in action as Prometheus, what are your thoughts on his portrayal?

Alyssa: Now that I’ve had some time to get over my disappointment with Prometheus not turning out to be Tommy Merlyn, I have to say that I am seriously impressed with the Adrian Chase as Prometheus reveal. While I’d hoped that there was some longer history between the two, I love how Josh Segarra is making it seem like these two were incredibly close making this betrayal hurt.

Segarra is absolutely slaying as Prometheus. He’s incredibly intriguing, charming, and sinister at the same time. He’s making it quite easy, at times, to root for the villain. He electrifies the screen whether it’s in the Prometheus costume or how he’s maneuvering his way around Star City and the people closest to Oliver as DA Adrian Chase. He’s got this intense calm about him that makes him even scarier. There’s something about a villain that’s cool, calm, and collected that is just so chilling. And Segarra is hitting on all cylinders here.

Every scene that he’s in he’s managed to give us a glimpse at just who Prometheus really is. He’s a villain that would kill his wife because revenge means more to him. He’s a villain that legitimately is 10 steps ahead (like, he really is) of our hero. I find myself so enraptured by Segarra’s portrayal through the little things — the facial expressions, the movements, the demeanor. I want more. All the awards to Josh!

Lizzie: Kudos to Josh Segarra, because once I got over my terrible disappointment at how much the writers telegraphed this reveal, I kinda like it? I mean, I don’t think he brings the same baggage and/or gravitas as, let’s say Slade, but that’s not an acting thing as much as a writing thing, because Segarra is doing his absolute best to be creepy and yet purposeful. Before I didn’t really believe him when he said he was always one step ahead, now I might.

Also, I’m really looking forward to next episode, because hey, right now I’m Team Prometheus all the way. Maybe he does have a thing (or twenty) to teach Oliver. And, since it’s not the end of the season yet, we know for sure he’s going to survive and we’ll get to see more of the clash – preferably at the office, because those were the best moments for both his character and Oliver’s, the silent war as they were forced to play a role.

Nora: In the last episode, I was a little upset that Adrian turned out to be Prometheus because I saw it coming from a mile away, but now that we’ve had a full episode with Adrian as Prometheus I honestly think he’s one of the best villains Arrow has had. He makes me hate him in one breathe, but somehow I always want to date him in another? Josh Segarra is doing an INCREDIBLE job as Prometheus. I’ve watched him in numerous things and have even seen him on Broadway, but this might be one of his best roles to date. Prometheus being ten steps ahead of Oliver is what makes this so intriguing. He’s constantly already on his next move, while Oliver’s playing catch up. Other villains have played Oliver before, but this is different. Adrian was close to Oliver, which makes this all the more interesting.

Josh Segarra plays this role so perfectly, I can’t sing his praises enough. Just from this one episode I’m in awe of this character he’s created. He’s sinister, charming and unbelievably witty. There’s so many layers to pull back on Adrian Chase and I can’t wait for Arrow to explore all of this. What makes him so interesting is that he never yells. He rules over Oliver with this eery calm manner and I think that makes him even crazier. Segarra is insanely talented and watching him play the villain is amazing. I almost wish he was unmasked earlier, so we got more episode with Segarra playing Prometheus. The only disappointing thing still is that we will likely have to say goodbye to Segarra at the end of the season.

Sarah: Even if I felt his reveal was severely underwhelming, there was nothing disappointing about Josh Segarra’s performance as the unmasked Prometheus. Once out there, he completely embraced the role exuding the confidence and frankly creepiness that left goosebumps on my arms in how he threatened Team Arrow and especially Oliver. I wasn’t entirely convinced by his “always ten steps ahead” game at first but I’m curious to see if he proves it now going forward. I get the feeling, that Josh is really going to step up now that he has Oliver in his grasp and no offense to Team Arrow I’m on Prometheus’s side all the way in potentially knocking some sense into Oliver Queen, god knows he could use it right now.

Prometheus keeps referencing this “game” that he’s playing and how he’s 10 steps ahead of Oliver and how Oliver doesn’t even know the game they’re playing. What do you think the game is?

Alyssa: Well given that Prometheus’ plan is ultimately to destroy Oliver — without killing him — that obviously points to destroying those closest to him. Given the convincing nature of Prommy’s “I’m 10 steps ahead of you,” I feel like anything and everything at this point could have Prometheus’ hand on it. While there was such an emphasis on Susan’s well-being in this episode, I feel like that was Prometheus kind of playing the misdirect. If he’s been watching Oliver for years, he should know him better than he knows himself. He should know that Susan is nothing compared to others like Felicity, Diggle, and Thea.

Given what we’ve seen so far — Helix reaching out to Felicity and Oliver’s new romance (barf) with Susan — I feel like Prometheus’ endgame somehow involves Felicity in a major way. There’s no doubt in my mind that Prometheus directed Felicity to Helix — and that Helix will eventually turn on her — and I feel like Susan was just a distraction. If Prometheus knows Oliver as well as he claims, he knows that the “one loss away from breaking” applies to Felicity.

I feel like Prometheus’ goal is to just keep destroying Oliver’s life until Prommy is ultimately killed or Oliver is killed. He’s reached this level of obsession and insanity where that’s become his life’s mission. So as far as “endgame,” I mean the closest thing I have is destroying those closest to Oliver and leaving him the cold-blooded killer Prometheus believes him to be. That means targeting Felicity, Diggle, Thea, and potentially William.

Lizzie: If he really is ten steps ahead, as he claims, and it looks like he might at least be two, for what we’ve seen, then the endgame has to be Felicity/Diggle/Thea/William. Those are the people really cares about, not Susan Williams. Susan Williams was just him trying it out, setting the groundwork.

If I were convinced the writers remembered the past four seasons as well as I do (Hey, they’re on Netflix!), I’d say something like what Darhk did last year would be effective.  But I’m done giving Arrow credit. They’re going to have to earn every little bit of good will I give them from now on. So, I hope this is the endgame, but I’m not sure it is. Not sure about anything right now.

Nora: Prometheus isn’t a stupid villain. He’s constantly looking ahead and figuring out every possible outcome. Prometheus keeps bragging that he’s “ten steps ahead of Oliver,” so his game needs to have some crazy outcome. This episode focused heavily on Oliver’s affection for Susan and how Prometheus is able to use that to capture Oliver. Although Susan and Oliver are together in the present day, Prometheus has been watching Oliver for years. He knows about Shado, Tommy, Laurel. He knows EVERYTHING Oliver has ever done and he knows his weaknesses, possibly even more than Oliver does. So, I think kidnapping Susan was a misdirect. Prometheus has to know that Diggle, Felicity and Thea mean more to Oliver than Susan. And if Arrow tries to feed me some lie that Susan is on the same level as those three, I will fling myself out a window.

The end of the season is focusing on Prometheus and Oliver’s game and Felicity’s involvement with Helix. This has me thinking that Felicity is going to play a major role in Prometheus’s final game. She has to. I’m sorry, but there’s no way Felicity can’t be involved in Prometheus’ grand scheme. Despite the lies Arrow has been feeding us, Felicity is still the person Oliver cares most about. His endgame is clearly to make Oliver’s life a living hell and what better way than to put Felicity in complete danger. After this episode, I don’t even trust the people at Helix. Prometheus could have the Helix people eating out the palm of his hand, so this could lead Felicity to getting thrown in jail, something Oliver would not stand for.

Although, Arrow’s aversion to Olicity could change all this and Thea could be the one to suffer Prometheus wrath. After all, Thea has been slowly saying her goodbyes all season, or so it feels like that. Either way, I think Susan was a clever misdirect by Prometheus so he could go after Felicity, Diggle and/or Thea. Every other villain has recognized that they’re his weakness, so there’s no way Prometheus doesn’t.

Sarah: Given his confidence bragging about constantly being “ten steps ahead” I can only imagine it means destroying everything that Oliver holds dear, even if he’s forgotten what that is at the moment. Prometheus started with targeting the “obvious” by kidnapping Susan, but I guarantee that was only the opening to the reign of terror he seems truly, ahem, excited to sink his teeth into. After everything Oliver has been through, and how hard he’s fought to protect the people who matter most, IE Felicity, Diggle, Thea, and William all of them I know will be in immense danger as he gets further into it.

I can’t begin to guess the details but I’m praying (I’m past hoping at this point) that the Arrow writers have a really good villainous slow reveal mystery about this “game” in store for us. I don’t know what the likelihood is at this point but if Oliver gets a massive wake up (ESPECIALLY about Felicity) then play your game Prometheus I’m curious to see where it goes.

What is your reaction (using a gif) to seeing that Susan was found safe and alive?

Alyssa:

Lizzie:

Nora:

Sarah: 

There was a nice Olicity moment where Oliver voiced his concerns about Felicity’s dealings with this secret that she’s keeping. What did you think of that small moment?

Alyssa: Let’s get one thing clear: I’m far away from forgiving Arrow for how it’s treated Oliver and Felicity’s relationship this season. I know that we have a certain 5×20 coming up (which I’ll admit, I’m actually excited for), but I’m in my way going to forgive the wrong that has been done. But also with that said, no one is ever beyond redemption, Arrow included. This show can earn my trust back, but it’s going to take a lot of time and a lot of work on screen.

And honestly, that small moment between Oliver and Felicity where Oliver took a moment to share his concern for her — and not Susan for a change — was reminiscent of the old Olicity moments that have always made my heart flutter. Not only did Stephen Amell and Emily Bett Rickards’ chemistry flourish, but there was also a genuineness there that hasn’t been present in the longest time. I feel like this could be the starting point where the two eventually decide to communicate and let their grievances out (which appears to be going down in 5×20.) I just hope that this moment between the two of them isn’t cheapened by what’s to come.

Lizzie: I’m of two minds re: that moment. For one, I’m happy we got to see it, it was a small nod to the characters I knew and loved and a nice piece of continuity that I didn’t even think the writers were capable of at this point. BUT it also felt like a slap in the face. We had to wait 16 episodes to kinda get a glimpse at the characters you built up for four years, Arrow? Is this year just supposed to be a wash? Did I waste all these hours of my life? Because, in a way, that’s also what it feels like.

Not because you can’t fix it – you can, and maybe you will. This moments proves that it won’t even be that hard. My main issue is with the fact that you were so willing to throw away an entire season because, hey, syndication, money, or hey, who knows what reason. Which just means that, even if you fix it now, I will never believe you completely. I may love the characters, and I may continue to watch, but I will never trust you again, Arrow. That’s where we stand.

Nora: I’m nowhere close to forgiving Arrow for all the character development they’ve undone this season, especially with Oliver and Felicity. They’ve tried so hard to have us forget they even dated that Olicity has all but disappeared. If I started watching Arrow this season, I don’t think I would even recognize that oliver and Felicity even dated. I’m excited for the possible Olicity moments we’re going to get in 5×20 and hope this reignited this ship.

The small moment in this episode was very reminiscent of the Olicity I fell in love with. Oliver is genuinely concerned for Felicity and this is a moment I’ve wanted to see for several episodes. In just a single moment, Stephen Amell and Emily Bett Rickards chemistry shined once again. I’ve been waiting for Oliver to show concern for Felicity. Felicity is always saving Oliver from his demons, so it’s time Oliver helped Felicity. Even at the end of the episode, Felicity is willing to do anything in her power to find Oliver. This is the Olicity I’ve been waiting all seasons to see. A couple that realizes they dated and they’re trying to find their way back to each other.

Sarah: It was a lovely moment, and I really enjoyed it when I was watching it but afterwards I could only think “We really had to wait this long to see this kind of interaction?” The Arrow writers have basically destroyed Olicity as we knew it from the last four seasons, and it was like seeing a glimpse of the good old days when their character writing for Oliver & Felicity actually made sense. It gives me a tiny glimmer of hope we might, might being the key word here, see Oliver and Felicity return to form a little bit.

I still don’t trust Arrow with a ten foot pole to do them justice anymore, that faith was lost a long time ago. However if they tentatively decide to bring in more moments like this and maybe have them resemble the characters/relationship they used to be (that I loved with all my heart and want back) I could keep an open mind about where Olicity is going. To make it clear though, even if they start to repair the damage they caused I’ll never forget how far they let them fall for the sake of “rebooting” so it’ll be a bittersweet moment if that return to form ever happens.

Prometheus is working with Talia al Ghul to bring Oliver down and make him suffer. What are your thoughts on the villainous pair abducting Oliver?

Alyssa: I feel like this abduction might actually turn out to be a blessing in disguise. It’s no secret that I’ve been a fan of how The Flash finally admitted that they f***ed up with Barry and are working on rebuilding his character. And that’s exactly what Oliver Queen needs. He’s become so unrecognizable that he needs to be beaten into his old self. That’s why I believe this abduction and subsequent torturing will ultimately end up doing more good than harm. The last time that Oliver was tortured (interestingly) it came at the hands of Ra’s al Ghul and the League of Assassins. It was then that Oliver was able to cling to everything that he believed in, and in a way, was able to recapture this sense of the kind of hero he is — what’s important and ultimately working to figure out a way to end his enemy.

Lizzie: I don’t really like Oliver right now, so yay? I mean, the Talia thing was about as surprising as the Prometheus thing, that is to say not surprising at all, but at least something’s happened. At least someone’s going to confront Oliver with his bad decisions. I wish someone could confront the writers with their bad writing in a similar manner, but I’ll settle for Oliver learning a few lessons for now.

Nora: I think Oliver’s abduction will finally have him come face to face with the decisions he’s made. Like Alyssa said, The Flash is doing a similar thing with Barry. By having the threat of Iris dying in the future, Barry is in a constant struggle with himself and his past mistakes. I think it’s time Arrow did this with Oliver and it appears that next week’s episode will do just that. Oliver has become a shell of the character we’ve grown to love. It’s time he became the vigilante we’re all willing to rally behind. By having Adrian and Talia working together, Oliver has no choice but to confront this sins of his past, whether it’s in Star City or in Russia or even on Lian Yu. There’s nowhere for Oliver to run, he must finally face his demons without Diggle or Felicity as crutches to lean on. I’m excited to see Talia and Prometheus in next episode and I hope some character restructuring for Oliver comes out of it.

Sarah: Oliver has been driving me nuts, so honestly I had next to no sympathy for him getting abducted by Prometheus. In fact I’m really hoping Prometheus’s obvious desire to break him down wakes up him to how insane he’s been acting (or ahem written) this season. The Talia reveal was no surprise at all I figured she’d be showing up at some point so it was more of a meh well maybe I’ll care eventually about this flashback character showing up, right now there’s more important things to focus on in the present. LIke how Oliver is about to get a harsh lesson (or more than one) courtesy of the man who’s determined to literally ruin his life.

Felicity has officially joined Helix and is willing to do anything to save Oliver. What road do you think our girl is headed down?

Alyssa: Well it’s definitely not the yellow brick road, let’s be honest. Helix has presented itself as this dark storyline for Felicity, and we’ve yet to really see the repercussions of Felicity’s actions. This episode was the first time that Felicity officially went to extremes to get information in order to help her team. She hacked Homeland Security, and you can’t tell me that’s not going to come back to bite her in the ass. You also can’t tell me that this is going to be the last thing that she’s going to do. Come on, Oliver is kidnapped and there are no leads. She basically told Helix that she’ll do whatever — yes, whatever — they want in order to get information as to where Oliver is being held.

You cannot tell me that Prometheus doesn’t have some role in this. How this was the plan all along. To find the source of Oliver’s light — Felicity — and corrupt her into darkness and watch as Oliver suffers. I bet this was the plan all along. Prometheus sent Helix to Felicity; Prometheus had Diggle incarcerated; Prometheus began creating situations that required Felicity to use Pandora and Helix; Prometheus was building to the moment where he kidnapped Oliver and will use Helix’s pull on Felicity to destroy her as Oliver watches. All I know for sure is that things aren’t going to get better for our girl, and it breaks my heart as much as it excites me to see Felicity getting some well-deserved screen time.

Lizzie: Dear God, please let it be somewhere. Anywhere, as long as that place has ample screen time and some actual darkness. That and no apologies for Oliver for breaking up with him. That’s legit all I can manage as far as expectations at this point. In a perfect world, I’d ask for some real darkness and a deeper understanding for Felicity or why Oliver does what he does and why he sometimes makes the decisions he makes. I’d also ask for her to actually get to save the day and be recognized for it. And yes, I’d ask for her to own Helix, one way or another.

Nora: Helix is Felicity’s darkness. It’s an organization that is giving her all the power she needs to help her friends and family. It’s the perfect organization that plays to Felicity’s strengths and weaknesses. Even in this episode we saw that she’ll do anything for them if it means protecting those she loves. Now, Oliver’s kidnapped and they don’t have a single lead as to where he is. Felicity is going to do everything in her power, even if that means crossing some moral lines, to find him. Arrow can try to throw us off the Olicity path all they want, but Felicity still love Oliver deep down. She doesn’t want to see him hurt in any way, so she’s going to find him. I said it above, but I’ll say it again, Prometheus has to have some connection to Helix. Why would these two storylines be playing out simultaneously if he didn’t? I’m very curious where Helix is going to lead Felicity especially now that Oliver is in danger. It’s an exciting storyline for Felicity and I can’t wait to see what Emily Bett Rickards does with it.

Sarah: I’m hoping to her own personal island that involves really excellent writing for Felicity’s descent into her own kind of darkness. Helix represents everything Felicity has come to rely on and use exceedingly in the face of any crime or problem Team Arrow has been dealing with. It’s only gotten easier for her to rationalize going back to it the more it gets the results she wants the consequences of the method be damned.

While I know part of it is rooted in how much she’s gone through at the end of the day Felicity is the person who is brilliant, big hearted and uses whatever she can to save the people she cares about the most. Right now, even though it defies the writing logic of the past season, that still includes Oliver and it’s not any surprise she’d run right back to track him down asap. I can’t imagine where this story ends, but I’m praying that someone *cough Oliver cough* learns enough about what she’s gotten involved in, and fully see the choices she’s been making lately and how it’s affected her enough to confront her about it. God knows Oliver’s been confronted so many times over the years, but however it goes down I can’t wait to see Emily Bett Rickards nail every moment of it.

What are your thoughts on “5×20” from the teases we’ve gotten so far (using a gif)?

Alyssa:

Lizzie:

Nora:

Sarah: 

Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW. Stay tuned for another Arrow roundtable next Wednesday.


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