Arrow 5×17 Roundtable: ‘Kapiushon’

Last Wednesday’s Arrow might’ve been heavy on the past with a slew of flashbacks, but it was all about the present and the future in “Kapiushon.”

Our Fangirlish writers Alyssa, Lizzie, Nora, and Sarah are breaking down this week’s Arrow, which has us obsessing over Stephen Amell and Josh Segarra’s epic performances, as well as Prometheus managing to break Oliver. And we tell you why Diggle and Felicity will pull him through.

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

Alyssa: Hallelujah, Arrow has finally returned!

Lizzie: See, you can do it.

Nora: Stephen and Josh. Simply Wow.

Sarah: Arrow, God there you are

Describe your feelings about “Kapiushon” using a gif.

Alyssa:

Lizzie:

Nora:

Sarah:

While this was a flashback heavy episode, Stephen Amell and Josh Segarra’s scenes stole the entire episode. What were your thoughts on their performances?

Alyssa: If there’s something that Arrow does really well it’s allowing characters moments to really dig deep into the emotional aspects of their characters. It’s not that they can’t, it’s that they’re not often given the opportunity to do so. The narrative doesn’t allow it because there’s always so much going on. It says a lot that in an episode with lots of heavy action and fight sequences in the flashbacks that it was the moments where Oliver and Adrian were conversing that were the memorable parts of the episode — and not because the flashbacks were boring. But because Stephen Amell and Josh Segarra absolutely killed it with their performances. When actors can make you get lost in the moment of a scene(s) it’s something truly special. Whether it was interacting with each other or their own personal allure, Stephen and Josh — especially Stephen — really dug deep into the layers of their characters. But Stephen stole the show for me. It was his presence, intense vulnerability, and raw emotion that proved that it’s moments like these that he truly shines. We need more of it.

Lizzie: Wow. Especially Josh, though certainly Stephen as well, really sold this episode with their performances alone, and that’s not something I get to say about Arrow that often. Not because the actors don’t have the caliber, but because it’s not the type of show that usually allows them to turn in performances like the ones in this episode. I was especially impressed with Josh, because I already knew Stephen could convince me, and yet, to this point, I’d seen Prometheus as a somewhat creepy and yet not-Slade level villain. And then this happened – and, for the first time, I legit felt afraid of what this guy could bring. He wasn’t even threatening death, and yet he was scary AF. That’s the sign of a great performance.

Nora: Stephen and Josh blew the roof off this entire episode. Simply wow. All season I have been urging Arrow to return to focusing on characters as opposed to plot and man, did they deliver with this episode. Giving us an entire episode with just flashbacks, Stephen and Josh was risky, but Arrow managed to give us one of their best episodes ever. Arrow has always done very well with character driven episodes, like Felicity’s backstory episode in season 3, so to get a character episode focusing on Oliver was awesome. Stephen and Josh were phenomenal. Josh is giving a career-defining performance as Prometheus. In this episode, I was genuinely worried. He manages to strike fear, while also being charismatic. Josh and Jeffrey Dean Morgan should trade notes because while Jeffrey has been getting praise as Negan, Josh should also receive some for Prometheus. He’s so brilliant and I can’t wait to see what he does with this character in the final episodes of season five. Stephen blew me away. He’s grown so much as an actor and it just goes to show, if he’s given the correct material, he can really soar.

Sarah: Holy shittake mushrooms. I realize that’s a strange phrase, but it’s the first thing that came to mind watching Stephen Amell and Josh Segarra face off as Adrian worked to bring Oliver down to the barest level to get him to say what he wanted. Josh, alone would have been enough to floor me with how calm and yet terrifying in the way he systematically worked through Oliver’s past and his friends to get this “confession.” His confidence in what he’s doing only grew the more Oliver faltered and Stephen Amell played his desperation against trying to save Evelyn (traitor though) and threatening him over Diggle, Felicity and Williams lives perfectly against him. As much as I have not cared for Oliver this season Stephen Amell’s ability to kill it in episodes like this almost makes up for it. Whatever I have to say about the writing there is brilliant acting going on here and for the first time in a while (maybe all season) these two kept me on the edge of my seat on what would happen next. Bravo you two.

Oliver’s big secret was revealed — he doesn’t kill because he has to; he kills because he wants to. Do you believe that?

Alyssa: Maybe that was true in season 1, but I don’t believe that Oliver actually wants to kill now. I could be wrong (in terms of what the show wants us to believe.) But more than anything it felt to me that Adrian wanted Oliver to believe it. Adrian wanted to beat Oliver down to nothing. Adrian does know Oliver better than himself because he knows what he fears most: harm coming to those he loves and becoming a monster. Adrian knew that, which is why he has gone to the extent that he has. We’ve seen Adrian threat Oliver’s loved ones, although he hasn’t really acted yet. But I think that Adrian had to first tear Oliver down.

So knowing that Oliver fears being a monster, Adrian played one big mind game throughout this episode. There was the con that Adrian was feeding Oliver — that he is the monster that he’s always feared because he likes killing. Then there was the truth — that Oliver, while far from perfect, is not the monster he used to be because of the people in his life that guide him. I feel like this episode — the flashback heavy one — was the perfect hour to execute this storyline because we got to see the difference between present day Oliver and flashback Oliver. And the truth is, if Oliver does like killing now, then he wouldn’t have reacted the way that he did after “the truth” was revealed.

Lizzie: I don’t know if it was a secret, as much as it was Oliver’s worst thoughts about himself, exteriorized. This is, certainly, what Prometheus thinks about Oliver, and in a way, it’s what Oliver thinks in his darkest hours, but it’s not actually true – or, at least, it shouldn’t be. That’s not the journey Oliver Queen has been on for 5 years. If this were still true, in S5, then that would make the rest of the journey moot.

But Oliver in this episode is not in the right state of mind to understand this – he’s broken, defeated, and vulnerable to believing the worst about himself. And that’s always been a big component of Oliver’s journey – with external validation, he does fine, but he has a hard time finding something inside of him that tells him he really has grown into a hero. That’s what this journey is about. And you can’t get yourself back up till you touch rock bottom. So, here it is. Rock bottom. Time to get up, Oliver.

Nora: I don’t think this is really a secret Oliver’s been harboring, but rather something he was never able to admit to himself. That being said, I think this “secret” is true of season 1 Oliver, but not the Oliver we know now. For five seasons, Oliver’s been trying to journey past his violent past and figure out a way to save Star City without killing. It wasn’t until this season that he truly put killing back on the table. I think this secret is more of what Adrian wanted Oliver to believe about himself. Oliver is a broken man in this episode and Adrian uses this to have Oliver reveal something that’s probably always been in the back of his mind. Is he a killer because he likes it or is he a killer because he’s a hero? It’s something Oliver’s struggled with and I think Prometheus uses Oliver’s weaknesses to fully break him. This dark secret is something Oliver’s been hiding and hoped isn’t true, but with Adrian telling him how everyone has died because of him and that their lives aren’t better, in this moment, Oliver thinks it’s true. It’s a powerful move that will definitely affect the rest of the season.

Sarah: As much blood as he has on his hands, and I know it’s a lot more than I can imagine no I don’t believe for a second he kills because he wants to. It would make the entire point of what he’s gone through the last five years meaningless in how hard he’s worked to change the way he’s worn the hood since he came back to Star City. Prometheus’s point about what he did in S1 doesn’t hold up like it would have once in the light of all the good Oliver’s done as the Arrow and he knows a large part of that never would have been accomplished without the help of his friends that made their choice to step in.

Sadly none of that is at the forefront when he’s literally been beaten down and left thinking the literal worst about himself: that he is a killer because he enjoys it. I don’t know how it’ll play out from here, but for the first time all season I’m genuinely curious where Oliver will go from here, how he’ll work to climb out the bottom of the hole he’s found himself in. I believe he can and for once I’m looking forward to seeing how he does it (and definitely not alone.)

  1. Describe your emotions using a gif when Prometheus used Felicity’s glasses to torture Oliver reminding him how easily he can get to her.

Alyssa:

Lizzie:

Nora:

Sarah:

Prometheus was able to break Oliver in a way that he hasn’t been broken in a long time. What were your thoughts on Prometheus’ psychological warfare?

Alyssa: It’s sheer brilliance. When your hero is a dominant, physical force that Oliver Queen is sometimes the best way to overpower him is psychologically. It’s something that we really saw Slade Wilson tap into in season 2, which was one of the reasons that he’s been my favorite big bad to this point. But Prometheus is taking it to an entirely other level blending two of Oliver’s greatest fears, breaking him, and continuing to beat him down. That’s one of the reasons why Prometheus — in just two episodes — has nearly eclipsed Slade as my favorite big bad.

The way Prometheus has gone about destroying Oliver has been brilliant. He’s been watching Oliver for quite some time learning all about him — his crusade, his team, his loved ones — just waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike. And even then he never made it obvious. He wormed his way into Oliver’s circle of trust until he was in the perfect position to execute his plan, as he’s doing now. He knows Oliver as well as Oliver knows himself — maybe even more, which is Oliver’s biggest struggle right now. That’s why Adrian has always been 10 steps ahead. He’s planning his attacks, anticipating Oliver’s actions, and planning accordingly. He knows Oliver’s loved ones, as well, holding them over him because he knows that Oliver would die for them — but also that they’ve made Oliver the hero — not the monster — that he was in the beginning.

Lizzie: For a man not as physically imposing as Prometheus is, this was really the only way he could go. Oliver has many flaws, but if you kick him in a fight, he’ll keep getting up, he’ll keep fighting, and he might eventually win. But psychological warfare is not his forte. He’s not as strong emotionally as he is physically, he never has been. So the choice is not just inspired – it’s logical. That’s where you go if you want to beat Oliver.

Nora: While the other villains on Arrow have bested Oliver before, it’s never been this level of psychological warfare. Slade Wilson tapped into his past with Oliver to wreck havoc on Star City. Need I remind you of Moira and taking Felicity? But, Adrian is harnessing something no other villain has. He’s taking Oliver’s past and everything he’s ever done to basically break Oliver. In just two episodes, Oliver has crumbled. This has never happened before. Usually episodes go by before Oliver’s somewhat succumbed to the villain, but not this time around. Oliver’s has fallen and even refuses to fight Adrian by the end of the episode. Adrian is always ten steps ahead of Oliver and it shows. Oliver can fight anyone in hand to hand combat, but psychological warfare is something he’s never dealt well with. As evident by this week’s episode, Adrian knows Oliver better than he knows himself. He’s using this to his ability to not only defeat Oliver, but also break him. It’s genius and it makes Adrian/Prometheus the worst villain has had to face so far.

Sarah: It’s the first time I’ve seen a villain come up against Oliver in a way that he isn’t well versed in fighting and holy cow was it effective. Not to say I liked that, but it was interesting watching Prometheus use this kind of tactic to twist everything dark about Oliver’s past and amplify it for his own manipulative purposes. In short it was brilliantly evil of Adrian to fight Oliver in this way, and as hard as it was to watch I have no doubt he hit (psychologically speaking) Oliver where it did the most damage. It makes me wonder if he’ll try this kind of warfare in the future, but even just one time was effective. Congrats Prometheus you win for most dangerous villain Oliver Queen has ever faced (and simultaneously scares the crap out of me.)

What are your feelings regarding Oliver and Adrian’s dynamic in this episode using a gif.

Alyssa:

Lizzie:

Nora:

Sarah:

Describe your thoughts regarding Oliver and Adrian’s dynamic in this episode.

Alyssa: I am so intrigued by Oliver and Adrian’s dynamic. While I was underwhelmed at the initial reveal of Adrian as Prometheus, I have to say that this is something that I’m starting to appreciate the more I dissect it. These are two men who are similar but couldn’t be more different. They’re on opposite ends of the spectrum. They’ve both killed. They’ve both exacted revenge. They both have a mission that they believe is the right thing to do. But one of them is controlled by the darkness while the other has learned to separate himself from it.

In an interesting way, Adrian is what Oliver could’ve become had it not been for the people in his life. Had Oliver not met Diggle and Felicity and opened up to them, if Oliver didn’t have his sister, mother, Tommy, Laurel, Roy, etc., then he could’ve turned out entirely different when he returned from the Island. He could’ve been Adrian. Oliver Queen, the hero, could’ve been Oliver Queen, the villain. (Although there are certain times this season where Oliver has felt like the villain of his own story. Hopefully that starts to change now.)

Lizzie: I agree with Alyssa that the dynamic works mostly because it feels like Prommy could be in Oliver’s shoes, if he’d met the right people. And I don’t mean in Oliver’s misguided and badly explained decisions shoes that he’s been wearing in Season 5, but in Oliver’s hero shoes, you know, the ones the writers forgot to put on him this season.

Those are always the most interesting villains, the ones that have a backstory that makes you say – okay, I get it. I see why. And in a way, that’s Oliver too, as Prommy really proved this episode. Are they so different? No. But being a hero is not just about your past, it’s about choices. And that’s where these two men do and will differ.

Nora: I’m thoroughly enjoying the Adrian and Oliver dynamic. Like Alyssa said, Adrian represents what Oliver could’ve become. If Oliver hadn’t formed Team Arrow and opened up to Diggle, Oliver, Laurel, Thea, Tommy, Roy and everyone else in his life, he could’ve easily fallen into Adrian’s shoes. He could have been running around Star City killing those that led to his father’s death. Adrian represents what Oliver would have been if he didn’t open himself up. Adrian is the man Oliver feared he would become.

I’m really enjoying Adrian and Oliver’s dynamic and I think it’s the reason Prometheus is already starting to be one of my favorite villains on Arrow. Before the reveal, Adrian and Oliver were friends. They were alike. Seeing Adrian and Oliver working together before the reveal makes this new dynamic all the more interesting.

Sarah: It was so different than anything I’ve seen in terms of Oliver facing off with someone who was determined to take him on. Oliver up to this point is used to looking down at his enemy on an even playing field and now he was literally at every disadvantage with Adrian which exposed how the two are more similar than Oliver would ever like to think. What Adrian turned into is, in some way,s to be a “what could have been” on how Oliver’s story could have gone because of how traumatic his past has been since he landed on that island.

The difference, however, was clearly demonstrated in going through Oliver’s past and bringing up his friends: Oliver has never spent a single second of this journey where he wasn’t aware his choices fall back on him and him alone. As much darkness as he’s found himself in, drowning at points, he’s always found a way to fight back and choose to push back, and do what good he can even if it’s in the middle of insane circumstances. Their dynamic honestly with this in mind, was fascinating to see mirror images of a kind and how they interacted highlighted that in particular.

This served as our flashback heavy episode for this season. What were your thoughts on the flashbacks? Were you bored? Interested? Thrilled?

Alyssa: While the flashbacks didn’t consistently gauge my attention (there were some parts that droned on forever), there were several moments in the heavy flashbacks that really resonated with the present day story and how I perceived it. The flashbacks served to illustrate the difference between Oliver in the past and in the present — even though Adrian was telling Oliver nothing had ever changed. He couldn’t be more wrong.

The flashbacks have always been my least favorite part of this show. Even earlier in the season after the premiere when I thought I’d finally be drawn in, they seemed to digress as the season went on. I just lost interest. But that always happens. Except in season 2. It was just something about connecting the big bad to the flashbacks and present that made them more intriguing. The moments where we saw Oliver completely overstep the line of morality were the moments that interested me because I was making a direct connection between the past and the present. But most of the flashbacks were boring as hell, and I just wanted Stephen Amell and Josh Segarra back on my screen. Maybe they’ll pick up by season’s end — wishful thinking — when things return to Lian Yu.

Lizzie: There were flashbacks? I don’t remember.

Wait, I have a vague notion of Anatoly making a joke. That’s about it.

Nora: The flashbacks have never been my favorite parts of Arrow, except in season 2 with Sara.  They just seem to drag on and on and not keep audiences engaged. With this being a flashback heavy episode, I was ready for the worst, but I didn’t actually mind them in this episode. Yes, I don’t remember most of the flashbacks, but there were certain parts that were interesting. I also think they worked very well in terms of contrasting Adrian and Oliver in present day. In order to break Oliver, Adrian continuously said that Oliver hasn’t changed, but that’s wrong. Oliver’s grown a lot over the last five years. In the flashbacks he killed someone with no regard. While Oliver’s killed people recently, he’s never not understood the consequences. While I think the flashbacks are essentially this season to finish up that chapter in Oliver’s life, they ultimately drag down the episode. I found myself wanting to see Josh and Stephen on my screen again.

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Sarah: I’ll be honest it’s been several seasons where I’ve cared about the story going on in the background and usually I tune out the flashbacks. But this week was a little less boring in terms of how what Oliver was going through in the past was cleverly interwoven with his situation in the present with Adrian. I really liked how they went back and forth on Oliver’s choices in fighting to defend Anatoly vs his torture in the present intertwined to get to the confession Prometheus wanted. In my opinion, this is how they are used best but given how rare it tends to happen I’ve gotten to a place where I don’t expect it but appreciate it when it does occur. This week it did, and I’m thankful that while I still don’t care for Oliver’s flashback hair good job on connecting the past and present this week, Arrow.

Following the confession of his “secret,” Oliver decided that he doesn’t want to continue with this crusade anymore because he believes he’s doing it for the wrong reasons. What are your thoughts on that?

Alyssa: While we know that Oliver isn’t that monster he was when he returned home after those five years of hell, he doesn’t know that. Adrian accomplished what he’d hoped: he broke Oliver Queen. This was never about abducting him and torturing him only to kill him. Adrian had every intention of returning him to his life and watch the effects of this revelation as it wore him down continually. So given Oliver’s immediate return to the Arrow Cave after the torturing session, I’m not shocked by Oliver’s decision. He’d spent days trapped, tortured, and reminded of all of the terrible things that Adrian could do to those that Oliver loves — and how easily he could do it. Add to that that Oliver believes that he’s someone who has always justified killing because he “likes it” and “wants to,” it’s his natural response to gravitate away from this situation entirely. He believes that his crusade — like Adrian told him — has been an excuse for him to kill. Oliver is so focused on the bad, which is what Adrian wanted him to focus on, that he doesn’t remember all of the good that Team Arrow has done. But obviously I don’t believe this is something longterm. This is something that Oliver is going to work through with Diggle and Felicity to come to grips with the real truth not the fake news Adrian has been spewing.

Lizzie: I like it – it sets the scene for another soft of reboot, one that would have even made sense at the beginning of Season 5. Oliver feels like he’s been doing this just to do it for a while, and this will probably help him find his purpose again. As I said before, you can’t rise up and become the man – the hero you’re meant to be till you touch rock bottom. It’s Oliver’s turn to do that, and though I don’t anticipate it’ll be easy, I also don’t think it’ll last more than a few episodes, at most.

Nora: Adrian did exactly what he set out to do, he wanted to break Oliver, and that’s exactly what he did. He reduced Oliver to a man who is unsure of himself and his crusade. It’s the perfect way to break Oliver and I’m not surprised the conclusion Oliver comes to. After being psychologically tortured, Oliver returns to the Arrow Cave and essentially hangs up the hood. Oliver needs to figure out if he wants to kill because he likes it and wants to or if he’s doing it for the good of his friends, family and Star City. The best way for Oliver to figure this out is to take some time. I think it’s a natural response for him and one I’m glad he came to. This is a nice “reset” Arrow needed to come to, especially after the beginning of season 5. While I don’t think his leave of absence from Team Arrow will last long, I hope we see Oliver remain broken and figure out a gradual way to become Green Arrow again.

Sarah: It caught me off guard, and by that alone I was pleasantly surprised. I’ve never seen Oliver like this, and his reaction to believing this “confession” he was forced to give is nothing short of understandable given his headspace. It forces him into a spot he’s never been in since he got back home, and puts the team in a truly perplexing place. It was one thing when Oliver was forced out of the hero vigilante business but to truly give it up and for this kind of reason?

It’s drama I can get behind because for once it’s not plot that doesn’t make sense driven, it’s character driven. I have missed that so much on Arrow and I’m excited to see Oliver start to dig deep because I don’t doubt for a second his friends will simply stop what they’ve fought for and believed in for so long when a villain (an evil creepy one to boot) convinced him of this “truth” about himself. I know he’ll get back on track to kick this dude’s butt right out of Star City and the exciting  thing about it is the journey might be the best part. It won’t be easy to watch or easy for Oliver, Diggle, Felicity and the entire Arrow team but I am here for it, all the way.

How do you think Diggle and Felicity are going to help Oliver get back on track?

Alyssa: It’s important to acknowledge that unlike what Prometheus told Oliver — and got him to admit — that Oliver Queen is not the monster that he was in season 1. While he might’ve gotten back on the killing wagon this season, he’s vastly different from that complete monster he once was. And that’s because of the people that he has surrounded himself with and the ones that continue to stand by his side, namely Diggle and Felicity. Those are the two most important people in his life after the “Island.” Haters like to undersell the significance of Original Team Arrow, but it really is that important. Because it was with Team Arrow that Oliver Queen became more than a vigilante crossing names off a list and became a hero that wanted to help people. We’re not making up the importance of Original Team Arrow. It literally has saved Oliver’s life.

So how are Diggle and Felicity going to help Oliver get back on track? Well, Diggle has always been Oliver’s moral compass. Felicity has always been his heart and light. Diggle and Felicity (even with her being distracted by Helix) are going to be the two people that help inspire Oliver to take back his crusade. They’re going to remind him that this crusade — their crusade — has only had good intentions where bad things have sometimes happened. Diggle and Felicity, and Oliver for that matter, are walking proof of that.

Lizzie: Oliver himself tells Prommy that Diggle and Felicity are his strength, and that’s a great deal of self-awareness for Oliver Queen. Truth is, we all have times when we feel down, when we don’t think we’re good enough, smart enough, etc. We all have doubts. And having people around you to remind you of the good that you’re missing is always a blessing, one that Oliver has. He may think he’s a monster, but Diggle and Felicity don’t think so, and what’s more important, they know, better than anyone, better than Prommy, where they would be without Oliver.

Not that I think they can just talk and bam, he’ll be convinced. No, Oliver is stubborn. But Diggle and Felicity are not going to give up – on their mission – and on Oliver. And that sends a message.

Nora: One of the biggest things in Arrow this week, Oliver admits that he didn’t ruin Felicity and Diggle’s lives, even when Prometheus tells him that their lives aren’t better for knowing him. This is a big source of character growth for Oliver. Now that Prometheus has gotten Oliver to admit his “secret,” Oliver will probably be doubting himself, it’s natural. Felicity and Diggle are going to have to pull Oliver out of this. They’re going to have to tell him that he’s doing the right thing. Diggle has always been the moral center for Oliver. Throughout the show, Oliver’s looked to Diggle in moments where he feels lost or needs advice. Diggle’s going to have to do that for Oliver again. Felicity is his light. Even if Olicity isn’t together now, Felicity will always remain his light and the person that guides him back. I’m interested to see how Felicity brings Oliver back to Team Arrow this time around, considering she’s straying from the team herself and working with Helix. This mission to save Star City started with Oliver, but now it’s Diggle and Felicity’s fight as well. Original Team Arrow is so important and this is a moment that will test this.

Sarah: Oliver, even at his lowest point, was not blind to how much Felicity and Diggle matter to him and that they truly are his strength. The fact that he acknowledges this and states it as an obvious fact is a testament to how far he’s come in the past five years. Oliver, at first certainly, will be resistant to any and all attempts to change his mind about shutting everything down no matter how they argue it. But the flip side is Felicity and Diggle, know Oliver just as well as he knows them and even if they can’t do it first off, what’s important is they won’t give up. Oliver can’t see anything good about himself right now, so I firmly believe they are going to step up and help open his eyes in the way he desperately needs from his friends and partners. OTA is how this really started and if this brings them all back together in a way that’s been missing this season while helping Oliver then bring it on.

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


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