ARROW Season 5 Episode 16 Review: Checkmate

Time to get a little film school on this week's ARROW. Dramatic Irony is the basic principle that we the audience are aware of things within a story, whether it be a play, book, TV show or movie that characters within the story are not. We know there's a bomb under the table. We know where the money is stashed. We know who the real killer is. That feeling when you want to scream at characters on-screen that they might know the truth? That's dramatic irony. The fact that Prometheus's true identity was revealed to us the audience, but not any other character in ARROW? Dramatic Irony. The fact that the first 5 minutes of this week's episode was constructed just so that Oliver could be brought up to speed with the audience, whilst simultaneously linking the season 5 flashbacks to the modern day story? Dramatic irony squandered. 

After realising that Prometheus was likely trained by the same woman that trained him five years ago, Oliver travelled to some unnamed monastery in an unspecific part of the world to find out his true identity. Finding Talia, Oliver confronted her about why she would train a man who she knew was out to destroy one of her former students, with Talia revealing it was entirely personal, seeing as Oliver had killed her father, Ra’s Al Ghul. Five years with nary a mention of Talia having trained him, which is of course because she didn't exist until the writers added her to the show, and Oliver never learned Talia's full name? Never made the connection? Talia gladly told Oliver Prometheus is Adrian Chase for the same reason she had trained Adrian, taking glee in that it would consume and destroy Oliver from within. 

When Oliver got back from, wherever it is he went, that's when the admittedly more interesting take on the whole killer's secret identity took effect. Oliver and by extension, Team Arrow and their allies, knew Adrian Chase to be Prometheus aka The Throwing Star Killer but had no way to prove it so couldn't do anything even after confronting Adrian with the fact they knew the truth now. Even when Adrian told Oliver that he had kidnapped Susan as an insurance policy, Oliver, Quentin and Rene had to keep working alongside Adrian at City Hall, Adrian even making demands for reports to be on his desk by the morning as he claimed he took his work as D.A. very seriously. I have to admit I was impressed by the balls on this guy. 

During the episode Felicity uncovered Adrian’s birth name, that of Simon Morrison, likely a backdoor into the fact that the real Adrian Chase can still turn out to be Vigilante, all using data pulled from Adrian’s mother’s computer. But even Felicity struggled to come up with a lead when Prometheus left behind a video of him holding Susan hostage. Heading to Helix, the clandestine hacker group to utilise their resources, Felicity made a deal with them to help them in their endeavours to hack a DHS drone in exchange for using Helix’s near biblical in scope video recognition algorithm to work out where the video was made. Doing so gave Team Arrow the lead they needed, forcing the heroes into a confrontation with Prometheus a lot sooner than I expected. 

Kind of lamenting the lack of Artemis in this episode; is she ever going to come back to face the music of her betrayal of Team Arrow? Instead Oliver and Co brought another woman in Adrian’s life into play, his wife Doris. In making the squeaky clean life for himself as D.A. of Star City, Adrian forged a relationship with the lovely Doris, even marrying her at some point before Season 5. Poor Doris. She thought theirs was a true love, but when confronted by his wife, begging him to turn himself in, Adrian resorted to stabbing Doris to death, just another loose end. His wife wasn’t the only person Adrian got stab happy with either. When Oliver clued Captain Pike on the fact Adrian might not be all he says he is, Pike himself ended up catching a knife in the gut from a hooded man in the alley behind the precinct, though it looked as though he may survive. 

Even after the team rescued Susan and took her to SCPD to make a statement, Adrian was there bold as brass declaring that they couldn’t move on him because publicly he was in mourning for his wife and privately, with Talia’s help as she had decided to enter the game proper, he had captured Oliver whilst the others made their escaped. Threatening to kill him if the Team made any move to save him left Team Arrow paralysed. That was until Felicity went back to the well that was Helix, promising she would do anything Helix asked of her in future if they helped her find “her friend."

Written by Nick Whitney, ARROW Beat Writer -- Click to read Nick's posts

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