ARROW Season 5 Episode 19 Review: Dangerous Liaisons

With Adrian Chase in the wind, an expression I estimate was said about 35 times in this week's ARROW, Felicity turned to her Helix buddy Alena for help in tracking him down. At first Alena hinted that maybe Chase was getting tipped off by a crooked ARGUS agent, but after said agent was found dead in an elevator, Team Arrow and ARGUS's joint investigation lead them all down a very different path. 

You see Helix was apparently founded by the world's greatest super-hacker Cayden James, a man so good at his job that Felicity with all her hacker cred had never heard of him. Which sort of makes sense as the world's truly greatest criminals are ones we never would have heard of because they simply got away with it. It turns out that ARGUS has had James locked up, black-bagged all Edward Snowden like, the real world figure getting a name drop in the episode to let us know Cayden James is 20 times worse. Helix wanted their man back and Alena, in her haste to get hold of an encrypted security key that the dead ARGUS agent had been holding, may have hacked into the elevator controls and slightly killed him by forcing the lift to shoot up and drop down inflicting 9 Gs of force on to the poor man. She claimed it was an accident and it may have been but it was her attitude toward the whole endeavour that should have tipped Felicity off there and then, Alena simply didn't care. Freeing James was more important to her than preserving a human life. Felicity was convinced to remain complicit however with the news that James has been working on new program that could track someone by their heartbeat. Nonsensical it may be but it was something that could be used to track down Adrian Chase. 

This, along with an all out assault on a second ARGUS agent that the team had to foil, drew a metaphorical line in the sand for Team Arrow, who were having a hard enough time dealing with the fact that ARGUS, a force they have aligned with so often in the past, were holding people without due process. Something that Diggle in particular found hard to reconcile as his own wife Lyla, was behind it and becoming more and more like former ARGUS head Amanda Waller every day. Oliver even confronted Felicity and asked her not to do what she was about to do, but Felicity took it upon herself to do whatever she could to stop Chase and if freeing Cayden James from ARGUS's black site would help in that cause she was willing to do it. 

With hired mercenaries in tow Helix, led by Alena and Felicity, led an assault on the ARGUS site, leading to a full on confrontation with Team Arrow. The earlier altercation between the team and Helix's armed thugs had led to Oliver and co getting called off by Felicity as they were only after the second encrypted security key but this time it was all out. Alena even hacked an automated gun turret to try take out Diggle, something which I personally won't be forgetting any time soon. 

In the end, Helix got James out and escaped thanks to Felicity re-activating the high power laser security grid to cover their escape. I have to say, it was a pretty powerful shot seeing Oliver and Felicity standing on either side of this literal laser fence, the physicalisation of the idealogical barrier that had grown between them. Symbolism that was kind of thrown away five minutes later when Felicity found that Helix had uprooted and disappeared cutting off all times to her as her connection to Team Arrow made her a liability. All that build up about Felicity “going to the other side” just for Felicity to just come back to the team with nothing but hurt feelings on both sides was a real let down. But, Cayden James, a man whose face we never even saw, presumably because as the founder of Helix he'll be back as an antagonist in season 6 and they haven't cast him yet, made good on Alena's promise and finished his heart tracker program. 

With no qualms as to what the program might do, what she had to do to acquire it or what it's presence in the Arrow HQ presented, Felicity plugged it into the Arrow computer right in front of Oliver, hoping that at least if it tracked down Chase something positive could come from all this. 

And the program worked, alerting them to one of the oldest “twists” in the book, that Prometheus was literally in the building with them, something they had seconds to realise before the console exploded. So in short, Felicity's turn to the “dark side?” Without consequence. The ultimate goal of getting the program to catch this season's big bad? Pointless. But it was a fun ride whilst it lasted I guess. 

No flashbacks this week, which is odd considering how they left that story arc before the hiatus. With only a few episodes left in the season, I'm wondering if the promise that the flashbacks won't end in season 6 means they're planning to spread their story over there. Or, my preference, they have a whole episode long flashback story planned to rap up and bring Oliver home to the pilot. 

No instead of flashbacks we were treated to a heartwarming side plot with Quentin, a father who has obviously suffered the loss of both his daughters, trying and succeeding to convince Rene that he was worthy of trying to get custody of his daughter back. It's the moments like this, way more than the angst ridden tedium that is Olicity, that keeps me coming back to this show over and over. I could honestly watch a TV show with Quentin, Wild Dog and John Diggle just shooting the breeze for 13 hours on Netflix. Just a thought CW.

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

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