[This post contains major SPOILERS for Arrow, ‘Fighting Fire with Fire.’]
Last week, Arrow blew up Mayor Oliver Queen’s administration when it was leaked that he, along with a few key conspirators, covered up the Green Arrow’s accidental murder of Detective Malone. It was the first strong narrative movement the series has seen since coming back from winter hiatus, as it followed weeks of setting the table and pausing briefly to make sure the team had a Black Canary in its ranks. While the viewer’s mileage on the team’s need for Dinah Drake may vary, it’s finally time to see how she will respond to the drama inherent in hanging out with Oliver and the rest of Team Arrow, especially now that so many of them have taken on roles as public servants in an administration that’s seemingly set to collapse.
The outcry over Mayor Queen’s role in protecting the Green Arrow leads to yet another in a long string of crises the young playboy-turned-politician has had to face since being put in charge of the city he’s sworn to protect. And while Oliver’s critics in the public sphere are brutal – especially the formerly disgraced journalist Susan Williams (aka Oliver’s former girlfriend) – it’s nothing compared to the trouble he faces from Star City’s newest masked vigilante… Vigilante.
So far, season 5 has been focused on establishing Prometheus as the Big Bad, and making sure that nearly everyone on Team Arrow has had his or her near miss with the bow-wielding killer. Oliver has borne the brunt of the attacks so far, as Prometheus has taken the Green Arrow to task for his supposed failure of Star City. That’s meant convincing Evelyn Sharp to betray her new team, and boosting Black Siren from the Central City lockup for metahumans, so she can pose as Earth-1 Laurel Lance and send Oliver into an emotional tailspin. While the latter only resulted in a fortified Team Arrow, with the aforementioned recruitment of Dinah Drake – the former may have actually cut deeper, as it meant a serious betrayal from a still nascent team of heroes learning to trust one another.
As it turns out, Prometheus has another act of treachery up his tattered sleeve, as during ‘Fighting Fire with Fire’ his identity was revealed, and it wasn’t at all the character anyone was thinking it was. All season long, Arrow has been teasing Adrian Chase as the likely hotheaded but well-intentioned face behind the Vigilante mask – considering that’s in keeping with DC Comics canon – but the addition of the gun-loving vigilante was simply a ruse, a clever way to throw audiences off the scent, as it was revealed during the hour that Chase is instead Prometheus.
The reveal would normally have been a two-for-one, considering a meaningful showdown between Vigilante and Oliver was implied about as strongly as the idea that Chase was the gun-toting vigilante. Instead, the newcomer to the Star City crime-fighter program winds up with a broken visor and being unceremoniously tossed off a roof following a scuffle with Prometheus, who promptly pulls off his hood and phones in a report on Vigilante. It’s an odd scene, as the actor playing Chase, Josh Segarra, does a fine job selling the performance, but is asked to really sell it to those at home, repeating his name just so no one can accuse the show of some underhanded doppelganger tactics.
That aside, finding out Prometheus is moonlighting as the Star City D.A. and Mayor Queen’s newest pal still packs a punch. While it’s tough to say whether or not it’s that Adrian is Prometheus or that Arrow has been essentially starving its audience of anything resembling palatable drama as of late, pulling a fast one on the audience and making them believe Adrian had a completely different secret is the right move at the right time. The last few weeks have felt like the show was wandering around in circles, collecting pieces of various plots but never putting them together into a compelling, cohesive whole. Now the show has gained a little perspective, there’s a name and a face behind the Prometheus mask that makes his actions a little more decisive as they begin to hit a little closer to home. Whatever Adrian’s ultimate endgame is, the show’s still playing that one close to its green leather vest. That’s okay, as his reveal finally puts a larger plot in motion and will, presumably, draw in the still-mysterious Vigilante, so that can be wrapped up too in the coming weeks.
For the most part, ‘Fighting Fire With Fire’ was all about cutting loose ends and shoring up some of the season’s less captivating plotlines – some of which were just formed a week ago. As such, Oliver’s position as mayor remains intact after some wrangling with both Thea and Felicity keeps them from pulling a move similar to what they did with Susan. In the end, Green Arrow becomes public enemy number one, while Thea takes a deserved leave of absence to fix herself, and Felicity joins up with the hacker collective known as Helix, because her big takeaway from the events of the hour is: It’s always nice to have some backup.
While it’s entirely possible all these seemingly shorn threads will simply generate new loose ones, it’s refreshing to see Arrow do a little plotline maintenance and shift its story elements around more than just setting them up for the next episode to knock down. That means the tension over Mayor Queen facing an impeachment or the Oliver/Susan relationship is resolved in hasty, convenient fashion. But it also means the series is gearing up for something a bigger and hopefully more fulfilling.
Arrow continues on Wednesday March, 15 with ‘Checkmate’ @8pm on The CW.