WARNING: This article contains MAJOR SPOILERS for Arrow: Season 5
The past few seasons of Arrow have been mostly open and straightforward about the identity of the antagonists from the get-go: Deathstroke, Ra's al Ghul, Damien Darhk, and etc.. Season 5 diverts from that more direct approach with the new villain, Prometheus. So far, the dark archer has remained under mask and hood, but in this week's episode, 'Fighting Fire With Fire', after a confrontation with Vigilante, Prometheus removes his mask to reveal the face of none other than District Attorney Adrian Chase.
Played by Josh Segarra, Chase is an integral part of Oliver Queen's mayoral cabinet and even helped get Diggle released from prison just a few episodes ago. Oliver and the rest of Team Arrow are still oblivious to Chase's true identity since the unmasking was for the sole benefit of the audience, a fact Executive Producer Wendy Mericle said they plan to exploit, telling TVLine: “We’re going to play around with that for a little while before we let Oliver and the team find out.”
While a few fan theories about Prometheus's identity have been floating around all season, not many people expected him to be Chase because, in the comics, Adrian Chase is the alter ego of Vigilante. Obviously, the inclusion of Vigilante this season was a red herring and Mericle described why they went a different direction from previous Big Bad reveals:
“...because everybody would be thinking, ‘Of course he’s going to be Vigilante... We thought it would be a really fun twist to… take the comic-book mythology and turn it on its head and see what kind of story we can mine from a surprise like that. It was also something different for this season. We wanted to change up how we introduced the Big Bad and when we did it.”
The most interesting part of this reveal is that Chase is obviously not trying to kill Oliver since his position as a colleague and partner of the Mayor have given him ample opportunity to do just that. Mericle elaborated on Chase's mental game:
“We really wanted to build him up as someone who is extremely good at being 10 steps ahead of Oliver, really being psychological in the way that he manipulates him... One of the ways he does that is by going after the people that Oliver cares about… He really has no drive to kill Oliver. It’s purely based on torture... to break Oliver down psychologically, as opposed to physically.”
In a season that has such a major emphasis on Oliver learning to trust and work with a bigger team, it will obviously be an even bigger blow to know the man that's been fighting alonside him at City Hall is also the same man that's been terrorizing his city. Mericle hopes that bond will “create a much bigger impact on Oliver when he finds out down the road who Adrian really is, and that this is the guy who’s been really messing with him all season.”
If you're worried that it sound like they plan to draw out his eventual discovery by Oliver and Team Arrow for too long, Josh Segarra would reassure you that “We’re not going to leave it to the end of the season. We’re going to get to watch the pot get stirred a little bit. It’s hard because I already know how [Oliver] reacts, and I love the way it goes. You’re going to see Chase just kind of trying to burn the world around him.”
Now that the cat is out of the bag, the show is going to pivot from teasing Prometheus's identity to exploring his background. Wendy Mericle says “we will get a lot more sense, going forward, of why he has become so evil, why he’s so bent on revenge,”
Arrow has definitely had its ups and downs over the course of the last few seasons, but fans can at least take heart in the fact that the showrunners are trying to take the shows in a more fresh direction, especially in the way they handle their villains.
What did you think of the reveal? Did you suspect Adrian Chase at all, or did the Vigilante switch-up fool you as intended? Let us hear about what you think in the comments!