One of the big themes of Arrow from the very beginning has been about Oliver's struggle to reconcile his dark side with the good things he has tried to achieve, and whether killing for the "right" reasons ever really justifies that violent action. Season 5 has brought Oliver's assassin past back to haunt him, since Prometheus (recently unmasked as Adrian Chase) and Talia al Ghul have slowly and viciously torn apart his life as vengeance for him taking the lives of their fathers.
Chase continued his psychological manipulation of Oliver last week, thwarting every attempt Team Arrow made to reveal his identity and bring him to justice, and adding even more collateral damage to Oliver's guilty conscience. As we've seen in the promo for Wednesday's episode "Kapiushon," now that Oliver's been kidnapped by his enemy, the level of physical and emotional torture is going to escalate.
The man formerly known as Prometheus promised to help Oliver discover who he truly is, and we're guessing he's not going to stop until he breaks Oliver in serious ways. Executive producer Marc Guggenheim, in an interview with EW, has promised that it won't be quite like anything we've seen thus far on Arrow.
"It’s Adrian Chase trying to get Oliver Queen to confess his sins, really to confess a secret. It’s incredibly intense. It’s basically a stage play; it’s essentially just Josh and Stephen in a room together. It’s probably one of the darkest episodes we’ve ever done."
Season 5 of Arrow has also taken us back to Oliver's past in Russia, his time in the Bratva, and the origins of channeling his inner "monster" into "The Hood." That story will take precedence this week, likely adding some context to the revelations Chase is hoping to wring out of Oliver in the present day. As Guggenheim says, we'll be putting more of the pieces together of Oliver's history, including his tattoos.
"We’ve always had this tradition of doing what we call the ‘all-flashback’ or ‘mostly flashback’ episode. That’s actually what this episode is going to be. It’s going to be a story that’s mostly set in Russia, with Dolph Lundgren coming back as Kovar. It’s the big confrontation that we’ve been building up to for the past several episodes, which is the Bratva vs. Kovar, with a couple surprises thrown in — Oliver may or may not get a certain tattoo; he may or may not lose a certain tattoo."
The EP had previously revealed that the season 5 finale would be more psychological and "personal," rather than the usual ticking time bomb that puts the city in danger. Guggenheim now adds that this season will answer a lot of questions about Oliver's motives as a vigilante, and offer a whole new perspective on his decisions to kill. While we're not at the finale yet, it sounds like this week's episode will be a pivotal one in revealing, as Chase promised, the true Oliver.
Arrow continues on Wednesday with "Kapiushon" at 8pm on The CW.