Arrow season 7 episode 5, "The Demon", did surprisingly little to advance the major on-going storylines of the season so far. Felicity is no closer to catching Ricardo Diaz than she was last week and there was no new information on the identity of the new Green Arrow. There were also no flash-forwards to the future of Star City 2038.
Despite this, it would be unfair to say that our heroes got nothing accomplished this week. Oliver asserted his identity as a hero and found a way to strike against the corrupt forces that are running Slabside Penitentiary. He also identified the mysterious "Demon" who orchestrated the attack on him in the Arrow season 7 premiere. Finally, after a crisis of faith, Curtis was able to lead a successful field mission against a black market chemical weapons dealer for ARGUS and made a discovery that could lead to the mysterious, highly-placed mole within their organization.
With all that, there are still some questions to be asked about Arrow episode 5. Here are the biggest topics on fan's minds ahead of next week.
5. Does Batman Exist In The World Of Arrow?
The biggest reveal of the episode is that the titular "Demon" - the inmate on Level 2 of Slabside Penitentiary, who engineered the attack on Oliver in the season opener on behalf of Ricardo Diaz - is his former teacher, Talia Al Ghul. When Talia reveals herself to Oliver and he asks what she is doing in prison, she sighs and says that she "ran afoul of an old foe in Gotham." Those fans who are familiar with Talia's character in the comics know that Talia has a long love/hate relationship with a certain Dark Knight Detective. This would seem to confirm that Batman exists in the world of Arrow, raising big questions about the possibility of an appearance in the upcoming Elseworlds crossover event.
4. What Is The Drug Diaz Gave Talia?
It is not an entirely surprising revelation that Talia Al Ghul survived the destruction of Lian Yu in Arrow's fifth season finale. What is shocking, however, is that she admits to barely surviving and then only because of a drug that Ricardo Diaz provided her. We know Diaz is something of a pharmaceutical genius, having been responsible for the steroid that cured John Diggle's nerve injuries in Arrow season 6 and having just stolen something from the CDC in "Crossing Lines" that let him create a super-strength formula. Give the speculation that Diaz may have found a way to replicate Mirakuru - the drug that turned Slade Wilson into Deathstroke - one wonders what he might have made to help Talia heal her injuries from the battle on Lian Yu?
3. How Is The PR Nightmare Supposed To Free Oliver?
The events of "The Demon" saw the exposure of the illegal and unethical experiments conducted on prisoners in Slabside Penitentiary's secret Level 2, resulting in a public relations nightmare for the prison and Oliver Queen being sent back to Level 1, along with all of the other "worst of the worst" prisoners on Level 2. This leads to Black Siren (who is still posing as Laurel Lance and a legitimate lawyer) declaring that they can use this to facilitate Oliver's release from prison. It's unclear precisely how that is possible, since Oliver pled guilty to the charges leveled against him and the corruption of the prison he was sent to has no bearing on the legality of his sentence or the trial that sent him to prison.
2. What Is The Meaning Of The Painting Curtis Discovered?
After capturing black-market chemical weapons dealer Malcolm Byrd, Curtis discovers an encrypted image file among his belongings. He determines that the file is of a painting by 19th Century French artist Jean-Léon Gérôme - Dante (He Hath Seen Hell). Perhaps thinking of The DaVinci Code, Digg asks Curtis if there's some hidden meaning to the painting. Curtis responds that all art has hidden meanings, but that he has no idea what the significance of the image is.
1. What Does Diaz Want With Anatoly (Besides Revenge)?
"The Demon" concludes with the revelation that Ricardo Diaz is now in Moscow, where we see him beating up Anatoly Knyazev - a Russian gangster and one-time ally of both Oliver Queen and Diaz. When The Silencer asks Diaz if he got what he came for, Diaz replies that he did and that his beating up Anatoly is just making good on an old promise. Given that Anatoly betrayed Diaz in Arrow season 6 after being convinced that Diaz was not the man of honor he claimed to be, there's no surprise that Diaz would want to kill the Bratva captain for his treachery. This does still leave the question of what business Diaz had in Russia apart from seeking revenge.