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TV Review: Arrow - Season 5 Episode 16 "Checkmate"

03.15.2017

Episode 16: "Checkmate"

Synopsis: Oliver gets closer to the truth about Prometheus. Meanwhile, Helix refuses to continue helping Felicity until she does a favor for them.

Arrow, The CW, DC Comics, Superhero, Comic Book, Drama, Fantasy, TV Review

Review: I will admit that I was a bit underwhelmed to learn the identity of Prometheus was District Attorney Adrian Chase. It seemed for the longest time that Chase was actually going to end up being the masked Vigilante, but as Oliver Queen himself learns upon visiting Talia Al Ghul at the start of tonight's hour, Adrian Chase is the blight on Star City who has been controlling the Mayor as well as the Green Arrow all year. In fact, it seemed to be a surprise for Oliver to learn that Talia was the daughter of Rhas Al Ghul which means either our hero is very dense or the writers of Arrow have not been doing a very good job. Nevertheless, tonight's episode did something to this show that we have never seen before and completely neutralized our title character which put a different spin on the show and helped save this episode from itself.

Firstly, it is great that Prometheus is finally unmasked because now actor Josh Segarra is able to truly sink his teeth into the role of Adrian Chase (or as we learn, his real name is Simon Morrison). The sneaky chess match that Chase has been playing that has forced Oliver Queen to turn Green Arrow into the most hated man in Star City has also handcuffed the entire team from taking any action against Prometheus. Chase kidnapped Susan Williams at the end of the previous episode and quickly makes it clear that if anything befalls the DA, she dies. Oliver even confronts Chase in his Green Arrow garb and the DA barely bats an eyelash. Talia Al Ghul taught Chase as revenge for Oliver killing her father and Chase's vengeance is based on Oliver killing his dad as well. Something tells me there is more to this story that just parental honor but the writers are playing it smart and not unveiling too much just yet. We still have plenty of episodes left to really drive home Prometheus' mission which has suddenly become the most entertaining storyline this show has had since Deathstroke back in Season Two.

What doesn't quite work here is Susan Williams. Yes, it is terrible that an innocent character has been kidnapped, but she was never really written or developed enough to make me care about her fate. At one point it seemed like Susan was going to unmask Green Arrow and now we are supposed to care about her on the same level as Felicity or Laurel? I don't think so. The problem Arrow keeps facing is the introduction of more and more characters, none of whom really carry enough importance to make us care. At the same time, we may not have been too surprised by Adrian Chase ending up as a villain, but by putting him as a public figure alongside Mayor Queen, we get to see these characters quietly attack one another via press conference and memorandum. It sounds boring, but it requires more than brute force and action sequences which amps up the tension and truly makes what comes next feel all the more vital. Oliver tries to deliver intel gathered by Felicity via Helix to the SCPD, but Captaiin Pike it stabbed by Chase and left in a coma. What the hell else can our team do to stop this madman?

Speaking of Felicity and Helix, after accepting initiation into the hacker cabal last episode, Felicity learns her access to Pandora was not without strings. The shady group has a headquarters that looks like CTU on 24 and has tapped into cell phone cameras and the NSA to try and circumvent government for the people. Felicity's first job is to hack into a Homeland Security drone system but Helix refuses to explain why they need her to do it. Curtis helps Felicity but questions the group's motives. Oliver trusts Felicity enough not to question her actions but is worried about her. Much like the Prometheus reveal was not too shocking, I am absolutely preparted to learn that Helix is going to be either another villain this year or potentially next season. There is nothing on the up and up about a group of hackers like this and it would be in line witih Felicity's impending fall from grace.

Arrow, The CW, DC Comics, Superhero, Comic Book, Drama, Fantasy, TV Review

In the final act, we finally get to see Oliver and Chase face off as Green Arrow and Prometheus but while knowing who the other is under their mask. Arrow hasn't quite learned that archer versus archer fights are not the easiest to watch, but what really drives this fight home is the fact that Oliver is beginning to lose his grip on fighting fair. While Chase has Susan as a captive, Oliver pulls in Chase's wife which seems to be the first curveball the bad guy has been tossed this season. What does he do? He stabs her because letting her die seems easier than giving Oliver Queen any sort of a win. At the end of the hour, Susan Williams is free and Oliver is captive of Prometheus. And we still have no idea what is actually going to come next. Oh, and the flashbacks featured a bunch of Russians shooting each other and then Oliver donning his archer costume and attacking the bad guys at a hockey rink. Yeah, I am serious.

For the first time this season, Arrow feels vital and relevant again. While the rotating cast (I still miss Thea and Rory) has failed to really give me any stakes that I care about beyond our main characters, Josh Segarra has been stellar as Prometheus. Adrian Chase always felt a bit unhinged as a character but now we really get to see how much fun he can have with Oliver knowing that he has been playing him all along. There were several moments in this episode where Oliver Queen seemed to be scrambling to find a way to combat Chase and failing to do so. Oliver Queen has always had the answers and when he didn't, it never seemed hopeless. Right now, Arrow has successfully shown that the Mayor and Green Arrow have absolutely no control over this situation and that Adrian Chase has the upper hand. I cannot wait to see where this goes next and I hope it only makes Arrow more desparate and more exciting as this is the best the show has been in years.

Next on ARROW: "Kapiushon" airs March 22nd - Prometheus goes to great lengths to break Oliver. Meanwhile, in the flashbacks, Anatoly becomes worried about Oliver’s increasingly violent tendencies, which come to a head in a brutal confrontation.

Source: JoBlo.com

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