Arrow “So It Begins” Review (Season 5, Episode 6)

In Greek mythology, Prometheus was a Titan who sided with Zeus during the mythological battle between the Titans and the gods of Olympus. After helping Zeus overthrow the Titans, Prometheus became known as the protector of mankind. When Zeus became angry with humanity and took away fire, Prometheus stole it to give back to mortals. As a result, Zeus had Prometheus chained to a rock and cursed him to die every day for all eternity by having an eagle come and eat his liver. Because Prometheus was immortal, his liver grew back during the night and he was cursed to live that existence until the demigod Hercules came along and saved him. Given the big reveal of this week’s Arrow, I’d say Prometheus is a pretty good choice of alter ego. All the way down to the daily liver damage.

Apparently Deputy Mayor Quentin Lance is Prometheus. Gotta say, I didn’t exactly see that one coming. But now that it’s out there, it makes sense. Ever since Oliver came back to Starling City, Lance’s life has been turned upside down. The man who he’d blamed for his daughter’s death came back from the dead. The daughter he thought was dead came back from the dead and, surprise, she’s actually become a member of the League of Assassins. He’s lost his job. Twice. Sara, the daughter he thought was dead the first time, but she wasn’t really, came back to him only to get murdered for real by the brainwashed daughter of the crazy man who blew up half of Starling City. Then Laurel, the daughter who was supposed to be safe, decided to take up where Sara left off and became a vigilante. Then Laurel decided to bring Sara back from the dead, but not all of Sara came back from the dead, and Lance had to say goodbye to Sara for the third time. Then Laurel got killed by another crazy man who tried to blow up Starling City. Have I missed anything? To say that Quentin Lance has been through the ringer over the last five years is an understatement. I said in my review of last week’s episode that Prometheus didn’t seem surprised when Church revealed The Green Arrow’s true identity, and now we know why.

A big part of Prometheus’ emergence no doubt has to do with all the losses that Lance has suffered in such rapid succession. Like I said. He’s been through a lot, and his normal coping mechanisms of either drinking himself into obliviion, working himself into the ground, or leaning on Laurel aren’t going to help him this time. Mostly because two of those three coping mechanisms are no longer available. Losing Laurel was the last straw for Quentin, and it’s not surprising he would have a psychotic break. But I think the other part of Prometheus’ emergence is that Lance never truly forgave Oliver for those five years he thought Sara to be dead. I think he tried very hard, but I don’t think he was ever really able to let that go. Also, when Oliver same back to Starling City, he set in motion a chain of events that caused Laurel’s death. I’m not saying I necessarily agree with the logic, but it would make sense as to why Lance/Prometheus has gone back to the beginning. Why he’s dredging up Oliver’s past sins. I’m not sure how far down the road the show is going to take Quentin’s break with reality, but if they do it right, it could be a very good story for Quentin and for Oliver.

Part of the problem with Arrow since about season three is that there hasn’t really been any lasting growth in Oliver. He still plays things entirely too close to the vest. He doesn’t really trust the team he’s supposed to be out there working with. He lies to the people he’s supposedly cares about. He expects people to follow orders without having any questions or opinions of their own. He’s stubborn and hard-headed. As my favorite aunt used to say, it seems he’s got bricks for brains. He hasn’t really seemed to learn from any of his mistakes because he keeps making the same ones over and over. It’s as if the show doesn’t recognize that the very nature of humanity is that we continually make mistakes. Admittedly, sometimes we do make the same ones over and over. But the point of characters on television shows is for them to continually make new mistakes as they grow. I would like to see that in Oliver, and introducing Prometheus into the mix presents the show with an opportunity to make that happen. It gives Oliver an opportunity to really examine how much he’s grown since he first returned to Starling City, and it gives Lance an opportunity to explore what appears to be a very dark side of himself. Fingers crossed the powers that be don’t mess it up.

It was so nice to finally see the John Diggle I know and love back on my screen. Last season the powers that be wrote him so out of character that it feels like it’s been a couple of seasons since I’ve seen him. Thankfully, it seems they’ve got him more on track now. He’s got a bit more baggage now (which is understandable) but he’s back to being the friend and mentor Oliver needs him to be. Although Oliver tends to regress a bit every season, it’s true that he has changed from the person he was when he returned to Starling City five years ago. That change is due in large part to Diggle’s guidance. He’s able to give Oliver perspective and sound advice which Oliver needs on a constant basis because he gets too deep in his own head sometimes. It’s just nice to see Oliver and Diggle back on the same page again. Their bromance was one of the best things about the earlier seasons, and I’m glad it’s back.

While Oliver and Diggle seem to be back on track, the new Team Arrow is still going through some growing pains. This time, the new recruits were upset that 1) Oliver was basically a serial killer four years ago and 2) he and Diggle started the Prometheus investigation without telling them about it. Let’s start with the first thing. I’m sincerely confused as to why they were so shocked that Oliver was the one who murdered the people on his father’s list. It’s not like it was a secret that “The Vigilante” murdered certain bankers, lawyers, etc. four years ago. I think Rene even pointed out at one point that it’s not breaking news that Oliver used to routinely murder people. I guess my primary head-scratching moment about all of that is why they were all so scandalized to find out that Oliver used to kill people. Have they never met Oliver? It’s naive to believe he’s been doing his nighttime job for as long as he has without killing people. Furthermore, with the exception of Curtis, they’ve all either killed people or tried to kill people. Their reasons may have been justified in their own minds, but at the time, so were Oliver’s. He’s grown beyond that now, and all of them should’ve been able to recognize and accept that.

As to the second point, I can understand their frustration. They are supposed to be a team, but they can’t really do that if part of the team is keeping information from the other part of the team. It’s not only insulting to the team members, it’s poor leadership. If the team doesn’t feel like you’re giving them enough information to do their jobs and come back home in one piece, what is their motivation to trust their leader or follow orders? Also, it doesn’t build unit cohesiveness to constantly withhold information from your team. However, all of that being said, I understand Oliver and Dig not wanting to involve the new recruits in their initial investigation. They didn’t really know what they were walking into, and if it had been a trap, they didn’t want the rest of the team to get hurt. Furthermore, they’d already determined that Prometheus was personally targeting Oliver, and given who Oliver is, it’s pretty much in character for him to want to try and face it alone. Furthermore, the new recruits still demonstrate a problematic lack of discipline. But once again, as my favorite aunt used to say, either come in the door or go out the door but don’t stand in the middle with the door hanging open. Either Oliver is going to have a team or he’s not going to have a team. He cannot expect them to keep hanging around if he’s not going to treat them with more respect. Yes, they’re rough around the edges. Yes, they’re pretty green. Yes, they lack discipline. But the only way for them to grow is for Oliver to start respecting them a little bit more and letting them actually learn how to do their jobs.

I really enjoyed this episode. The show did a good job of misdirection with Lance’s perpetual tardiness and unexplained absences. I also liked the way the action sequences were shot and Prometheus’s fighting style. It’s not nearly as polished as Oliver’s, but it’s clear he’s had some training. Which is why Evelyn was able to engage him without getting too badly injured. I appreciate that the show paid attention to that detail. It also seems to indicate that when Oliver and Prometheus’s final confrontation happens, it may not necessarily come down to fisticuffs. Like I said earlier, if the show takes their time with Prometheus, it has the potential to be a very good storyline for both Oliver and Lance. Sadly, it looks like the show is going to get Oliver involved with Susan and I’m not particularly looking forward to that. Felicity’s boyfriend seems like a decent guy though. I’m glad she told him the truth because a relationship built on lies is doomed to failure. I’m still very much enjoying the Russia flashbacks. Especially Anatoly. I liked him back on the island, but he’s even more entertaining in Russia. Also, I may or may not have squeed just a little bit when I saw Dolph Lundgren on my screen. So what did y’all think of last week’s Arrow?