Arrow S05E16 “Checkmate” Review

“Checkmate”

Warning Contains Spoilers

Prometheus is back in the forefront as the villain this season and I couldn’t be happier about that. The strongest episodes of this season are the ones where Prometheus is on screen. If it weren’t for Oliver’s stupid decisions, this would’ve been one of those episodes.

The episode begins with Oliver trekking up a mountain to a hidden temple. This is where we meet Talia al Ghul in the present! Oliver knows she also trained Prometheus because his moves were too specific. Talia isn’t exactly welcoming to Oliver when he arrives. She explains that of course she would help Prometheus– Oliver killed his father and when he came to her, Oliver had just killed her father. She reveals that her father is Ra’s al Ghul, much to Oliver’s surprise. I thought he would have already known this fact, but apparently not. I honestly don’t understand why she cares about her father; he’s not the most caring of gentlemen, and they were also estranged for quite some time.

Talia also reveals to Oliver that Adrian Chase is Prometheus. Well, that didn’t take long; I thought they’d drag that reveal for a few episodes, but we are nearing the end of the season so there isn’t a lot of time. Adrian doesn’t seem surprised when Oliver confronts him. He has been planning this for a while and is always ten steps ahead of Oliver. He has Susan, so until she’s found there isn’t much Oliver and the team can do. For the whole season Adrian has been pretty composed. Now that the secret is out, it’s like he’s flipped his humanity switch.There has always been a difference between him and his alter ego, but now I would never have guessed that he wasn’t pretty much a sociopath.

The search for Susan is on and the team can’t find Felicity. She has been working with Helix and isn’t ready to tell them what she’s up to. When she finally arrives in the lair, Oliver is really concerned. He doesn’t like the path she’s going down, especially with Prometheus running amuck. She is loving the new power she has access to at Helix, so she isn’t going to listen. They have helped her and the team out with the information they have, so she isn’t going to give that up. Helix finally expects something from Felicity in return this week. She agrees to help them if they help her. Her first assignment is to re-route drones from border control. Felicity is really getting herself into trouble here, but she likes it. She keeps justifying that she’s only doing this to help the team, but I know this is giving her a natural high; she feels a sense of purpose again.

Adrian Chase being the District Attorney means he is pretty much above the law at this point. He has pull with the police department so it will be hard to find evidence to convict him. Oliver, of course tries to pull one over on him by slipping info to the head of the ACU, Frank Pike, that ties Adrian to the Throwing Stars Killer, aka Prometheus. He thinks that this will be their saving grace. Adrian isn’t stupid; he has eyes everywhere and contingency plans. Frank Pike ends up comatose from a stab wound because of Oliver’s stupidity. Prometheus/Adrian has surprised him every step of the way so why would he think this time would be different? How many more people have to get hurt or die before Oliver realizes he can’t trick this guy.

Unfortunately, Oliver continues to make stupid decisions before the episode is over. He thinks once again that he can pull one over on Adrian and tells his wife (oh yeah, he has a wife she was introduced for a second a few episodes back) everything to see if she could sway him to stop being Prometheus. It seems to be working for a moment, they are exchanging heartfelt sentiments, but then he stabs her. I saw that coming a mile away. He probably only married her as a front to seem like a normal everyday guy; he never actually cared for her. He’s out for revenge and isn’t letting anyone get in his way. Oliver pretty much caused this woman’s death; he may not have actually stabbed her, but he put the knife in Adrian’s hand. He also got himself kidnapped by Adrian to who knows where. Seriously, has Oliver been around at all this season? Prometheus has outsmarted him every step of the way and someone innocent always ends up hurt or killed. Oliver constantly thinks he can be better, but this guy knows everything about him and has trained with the same person that he did; there isn’t much Oliver can do to beat him.

Now that he is being tortured by Adrian with the help of Talia, I’m not sure how he can come back from this. Oliver tells her he doesn’t see anything noble about her anymore and that her father would be very disappointed. He probably was already disappointed in her at the time of his death, this just adds to it. I love that Talia is in the present, I just had no idea it would be this way. She taught Oliver how to seek revenge, so she knows a thing or two about it. Adrian mentioned he would “help Oliver discover who he really is”; I wonder what that means. I’m excited to see where this goes; I love when Oliver is put in his place, he becomes more grounded that way.

The team now has their hands full with trying to find Oliver, but thanks to Helix it probably won’t take long. What will Felicity have to do for them to save Oliver? I’m excited to find out– it’s probably something dangerous and compromising. Helix probably won’t want to keep helping Felicity much longer without her proving herself to a higher degree. I’m kind of hoping Felicity gets so caught up she becomes a villain too! For so long she’s seeked validation and attention; now that she has it, how could she let it go?

Susan was found and freed. She agreed to keep her story to herself since Adrian is still playing District Attorney and she would end up dead. I’m not sure how long she will keep her mouth shut though. She is a reporter after all, and this could make her career. She also seems to really care about Oliver, so who knows. I still don’t understand her point in all of this, but she doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.

This was a pretty strong episode, I’m just tired of Oliver’s stupid decisions. It would be fine if this was the first time, but this is how Oliver is constantly written. He’s supposed to be a leader, yet he doesn’t listen; not to his team and especially not to himself. Hopefully a little time in captivity will do him some good! I’m just glad it’s back to being the Prometheus show. This is one of the best villains since Deathstroke. I’m not sure anything could top Deathstroke, but Prometheus comes close. I feel like there is still more to his story then a “My name is Prometheus, you killed my father prepare to die” revenge situation.  If this were a game of chess, Prometheus would be winning with a checkmate.

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