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‘Arrow’ Review: “Fighting Fire with Fire”

Nora Dominick ‘17/ Emertainment Monthly Executive Stage Editor

While Arrow unmasks Prometheus, this latest episode once again feels like a filler episode as we continue to get further and further away from the characters we love. In this episode, Oliver (Stephen Amell) must deal with a possible impeachment because of his cover up with Billy Malone death. While slightly better than last week’s episode, Arrow seems to be struggling to get character’s storylines started all too late in season five. Arrow’s latest episode entitled “Fighting Fire with Fire” lacks the surprise factor, but gives us the beginning of, hopefully, some strong storylines as we near the end of season five.

There’s only so much we can still talk about when it comes to Arrow’s lack of character development this season. Out of all The CW’s DCTV series, Arrow has lost sight of its characters the most. Every other show this season has revitalized its core characters to a point where the shows are better than ever. On Supergirl, Alex Danvers (Chyler Leigh) has undergone one of the best coming-out storylines on TV. On Legends of Tomorrow, Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) has become the leader we all deserve. And The Flash has taken Iris West’s (Candice Patton) imminent demise and made it an opportunity to push her character to the forefront. All of these shows are continuously growing their main, core characters.

Arrow has seemingly done the opposite. Oliver has unraveled all of his character development from the last five seasons. Last week, he actually got angry at Thea (Willa Holland) and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) for trying to keep Susan Williams (Carly Pope) from discovering that he’s the Green Arrow. Now, the Oliver we know would’ve been right behind Thea and Felicity, but we digress.

Stephen Amell in the Arrow episode "Fighting Fire with Fire." Photo: Diyah Pera/The CW
Stephen Amell in the Arrow episode “Fighting Fire with Fire.” Photo: Diyah Pera/The CW

This week, Oliver actually has the nerve to go to Felicity and ask her to help him get back together with Susan. First off all, Oliver, feel the room. You don’t go to your ex-fiancé for advice for your current girlfriend problem. Also, Oliver would never do this. He had a hard enough time telling Laurel (Katie Cassidy) that he had feelings for Felicity. Emotionally, Oliver has strayed far from the character we thought he’d become and we hope Arrow can get him back to a place where he can thrive.

One of Oliver’s better moments this week actually comes when he decides to blame the Green Arrow for Billy Malone’s death. It’s a big step for Oliver, we can’t deny that. Never has Oliver thought to tarnish the Green Arrow’s legacy. He’s spent five years building up Green Arrow as a symbol of hope for Star City, only to tear him down. Amell does some his best work in this episode during Oliver’s Mayoral scenes. This is a rare episode where he doesn’t get to hide behind the Green Arrow mask. Oliver’s Mayor storyline has fallen flat this season, mainly because not much time has been dedicated to it. This episode finally gives Amell a chance to thrive as Mayor Oliver.

While characterization for all the original Arrow characters is all over the place, Felicity and Diggle (David Ramsey) manage to have a poignant moment in this episode. Rickards and Ramsey have always been the emotional rocks on Arrow and that trend continues. Diggle is the first person to truly notice that Felicity is going through a tough time. Diggle’s storylines, like Felicity’s, have been all but fleeting, so to have the two of them together is great. Most of the time, Felicity is the level headed one for Diggle, so to have the roles reversed is very interesting. We hope Ramsey and Rickards share more scenes together as season five begins to wrap up.

Rick Gonzalez, Juliana Harkavy, Emily Bett Rickards and Echo Kellum in the Arrow episode "Fighting Fire with Fire." Photo: Diyah Pera/The CW
Rick Gonzalez, Juliana Harkavy, Emily Bett Rickards and Echo Kellum in the Arrow episode “Fighting Fire with Fire.” Photo: Diyah Pera/The CW

Felicity’s darker storyline is presented some interesting character motives for everyone, but also showcasing some holes in Arrow’s characters. For example, Oliver seems to be blind to Felicity this season and this goes back to Arrow being afraid to even put them in scenes together. Yes, we love Oliver and Felicity romantically, but that doesn’t mean we can’t handle them as friends. In fact, it’s odd that they aren’t friends this season. For a person that would notice if she was missing for all of two minutes, Oliver has been so distant from Felicity for the entire season. The two of them share small moments, but it’s as if they didn’t share a friendship before their engagement. As Felicity dives deeper into Helix and the darker, hacking storyline, we hope Arrow can grow-up and have Oliver genuinely concerned for Felicity.

This week, Felicity decides to dive deeper into Helix and the hacktivist group she’s now part of. Rickards has not been given much to work with, so it’s a welcomed storyline to finish off season five. Felicity has been through a lot in the last season alone. From being shot and paralyzed to Laurel death to Havenrock, it’s been a season of hardship. The worst thing Arrow has done with this, is that we’ve seen how Oliver’s dealt  with tragedy, but not Felicity.

She’s been through as much as Oliver in the last season, but Arrow just hasn’t had the capacity to tell her side of the story. She’s broken and needs to find her own way to help Star City. So, Helix arrives at the correct time. Felicity’s vulnerable and this will hopefully lead her into a very interesting storyline. Rickards is the strongest asset in Arrow’s corner and she’s been sidelined for the season. With new characters introduced, we’ve forgotten about the character that made us love Arrow. As the show wraps season five, we hope to see more Oliver, Felicity and Diggle.

With the addition of so many new characters, original characters have been severely lacking in season five. One character that’s almost completely gone from Arrow is Thea Queen. Thea has had no storyline in season five and it’s one of the biggest crimes of the season. She’s such a  strong, female character, but she’s been sidelined. Yes, Willa Holland’s new contract only allows her to appear in 14 episodes this season, but that doesn’t mean Thea doesn’t deserve an interesting storyline.

Willa Holland and Josh Segarra in the Arrow episode "Fighting Fire with Fire." Photo: Diyah Pera/The CW
Willa Holland and Josh Segarra in the Arrow episode “Fighting Fire with Fire.” Photo: Diyah Pera/The CW

Arrow literally stuck her behind a desk this season. They stripped her of a mask and gave her a desk job, barely. Holland holds such a presence on Arrow, so her not being around is very obvious and a negative of the season. At the end of this episode, Thea decides to quit the Mayor’s office and figure things out. This seems like Arrow’s way of phasing out Holland, but we hope it’s not true. The show wouldn’t be the same without Thea and we hope this isn’t the end.

The big reveal in this episode is the identity of Prometheus. After battling Vigilante, Prometheus throws off his mask and is revealed to be none other than DA Adrian Chase (Josh Segarra). Sorry Arrow, but we saw this coming from a mile away. Yes, Adrian Chase is Vigilante in the comics, so this might’ve tripped some viewers up, but we had a feeling. While it wouldn’t been awesome to have Prometheus be Tommy or even Earth 2 Oliver, Segarra is going to play the role really well.

We’re excited to see how Adrian and Oliver’s dynamic changes now that the audience knows his true motives. While Arrow has been overrun with new characters, Segarra has managed to cut through the clutter and create a very interesting and dynamic character. The saddest part about Adrian being Prometheus is that we’ll likely have to say goodbye to Segarra come seasons end. We hope the unmaking of Prometheus gives us some fresh character development as we finish off season five.

Arrow manages to rebound from last week’s episode with another filler episode. While this episode is by no means Arrow’s finest hour, we start to see the beginnings of some great storylines. With less than ten episodes left this season, we hope Arrow can recover from a season filled with awkward character motives and subpar storytelling.

Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW

Overall Grade: B-

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