Last week on Arrow, there was all sorts of crazy alien stuff going down due to the crossover from the other DC/CW shows. This week, however, we’re back on track with the regular Arrow storyline, and damn does it get darker. Oliver and Team Arrow were seeking out clues on who Prometheus was and trying to stop the dude and, as episode 7’s conclusion revealed, Artemis was working with the enemy. This week, ‘What We Leave Behind’ delves deeper and comes up with one of the most emotionally intense episodes of Arrow we’ve seen since the series first began. Scroll on for the full review.
We begin with a brief look at Artemis and Prometheus’ new relationship. She’s bringing him info and selling out her boss. Although we still don’t know why the young vigilante has turned villain.
Meanwhile, Oliver and Thea are keeping things normal, even after the hassles of being kidnapped by aliens who sought to probe their brains. They’re throwing a big, mayoral Christmas bash and doing the political thing. Unfortunately for Curtis, Prometheus shows up and causes some problems. Though being smacked around a bit is the least of his worries, as we eventually find out.
The big revelation here is that when Curtis was attacked, it proved that Prometheus knows the real identities of Team Arrow. What’s more, he hit Curtis with a poison that harkens back to one of Ollie’s kill-list buddies from back in season 1. The man’s name is Claiborne and he was manufacturing both a disease and a cure for that disease before The Hood put an arrow in him for failing the city.
So the team gathers to figure out what the connection is. When they finally find a target, it leads to a showdown between Oliver and Prometheus. It’s here that Artemis shows her true colors and the bad guy, with her help, manages to escape. The only clue he leaves behind are some ashes. Those ashes just happen to point to Claiborne, pointing Oliver and Team Arrow in a very particular direction.
Another clue shows up in the form of a picture sent by Felicity’s new boyfriend, Billy. A picture of a child leads to the revelation that Prometheus might actually be Claiborne’s kid come back to take vengeance on Oliver. When The Green Arrow follows up on that lead, he’s taken into a staged world mimicking the carnage that he left behind when he went after Claiborne the first time around. And another conflict with Prometheus leads to a much darker tragedy. And a possible visit from the grave…
This had to be one of the more complicated episodes of Arrow since the series began. The attention to detail regarding the parallels between past and present was very well executed. And although we still don’t know for sure who Prometheus is, what with all the Lance teasers lurking in the background, the motivation behind the character has been explored to the point where it has become very interesting.
In addition, the Curtis relationship issues are actually something I’m interested in. Usually, the “I can’t deal with loving a super hero” plotlines are annoying at best. But this time it feels as if the writers were trying to come up with something genuine as opposed to simply interjecting a subplot for the purpose of taking up time. I’m feeling for Curtis and his dilemma instead of just wishing they’d speed things along and get to the good stuff.
The best part of the episode, however, had to be the overall mystery factor. This entire season has been a question of who Prometheus is and why he’s there, but they really upped the ante with this installment. The obvious answers don’t seem so obvious anymore and there doesn’t seem to be any relation to the Lance teasers that makes sense yet. Kudos to the writers for twisting the knots tight enough that we can’t immediately figure out what’s lying in wait for the coming episodes. I’m looking forward to seeing what they have planned.
All-in-all, this has been one of my favorite episodes thus far. And, probably the only time this season, I’m eager to see what the next episode will bring. Arrow has been a hit-and-miss thing for a few years now, with little real motivation for anticipation of the storyline. Now, it seems as if the writers may have brought something to the table to keep me coming back. Hopefully, they can keep that going and make this an outstanding season overall.