Arrow: 5.06 So It Begins
After lurking in the shadows for the last few weeks and then brutally taking out wannabe season villain Tobias Church last week, Prometheus finally stepped up his game in an exciting episode of Arrow that was season five's best yet. So It Begins was a very apt title (I LOVED Felicity's suggestion that he might be a Babylon 5 fan - she just went another 100+ geek points in my estimation!) This was the start of Prometheus's reign of terror and I loved every minute of it.
From the random slaughter of innocent victims (including a poor helpless single mother), Star City was in full panic as the 'throwing star killer' began taking out innocent people, all to deliver a very sinister message to the Green Arrow; they were all anagrams of Oliver Queen's kill list that belonged to his father. In a season that has felt like a return to the basics this throwback was a great twist, topped by the fact that each of the throwing stars was forged from the very arrows Oliver has used over the years. Not only is Prometheus out to destroy the Green Arrow, he is using his father's book and his weapons against him. This is deeply personal.
As to who Prometheus is, remains to be seen. I hardly believe that it is Quentin Lance, despite him waking from a drink-fuelled haze at the end of the episode with a throwing star on his table and scar on his arm. There is obviously a connection and I hope it is a good one; the 'make Quentin the deputy mayor storyline' feels like a desperate attempt to give him something to do so this might be a step in the right direction - and a tragic one too.
It could be Felicity's utterly pointless new detective boyfriend; he needs something to happen to make him interesting. Right now, he seems like an utterly forced attempt to show why Felicity is not looking to get back together with Oliver (though I appreciate this new, respectful post-break up relationship). My money's on the DA Adrian Chase, who has made a strong presence as Mayor Oliver Queen and the Green Arrow's ally.
I'm starting to warm to the new recruits too; Evelyn Sharp / Artemis emerged as a voice of reason and a worthy heroine. Rene Ramirez / Wild Dog is still a little impulsive but he feels a much less annoying character after his experiences with Tobias Church. When the team discovered that Oliver had been keeping the threat of Prometheus from them and then learned that he used to be a serial killer, murdering people on his list back in season one, their anger was frustration was understandable and it was Ramirez who rallied them together. There were also some great scenes of everyone together, particularly that fantastic shot of them on the roof as panic erupted in the streets below, before the heroes rushed down to save the day. The only thing I didn't quite buy was Artemis going head to head with Prometheus on the subway train and surviving more than a minute. Though of course the villain still had the upper hand by playing the whole bomb on the runaway train trick.
Oliver grabbing Artemis and the driver and parachuting them all to safety was a spectacular trick and I noticed that So It Begins had a few cool moments, from Oliver shooting jet-propelled tennis balls with arrows to stopping the maniac in the market by shooting an arrow into the barrel of the gun.
Even the flashbacks are engaging again, Oliver finally came face to face with Konstantin Kovar, played by Dolph Lundgren no less! His first scene dripped with tension as Oliver was given a dark Russian take on the classic tale 'The Enormous Turnip' and Kovar ruthlessly took out Oliver's Bratva ally. It left the flashbacks on a great cliffhanger. He could also be another contender for Prometheus but that would be too obviously a repeat of the Slade Wilson / Deathstroke storyline from season two.
I've certainly enjoyed Arrow's attempt to regain its darker, gritter roots that made it a success back in its first two seasons but So It Begins was the first episode of season five that I really enjoyed. Tobias Church may have made a good villain but he has nothing on Prometheus. What makes him such a success is not just the fact that he is an evil mirror of the Green Arrow (the show has done that before with Malcolm Merlyn's Dark Archer) but the mystery behind his connection to Oliver and the use of his season one kill list and weapons out of Oliver's own. For the first time in a while, I can't wait to see what happens next.