Arrow: 5.19 Dangerous Liaisons
Arrow is back after a few week's break; it's been a season with a renewed sense of purpose and that confidence really showed as the show kicked off its final run of episodes. With Adrian Chase outed to the public as Prometheus last episode the hunt was on and the building conflict with hacker group Helix and Felicity's divided loyalties finally came to the fore in an explosive episode. While it wasn't full on Felicity turns to the 'dark side', she came closer than ever as she literally fought against her friends and allies to do all she could to catch Chase.
While I was disappointed not to see Josh Segarra's brilliant villain this week, the absence of Prometheus allowed for plenty of interesting questions to be raised; Mayor Oliver Queen faced the press and was asked how he didn't know he had a homicidal killer working for him (the answer course is that the mayor's a homicidal killer too!), while we saw the relationships between Lyla and John Diggle and Felicity and Oliver tested. There was even some nice developments on the working friendship between Quentin and Rene, which has been a surprise new development of late. Quentin reuniting Rene with his estranged daughter was a nice touch, given the loss of both his own daughters (though one is just travelling through time and space saving the universe!)
Lyla has always been a strong supporting character in Arrow, a fierce mother, wife and leader of ARGUS, this week saw John question how close to her predecessor Amanda Waller she was becoming. Holding the leader of hacker group Helix in solitary without a trial shone a light of the tough choices she has been forced to make and the cracks in the relationship were starting to show again. I really hope John's growing dissatisfaction with ARGUS's choices won't force them apart but things aren't looking too rosy for one of the toughest husband and wife teams on television.
The central focus was definitely on Oliver and Felicity and it was nice to see the episode take the time to deal with all that had happened to them. While I appreciate their amicable working relationship after the brutal events of last season, it's never really felt that Arrow has taken the time to properly address their break up and what it meant to them. The scene in Felicity's apartment was open and heartfelt and took some steps to show their close bond even after four and a half years of drama.
But that didn't stop Felicity from running into the arms of Helix to do what needed to be done to find Adrian Chase. And that meant hacking into ARGUS, breaking its leader free and using him to track down the big villain. But with John, Oliver and the others loyal to Lyla and ARGUS it put them on opposing sides for the first time. I wasn't surprised to see Alena kill without hesitation to get what she needed, nor Helix shutting Felicity out in the cold for her ties to Oliver, but it did throw in some big moments as violence ensued and Felicity put herself in front of Oliver to stop him killing her Helix allies.
I wonder if the Helix device given to Felicity at the end was really intended to find Chase or whether it was a trap, but either way, the shocking explosion left Oliver and Felicity potentially trapped together, which will force them to confront their actions next week. Unless of course Chase really is in the Arrow cave, lying in wait for them.
Dangerous Liaisons was an episode all about relationships, stripping back Prometheus and the (resolved?) flashbacks to focus on key characters before the final few episodes of the season. It was a good episode to return to, if not the strongest of season five, but then the show has been mostly firing on all cylinders so a lull in the action can be forgiven. And it's not as if this week was without any drama of its own. While I would have liked to have seen Felicity's descent into darkness go further, I like where the show has left her; will she still prove herself in the fight against Prometheus?