Arrow Review: Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before

Arrow, Season 5, Episode 15, “Fighting Fire With Fire”

Despite throwing the audience a major curveball, the latest episode of Arrow gave off a well-worn feeling that works for furniture, but is generally a negative which it comes to TV shows.

Throughout its run, Arrow has possessed a hot and cold relationship with comics cannon. It pretty much raided the Batman rogues gallery for villains in its early going in an effort to establish a universe of its own. It swung the other direction later by temporarily killing off a well-liked hero (Sara) to make room for Laurel to fill her comics canon role as Black Canary.

Lately, the show has been more slavish to comics canon than not, so when new DA Adrian Chase and Vigilante showed up on the scene, it was assumed that the characters were one and the same, just like in the comics. So, it was quite a shock when Vigilante and Prometheus had a big battle on the rooftops this week, and Prometheus got the upper hand, and it was revealed to be Chase under the mask.

After being missing in action so long, seeing Prometheus on screen was shocking enough, but the ultimate misdirection is worthy of a few golf claps. While I’m not exactly sold that this is the last twist we’ll see regarding Prometheus’ identity, it is good to know the Arrow writers are still willing to go out on a limb and defy what the comics dictate.

The downside, of course, is that we’ve been down this road before. Chase has become a key piece of Mayor Ollie’s inner circle, which means a betrayal from within is inevitable and that’s not the first time this season that has happened (Evelyn Sharp and to a lesser degree Reporter Susan).

The Prometheus twist wasn’t the only piece of this episode that contained all-too familiar beats that dragged the episode down. By the end, the Green Arrow, like the Hood and the Arrow before him, is officially an enemy of Star City, wanted for the murder of Felicity’s cop boyfriend. Thea goes back to her “Eat, Pray, Love” exile (and has been essentially written off the show) to find herself again, after realizing her willingness to blackmail a council member with buried details of a personal tragedy in order to save Ollie’s job was a little over the top, even for the daughter of Moira Queen.

Like many of the recent episodes of Arrow, “Fighting Fire With Fire” was equal parts exhilarating and aggravating. The through line with Curtis excitedly inventing Mr. Terrific’s signature T Spheres (or as Wild Dog puts it: his balls), only to have the rug pulled out from under him when Paul hands him divorce papers, was good character work. Seeing Felicity drawn closer to a flame she can’t handle in the guise of Pandora and the Helix hackers is entertaining, and an interesting direction for one of the core characters.

That is counterbalanced by the fact that Thea, returning for a couple of episodes after a long absence, is going back into exile seemingly to make room for more Susan. Speaking of Ollie’s squeeze, Felicity, whose boyfriend was killed by Ollie, hacks Susan back into her paper’s good graces to get her job back at Ollie’s behest (“I know I killed your lover, but you need to get me back with my girlfriend, you owe me”). She does get her job back, despite the fact Susan’s committing a termination worthy act by sleeping with the mayor while covering city hall, and covering up a huge story about the mayor being a vigilante wanted for cop murder in his spare time. New Canary hasn’t even escaped plot holes, because she’s been barely been on the Star City PD long enough to learn how to fill out the paperwork correctly, and she’s already a detective and on the mayor’s security detail. That has to raise eyebrows within the department at least, right? I’ll also mention for a final time there was a huge gun battle in the middle of the episode, as well.

With Susan now in Chase/Prometheus’ clutches, the new Team Arrow established, and Felicity becoming a wild card, it feels at least the series is working toward a showdown between Ollie and his nemesis, which will do wonders to recapture momentum and make it easier to glaze over the plot potholes on the way to the season finale.

Craig Wack

Craig Wack

For a weekly discussion of comic book TV shows please join Craig Wack and Tatiana Torres for the Agents of GEEK podcast updated every Friday and now on iTunes

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  • actual thought at the end of the ep: Cool promethus is taking susan. YOU CAN KEEP HER P !

  • Jelinas

    I had MAJOR problems with this ep and had to come here to vent.

    1. Ollie: Can we please talk about this?

    I do not understand why he would want to get back together with her. She’s spiteful and has never shown a lick of charm or any redeeming quality the entire time she’s been on the show. And these two have NO chemistry together. I do not find them AT ALL believable as a couple.

    2. At the very beginning of the episode, when Ollie asks Chase to represent him, I said aloud to myself, “He’s totally Prometheus.” It probably helped that I’m not at all familiar with the comics, but I saw that telegraphed a mile away.

    3. And when Curtis explains to Rene that Paul wouldn’t want to have dinner unless he was ready to reconcile, I also said aloud, “Or serve you divorce papers.” Which, BTW: who invites someone out to dinner to serve them divorce papers and then immediately bounces? It’s cruel to make the other person sit there in shock until the waiter comes over and asks, “Are you ready to order, sir?” and now they either have to apologize to the waiter and tell them they have to leave (and now the waiter’s been stiffed his tip and this table’s going to be empty for the night) or they have to force themselves to order something just to keep the shock and humiliation at bay, which means they are trapped at the scene.

    Ask them to meet you for coffee, at the very least. That enables the recipient of the papers to make a quick getaway. Paul is an anus.

    4. I find it highly out of character for Ollie to listen to Thea suggest that they should blackmail that councilman and not immediately see that this job is taking a toll on her. I was very surprised that Ollie did not fire her himself, for her own good, so that she wouldn’t become further tainted by this job. In the end, I was pleased that Thea decided to leave of her own accord, but I still found it hard to believe that Ollie didn’t spot what was happening to Thea even before she did.

    That said, I would be hard-pressed to shed a tear for Thea leaving the show. Meh.

    5. I agree that it’s roll-your-eyes implausible that New Canary would go immediately from officer to detective to mayor’s security detail. Since when are detectives put on babysitting duty? Isn’t that what unis are for? And I also found it hard to believe that she wouldn’t return to the World’s Least Secure Hideout after the shootout and not be like, “I got the piece of Vigilante’s mask, but Chase took it from me before I could bring it to you. He was acting pretty squirrelly about it, now that I think about it.” On what planet is it okay for a DA to log evidence at the scene? NOT YOUR JOB, BRO. It’s called chain of custody, dumdum.

    6. Ollie holds a press conference and there’s a shootout happening in the building across the street with AUTOMATIC WEAPONS FIRING and none of the press is at all interested in that?

    Reporter 1: Were those gunshots?
    Reporter 2: SHHHH, the Mayor is slowly and dramatically telling us why he protected the Green Arrow.

    7. Okay, so, if the Green Arrow is evil, doesn’t that mean that MAYOR QUEEN WAS WRONG TO COVER UP HIS CRIME???? Does this not actually justify his impeachment??? “Well, I was protecting him because I was hoping he was a good guy, but now that I’ve been caught covering this up, I have to admit that he’s really a bad guy! You know whom you should trust to bring him to justice? ME, THE GUY WHO COVERED UP HIS CRIME THE FIRST TIME AROUND.” DOES. NOT. COMPUTE.

    8. It bugged the crap out of me in the flashback when Ollie broke into Gregor’s house, found his laptop, and started typing away with HIS GLOVES STILL ON. NO WAY you’re typing anything but gibberish with those thick, leather gloves on, my friend.

    9. Wild Dog has quickly become my favorite member of the team. When he apologizes to Curtis for coming on too strong with the “balls” jab — so great!! I have to say that I find the whole “nerd ramble” thing that nerds supposedly do on TV when they’re talking to people (see: Smoak, Felicity; Holt, Curtis) quite annoying. I find it refreshing that Wild Dog is so terse, but still engages with the other members of the team, unlike New Canary, who just comes off as sullen. I really like Rick Gonzales in this role.

    10. In conclusion: Stephen Amell always looks fantastic in a suit. That is why, despite all my rage, I will still be tuning in next week.