Arrow, Season 5, Episode 6, “So It Begins”
Another day on Arrow, another situation where Oliver Queen keeps secrets from people he should trust, and the people he does trust seemingly betray him.
Oliver’s love of secrets feels like it’s been hammered home six times this season; the main reason this time is to give Artemis the kind of solo spotlight that’s previously been shined on new team members, Wild Dog and Ragman.
Not to say it wasn’t well executed … The action was crisp, the flashbacks continued to be interesting (Dolph Lundgren!); the writing team waded into the Second Amendment debate, and there was a nice balance between light and heavy.
But, for a guy who has a knack for giving out his secret identity like Halloween candy and whose secret lair has an open door policy, it feels like the show is going out of its way to use secrets as a way to create dramatic tension.
In this episode, Prometheus has begun his/her reign of terror by killing random people with a throwing star. Oliver decides to keep the initial information circle small: himself, Diggle and despite her objections to the secrecy, Felicity. That is all well and good, but what the hell are the recruits doing in the meantime? Do any of them have a police scanner? Or a TV? “Hey Mr. Arrow, I saw on the news that a lady got shivved in the neck, should we look into that or something?”
Once Oliver does add some investigative manpower to the situation, things get rolling. Curtis helps discover that the “random” victims have names that are anagrams of the group of people who were part of the plot to blow up the Glades (remember the Glades, you guys? Good times, good times), and who were in Ollie’s little book of people who failed this city and deserved to die.
The revelation that Ollie was “serial killer”, The Hood four years ago causes momentary angst for both the recruits, and Oliver himself. Everyone comes together for the sake of the city and the random innocents in the path of a killer who seemingly knows all of Oliver’s deepest secrets.
Meanwhile in B plot land, Thea is still trying to bring Quentin out of his personal tailspin, and not having any luck. At first she thought he had a relapse, before realizing he never stopped drinking in the first place. It’s an important detail to continue the foster father-daughter relationship that’s carried through the season and establish that Quentin is blackout drunk all the time. We also get some cutesy stuff with Felicity and her new beau. She steals some evidence then later confesses that she did it because she’s working with the Green Arrow. Instead of angry, her boyfriend is oddly aroused, so Felicity twists herself into a weird standing pose to kiss him. Hey, whatever adds spice to the relationship I guess.
Once again, the team overcomes all the secrets and half-truths to save a subway driver. Artemis cuts Prometheus on the arm in the battle on the train. All the random threads come together when Felicity reports to Ollie at the concert Thea and Quentin organized; the analysis of the weapon Felicity stole off her boyfriend’s desk points to it being made from some of the same unique metals Ollie has made his arrows from over the past few years. Of course, Quentin isn’t there to hear it because he’s coming out of an alcoholic stupor ,with a throwing star on his coffee table and a big gash on his arm.
This feels like a total misdirection play, if only because the entire episode established the elaborate lengths Prometheus went to mess with Ollie, and that Quentin has never seemed smart or sober enough to spell his own name correctly, much less go on some sort of anagram-related killing spree.
This episode was entertaining once the entire team was brought into the fold; it’s just at this point, more than interesting, the whole unnecessary secrets thing has crossed over into eye-rolling territory.