In the midseason finale, Arrow was left on a cliff-hanger that had many mixed reactions, the return of Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy). Often at times it is easy to forget everything happening in the Arrowverse, but the midseason premiere was a compelling episode to reflect on what had happened, and to reintroduce viewers on the characters themselves.
Instead of having a plot driven episode, with no mention of the recent betrayal by Evelyn Sharp (Madison McLaughlin) on Team Arrow; the episode explored a constant theme on almost every character in the team. Embodying the title of the episode, ‘Who Are You’ asks this same question to each member of Team Arrow, as the reintroduction of Laurel Lance shakes the entire team, every character must face why exactly they belong in the crime fighting world.
After the first half of season five, every character had significant loss. Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) just lost her boyfriend; Curtis (Echo Kellum) as well with his boyfriend, and Oliver (Stephen Amell) continued to question his purpose and morale when he thought Laurel Launce died. Almost appearing out of thin air, Laurel claims to have been a product of her sister from one of her time trips, a fantastic shout out to DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. Initial thoughts of everyone were shocked and gratified that Laurel is still alive, but any fan of the spin-off series know that Sara did no such thing.
Not lingering in the melodrama, the sceptic of the group realizes something is off. With a quick realization that there is a chance that it might be Earth-2 Laurel, the accused appears and reveals herself as the Black Siren. Throughout the episode, Oliver refuses to believe that even if she is from another world, there isn’t any good in this Laurel, which was not surprising given all that he had gone through with Earth-1 Laurel. The character driven episode made characters make decisions and to identify themselves in the team, and it is apparent the most in Felicity.
Crowded by his feelings for Laurel, Oliver is nowhere as useful as he should be. Felicity steps up, in an Oliver-esque fashion, making brash decision after another without any sort of discussion with the team. After Black Siren attacks the team, she tries to convince Oliver that it was the main antagonist of the season, Prometheus, that made her do it. Oliver swiftly, trying to play hero to his lost love, tries to control the situation, but Felicity makes an order to the team to move in and take her in. Felicity was never one to act on instinct, but on deduction, wit and brain. She completely steps out of her shell, showing the greater emotional intelligence she has compared to Oliver, and takes control of a situation that might have escalated.
Once Laurel is captured, Felicity makes another decision to let her go, in which she reveals she had trackers planted in her. All very smart decisions that ultimately help the team, but her abrasive reactions may soon become her downfall, just as it failed Oliver so many times before. Meanwhile, Curtis feels worthless as he gets beat up by Black Siren twice, and it is only Rene Ramirez (Rick Gonzalez) who tries to console him.
Tracking Black Siren brings the team straight to Prometheus, whilst early for any boss-type battle, it was a fight with emotional stakes. An admittedly forgettable fight sequence, it was still a fight with emotional resolve. Oliver overcomes his internal struggle with another Laurel, Rene makes Curtis realize that he has a brain, Curtis innovates new sound dampeners, and Felicity gets to punch Laurel. Prometheus does get away, but a small victory felt by the whole team.
The episode explored identity in the superhero format, a theme that every character will have trouble with in the world. Albeit Ragman was almost unseen, every character had showed heart and value. A subtler and quiet episode of Arrow, which was a fantastic reconstruction of the Arrowverse and the characters from the preceding disasters.
What about Diggle?
Remember Adrian Chase (Josh Segarra)? He’s the new district attorney of Star City. Oliver recruits him to try and get Diggle (David Ramsey) out of jail. Adrian quietly crept in the previous half of the season, and still remains a very questionable character. It can only be thought that he is Prometheus; CW has a tendency to introduce secondary characters to be revealed as the villain. With Diggle and Chase becoming acquainted, it is an excellent solution to bring two characters who aren’t immediately involved in the team at the moment into a mysterious plot. Only time will tell what fate has in store for the two.
Flashback in Russia
The flashbacks tend to tie into the theme of the episode, but it was hard to distinguish exactly what was happening in the Russian flashback, especially after the midseason break. Oliver is continuously tortured by a Russian guy, and probably won’t be the last time he gets tortured again. However, the last scene ended with the introduction of Talia Al-Ghul (Lexa Doig) saving Oliver, in an Arrow-themed outfit (although the Arrow didn’t exist yet). The shocking revelation only poses so many questions, and makes the flashbacks much more interesting, and with added weight as well. What does Talia want with Oliver? Why did she save Oliver? What will be their relationship? Is the Russia flashback no more?
Arrow airs on The CW on Wednesdays.