Arrow Season 5 Episode 16 – “Checkmate” Review Arrow Season 5 Episode 16 – “Checkmate” Review
Oliver has been playing checkers this whole time while Prometheus has been playing chess. Always 10 steps ahead, Oliver confronts Adrian Chase for the... Arrow Season 5 Episode 16 – “Checkmate” Review

Oliver has been playing checkers this whole time while Prometheus has been playing chess. Always 10 steps ahead, Oliver confronts Adrian Chase for the first time after last week’s big reveal that Prometheus and Chase are one and the same. No matter how hard Oliver tries, Adrian knows exactly what Oliver wants to do, countering every step he makes. A villain that seems to know Oliver inside out, trying to destroy his life as he knows it. A nemesis finally to rival Slade’s deadly tactics.

This week’s episode got Team Arrow right into the know. Oliver travels to a remote monastery in search of Talia, the woman who made her put on the mantle of The Hood. She reveals to Oliver who Prometheus’ alter ego is and why she trained him. Oliver is more than shocked to hear his trusted political ally is the murderous criminal, but more shocking is that Talia is an al Ghul. The reason Talia trained Chase was to channel his vengeful spirit. For killing both Talia and Adrian’s fathers, they are both on the path of Oliver’s destruction.

Josh Segarra’s eerie performance this week has elevated the show to a whole new level. Both parties know exactly who each other are; putting villains and heroes in their everyday lives raises the stakes and drama. The subtlety of hiding his identity is gone, and Segarra’s delivery has been outstanding. As a lawyer, an equally appalling career choice as Star City villain, he knows exactly how to use his words, to play the team and the public. With lines like “I take my job very seriously” and “I’m in mourning”, it’s hard to not be frightened of Chase’s motive and actions.

Unable to do anything with their information, Team Arrow tries to find some dirt about Adrian. Oliver tries to confront Adrian, but he has Susan kidnapped. Oliver blames himself once again for trying to find happiness in his forsaken vigilante world, a fantastic rebuttal from Diggle, who seems to be playing a more wise advise imparting role, “You were just lonely”. There seems to be absolutely nothing the team can do about Prometheus, when Felicity finally shows up to the team meeting.

Felicity, also known as Overwatch, goes deeper into her underground hacking world. In the Arrowverse, keeping secrets from each other have always turned out to be the right decision. An intimate moment is shared by Oliver and Felicity, where Oliver is concerned for her, but Felicity decides “I’m an adult, I can do adult things”. Her new Helix buddies help Team Arrow to find out Chase’s real identity, and Adrian Chase was another alter ego he made for himself. But everything comes with a price. Felicity is doing quid pro quo work for hew new team, hacking into government databases for reasons she doesn’t seem to concerned about.

Regardless of the information they get, Prometheus makes a counter that stuns Team Arrow. Oliver tries to relay the information to Frank Pike (Adrian Holmes), the Star City police captain. He is swiftly confronted by a knife to the gut, leaving him in a comatose state. There was only one real thing left to do now, focus on finding Susan Williams.

Not in an abandoned warehouse, Susan is trapped in an abandoned building. Oliver soon finds her trapped in an elevator, but just after the realization that Adrian rigged bombs throughout the building. Even though there are still seven episodes left, Oliver makes the old “time to end this” comment. Time is ticking as the bombs could go off any minute, until Oliver confronts Prometheus. However, Adrian really likes to emphasize the point of his intelligence, disabling the bomb countdown, leaving a dark and gritty showdown between the two. Just when it seems Oliver is out of steps, he surprises Prometheus with his wife. Every hero or villain has a weak spot, but love doesn’t seem to be it. His lust for revenge is far greater than his personal attachment, where he stabs his wife soon after.

Unveiling his mask, stripping their weapons, the final showdown of the episode was brutal. Seemingly equals on every part, if the fight continued any further, it would’ve ended in a stalemate. That’s when Talia Al Ghul joins the present, and shoots Oliver’s leg. Before the rest of Team Arrow can get back to help Oliver, all parties in the fight disappear. After kidnapping Susan, stabbing Frank and his own wife, then kidnapping Oliver, that’s only six steps left for Team Arrow to overcome to reach 10.

The final moments of the episode had Adrian back in the police department. Although Susan is safe with Quentin, Adrian reminds them why he should be feared. Talia will also have a larger role in Adrian’s plans. The question of Arrow has quickly shifted from who and why, to what and when. With Felicity committing herself to Team Helix as well, it is a mystery to what entails Team Arrow.

Meanwhile in Old Russia

The flashbacks have once again do not add much quality to the overall episode. Gregor kills most of the Bratva captains and escapes, leaving Oliver and Anatoly to continue their bromance. Oliver does reveal his hooded ego to Anatoly, who offers some advice that his darkness will always be a part of him and not some other identity. They confront Gregor and his loyal members in a hockey ring with another shoot-out. Oliver reminds everyone that the bow is more deadly than the gun.

Arrow airs on Thursdays on The CW.

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Jon Dingle Editor

A film journalist, writer and a filmmaker in business for over 20 years. I am passionate about movies, television series, music and online games.