In Arrow’s midseason finale Felicity says, “In our town, people who were dead turn out to be secretly alive almost every Wednesday.” She wasn’t kidding. Not only did we learn about Prometheus’ background last night, but we also got a big resurrection. Or could it be that “What We Leave Behind” didn’t really give us anything at all? Allow me to explain.
Arrow was never my favorite of The CW superhero shows. In the first season I felt they were going way too hard on “Oliver is Batman” but I stuck with it and was happy to see a much-improved second season. When The Flash came along I thought, “Ok, this is much more my thing” but I kept watching Arrow because I’d grown attached to the characters. But somewhere along the way it got stagnant. For a lot of people, lead actor Stephen Amell included, Season 5 was make it or break it. Despite their excellent crossover episode and the addition of a really cool superhero, Arrow hasn’t convinced me they should make it.
The midseason finale was meant to be the culmination of the big Prometheus build up. We think we know who Prometheus is now, but we don’t truly know for sure considering he was never unmasked. To be fair, The Flash didn’t reveal the identity of Savitar in its midseason finale either, but it’s a frustrating place to be when they also left us with an actual cliffhanger: Laurel returning from the dead.
Let’s put that can of worms aside for a minute since it was a very small part of the episode. When the Prometheus “reveal” (if we can call it that) was playing out, I couldn’t help but feel bored. When a new, secretive character comes into these shows, we usually expect it to be someone we already know. Otherwise, the dramatic build up is lessened. If I didn’t know actor Colin Donnell was tied up with another TV show, Tommy Merlyn would have been one of my guesses for who was under the mask. Oliver’s father, however improbable that may be (even on a superhero show) was my next guess. Imagine, with flashbacks to Season One and the “list,” if Oliver’s dad returned to tell him how wrong his son reacted to the names he put in that book. That would have been powerful. And I never thought for a second Prometheus was Quentin Lance. I mean, come on, what even was that?
Instead, we got a generic backstory of a child out for revenge on the man who killed his father. At this point, the man behind the mask is seemingly irrelevant in the scheme of Arrow’s overall story because we haven’t met him before. But Oliver has a connection to him via a season one thread we never saw. The Russia flashbacks are put aside for another week (though it looks like there’s a connection to be had) in lieu of a trip back to the early days of Ollie and Diggle. We’re led to believe Prometheus is the son of one of The Hood’s early takedowns, a terrible, no good, very bad pharmaceutical executive named Justin Claybourne. The child would be around 30 now and apparently went through similar training as Ollie.
Long story short, we still don’t know who Prometheus is for sure but we do know reporter/Ollie’s new girlfriend (?) Susan Williams (played by Carly Pope) seemingly has a connection to Russia (they didn’t linger on her vodka for nothing, right?) which may or may not connect to Prometheus himself. If Prometheus is still going to wind up being someone we’ve already been introduced to my thoughts are that it’s Susan (unlikely unless she has a special suit that makes her larger) or District Attorney Adrian Chase (played by Josh Segarra). While he seems like the only logical choice at this point, he’s more likely to end up being Vigilante considering the character’s comic past.
Who is behind the mask may not be all that significant, though, as this time around it’s how his actions alone affect Ollie that’s important. So important, in fact, that Team Arrow comforts Oliver after he accidentally kills Felicity’s boyfriend Billy (Tyler Ritter) thinking he was Prometheus instead of comforting Felicity herself. There’s no doubt this kill has affected Ollie deeply but come on, SHE’S STANDING RIGHT THERE.
Speaking of dead people, Laurel is back! Katie Cassidy’s return in the crossover episode was a bit of cheat, so I’m happy to see her turn up here even if I’m not particularly invested in her character at this point. Laurel was killed on Arrow just as they were finally giving her ridiculous transition into Black Canary more weight. I understood her choice to take on her sister’s mantle, but her journey was far too easy. If she’s back for real, I hope they do right by both the actor and the character this time.