Arrow: ‘Kapiushon’ Review
Oliver killed a guy, and he liked it.
Warning: Spoilers are listed throughout this review.
Season five of Arrow has been outstanding and very rewarding with just about every passing week. After all of the shortcomings of season four, it became a rather daunting task defending this show. However, my job as a reviewer for this show has gotten a hell of a lot easier with a villain like Prometheus and episodes like last week’s “Checkmate” and this week’s “Kapiushon”. Arrow has been restored to its gritty roots that made seasons 1 and 2 so memorable. That’s mostly in part thanks to Prometheus’ crusade to make Oliver suffer for his past sins. With callbacks from the first two seasons, this episode presents us with a revelation about Oliver that may change the way we view his crime fighting tactics in the past and possible future.
Once again, it is the outstanding performances of Josh Segarra and Stephen Amell that elevate this dangerous rivalry to insanely dramatic heights. Segarra is straight up slaying this role. I especially love his psychopathic outbursts every time Oliver doesn’t give him the answers he wants. Chase does not put on the Prometheus suit this week, but he is chilling enough as himself while he spends the hour torturing Oliver both physically and mentally. His goal is to get Oliver to confess something. I, like Oliver, was wondering what he had to confess to. Amell may have had another career highlight, as his character was beaten in body and soul. Chase actually succeeded in breaking Oliver Queen, causing our hero to beg, sob, and eventually confess in anger that he liked killing. I mean, whoa! It was a performance that felt raw for Amell, and it showed us a darker side of Oliver we’ve seen before, but we kind of denied was there. Seeing our hero tortured and defeated was a tough watch, but knowing he liked killing his enemies was a hard truth to hear, especially with Amell’s furosious delivery of the revelation. And that’s all because Chase was the one to finally get him to admit that. I am glad the show allowed the villain to have his day.
Chase had help with Oliver’s confession which came courtesy of Evelyn’s fake death. Yes, we finally caught up with two-faced Evelyn. I wasn’t fooled for a second that she had been tortured by Chase, but I give her credit for a convincing act that fooled Oliver. And with that, I have to give credit to Madison McLaughlin for her performance. Watching her rise up after her Saw-like fake out was super cool, and it did the trick. Can we please know what her motivations are though, please? Why is she working with Chase/Prometheus? It’s driving me crazy.
As I noted in my more recent reviews, the flashbacks have dragged out a bit too much. Well, I guess it was all leading up to this hour since this was essentially a Bratva flashback episode with a few splashes of the present day storyline. The flashbacks provided a lot of entertainment with gang warfare and a lot of killing from Oliver dressed as the hood. The power struggle is real, man. Dolph Lundgren FINALLY returns as Kovar, who has plans to overthrow the Russian government. Oliver and Anatoly (who received a promotion in the ranks) scrabble to end Kovar’s betrayal of the Bratva. The back and forth structure of the flashbacks to the present was skillfully done, showing how deep Oliver got during his Bratva conflict and his torturous stay with Chase. As Adrian’s methods intensified in the present, we saw Oliver go deeper into darkness in the past.
With the revelation that Oliver liked to kill, the events of the flashbacks put that notion into perspective. There were a lot of goons he could have subdued without taking their lives, but he killed them without hesitation anyway. The killing isn’t really what bothers me. I like to believe he likes killing people who would do harm to others. Not that he’s some bloodthirsty murderer. The torture thing is what I find troublesome. Oliver mutilating one of Kovar’s men for information was a clear hint that there was a unsettling darkness in Oliver. And the fact that he felt the hood is what helped him channel that darkness shows us our hero was not all right in the head five years ago, and possibly now. But honestly, what could you expect when a spoiled rich kid was suddenly thrown into a life of violence? With all the darkness he witnessed on Lian Yu, Hong Kong and in Russia, Oliver was bound to adapt into a naturally violent nature.
As serious as the subject matter for the Russian flashback was, it was damn entertaining. I enjoyed watching Oliver and Anatoly’s friendship grow even further, even though we know they eventually have a falling out only to become friends again. There was plenty of action presented to us with some great camera work and stunt work. The fight between Oliver and Kovar was bad ass. Certainly had a better outcome for Oliver than the last time he went up against Kovar. Oliver also fulfilled his promise to Taiana. Or, at least he thought he did. First of all, he wasn’t able to save her mother’s life, so that sucks. Second, despite a nasty stab wound, Kovar didn’t die. That’s thanks to Malcolm Merlyn, who apparently had dealings with Kovar. Not sure what Malcolm did to keep Kovar alive, but whatever it was, it more than likely made him stronger. I’m just wondering if Kovar’s story will be wrapped up in the flashbacks or could he possibly still be alive and working with Chase. Or maybe Chase might be working for him. Either way, yay, more Dolph!
Ollie pulled the “I can’t do this anymore” card. Only this time, it feels heart breakingly true. As I said earlier, Oliver appeared so defeated in the final scene. He’s now coming to terms that he is more of a killer than a crusader, so he probably wants to stop before he loses himself more than he already has. Oliver wanting to give up now makes more sense than when he drove off into the sunset with Felicity at the end of season three. Chase put it in his head that he’s done more bad than good, on top of reminding him everyone he comes in contact with gets hurt in some way. I’m sure at this point Oliver wishes he could go back on a deserted island. However, since he’s the mayor in the one position to do the most good, he’ll have to remain in the public eye for the time being. He may just have to stop being the Green Arrow for a while. Which I’m totally fine with, in all honesty. Look, there’s still six episodes left this season. There’s plenty of time to allow him to mope around, do some soul searching, be the mayor, and eventually realize he needs to be the Green Arrow. This season has already proven Oliver Queen can be just as fascinating without his Arrow suit. A couple of episodes without the Green Arrow will be just fine. Besides, he’ll probably be a presence in the flashback anyway.
So how can this effect the rest of the team? Without going into hefty speculation, the next episode is titled “Disbanded” (It looks like the show is taking another mini hiatus after that episode airs, ugh). Oliver may not want to be a vigilante anymore, but that is not going to stop the likes of Diggle, Rene, and Dinah. Felicity will have more time to dedicate to Helix, making her criminal record longer by the minute. Because of that, Curtis might take over as Overwatch. Either way, the team will carry on until Oliver picks up the bow and arrow to stop Prometheus. I’m just afraid that someone is going to have to die for him to do so.
This was yet another rock solid entry for Season Five featuring intense scenes with Oliver and Adrian, and the thrilling flashback storyline which moved forward with great progress. Yet with so much answered and new subjects brought to light, there’s still so much mystery surrounding these events to keep us talking, guessing, and coming back for more. Prometheus continues to be the most intriguing villain in the show’s history. It’s fascinating how a man who just murdered his wife can break a heroic man by making him feel guilty for killing criminals. Keep it up, Season Five!