REVIEW: Arrow, S5 Ep16 – Checkmate

In the last episode of Arrow, “Fighting Fire With Fire,” we discovered that Prometheus is actually District Attorney Adrian Chase. As “Checkmate” begins Ollie quickly learn’s Prometheus’ identity himself after meeting with Talia. Ollie doesn’t only learn that his newest enemy has been working alongside him for months now, but also finally learns Talia’s last name: al Ghul. With this realization it is also revealed that Talia has a grudge against Ollie after he killed her father, Ra’s, which justifies why she has helped Adrian in becoming Prometheus and getting his revenge against Ollie. As “Checkmate” continues, and secrets are now out in the open, Prometheus continues to play his unnecessarily complicated “game” further inconveniencing Ollie, but to what end?

Ollie finds Talia’s mountain palace

Prometheus’ plan to take revenge against Ollie has felt like it’s gone on for way too long. For the most part he has proven to be a major inconvenience and nothing more. Yeah, some people died, but no one worth remembering. To be honest, I’m just about done with this plot, and want to see it conclude already. With the secret out that Chase is Prometheus, Arrow seems to be retreading some old ground. Ollie has been in this same predicament before, with other villains like Slade Wilson and Damien Darhk. Like Slade Wilson, Chase has an equally convoluted and even more ridiculous plan to take down Ollie.

It’s still really difficult to guess what Chase’s overall plan truly is, and that’s really frustrating. We know he wants revenge for the death of his father, and Talia wants to see Ollie suffer for the death of hers, but we don’t know where this going. Usually, this would be a good thing, but Chase is such an uninteresting and uninspired villain that I really don’t care. I just want Ollie to take down Chase and save the day so we can move past this. By the end of the episode, after Ollie is captured by Chase and Talia, Chase informs Ollie that he doesn’t want to kill him, but make him realize who he is and has become. I’m guessing this is just supposed to hurt Ollie emotionally by the end, but that’s it. If Chase’s plan works, Ollie will be left a broken man, but will still be alive and will continue his crusade as the Green Arrow, considering the name of this show is Arrow. So, what’s the point?

At least some moments in “Checkmate” do help reinforce how much of a threat Chase can be, including having stabbed SCPD Captain Pike after Ollie gave him evidence that Chase is the “Throwing Star Killer,” and actually stabbing his wife after Ollie brought her along to see her husband in his Prometheus garb. This especially showed how much Chase is willing to lose and willing to do to get his revenge.

The subplot of “Checkmate” dealt with Felicity and her adventures in hacktivism with the hacktivist group Helix. Nothing much goes on here, with the exception of Felicity using their resources to locate Susan Williams and realizing she can’t get something for nothing. I actually really liked the little moment she had with her hacktivist ally who strongly implies that Felicity must do some things for Helix if she is to use their resources. Felicity ends up being a bit taken back by it. How did you think this was going to work out, Felicity? We all know the illegal acts she’s committing for Helix are going to come to a head eventually. I look forward to seeing how that bubble bursts in the future.

“Oh right, I work for you now.”

I usually don’t mention the Russian flashbacks much, mostly because they are either uninteresting, don’t tie in to the main plot, or just don’t seem to have any repercussions on the season’s story as a whole. This week’s flashback scenes were no exception, unfortunately, though the scenes did provide some cool gang war action in a hockey rink with Ollie in his early Arrow garb taking down Russian gangsters. So, that was at least a little fun.

While “Checkmate” had a handful of enjoyable moments, overall it was another weak episode to a season that has slowly gone downhill. Prometheus, although menacing and formidable in some instances, continues to be a very uninteresting, lackluster villain with an overly complicated and ridiculous revenge scheme. Ollie continues to go down paths he has gone in the past, again questioning whether or not his allies are a strength or a weakness. Lately, the only thing that keeps me coming back to this series is the fun superhero action. Team Arrow continues to grow as Wild Dog, the new Black Canary, and Mr. Terrific and his T-Spheres are brought more into the forefront. I still miss seeing Thea suit up though.

Next week, after being captured by Prometheus, Ollie will be tortured both physically and verbally until he realizes he’s a bad dude… or something. Check out The CW’s official promo for “Kapiushon” below and feel free to let us know what you thought about “Checkmate” in the comments.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNLt7311fQM

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