Arrow has returned from its midseason hiatus with yet another strong episode in a resurgent fifth season. Following an explosive fall finale where Oliver was manipulated into killing Felicity's new boyfriend, Detective Malone, all eyes are on the look out for what Prometheus will do next. And it turns out that he is right at the center of Laurel Lance's surprise reappearance.
(Editor's Note: Spoiler's ahead for season five, episode 10 of Arrow.)
Heading into the midseason premiere of the CW series, there were two questions looming large. First: who is Prometheus? Second: how has Laurel Lance returned? While we likely will not know the answer to the first question until the latter moments of the season, we do learn in season five, episode 10, "Who Are You?," exactly how Laurel has returned.
It should come as no surprise after the CW's promo for the episode featured her canary cry that the returning Laurel is Black Siren from Earth-2, and not Team Arrow's departed friend. Fortunately, the mystery was revealed pretty quickly, and not drawn out over the entire episode.
"That's not our Laurel"
Despite knowing some intimate details about Oliver, Felicity and her father, we quickly learn that Laurel is not who she appears. How we learn this, though, is rather surprising. While it is not shocking that Oliver would hold on to hope that Laurel has been resurrected, even if her explanation of how the Legends used time travel to save her made absolutely no sense, it was surprising that ever-so optimistic Felicity Smoak (more on in this in a moment) was the skeptic.
It certainly was initially surprising when Felicity offers to throw a party for the returning Laurel. Wasn't her boyfriend just killed by her ex via the manipulation of a masked psychopath? As it turns out, the party was all a ruse to get Laurel's DNA. And when Felicity surmises that Laurel must be the evil Earth-2 doppelganger, Black Siren shows up proving that to be true.
It was interesting to see how Oliver reacted to this version of Laurel. Despite knowing that she is not the same person as the woman he once loved, he feels a need to "save" her. This desire becomes more pronounced after Laurel tells him that she only became consumed with darkness after her Oliver died years prior (the whole alternate world thing can get confusing). Felicity, though, did not share Oliver's desire to help Laurel.
Felicity the cynic
I must say, I am loving this new Felicity. Sure, her new skepticism is out of character, but it makes a lot of sense. She lost her boyfriend under excruciating circumstances, and now she is out for justice, (maybe revenge).
Arrow executive producer Wendy Mericle recently told TV Line that "This season we have said we're going to take [Felicity] to a darker place, and you're seeing the genesis of the reason why, right here." And "Who Are You?" shows that Felicity is already moving to that darker place.
Felicity is beginning a journey in a new cynical direction, which is very evident in the midseason premiere. Several times she goes against Oliver's wishes, including unilaterally deciding that the recruits should attack Laurel, after she tries to make a deal with Oliver, and later, letting Laurel out of her cell, in an attempt to trace her back to Prometheus — granted, the latter almost worked.
Going forward, it will certainly be interesting to see whether Felicity further spirals into the darkness, or whether she can regain her trademark optimism. For the sake of the story, I sort of hope it's the former — just for a little bit.
Prometheus only appeared a few times in the midseason premiere, but his (or her) presence was intimately felt. While it is not entirely believable that Prometheus would be able to sneak into STAR Labs to free Black Siren, it is not a point worth over analyzing. What is important, is that the plan for Oliver is still very much psychological.
Prometheus said in the fall finale that he did not just want to kill Oliver, but rather, "make him wish he was dead." This continues to be evident. Prometheus' entire purpose (it seems) for breaking out Laurel was that it would mess with Oliver's mind. In fact, Prometheus was rather upset when he learns that Laurel revealed her true nature too early.
Going forward, it is quite likely that Prometheus will continue messing with Oliver's mind before ultimately attempting to kill him.
Arrow continues to deliver strong episodes in a fifth season that is exponentially more enjoyable than the fourth. It was great to see Katie Cassidy, the actress who plays Laurel Lance, back on the show, even if she was playing the evil Black Siren. With her now in ARGUS custody it seems likely that we will be seeing more of her in the future, and I certainly hope that is the case.
"Who Are You?" was not a flawless episode. In the fall finale, Arrow took a break from the usual flashbacks to Russia, and instead used that narrative device to shed a light on Prometheus' supposed history. In the midseason premiere, the flashbacks to Russia returned, and per usual, they were a distraction. While I do not have any issue with the flashbacks per se, they are just too sporadic and take away from what is going on in the main story. Still, with Talia al Ghul showing up near the end of the episode, I am game to see where the flashbacks head.
What "Who Are You?" did well was set up some tremendous storylines to look forward to as the latter part of the season progresses. With Adrian Chase now serving as Diggle's attorney, I would love to see Vigilante and Spartan team up in any capacity (we can just assume Vigilante and Chase are one in the same). We can also look forward to Team Arrow finding, and training, a new Black Canary — and it looks like we already have a contender. The most important question is still, can they defeat Prometheus?
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