Arrow: Season 5 Ep. 17 “Kapiushon”: A Review

Posted: 03/25/2017 in Uncategorized

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As the ratings continue to plummet and probably another 5 Shonda Rhimes series are launched, Arrow continues to deliver one of its best seasons. The episode set more in flashback mode than the present effectively and adeptly links both time lines as Oliver (Stephen Amell) finds himself a prisoner of Adrian Chase/Prometheus (Josh Segerra) and is pushed to a breaking point, perhaps more so than in any other season. Season 5 is superior. The acting on Amell’s part as Oliver attempts to stave off the confession Chase elicits from him is equally so. This is a powerful, resonant season that honestly could easily end the series. My opening offered, on to my review.

Prometheus is vile. Whatever his reasoning, he is psychotically evil. His willingness to kill his own wife to maintain his cause is due evidence of this. He is  zealous and rigid in his goal. He in effect is meant to represent another side of the coin citing Oliver’s own mission and life. Chase wishes to break Green Arrow and comes closer than any other foe and I am including Deathstroke (Manu Bennett) and Ra’s Al Ghul (Matt Nable) in that number. The show runners do an excellent job at setting a tension fraught pace making us feel each measure of torment he puts Oliver through including using his former ally, Artemis/Evelyn Sharpe (Madison McLaughlin) against him. We switch to Oliver’s time in Russia in which we learn the Russian underworld is calling his other identity the titular Kapiushon which directly translated means “The Hood”. In time the name comes to mean the monster Oliver is becoming. His time with Anatoli (David Nikl) as always delivers including a depiction of the oath referenced episodes back when GA reconnects with the Bratva captain.

The violent manner in which Oliver handles himself earns him a fearful mistrust throughout the Bratva as well as cautioning from Anatoli. The notion that you cannot divide yourself with a separate identity is given voice. The notion has been played with for 4 seasons but with season 5, it is presented as an unalterable fact. The revelation of how dark and deep Oliver has delved to become the Hood/Vigilante is exhibited via his torture of one of Kovar’s (Dolph Lundgren) men. Anatoli’s concern becomes the viewer’s concern as Oliver advises the aftermath of gaining the information was “practice”. The Bratva is one of the most powerful and vicious criminal organizations in the world in both fiction and reality. As such, it is interesting that Anatoli becomes the every man perspective in this piece, charging Oliver to tread carefully and consider all options before killing. That a man unquestionably capable of violence as he expresses such a sentiment is not an idle plot device. It is the template for the situation in which Oliver presently finds himself.

The reveal of Prometheus’ identity still reeks of a feint, particularly with the presence of Malcolm Merlyn’s (John Barrowman) visit with Kovar on ‘business’. An end sequence hints at a deeper game and potential tie in with Talia’s (Lexa Doig) role….or not… That the show can still surprise so skillfully at the half decade mark is what marks the series as the alpha and omega of DC superhero fare’s conquest of the small screen. The intensive knowledge possessed by Chase/Prometheus remains a stumbling point…dependent on how it all plays out. He just knows far too much, even with his mole and accesses via Talia.

The entire episode works its way to a powerful crescendo. Chase’s ongoing taunts and cruelty including his action toward Artemis adds to the tension and curiosity as to what the hell he could possibly want Oliver to “confess” with the reward being his ‘freedom’. Whatever his role, either Oliver Queen or the Green Arrow, the man’s commitment to his mission and ability to endure pain have become legend. Routinely surviving both physical punishment and psychological torture, the notion that anyone can break GA seems impossible and until the last possible moment, you cannot imagine what he might be concealing that would be so damaging…until you see it. The aftermath of Chase’s final physical attack is irrelevant though no less brutal to witness.

This was a terrific episode. The depth of Kovar’s villainy is finally mined. The fight sequences between he and GA were big screen level. The warning by Anatoli becomes prophetic and we come away with the concept of having no real idea how GA will come out on top of this situation. This was easily Amell’s best performance  since “Fire with Fire”. Two moments of levity were appreciated and both were at Anatoli’s hands. The first is his replying to Malcolm’s introduction as owner of Merlyn International with “Anatoli – gangster.” The recurring “my favorite American” segment as he promotes Oliver earns the comment “how many Americans do you know?” as the two get tattooed.

From my perspective, this season ranks with the first two which pretty much set the bar for superhero genre television. Despite a dwindling viewership, and for what its worth, Arrow remains simply outstanding and well worth your time.

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