Having gathered together a bunch of raw recruits, Oliver has managed to create a new Team Arrow capable of defending Star City. But Artemis – a victim of Damien Darhk‘s sinister plans – has turned to Prometheus. With his duties as Mayor taking up his day and duties as Green Arrow his nights, the hero might not catch on in time.

Warning: Major Spoilers Below

Merry Christmas

In a low blow – even for a two-faced villain – Artemis gives her dark master the home addresses of the entire Team Arrow. But we’re not going to let some minor death threats ruin the Christmas parties being hosted at the mayor’s office and Arrow Cave. Despite the traditional route of ‘good will to all’, Prometheus beats Curtis to a bloody pulp as he and his husband leave the Christmas party.

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In a long overdue wave of common sense and above minimal intelligence, husband Paul smells a rat after seeing Curtis fight the ‘Throwing Star Killer’ with attacks far beyond his supposed abilities. An arriving Felicity is able to direct Paul to answer some questions as Team Arrow realise their secret identities are being targeted.

Breaking Tradition

Remember how Arrow always tells flashbacks in perfect five-year gaps? Well, now we’re hitting four and retconning the timeline slightly. It appears that Barry started a trend with Flashpoint. Back in his first year of ‘the Hood’ one Justin Claybourne found himself in the crosshairs after ramping up the price of a life-saving drug. Egad, that sounds just like Martin Shkreli. Except Claybourne might be Prometheus and Shkreli is just a failed man-child.

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With an abandoned Claybourne warehouse suddenly back online, Oliver finds himself lured into a trap as Team Arrow backs him up. With Wild Dog and Artemis to help, the odds swing to Team Arrow. But then Judas does her little double-cross and helps the mysterious man escape.

Truth

Following a long night of crime-fighting, Felicity comes home to find Billy tracking down a lead on a certain Claybourne warehouse. Due to their different approaches to the end goal, Detective Malone storms out. Over in his hospital room, it finally all comes out for Curtis. Between late nights out, really awful lies and phone calls to a mysterious man, Paul starts cracking under the idea his husband is cheating. But the truth is even more horrifying and Mr Terrific gets an ultimatum – vigilantism or marriage.

Down in the Arrow cave, new scientists Wild Dog and Ragman uncover baffling evidence. Claybourne is already dead and these are his cremains. Heedless of the warnings from a hardened vigilante, Malone investigates the factory for himself and finds a baby picture. In possibly the best ‘flickering lights’ meets ‘sudden appearance’ act ever, Prometheus simply springs up from nowhere.

Billy Malone is captured

Showdown

With one of their own missing, District Attorney Adam Hunt demands a shoot-on-sight order. In addition to letting loose the bullets, Mayor Queen also revokes any holiday leave and pulls in all uniforms to help. Claybourne might not be alive – unless he can somehow turn himself into cremains and back – but Felicity found a thirty-year-old son.

When things couldn’t get any worse, a barely functional Holt returns to the team before the latest flashback. In this latest recollection – which is going surprisingly non-interfering for a self-crossover – Oliver recalls another detail that could help in the search for Malone and goes to scout it out alone.

Prometheus

The setup is perfectly identical to the aftermath of a Hood raid years ago. Bodies have been staged with identical wounds and damage to the building has been mimicked exactly. Berlanti pulls another genius idea from his endless stock and has Oliver remember the past fight as he walks through the building – switching between past and present for the viewer – until he reaches Prometheus.

Shattered

Going through a stereotypical hall of mirrors, Prometheus makes the mistake of stepping into a clear line of sight. Three arrows bury themselves in his chest but the maniac just keeps on talking. ‘Shippers’ might want to look away now, because it’s time for bye-bye Billy. For a detective, he’s remarkably stupid in walking about dressed as a serial killer. Maybe try kneeling down with raised hands? Possibly even lying down?

Things quickly fall into the worst scenarios once Oliver breaks the news to Team Arrow. Felicity can only return to the loft and cry. Curtis attempts to seek comfort with his husband only to catch him leaving. John is lured to Lyla’s safehouse only to discover a waiting squad of soldiers. Even though Oliver manages to talk with potential flame Susan Williams, he ultimately leaves.

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Going back to his safe place – a fortified, underground, heavily armed bunker – Oliver is more shocked at the figure already there than Scrooge was to see the Marley brothers. Standing before him is a person that should be dead and buried – Dinah Laurel Lance. Ghost of Christmas Past, do your stuff.

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Observations

  • Prometheus really pulled out all the stops this time around. I love how he targets their personal lives instead of professional(?) ones. In just one day, he broke Curtis and Felicity.
  • The four-year flashback was a good twist. Playing in another Undertaking mission prevented any continuity errors. It also made for a brilliant switch back and forth before the final showdown. The original outfit made a nice return as well.
  • Despite this seeming reveal beneath the Prometheus mask, don’t lose hope just yet. Each villain so far has been strongly linked to Oliver in some way. The estranged son of an Undertaker seems too far-fetched.
  • There are definite whiffs of a Stephanie Brown resurrection about Laurel. If she dares mention Africa, I may very well eat my keyboard.
  • Something that the Arrowverse is playing to perfection right now is same-sex relationships. With Alex taking nervous steps towards Maggie and Curtis and Paul going through very relatable struggles, these are the moments that we need more of in media.
Graham Host
Graham Host is a member of the Fan Contributor program. In his spare time, he enjoys the works of Terry Pratchett, DC Comics and a wide assortment of video games. Under no circumstances should he be fed after midnight. Contactable only via Twitter or trained carrier pigeon.