‘Arrow’ Post-Show Analysis, Season 5 Episode 15: ‘Fighting Fire With Fire’
It’s time for another installment of Pointed Commentary, the feature where returning Arrow watcher Chris Haley and newcomer Emma Lawson dig into the details of Team Arrow cleaning up the filthy, crime-ridden streets of Star City.
On this week’s episode, political intrigue abounds! Will Oliver be impeached from his position as Star City’s mayor? Will there be press conferences? Will politicians ask questions? Also, Vigilante and Prometheus are both back! “Fighting Fire with Fire” was directed Michael Schultz and written by Speed Weed and Ben Sokolowski.
Chris: Welcome back to Star City, Arrow-Heads! Boy, this week’s episode was something else! I’m frankly a little baffled by it, but maybe we can get to the bottom of it together, Emma. What did you think?
Emma: I will always dig deeper into the mysteries of Arrow with you, Chris. It felt like after weeks of not much happening, we just got everything this episode: political intrigue, Felicity’s turn to the dark side, Curtis’s T-Spheres, and the big Prometheus reveal. It’s a lot for one episode!
Chris: It certainly is! With some of these shows, you’ll sometimes get an episode that feels like they’re trying to rush too much in as though they have some kind of “plot deadline” where they need to get all of this stuff out of the way to make room on the schedule for something else, but I don’t think this episode felt that way. I guess I’m trying to be complimentary. It’s odd, because when they spend so many weeks doing what basically feels like treading water, then when they have a lot of things happen at once it seems like something isn’t right.
Emma: I was pretty happy with this episode, to be honest. Sometimes I’ve felt my interest waning a bit this season -- not with the show as a whole, but within an episode -- and because we’re recapping it, I try to pay a bit more attention that I do when I’m binging Star Trek: Voyager on Netflix. But that can get tiring! This episode, I was pretty much all in.
Were you happy to finally see Curtis using his balls? I’m sorry, T-Spheres?
Chris: I’ve only been waiting since last season for him to use them! And then he does, and it’s half-awkward and half-great, so I’m going to go glass half-full and just enjoy it. There were a lot of little things to enjoy throughout, so I’m feeling mostly positive about this week’s Arrow watching experience, but I’ve still got some questions.
Or maybe, just one major question, but we’ll get to that a little later.
Even with everything else going on this week, the episode still felt kinda Curtis-centric between him finally getting the T-Spheres working and the action that ensued with them and then what he thought was going to be a big reconciliation with Paul.
Emma: I saw that divorce coming a mile away but I was rooting for Curtis, you know? I completely understand Paul’s point of view, though, and I’d probably do the exact same thing in his situation. I don’t know how Curtis thought it was going to go well --- they hadn’t spoken in months. If Paul wanted to reconcile he might start with something like, oh I don’t know, a phone call, rather than a meeting in a public place where Curtis couldn’t throw a fit when he got served with divorce papers.
I love a good Curtis-centric episode. I didn’t even mind the ball jokes! Rene can get away with juvenile humor.
Chris: Yeah, I was really hoping that things weren’t about to go as badly as it seemed. Just once I’d like for one of these characters we care about to be really excited about something and then, against all TV odds, it does end up working out for them.
Emma: Well, I’m hoping Rene can get custody of his child again, but Rene isn’t the type to get his hopes up. After begging Felicity to intervene with Susan on his behalf, as reparations for destroying Susan’s career last week, Ollie did manage to get back together with Susan. Maybe those two crazy kids will work out in the long run!
Were you expecting Susan to forgive Ollie? Or for Felicity to help get them back together?
Chris: Oh, yeah, I’d already completely forgotten about Rene having a kid! Maybe there are too many characters on this show… or maybe I’m wasting precious brain space worrying about remembering facts and faces of people in the real world.
I figured Susan would forgive him, if only so they could have some kind of positive note there towards the end with all the other kind of disappointing things going on. I’m not certain I buy Felicity’s solution being something that Susan’s boss would buy, because why would hackers ruin someone’s career and then fix it, but it’s fine. This show clearly doesn’t take place in the real world.
Emma: Well, the other positive note was that Oliver didn’t get impeached, although I guess throwing his alter ego under the bus will make his life almost as difficult. I figured Susan would forgive him too, but I had no idea how Felicity was going to help. I honestly thought Oliver was asking her to just talk to Susan or something, fess up to her personally and vouch for him as an ex-girlfriend expert witness, and I was horrified that Oliver would even suggest such a thing. Hacking to undo a previous hacking makes much more sense!
Chris: At the very least, it makes about as much sense as anything else on this show, so I’ll take it. What did you think of the idea Ollie came up with to get out of trouble? Did it actually make any sense if examined with any real scrutiny?
Emma: Throwing the Green Arrow under the bus? It helps that it was the closest to the truth. He and Chase did conspire to keep the circumstances of Malone’s death from coming out to protect the Green Arrow, and Chase at least did it to keep the Arrow’s reputation from being harmed. (Well, at least that’s what he said, but we’ll get to that in a bit.) It’s the only explanation I can see anybody really buying for why the mayor would conspire like that. If I were a citizen of Star City, though, I’d still be pissed that Ollie tried to cover up what happened. Sure, you want to protect a hero’s reputation, but if they’re no longer a hero then they don’t deserve it. In that case, Star City deserves to know the truth about its not-so-heroic vigilante.
The only other option I could see would be to double down on his “it was all Prometheus” story, but if the captain of the police force wasn’t totally on board then it’s very unlikely they’d be able to convince city council.
As I was writing all of that I got more confused, so maybe it doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.
Chris: Exactly. I don’t understand how anyone would be satisfied by it, and it certainly doesn’t change the fact that he was lying to everyone, and that’s the kind of thing his political opponents would almost certainly use against him at every turn to keep him from getting to affect any kind of meaningful change in the city.
Emma: Yeah, it doesn’t matter why he was lying to his constituents --- he lied, and they totally have a right to be upset about that.
Chris: Plus, the idea that this whole thing was orchestrated by Prometheus makes much more sense! There’s no reason not to keep it up, because it’s the truth!
Or, you know, just accept Chase’s resignation. And speaking of Chase, can we please just go ahead and get to this, because I absolutely cannot think about anything else at this point.
Emma: We can! It was finally revealed this episode that Prometheus is Adrian Chase! Chase is Prometheus, not Vigilante as his character is in the comics! Boom! They got us! They got us good.
Chris: Well, they got us for sure, but is it really getting us if it makes absolutely no sense? Maybe that’s why so much happened in this episode, they were thinking, “If we keep them constantly reeling with events, they won’t notice how none of it makes sense.”
Emma: What part of it didn’t make sense to you?
Chris: Well, I guess just his entire character and everything we’ve seen him do. As Adrian Chase, I mean.
Emma: You don’t think he was trying to worm his way into Oliver’s life as part of a “keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer” plan?
Chris: Well, I mean, I guess you could go with that, but, man, some of that stuff was really, really above and beyond helping out combined with super-genius level “long con” chess.
Emma: Probably, yeah. I could buy the long con if Chase had let Oliver get impeached this episode, starting the big downfall of Oliver Queen that Prometheus had been wanting all along. Oliver already considers Chase a friend at this point; Chase can stop trying so hard and start burning it all down.
The big question now is if Chase is Prometheus, then who’s Vigilante?
Chris: It seems pretty cheap to call him “Adrian Chase” just to make people not suspect he’s the other mysterious character you’ve got going this season.
Emma: Oh, it is. That’s the part that bugs me. I can understand not wanting to totally follow the comics for everything, but come on.
Chris: It’s cheating is what it is. They’re purposely being deceptive in a way that is not in good faith. A twist isn’t a twist if there’s no way for an audience to possibly have figured it out. And I know there will be people who say they knew it all along, and good for them, but you can’t have a character go out of their way to be super-helpful in one scene and then supposedly want to kill the guy in the next.
I mean, what would Prometheus have done if he’d already accidentally killed Ollie in one of their earlier fights? Would he celebrate and pretend that that had been his plan the whole time and just secretly lament all the time he wasted trying to be Ollie’s friend and help his friend get out of jail, etc.? Would he just keep being the DA?
Emma: Well, I guess Plan A was “Befriend Ollie in order to ultimately betray him, making it hurt so much more” and Plan B was “Just straight up murder him some time as Prometheus.” Either option would suffice.
Chris: I’m not pleased with this, Emma. I’m just not buying what they’re trying to sell me. I guess we’ll see how it goes for the rest of the season. How about the rest of the episode? Thea and Felicity certainly had some decisions to make and some things to think about this week.
Emma: I love how Felicity’s immediate thought after a “maybe you should think a bit more before using all this hacked data to blackmail people” talk is to get more involved with the actual hacking part. Just join another secret, illegal group! Not like Team Arrow has you busy enough.
Chris: Does she have a job anymore or is she just hanging out in the Arrow-Cave in business attire 24/7?
Emma: I’m sure she’s on Oliver’s payroll somewhere for “IT stuff” but I’m sure she does not have to dress up for that nonexistent job. She just likes to! Don’t shame, Chris.
Chris: Her clothes are great! They’re just clearly the kind of expensive, professional clothes you’d wear when you have a job like running a company, not hanging out in a secret basement underneath an abandoned campaign office where other people are constantly working out.
Emma: Well, she basically runs Team Arrow, so...
Thea is good at the political dirty work, but Oliver can only handle punching bad guys, not blackmailing them. Their methods are a little too different now to keep working together so closely. But if Thea’s not on his staff, and not part of Team Arrow, then I’m not sure what role she’ll play in the show going forward.
Chris: Maybe she just wants out of this show.
Emma: That is entirely possible! It’s been a long five years and she hasn’t had too much to do this season.
Chris: I won’t hold it against her if she does.
Emma: Me neither.
We haven’t talked about Russia yet.
Chris: Sigh, if we must.
Emma: Last time we saw them, Ollie and Anatoly were about to get murdered in the hospital basement. Anatoly uses Bratva rules to get them a little more time, basically a short reprieve in the form of a… trial is probably the best word. Ollie uses this time to break into Kovar’s house in his proto-Green Arrow get up to find evidence that Gregor is screwing his Bratva brothers out of a ton of money in his deal with Kovar. He’s very hacker-Felicity in that scene, although I’m pretty sure Kovar just had a folder labeled “Illegal Deals” on his desktop.
Chris: I loved that he just shows up with the laptop as though that’s the only way you could show off the information. It’s a very old-school version of hacking, I guess.
Emma: That was so cute! He was under a time crunch, though, and taking the whole thing is probably easier than anything else.
Chris: And he was like, “I left the file open, so all you have to do is open the lid on the laptop… I mean, if the battery hasn’t died. Do you guys have a charger for this particular kind of laptop?”
Emma: “I didn’t even have to guess his password!”
Chris: Do you think we’re ever actually going to see some kind of final confrontation between Ollie and Dolph Lundgren?
Emma: Probably not. I think the Dolph ship has sailed. Ollie was ready to leave Russia and head home to clean up Starling City until Anatoly convinced him to stay and help with Gregor.
Chris: I don’t want to believe that’s true. Wasn’t the whole point of him going to Russia to kill Kovar?!
Emma: I think so, but Dolph’s gotta be too pricey a guest star to have in too many episodes. Maybe one more for a big fight. A girl can dream, anyway.
Chris: The dream of more Dolph is basically all I have left to hold on to.
I guess the only thing left to discuss is Adrian’s ominous final confrontation with Susan? What do you think the big “life or death” story is?
Emma: I’m going to guess that it’s “Prometheus kills the Green Arrow!!” or “Time to lure your boyfriend to his death, Susan!” That, or he’s got a long-winded rant about why he hates Ollie that he wants to share with the world.
Chris: Well, whatever it is I look forward to discussing it with you and our dear readers. Let us know what you think of this week’s episode in the comments and we’ll see you next week!