Thursday, March 16, 2017

Arrow S05 E16: Checkmate

When I first saw the title of this episode - "Checkmate" - I have to admit to groaning, hoping they were not bringing the Checkmate concept from the comics into the Arrowverse.  So much of this covert government task force is already part of the series however, including Arsenal, Deadshot, Amanda Waller, Vixen, the Suicide Squad, the Huntress, Count Vertigo, Mr. Terrific, Deathstroke, and the Adrian Chase Vigilante - so why not? 

We open on Oliver in snow peaked mountains searching for his former teacher, Talia, who until now we have only seen in flashback.  We learn that in fact the showrunners have a calendar they've been following, and that Oliver had no idea who Talia really was.  If the shocked duh look on Oliver's face wasn't enough when he found out he'd killed Talia's father and that's why she trained Prometheus - the look was even more priceless when she told him his name was Adrian Chase.  I have to hand it to the showrunners, this was a good one. 

When Oliver returns to Star City he confronts Chase only to find he's already aware.  He'd kidnapped Susan Williams and will kill her if Oliver makes the wrong move.  I gotta say, Chase revealed is far more interesting than he was previously, maybe a reason for a sooner reveal.  Now he's got a bit of a swagger not unlike Jeffrey Dean Morgan's Negan on "The Walking Dead." 

Meanwhile the Russian flashbacks continue, and Felicity joins Helix.  She's nowhere to be found when Team Arrow makes its assault on Chase's house looking for Susan.  Curtis sports a slightly different outfit, more like the comics, presumably to go along with his new operational T-Spheres.  I like the red and white, nice to have bright colors on the show again.  Spartan as well seems to have had a helmet upgrade.  Did Cisco visit?  Coolness. 

When Felicity returns, one thing she does learn is that Adrian Chase is an alias, and his real name is Simon Morrison, notably the real name of the comics Prometheus.  But of course for that information Helix wants something in exchange, perhaps suggesting the group Checkmate intimated in the episode title. 

Other than the posturing, and pardon my language, pissing contests, and penis measuring between Green Arrow and Prometheus, both in and out of costume, not much else really happens.  Much.  I found myself wondering if Oliver really cares all that much about Susan.  If he did, he could always call in a super-fast friend who could search the city in seconds.  That's the good thing about a shared universe. 

In the end, Talia joins Prometheus in taking down Green Arrow, and now our hero is the prisoner of a psychopath who killed his own wife like it was nothing.  This was a better than average episode, managing to surprise, and entertain, but I fear like other seasons of "Arrow," this may go on too long...

For my other reviews of the entire "Arrow" series, click here. And if you'd like to discuss this episode, anything else in the Arrowverse, or anything in the Marvel or DC television or cinematic universes, please join the Marvel DC Movies TV group on Facebook.

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