Torture, retirement and a Russian coup in the latest episode of Arrow

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Mar 23, 2017

Spoilers ahead for "Kapiushon," the latest episode of The CW's Arrow!

The short version: Chase tortures Oliver until he admits his deepest secret. What is it? He kills not just because he has to, but because he wants to do it. Then Chase lets him go. Evelyn Sharp is in on the whole thing and fakes her death to help break Oliver. Oh, and Oliver stops a Russian coup in the flashbacks.

The good: The Russia story takes center stage, Oliver’s deepest secret, that ending

The flashback saga has been a strength of this season, and with Oliver incapacitated and being tortured the entire episode, the Russian adventure took center stage. And it was pretty great. The story has been slowly building all year, and this episode finally gave it room to breathe and propel into a crescendo. Oliver and Anatoly take on Kovar and avert a full-on coup to take over the Russian government. Which is pretty bonkers for a single-episode story (especially one told in the typical B-format of flashbacks), but it totally worked. We get to see Oliver's true commitment to Anatoly as a dear friend, and he finally gets the Bratva tattoo that has been a part of Oliver's shirtless mystique for five seasons now.

Speaking of that sweet tattoo, we also got to see it removed in about the most gruesome way possible in this episode, too. Prometheus' grand plan finally came to a head: Chase had Oliver locked up in a secret location and started out with a good bit of torture and maiming. But, it all came back to his goal of getting Oliver to confess his secret. Considering Oliver killed his father, it felt pretty obvious that it was related to Oliver admitting he's a bit of a monster. But even if you did see it coming, seeing Oliver Queen scream that he loves to kill people was still a jaw-dropping, chilling moment. Chase really has pushed him to the brink, and having Oliver betrayed by a friend in such brazen fashion has made for an interesting tweak to the typical Big Bad formula. Of course, there's still a few more episodes to go, so the drama is far from over.

They've taken the story down a slippery path, but a fascinating one. Much of Oliver's character growth and trajectory has been about trying to escape his old ways and become a more inspiring hero. But all that was stripped away here. Juxtaposing that with Oliver's early days sporting the hood, and his declarations about using the costume for the monster so he can remain a man, were a bit heavy-handed but still a nice touch. As it all unravels in the present, it's interesting to see the germ of that idea in Russia. But Oliver is seeing himself as a serial killer now, even if he is a well-intentioned one. There's potential to do some great things with this, story-wise.

All of which leads into that final scene, where Oliver stumbles into the Arrow Cave after being help captive for six days. His pronouncement: It's over. He’s shutting down Team Arrow, and calling it quits in the superhero game. We doubt that'll hold up for too long, though. You know this show's already been renewed, right?

The bad: The lingering Prometheus questions, Evelyn's return

Prometheus is being set up as this unkillable warrior, to the point that Oliver doesn't even really try to get the drop on him during this whole ordeal. But, again, how is he so great? Team Arrow has beaten the League of Assassins and magical monsters. How is this one dude so darn formidable? Is Talia that much better of a teacher than her late father?

After betraying the team a while back with a surprise twist, Evelyn Sharp pretty much dropped completely off the board for a good while. She returned here, working with Prometheus, and she even pulls a Saw on Oliver to make him think Chase has killed her. But her motivations still don't make a lot of sense. She thinks Oliver is a monster, so she teams up with an even worse one? The death fake-out was a clever touch, but it's still hard to fathom why, exactly, she'd throw in with Prometheus.

Line of the night:

"I'm shutting everything down." - Oliver

Lingering questions

We finally get the Oliver vs. Kovar fight we've been wanting to see, and it does not disappoint. Oliver lays a beatdown on him (though it’s hard to see anyone get the drop on Dolph Lundgren, even if he is getting a bit up there in years). But, dum dum dum! Kovar is alive, and you have to wonder if he might resurface in the present day in the final run of episodes. You have a great actor like Lundgren, why not milk him for all its worth?

So, Kovar was working with Malcolm Merlyn back in the day? That was a cool, if slightly far-fetched, twist.

Up next: The team is disbanded! But there's still a lot of action! And Oliver punches Diggle for some reason (not cool bro)!