Legion contributor Andrea Levine is recapping and reviewing Arrow for us this season. Follow her on Twitter @wysefyre!
Betrayal, murder, heartbreak. Just another average week on Arrow.
What We Leave Behind begins with Evelyn visiting Prometheus, who’s sharpening his Arrow weapons collection. Evelyn has gotten Prometheus certain information, and she expects him to keep his end of the deal. She wants to be there when he kills Oliver. However, Prometheus does not intend to kill Oliver. He wants to make Oliver wish he was dead.
And while that’s happening, Oliver is at City Hall, throwing a holiday party. Naturally, Thea was the one who organized it, and it’s beautiful. She and Oliver are talking, when Susan Williams arrives as Oliver’s date. Thea isn’t too pleased with this development, but c’mon! We all know this was going to happen.
Felicity is also there, getting ready to introduce Billy to her friends. She’s very nervous. Curtis and Paul arrive, introductions are terribly made, and Felicity accidentally blows Curtis’ cover as to what he does at night. Clue: It’s not working on a start-up.
Oliver gives a speech about recommitting to making Star City a better and safer place. We get a slightly jarring moment as Susan and Felicity approach Oliver after it, and in unison, tell him it was a great speech. More introductions are made, and Billy’s introduction goes worse than with Curtis, but is a better one, seeing as how it doesn’t lead to anyone leaving the party.
Paul is furious with Curtis for lying, and he leaves. Curtis follows him, and they stop on the stairs outside City Hall to talk. Curtis swears he’s not cheating on Paul, but Paul doesn’t believe him. Curtis doesn’t get a chance to explain, because his neck is nicked by a throwing star. Prometheus has arrived.
Curtis yells at Paul to run and tries to take on Prometheus by himself. His fighting skills have really improved, but he’s not match for Prometheus, and ends up getting stabbed by him. Prometheus leaves and Paul races to Curtis, calling for help.
Curtis wakes up in the hospital. He’ll live, but now he has to deal with Paul, who wants to know why the Throwing Star Killer attacked him, and where he learned to fight like that. The arrival of Oliver and Felicity spare Curtis from having to lie. Felicity suggests Paul give a statement to Billy, who is outside of the room. Paul exits, and Curtis explains what happened. It’s obvious Prometheus knows Team Arrow’s real identities.
And then there’s Detective Billy, who is smart enough to piece together Curtis’ involvement with Team Arrow, and draws the same conclusion about Prometheus knowing everyone. He wants Felicity to stay with him until this matter is sorted. She doesn’t give a definitive answer, and Billy leaves to follow up on Prometheus. Oliver has spoken to the doctor, and a drug was found in Curtis’ system. It’s called Dycloseral, and Oliver knows it.
Flashback time! Instead of Russia, we’re going back four years, to when Oliver was the Hood, and it was just him and Diggle trying to clean up Starling City. Dycloseral was a drug manufactured by John Claybourne Pharmaceuticals. It was used to treat tuberculosis. There was a severe outbreak in Lamb Valley, and overnight, this relatively cheap drug went from $10 to $1000. Claybourne was gouging the people, so Oliver went to chat with him.
He threatens Claybourne and gives him a deadline to make things right, but Claybourne doesn’t listen. Oliver does a little more digging and uncovers Claybourne as the mastermind behind the outbreak. He’s working for a black market marketeers called the AK Desmond Group, and they specialize in bioweapons. Lamb Valley was a testing ground for Dycloseral.
Oliver doesn’t take too kindly to learning about this and goes to confront Claybourne. Before he leaves, Diggle tries to talk to him about whether it’s a good idea to kill Claybourne. There might be unintended consequences. The way Oliver sees it, Claybourne has no family to worry about and is a horrible individual, so yes. Killing him is a good thing. Consequences be damned.
But we’ll get back to the demise of Claybourne in a moment. We have to get back to the present. Oliver wants to check out the old Claybourne Pharmaceutical plant. There’s been a lot of activity there lately. Team Arrow minus Curtis heads out.
Rene and Evelyn go one way, Rory guards the entrance, and Diggle and Oliver go another. Oliver and Diggle come across a door. It’s a little suspicious, so Oliver goes to investigate. He asks Felicity to unlock it, but it does that by itself.
Against Felicity’s objections, Oliver continues into the room. A phone starts to ring. Then the lights in an office begin to flicker. Oliver walks farther into the room. The door behind him closes and locks. TRAP! Prometheus is behind him. Oliver assumes Prometheus is Justin Claybourne returned from the dead, and utters the infamous line, “Justin Claybourne, you have failed this city.” To which Prometheus replies, “Not as badly as you have, Mr. Queen.” And the fighting begins.
Felicity alerts the rest of the team to get to Oliver ASAP, while Oliver and Prometheus duke it out. Prometheus is able to split an arrow in mid-air with a throwing star. It’s so cool to see. The fight seems to be well-matched, but Prometheus executes a move Oliver recognizes, and that throws him off. Prometheus gets the upper hand.
Luckily, Rene and Evelyn arrive before Prometheus can do any harm. Rene shoots at Prometheus, but then Evelyn reveals herself to be a heel and turns on Rene. A flashbang later, and Prometheus and Evelyn escape.
The others minus head back to the Arrow Cave to lick their wounds. Oliver is helping Thea pack a bag to hide out in the Cave for a little bit. Diggle reveals Lyla and JJ are heading to an A.R.G.U.S. safe house. Felicity feels guilty for not vetting Evelyn better, but it’s not her fault. It’s better if she just concentrates on the ashes she has procured. They are supposedly Justin Claybourne’s but if he’s Prometheus, whose ashes are they? Before she can get started, Billy contacts her, so Felicity leaves Rory and Rene in charge of running the DNA on the ashes.
She heads to the loft. Billy is waiting for her inside. How did he get in? No explanation is given, and they move on from that to talk about how Billy made the connection to Claybourne Pharmaceuticals. Felicity wants him to stay away from the case, but he won’t. As much as he cares about her, he has to be true to himself. He’s a detective, and he’s going to stay on the case.
Curtis is still at the hospital, when Rory gives him the news about Evelyn’s betrayal. Paul arrives to hear Curtis say goodbye to Rory. He’s very suspicious. Curtis swears he’s not cheating and tells Paul the truth about being Mr. Terrific. In some ways, that’s even worse. Now Paul has to worry about him coming home at night. He tells Curtis to give it up, but Curtis says he made a commitment. Paul rightfully reminds Curtis he made a commitment to Paul first. Now Curtis has to choose – Mr. Terrific or Paul.
Felicity returns to find Rory and Rene did figure out how to work the DNA Sequencer. The ashes ARE Claybourne’s. So what’s going on?
Turns out Billy finds the answer. He goes to Claybourne Pharmaceuticals and in the office, finds a lockbox. He breaks into it and finds a photo of a baby. He texts Felicity a copy of it, right before Prometheus arrives to abduct him.
At City Hall, Oliver learns about Billy’s abduction. Adrian wants Oliver to give the SCPD permission to use lethal force on Prometheus. Oliver agrees and asks for all available officers to be called in to search for Billy.
Felicity tries to find out who the baby is. Turns out Claybourne did have a child, but the child was only referenced once in divorce proceedings. It was easy to miss it. The child would be about 30 now, so there’s a good chance Prometheus is Claybourne, Jr. Oliver remembers Diggle’s warning about unintended consequences. It’s all his fault. And to top it off, he has to tell Felicity about Billy.
It’s all hands on deck. Curtis leaves the hospital and even Thea suits up to help find Billy. She and Oliver talk about growth and legacies. She points out there are two kinds of legacies – good and bad. Oliver tends to focus on the bad. Something about his conversation triggers Oliver’s memory and he remembers the AK Desmond Group and their address. He goes off alone to check it out.
At the address, Oliver begins to have flashbacks. We switch back and forth from his memory of how he killed people to get into the building to the present, where he discovers dead bodies in the building set up exactly as he had once left them. There’s a really eerie moment on the escalators, as we see in the past, how he fought people to go up, to the present where the bodies just lay. It’s dark and spooky and kind of neat. Oliver goes to the roof.
In the past, Oliver confronted Claybourne by the rooftop pool. Claybourne didn’t care for the people of Lamb Valley. They were inconsequential. Not to Oliver, who kills Claybourne. Claybourne falls into the pool. And that’s the end of that.
In the present, Prometheus taunts Oliver. What’s happening now is about so much more than revenge. They take a dive off the roof, and swing onto another floor. Prometheus brags about how easy it was to turn Evelyn, and how everyone around him dies. Oliver puts three arrows into Prometheus. But something is wrong.
Oliver notices Prometheus’ hands. He’s unnerved as he approaches Prometheus, because Prometheus is still taking to him. Still taunting him. Oliver takes off Prometheus’ mask, and underneath is poor Billy Malone with his mouth taped shut. Prometheus had been talking to him via a speaker on his chest.
Oliver is horrified. I don’t think we’ve ever seen Oliver this badly shaken. For a moment, I thought he might try to cover it up, but he returns to the Arrow Cave, and he tells them the truth. He tells Felicity the truth. She’s devastated, but she knows this is Prometheus’ fault. It’s on him, not Oliver. Oliver is broken. He thinks Prometheus is right, and everyone should get away from him before they’re killed. Diggle speaks for the team when he says they are all right where they’re supposed to be.
Later, Oliver finds himself at Susan Williams’ apartment. He doesn’t know where else to go. She lets him in and pours him a drink. He gives a very vague version of what happened, and she echoes Thea’s words about good and bad, and then she kisses him. Way to take care of the vulnerable guy!
Meanwhile, Felicity is at home, mourning Billy, Diggle finds himself being tricked into thinking something was wrong with Lyla and JJ, so he goes to meet them, only to find out it was a trap and the authorities capture him, and poor Curtis. When he met up with Felicity to help with the search, he filled her in on his situation with Paul. He had decided he needed to be true to himself and that meant being a vigilante, but when he arrives home, late no less, he finds Paul waiting, with a suitcase packed. Paul is going to go to his brother’s for a while. He doesn’t want Curtis to be a vigilante, but he also recognizes that despite all the injuries and weird hours, Curtis is the happiest he’s ever seen, and he doesn’t want to be the guy who gives ultimatums or the guy who tries to take away Curtis’ happiness. So, he leaves and Curtis breaks down.
Sometime later, Oliver goes back to the Arrow Cave. There’s no indication as to whether he had sex with Susan, but it’s possible. But that’s not important right now. What IS important is he arrives at the Cave to find someone already there. It’s none other than the recently deceased Laurel Lance, who turns around and says “Hi Ollie.” Fade to black.
Other Points of Interest
~ Thea tells a story involving Tommy, a tennis game, and Oliver trying to land a helicopter to impress Maria Sharapova, leading to him needing to be bailed out and his father losing a big deal as a result. She uses that story to highlight how different Oliver has become and how proud their parents would be of him now.
~ The move Oliver recognized was taught to him while he was in Russia. He wonders if Prometheus had the same teacher.
~Rene wonders if he and Thea dated in Flashpoint. Rory points out Flashpoint was a different timeline, not reality. Thea translates – Rene is not her type.
~ Oliver’s favorite Christmas is Die Hard, with It’s a Wonderful Life as the runner up.
~ Rene insinuated he might have kids.
~ Before she betrayed everyone, Evelyn gave Team Arrow very decorative stockings to hang. Everyone was excited by how much the stockings would piss off Oliver.
~ The level of awkwardness and nerves Felicity displayed while attempting to introduce Billy to all her friends, including Oliver, is pretty off the scales. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen her that nervous, but it turns out it was all for nothing. What a shame.
So we say goodbye to brave Billy Malone. He wasn’t around for long, but he did serve an important purpose. I liked him. I thought he was a good guy and a good cop. I liked he was cool with Felicity working with Team Arrow, but also adamant on not letting that interfere with his duties as a cop. I wish he was able to stick around for longer.
Susan Williams is definitely involved with all of this. I’m pretty sure she’s working with Prometheus in some way. Her pouring the very Russian vodka for Oliver was a great clue for the audience. It’ll be fun to watch her worm her way into Oliver’s life, only to inevitably betray him. Unless of course, Oliver recognized the vodka but didn’t let on, and now it’s a game of who’s using who. Either way, the game is afoot.
Paul, Paul, Paul. What are we going to do about poor, adorable Paul? I don’t want him to leave. He hasn’t had much to do, and we haven’t spent a lot of time with him, but he’s a wonderful character. Anyone can understand why he felt he needed to leave. It sounds very similar to what some people say about being involved with cops, firefighters, active military, and so on, but I hope this isn’t the end for Curtis and Paul. Curtis has been wrapped up with being Mr. Terrific, and neglecting Paul. I think this would be a great way to remind Curtis why he fell in love with Paul in the first place. Vigilante life is hard, and we always see relationships dissolving over it, but we don’t often see couples really fighting to keep their relationships together, and I want that for Paul and Curtis. I think the characters need it, and I think we as an audience need it. I just don’t want them to fight for their marriage, only to have it ripped apart by Paul being killed or turned evil. I want to Arrow to try and explore what it’s like for one person to be in a dangerous job, and have a spouse who is completely removed from it. Maybe it’s not possible, but I want them to try.
One thing I absolutely adored about What We Left Behind is the episode did not pretend the Dominators didn’t happen. They don’t harp on it, but the aftereffects of the invasion and learning about Flashpoint are felt. Diggle struggles with finding out he had a daughter. Oliver and Thea both understand how painful it was to lose their parents again, but also acknowledge what a gift it was to see them. Thea has a new appreciation for Oliver. Rene and Rory joke about Flashpoint, even though all of that hurts Rene’s head, and when they realize Prometheus knows all about them, they wonder about going back in time to fix that. Not that they would have. I was disappointed in The Flash for not referencing Invasion at all. I would think aliens deserve a small nod. Arrow managed to do it in a realistic way, and that was refreshing.
I thought last week’s Invasion! was one of the stronger episodes we’ve seen in a long time, but What We Left Behind is an even stronger one. Sure, it has some issues, like the incredibly random way Laurel was brought back, BUT Laurel was brought back, and that is a fantastic cliffhanger to leave us with. We’re going to have to wait until January 25th to find out how and why Laurel has returned. Until then, we can discuss possible theories and thoughts in the comments.