Legion contributor Andrea Levine is recapping and reviewing Arrow for us this season. Follow her on Twitter @wysefyre!
Hello, fellow Arrow watchers! Sorry about the unexpected hiatus, it couldn’t be helped, but I’m back to bring you back up to date on Arrow.
A few important things before we get into this week’s episode:
- Thea has been slowly turning into Moira, and upon realizing this, has left the mayor’s office and is off doing who knows what.
- Paul has severed Curtis papers. He wants a divorce.
- Susan Williams is kidnapped by Prometheus. Oliver and Team Arrow are able to rescue her, but not before Prometheus has done some mental damage to Oliver.
- Oliver discovers Talia al Ghul trained Prometheus, because when he came to her, Oliver has just killed Ra’s al Ghul, so Talia wanted Oliver to suffer.
- Prometheus, in an exceptionally underwhelming reveal, is none other than Adrian Chase. Surprise, no surprise.
- Finally, after freeing Susan, Oliver is taken by Adrian and held captive in a cage. And this is where Kapiushon begins.
Kapiushon spends more time in past than the present. It’s in part of help us learn an important fact about Oliver, but also probably in part, so we don’t see Adrian torturing Oliver, because he is torturing him good.
Oliver has clearly been worked over by Adrian, and that includes holding Oliver’s head underwater for the same amount of time Adrian’s father was underwater. He keeps demanding Oliver confess. Oliver doesn’t know what he wants him to confess to. Adrian wants Oliver to tell him a secret he can’t even admit to himself. Oliver is confused. He has no secret to confess. Adrian resumes torturing him, and we journey into the past.
Here’s where we are with the flashbacks. Oliver is able to obtain a laptop containing proof Gregor planned on screwing over the Bratva in his deal with Kovar. He was only going to give them a small amount of the money Kovar gave and keep the rest. Oliver and Anatoly offer up the laptop and the Bratva captains become divided by this. Gregor is on the losing side, thanks to Viktor, so he makes a run for it and destroys the laptop in his getaway.
Oliver adopts the Hood persona and uses it as a way to control the darkness inside him, and uses that as a way to get Gregor. Gregor is pretty close to dead when Oliver brings him to Anatoly. Before he dies, Gregor tells Oliver he is no hero and everything and everyone he touches will wither and die (ouch), and he tells Anatoly “samovol shchnia.” Peace out, Gregor.
The Pakhan is chosen by seniority, so that means Anatoly is the new Pakhan. After a ceremony seeing Gregor off and Anatoly installed as Pakhan, Anatoly tell Oliver “samovol shchnia” means “do as you will.” It was a code used for overthrowing the government in the 1917 Russian revolution. They’re not sure what it has to do with Kovar, but Anatoly plans on meeting with Kovar to honor Gregor’s deal (it’s the Bratva way), and maybe do a little info gathering.
While Anatoly is meeting with Kovar, Oliver decides to try to get information from Galina, Kovar’s housekeeper and mother to Vlad and Taiana. It doesn’t go well. He tries approaching her, but her bodyguard moves to stop him, and the bodyguard ends up dead, Galina is terrified, and Oliver has to bolt.
Anatoly’s meeting with Kovar goes a little better. Anatoly arrives as Kovar is finishing up a meeting with Malcolm Merlyn, then-CEO of Merlyn Global Group regarding a “secret” delivery. Anyone else feel this is a little to coincidental? It’s cool, but a little too neat for my tastes. Anyway, Kovar knows Anatoly is Pakhan and congratulates him. Anatoly blames the Hood or “kapiushon” for the death, and says he plans on honoring Gregor’s commitments including “samovol shchnia”Kovar reveals he plans on staging a coup and overthrowing Russia’s government. To Anatoly, this is an awful plan. He returns to the Bratva, and urges Oliver to return home, but Oliver is Bratva. He will not leave his brothers. They head to the docks to see what Merlyn Global is delivering to Kovar.
Anatoly and the Bratva arrive at the docks with Oliver wearing “the Hood” acting as lookout on top of a roof or shipping container. They discover Kovar’s shipment is sarin gas, because it can’t be something less complicated, can it? The Bratva load up the sarin, but Kovar and his people arrive. A gunfight ensues, one canister of sarin is punctured, killing several Bratva, and exposing others including Anatoly to the gas. Kovar gets away with the sarin.
The Bratva manage to capture one of Kovar’s men, and while Anatoly rests and the Bratva try to recover, Oliver as the Hood goes to interrogate the captive. And interrogate he does. Using a Mongolian skinning technique, he’s able to extract the plan from the captive, but not without serious consequences.
Anatoly checks on Oliver to discover what Oliver has left of the captive is “not human.” He commends the man for holding out so long, but Oliver surprises him by saying the man gave up the information pretty quickly. The rest was practice. Anatoly, like the much of the viewing audience, is taken aback by this. He sees a darkness in Oliver. Oliver swears the Hood helps him channel the darkness, but Anatoly doesn’t believe it.
We’ll get back to that in a moment. Right now, we have to deal with Kovar. The plan is to invite many of Russia’s political and military leaders to the opening of his casino and kill them there. Knowing it will be next to impossible to break in, Oliver makes another attempt to talk to Galina, hoping she can help them sneak in.
This time, after only subduing her bodyguard, Oliver is able to tell Galina about Taiana and Vlad. Kovar has been telling her he’s still looking for them, but Oliver knows it’s a lie. He tells Galina Taiana and Vlad are dead, and uses the saying about how the same hammer which shatters glass also forges steel. Galina knows Oliver is telling the truth and gives him the key she uses to get into Kovar’s buildings. She asks Oliver who killed her children, and he replies, “A monster.”
At the casino, Oliver sneaks in, and breaks into the main security control room. He lets the Bratva in, then sees on a monitor, Galina being held captive by Kovar. Oliver races to her find her, but he gets there too late. Galina is dead. As he mourns her, Anatoly comes on the comms to warn Oliver Viktor sold them out and they’re now being held hostage. In a rage, Oliver goes after the gas, while killing everyone in his path.
Kovar gathers all the guests into one room and makes a speech about how the Bratva was trying to kill them, but he captured them and now they’ll be blamed for everything. He puts on a gas mask and sarin begins to fill the room.
Oliver is able to turn the gas off before too much damage can be done, but Kovar is now there. After killing his two guards, Oliver’s hood slips, and Kovar is surprised to see Oliver. But that doesn’t matter. They begin to fight.
The fight is all-out brutal. It spills into the main casino room. Oliver manages to slash Kovar’s face, and Anatoly tries to get Oliver to stop. He promises Kovar will face justice. Oliver agrees. He will. And then he plunges an arrow into Kovar, striking the fatal blow.
Afterwards, Oliver and Anatoly get tattooed together. Oliver’s marks him a Bratva captain. Even though he’s heading back to the States, it’s to show any Bratva he meets in the world what kind of man he is. He also gives Oliver back his hood. He retrieved it from the casino. Anatoly warns Oliver he cannot separate the man from the monster. One day, it will all fall apart and Oliver won’t like the man he finds underneath. They part.
Before we go back to the present, we see Merlyn again. He’s congratulating a surgeon on a job well done. It seems the surgeon has brought Kovar back to life. Merlyn asks if Kovar said who did this to him, but the surgeon doesn’t say. Merlyn comments how he wouldn’t want to be that guy, and Kovar opens his eyes.
Now, let’s get back to Oliver in his cage. Adrian has been trying and trying to get Oliver to confess his secret, but zip, zilch, nada. Oliver doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Adrian tries to taunt Oliver into confessing by showing him how he’s been in Felicity’s apartment, mentioning his son, and in one act of serious grossness, by using Evelyn.
Remember Evelyn? We haven’t seen anything of her since she betrayed everyone. Adrian brings her in and she looks like she’s been getting worked over too. Adrian says he’s made her more “compliant.” He places a knife on the floor and says either one of them kills the other or Adrian will snap Evelyn’s neck. Then he leaves.
Oliver tries to get Evelyn to give him the knife, but Evelyn is broken. She wants everything to stop, so she tries to attack Oliver, but fails. Adrian returns to find them not fighting, so he snaps Evelyn’s neck.
This is where Oliver begins to break. He screams at Adrian. He doesn’t know what to confess. Adrian enjoys seeing the facade begin to crack. He taunts and pushes and prods and finally, forces Oliver to answer the question as to why he kills. Oliver admits it’s because he wanted to. Because he wants to. He screams it’s because he wanted to and he liked it.
And finally, Adrian has what he wanted. THAT is the secret Oliver has been afraid to admit to anyone including himself. He saw it. He’s understood Oliver better than Oliver understands himself.
Oliver is floored by this revelation. To make matters worse, Evelyn is still alive. It was all a ruse. She jumps up and tells Adrian, she knew Oliver would break, and bounces out of the room.
Adrian continues to work on Oliver. He says the reason Oliver infects everyone, the reason Tommy, Laurel, and his mom are all dead, and why Felicity and Diggle are not better for having met him is because Oliver’s mission was built on a lie. He uses the hood to give himself permission to give into his darkness.
Oliver can’t say much other than pointing out Adrian said he’d let him go if he confessed. Adrian agrees, but before he does, he has one little present left to give. He takes a blowtorch to Oliver’s Bratva tattoo, saying whenever Oliver looks at it, he’ll be reminded of his time with Adrian and the secret he confessed. Oliver apologizes to Adrian, and Adrian believes him, but he doesn’t care and gets to work.
Finally, we head over to the Arrow Cave, where Diggle, Felicity, and Curtis have been going non-stop to locate Oliver. They’ve had no luck, but that’s okay, because Adrian is a man of his word. He let Oliver go. Oliver unsteadily walks into the Cave, and announces it’s all over for him. He’s done. He doesn’t want to do this anymore and is shutting everything down. And with that Kapiushon ends and we’re left to wonder just how damaged Oliver is.
Kapiushon is an outstanding episode, we really get to delve into Oliver’s mind, and Stephen Amell did some outstanding work. But I think there are a few things we need to take notice of.
Josh Segarra is great as Adrian Chase. He gives good torture, but at the same time, none of this was a revelation to me. You don’t get to be as good at fighting and killing as Oliver does without learning to enjoy it at least a little bit. It was a stunning blow to Oliver, but I don’t think it was to the audience. I could be wrong. Let me know in the comments if it was a shock to you.
Also, Evelyn is just a waste of space character. She’s been given absolutely nothing to do. I’ve commented on how there seems to be an issue with writing more than one fully developed female character, but it’s never been as obvious as it is with Evelyn. Why couldn’t they have her play some mind games with Oliver than didn’t involve her being used and abused? Why haven’t we seen her since who knows how long? What’s the point? It’s shoddy and lazy writing, and in an episode filled with on the nose but well written storytelling, it stands out as glaringly bad.
I can’t wait to see how Oliver moves forward from this. I can’t wait to see how the team reacts to everything, but I really wish the writers would do more to surprise us as well as the characters.