• Arrow What We Leave Behind Television 

    Five Thoughts on Arrow‘s “What We Leave Behind”

    By | December 8th, 2016
    Posted in Television | % Comments

    The Arrow mid-season finale was an intense hour and, among the best in the show’s run.

    1. Of course his favorite Christmas movie is Die Hard

    Ollie – at least his public persona – is a man slightly out of touch. So, it makes perfect sense that Ollie’s favorite Christmas movie was the clever answer from three years ago. He probably thinks he’s the only guy to find ugly Christmas sweaters funny, too.

    I am interested in talking a bit about Ollie’s public persona. This is one of the weirder elements of the show – let’s just take the position of John Q. Star City Resident: your town’s local billionaire has a playboy son who drowned in a tragic accident. Except, sike! He’s actually fine, and he’s come back to run his father’s company. He’s still sort of a playboy, but is also rumored to be a vigilante crimefighter. He’s then arrested, only to be exonerated. He runs for mayor, drops out, and then rallies the city when a warhead is heading straight for it. Due to that action, he still gets the second most votes in the mayoral election, and is awarded the position after the elected mayor dies.

    That’s a weird confluence of events that led to where he is now, which is somewhere between Anthony Weiner and Rudy Guiliani, which is a no man’s land that no person should ever want to be in: he’s been the city’s savior, but he’s also been its laughing stock. I wonder at what point he goes senile and starts screaming about immigrants, or shows his lil’ Ollie to an underage girl*?

    *to be fair, he probably did that, pre-boat accident.

    2. A flashback that didn’t suck!

    This week had a flashback that actually related directly to the story and, while not exactly necessary or groundbreaking, it gave a lot of context for the current situation with Prometheus. It was nice to see the beginnings of the show again, when Diggle was his begrudging bodyguard, and Felicity was just a cute gal that worked for his stepfather. (Side note – remember his stepfather?)

    But it did something even more important than just send us down memory lane for the second week in a row – it showed that Ollie’s current system is better. This works – the team, the Arrowcave, everything – this is a better system. While we, the viewer, realized that, the events of this episode might tell Oliver that the opposite is true.

    3. Everyone dies around Ollie

    I”m currently 2/3 of the way through a rewatch of The Sopranos, and one of the themes the show keeps coming back to, over and over again, is that once you’re in bed with Tony Soprano – even tangentially – you’re dead. Your life will fall apart, and you’ll look back at the moment of your dalliance and recognize that you’ve fucked up.

    Prometheus is, essentially, saying the exact same thing is true with Oliver Queen, even if Oliver himself isn’t the one who is necessarily doing the killing (although, sorry Billy!). But look at Oliver’s track record: both parents, sister essentially died, two ex-girlfriends (though one resurrected), Felicity got paralyzed, Curtis gets dumped – it is bleak.

    This begs the question, how much of it is really Ollie’s fault?

    Tonight, Ollie killed Billy, because he was set up by Prometheus to do so. That is on Ollie’s conscience, but it was pretty clear that he was duped, and duped in a pretty effective way. If Ollie was a cop, this would be a ‘good’ kill, something that wasn’t his fault. But Ollie’s already racked with guilt about any number of things, this will just add to it.

    As for Curtis, having a marriage sharply change due to one person’s lies, despite how noble the intentions, is a pretty terrible idea, and it is no surprise it was too much for Paul to handle. I don’t think the show will necessarily break them up forever, but this is a new side to Curtis that we haven’t seen. It is the first time the stain of Ollie has really been on him and, like Diggle, Sara, Thea, Laurel, and Roy, he has to come to terms with the amount of pain and trouble he can accept as part of Team Arrow

    Continued below

    4. I’m still not convinced Prometheus is who they think

    I know that we are being set up to now know who Prometheus is, but I don’t buy it. The character isn’t significant enough after all the build up we’ve had. Not only that, but why wouldn’t he unmask in front of Ollie if that’s the case? If Ollie knows his identity, the mask isn’t necessary.

    How Evelyn plays into this is an interesting question. If the team is right, and she didn’t flip until she found out about Ollie killing folks, then Prometheus didn’t need Evelyn to reveal his identity because he already knew it. How would the illegitimate child of a pharma dick know that Ollie was the Green Arrow?

    One of my theories has been that Billy would be Prometheus and, for a few minutes tonight, he was. Then he got dead/Ollie’d. Sorry, Billy.

    5. Laurel?

    Unless when Barry threw the Philosopher’s Stone into the Speed Force it landed in the Arrowcave, it appears that Laurel isn’t dead. Now, I still don’t believe that’s necessarily the case – they made too big of a deal around her death to undue it less than a season later. But if she is back, that begs a number of interesting questions, outside of the obvious ones like: how?

    But let me lay this on you guys for size. I don’t actually believe this, but what if Laurel is Prometheus? Who’s life has been more destroyed by Ollie than Laurel’s? She was publicly humiliated when her sister “died” with Ollie, her boyfriend (Tommy) was driven from her and died, her father descended into alcoholism, as did she, and she got killed by a supervillain. Ollie didn’t just stain Laurel; he branded her.

    Maybe she finally realized that enough is enough, Ollie needs to be stopped, and Prometheus is the way to do that. We know that Prometheus knows that Ollie and Quentin work together, and even had access to Quentin’s house. Wouldn’t Laurel have a key to his house?

    Granted, I don’t think this is what the show is doing, but it is fun to speculate a bit now and then.

    Overall, this was an excellent episode of Arrow. It had action, long term consequences, some fun, and moved the plot forward. Even after last night’s much improved Flash episode, Arrow remains king of this trio of shows this season.

    What did you think of the mid-season finale? Let me know in the comments!


    //TAGS | Arrow

    Brian Salvatore

    Brian Salvatore is an editor, podcaster, reviewer, writer at large, and general task master at Multiversity. When not writing, he can be found playing music, hanging out with his kids, or playing music with his kids. He also has a dog named Lola, a rowboat, and once met Jimmy Carter. Feel free to email him about good beer, the New York Mets, or the best way to make Chicken Parmagiana (add a thin slice of prosciutto under the cheese).


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