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With Team Arrow down to just Oliver and Felicity, Oliver is challenged with fighting the war against crime in Star City on two fronts as mayor by day and operating as Green Arrow by night. He compensates by recruiting a new team, but a deadly, sinister new foe connected to his past threatens to derail the empire Oliver has built, forcing him to question his legacy.

Tropes specific to Arrow Season 5 are as follows:

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  • Adaptational Villainy: In the comics, Adrian Chase is Vigilante, a violent and ruthless Punisher-esque vigilante, but still a crime-fighter. On the show however, he is a Red Herring for Vigilante before turning out to be the season's Big Bad Prometheus.
  • Amicable Exes: Oliver and Felicity.
  • Analogy Backfire: Prometheus explains that he took his name from the story of the titan Prometheus, who, in his words, challenged the omnipotence of the gods and stole their powers. It's a fine enough comparison, but he conveniently omits the part where the titan was captured and tortured by an eagle eating his liver.
  • Arc Words: The term "legacy" has been mentioned several times. Word of God confirms the theme for this season is legacy.
  • Ascended Extra: In the comics, Konstantin Kovar is the father of Leonid Kovar, the nuclear-powered hero Red Star. He did return as a villain of one storyline, but he's still someone most fans wouldn't even know came from the comics. However, this version's a major Big Bad, with Leonid never showing up.
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  • The Atoner: Oliver.
  • Avenging the Villain: This appears to be Prometheus' motivation as revealed in "What We Leave Behind" - he is the son of a corrupt pharmaceutical CEO whom Oliver killed during Season 1.
    • In "Checkmate", this is revealed to be Talia's motivation in allying herself with Prometheus - she wishes to avenge the death of Ra's al Ghul at Oliver's hands back in Season 3.
  • Bathos: Rory Regan's just a normal guy, but that doesn't make his voice and appearance any less sinister when he's in Ragman mode. This can sometimes lead to some humorous juxtapositions between his casual demeanor and his Nightmare Fuel costume.
    Mr. Terrific: You are a freaky kinda scary.
    Ragman: [in ghostly whispery voice] It's the whispers, right? It just does that. I have no idea how. Your mask looks cool, by the way.
  • Be All My Sins Remembered: Oliver's actions as "The Hood" vigilante from Season 1 resurface this season, in regards to Prometheus and to Oliver's legacy.
  • Create Your Own Villain: "What We Leave Behind" strongly implies that the Big Bad Prometheus is the illegitimate son of Justin Claybourne, a corrupt pharmaceutical CEO whom Oliver killed years ago as the Hood. This was later confirmed.
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  • Darker and Edgier: Arguably the darkest season in the history of the show, which, considering that this is Arrow, is saying a lot. One episode, "Kapushion", has almost all its present-day scenes centered on torture, as well as a flashback scene in which Oliver skins a prisoner alive.
  • Foregone Conclusion: The flashback narrative this season will end with Oliver being rescued from Lian Yu, as seen in the opening moments of the pilot - ready to return to Starling City and begin his crusade as the Hood.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: After Prometheus kidnaps Oliver's son, Oliver recruits in many past characters to help him fight, which includes allies and former enemies. They include Malcolm Merlyn, Nyssa al-Ghul, Slade Wilson, and Captain Boomerang.
  • Legacy Character: The season premiere reveals that Laurel's dying wish to Oliver was that he pass on the Black Canary mantle to someone else. This leads Oliver to eventually seek out a successor to the Black Canary mantle in the form of Tina Bolland AKA Dinah Drake.
  • The Lost Lenore: See Present Absence below. The biggest reason why Oliver has issues furthering his romantic life in the first half of the season is not because of his lingering feelings for Felicity, but because of his inability to move on from Laurel's death. It's made very clear both in the present and in flashbacks that, regardless of whatever Laurel believed on her deathbed, Oliver was, in fact, in love with her when they were together, was in love with her when they weren't, and is still in love with her now, long after she's gone. It's all but stated that some part of him will always be in love with her, for the rest of his life.
  • Never Got to Say Goodbye: Part of why Oliver is unable to let go of Laurel. While he did get to say "goodbye", he didn't get the chance to say everything that he wanted to say to her before she died: that he loved her, that he wasn't the man she loved, and that she always deserved better than him. He's only able to do so when he meets "Laurel" again in the Dominators' Lotus-Eater Machine.
  • Present Absence: Though she was Killed Off for Real in Season 4, Earth-1 Laurel's impact is still strongly felt throughout this season. The lingering grief/guilt he has over her death is what drives his decision to regress on his Thou Shalt Not Kill stance. It is only after a confrontation with Black Siren, Laurel's Earth-2 counterpart, that he finds the strength to fulfill her dying wish and find her a successor to carry on her legacy.
  • Reality Ensues: A lot of people on the list Oliver killed off were Jerkass Corrupt Corporate Executive characters who were never meant to be sympathized with. However, just like in real life, even those people have their loved ones, be they wives or children, who will want revenge on you for killing their relatives. It was practically inevitable that Oliver would create a Prometheus sooner or later through his actions in the first season because chances are, not every person on the list that Oliver removed would be a lone miser whom nobody would miss.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Although Thea is no longer a part of Team Arrow, she is still her brother's secretary in the mayoral office, and thus still present in every episode in the earlier part of the season...but not so much the later part of the season. This is because Willa Holland is only contracted for 14 out of 23 episodes in the season.
  • Recycled Plot: Prometheus' origins as implied by "What We Leave Behind" - someone who wants revenge against Oliver because he blames him for the death of a loved one, and so begins a campaign of terror against him that involves targeting those closest to him one by one. In other words, [[Slade Wilson from Season 2]].
    • The reveal of Prometheus' identity in "Fighting Fire With Fire" also evokes this - Prometheus is revealed to be Adrian Chase, the District Attorney who's been working closely with Oliver at City Hall and has become friends with him. This is similar to how, in Season 2, Alderman Sebastian Blood also worked with Oliver on initiatives to help Starling City and became friends with him, while secretly being the villainous Brother Blood.
  • Refusal of the Call: Appears to be the case with Thea thus far, following her decision to quit the team at the end of last season. Nonetheless, she does suit up twice - once to save Oliver in the season premiere and once during the Crossover episode in order to help against the Dominator threat.
  • Retcon: This season very subtly does this to Season 1. Once Prometheus' connection to the List from Season 1 is established, it is stated that the List in Season 1 was a 'kill-list', a fact which is accepted by all the characters, including Oliver. However, in the actual Season 1, the List wasn't used by Oliver as a 'kill-list' at all - Oliver's primary goal was to extort his targets to make amends to their victims and/or surrender themselves, failing which he would seek to expose them himself. He's only ever depicted as killing two individuals on the List on-screen, in the heat of combat. Though it should be noted that in Oliver's first meeting with Claybourne, he did give Claybourne a chance to put an end to his dirty dealings just like he did with a lot of Season 1 targets. It's only when Claybourne refuses that Oliver finally goes after him a second time and kills him for good.
  • Revisiting the Roots: After three seasons of increasingly fantastical elements and higher stakes (culminating in a Season Four that culminated in a a literal attempt to destroy the world), this season is heavily invested in returning the show to the gritty crime drama it was in the first season, with Oliver's primary focus once more being saving Star City from the criminal and the corrupt. Moreover, this season has a direct narrative link to Season 1 with the reveal that the Big Bad Prometheus is connected to one of Oliver's targets from the List in Season 1.
    • In addition, there's also the fact that the five-year flashback narrative is reaching its end this season which means that the Oliver in the flashbacks is very close to being the character from Season 1. The List from Season 1 is repeatedly mentioned in the flashbacks and indeed a major sub-plot in the flashbacks is Oliver grappling with the decision of whether or not to return home to Starling City and begin the crusade his father left him. Staring with "Second Chances", Oliver has adopted the identity of 'the Hood' and has begun to operate in Russia in a manner similar to how he will do so in Starling City during Season 1.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The final trailer for Season 5 reveals that that Slade Wilson will come back. The press release reveals he'll be back for the finale.
  • Unexpected Character:
    • It was eventually revealed that the end of season 5 will feature Manu Bennett reprising his role as Slade Wilson, something long thought would never happen again due to Bennett's very public backlash against the show's direction on Twitter.
    • Digger Harkness - aka Captain Boomerang will also be back for the finale. Many assumed that he'd never be back due to Suicide Squad (2016).
  • You Can Never Leave: The Bratva appears to work like this. Oliver has tried to dissociate himself from the organization, but as Anatoly reminds him, vows are for life.
    • Later averted, as Oliver pisses off the Bratva so much that they kick him out for good and send thugs into Star City after he interrupts one of their drug shipments.
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