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Recap / Arrow S 5 E 17 Kapiushon

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Prometheus tortures Oliver in an effort to finally break him. Meanwhile back in Russia, the Bratva makes their plans to take down Kovar once and for all as Oliver takes his first step into becoming the Vigilante.

  • Almost Dead Guy: Ishmael Gregor, who survives his wounds long enough to spite Oliver and Anatoly one last time.
  • Arc Welding: Malcolm's deal with Kovar ties Oliver's five years in hell all the way back to the Unidac Industries (and the Undertaking) in Season One.
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  • Artistic License – Biology: Those small masks that covered the mouth and nose would have offered essentially no protection against sarin because it's also lethal through contact.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Konstantin Kovar once again proves that he is not only a Governor, but a supreme fighter too.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Prometheus succeeds at breaking Oliver and forcing him to give up on being a superhero. The end.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Adrian wears a nice suit throughout the entire episode, even as he's holding Oliver in a prison cell and torturing him both physically and psychologically.
  • Became Their Own Antithesis: Anatoly remarks on how similar Oliver has become to Slade Wilson or Anthony Ivo, the villains they opposed on Lian Yu.
  • Book-Ends: This episode serves as one for Oliver's Bratva tattoo, one of the most iconic images on the show - in the present-day, Chase burns it off Oliver, while in the flashbacks we finally see Oliver receiving it when Anatoly makes him a Bratva captain.
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  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Malcolm Merlyn and Kovar are working together. Malcolm supplied Kovar with poison gas in exchange for something to help him with the Undertaking.
  • Bottle Episode: With the exception of the final scene in the Bunker, the present-day scenes all take place in Adrian's prison and feature only Oliver and Adrian as its main characters, with Evelyn joining for a bit later on. Though obviously averted entirely in the flashbacks.
  • Break the Badass: Chase's goal throughout the episode is to break down Oliver's preconceived conceptions of why he became a vigilante in the first place and drive him to despair. By the end of the episode he succeeds.
  • Break Them by Talking: Chase does this in conduction to torture in order to break Oliver. It works.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • Malcolm returns after quite some time, though he only appears in the flashbacks.
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    • Evelyn comes back having not been seen since Christmas.
    • Kovar comes back having not been since "Vigilante", which first aired over four months before this episode.
  • Call-Forward: Kovar is apparently killed by Oliver, but is brought back by Merlyn after seemingly Faking the Dead. Merlyn later pulls the same gambit on himself following the end of season 1.
  • Character Death: In the flashbacks, Gregor finally succumbs to his wounds from the previous episode, and Galina (the mother of Taiana and Vlad) is murdered by Kovar.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Prometheus put Oliver through Hell.
    • Oliver engages in his own on one of Kovar's mooks. Arguably Oliver's is the most evil of the two because Prometheus stopped when he had what he wanted (aside from burning the tattoo). Oliver found out what he wanted early and then tortured the man to death for practice.
  • The Coup: Kovar attempts to stage one by using sarin gas to kill off Russia's entire political and military leadership, and then step into the void.
  • Cruel Mercy: Adrian doesn't kill Oliver after getting what he wants, because now he will always remember him breaking him.
  • Dark Secret: The whole point of Prometheus' torture is to get Oliver to confess his dark secret, something he's never told anyone not Diggle, not Felicity, not even Thea. One that he wouldn't admit to himself. What it is? That Oliver likes killing.
  • Darker and Edgier: Even by Arrow standards this is probably one of the darkest if not the darkest episode yet.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Malcolm Merlyn meets Anatoly, and the latter lets the snark out.
    Malcolm: (introducing himself) Malcolm Merlyn, CEO of Merlyn Global Group.
    Anatoly: Anatoly Knyasev, gangster.
  • Despair Event Horizon: At the end of the episode, Prometheus has achieved something that neither Slade Wilson, nor Damien Darhk, nor anybody else was successful in: completely breaking Oliver Queen.
  • Downer Ending: Oliver doesn't escape from Prometheus, he gets broken to the point he no longer wishes to be the Green Arrow. In the past, Oliver can't arrive in time to save Taiana's mother, and in the end, Kovar isn't stopped after all.
  • Dramatic Irony: Malcolm muses that he's glad he's not Kovar, unaware that the man who nearly killed him will later become his most hated enemy.
  • Due to the Dead: Despite having tried to kill them, Anatoly and Viktor give Gregor a proper funeral in Bratva tradition.
  • Easily Forgiven: Oliver forgives Evelyn for betraying him after seeing how she's become just another one of Prometheus's pointless victims. He changes his tune, when he finds out it's all an act.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Viktor, who went to great lengths protecting Oliver and Anatoly beforehand, sells them out to Kovar.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: When Oliver justifies his kills with them having been horrible people with victims of their own, Adrian counters that they also had family.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Anatoly is a Russian mobster, but even he's disgusted by Oliver's brutality throughout the flashbacks, including the way he tortures a man to death just "for practice".
  • Failed a Spot Check: Kovar somehow fails to recognize Oliver until his hood falls back, despite Oliver's face being on full display the whole time prior. Like the rest of the series, it's implied that Hollywood Darkness is in effect.
  • Faking the Dead: Evelyn pretends that Adrian killed her so Oliver would have a mental breakdown.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Konstantin Kovar puts up a gentle facade at the party, right before he tries to gas everyone.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Since Oliver is completely unaware of Malcolm Merlyn's villainy until late in present-day season 1, they are unlikely to encounter each other in the flashbacks or even learn about each other's presence in Russia.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Oliver reveals that he enjoys killing, making him not so different from Prometheus.
  • Heel Realization: Oliver when he realizes he's never been a hero, since he likes to kill people.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: Malcolm Merlyn, the Big Bad of season 1, turns out to be working with Kovar.
  • Hypocrite: Adrian makes a big deal that all of the Hood's victims had loved ones, Oliver is quick to point that that same applies to all the people Prometheus has killed.
  • I Gave My Word: Adrian really lets Oliver go after he gets his confession.
  • Ineffectual Death Threats: When Oliver threatens Adrian after a threat to his loved ones, Adrian just coldly replies that Oliver will do nothing because he is in his custody.
  • Irony: It was Talia Al-Ghul that taught and outright ''encouraged'' Arrow to let the monster out in the past, which ultimately leads to Prometheus' vendetta.
  • Ironic Echo: Oliver once again uses his becoming something else line during the flashbacks... right after he finished excessively torturing a prisoner to death for practice.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: After physically and psychologically breaking Oliver down Chase decided to burn off Oliver's Bratva tattoo, a mark of pride and victory, in order to constantly remind Oliver of his failure.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Evelyn pretends that she's just another one of Prometheus' victims and regrets that she teamed up with him. However, it turns out that it was all an act and she even smirks sadistically at how Oliver was emotionally devastated by her fake death.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Oliver's actions in Russia go beyond vigilantism and outright villainy to the point that even Anatoly is disgusted.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Evelyn, who plays being a victim of Adrian too just to help break him.
  • Metaphorically True: When Taiana's mother asks Oliver who killed her children, he just responds that it was a monster.
  • Mind Rape: Prometheus does this non-stop to Oliver in order to make him confess his secret.
  • Morality Chain: Anatoly appears to act as this to Oliver in the past, completely pointing out the ridiculousness of what Talia has taught Oliver and telling him that it's leading him down a very dark path, one quite similar to the bad guys they fought on Lian Yu.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Evelyn regrets betraying Oliver as she's learned the hard way that Prometheus is a monster. Subverted when it reveals she's just acting like it to break Oliver.
  • Never My Fault: During the flashbacks, Anatoly repeatedly calls Oliver out on his bullshit of projecting every bad thing he did on the ''monster' inside of him, always coming out when he puts on his hood.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: In Oliver's quest to avenge Taiana, he ultimately gets her mother killed, echoing Adrian's words in the present that everyone he associates with dies.
  • Not So Different: It's subtly implied that Adrian shares Oliver's character flaw - he likes killing too and his father's death is also an excuse.
  • One Degree of Separation: It is revealed that Kovar worked together with Malcolm Merlyn.
  • Only Mostly Dead: Kovar is still alive... barely.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Many of Oliver's troubles in Season One (and subsequently) could theoretically been reduced had Anatoly happened to mention the name of the American businessman who had been meeting with Kovar and obviously conspiring with him.
  • Prolonged Prologue: The title card doesn't show up until the first act is complete, twelve minutes into the show.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Oliver avenges Taiana but her mother is killed in the process, rendering the whole thing pointless.
  • The Reveal:
    • We finally learn Count Vertigo I's real name - Cecil Adams.
    • Where has Evelyn been all this time? She went from being Prometheus' ally to his prisoner, abused and tortured. Why? Just because she was however temporary Oliver's ally. Except not, it's all an act to break Oliver.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves:
    • Viktor sells out the Bratva to Kovar out of envy that Anatoly took over from Gregor instead of him. Kovar subsequently leaves him to die in the sarin gas attack (which he does).
    • This is subverted by Evelyn who pretends to have been killed by Chase after betraying Oliver only for it to be revealed as another form of psychological torture.
  • Sadist: Oliver finally admits being one.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: Adrian tells Oliver he named himself Prometheus because Prometheus rebelled against the gods for playing judge, jury, and executioner (just like Oliver) and stole their power. Except not really: Prometheus, among other things, took some of the gods' sacred fire, but did everything to help humanity. And arguably Prometheus' most notable deed is creating humanity.
  • Saved by Canon: Anatoly once again, this time surviving being gassed no less.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Oliver's promise to save Taiana's mother is rendered entirely pointless in the end because she's killed thanks to him.
  • Shown Their Work: The gas canisters are marked with the actual chemical composition of sarin.
  • Torture Always Works: Despite Anatoly pointing out that too much pain will never get Oliver the right information, it is shown that it does. Played with in the present, where the physical torture doesn't get Adrian the answer he wants, but the psychological torture does.
  • Torture Is Ineffective: Oliver's torture at Adrian's hands doesn't elicit any information that Adrian doesn't already know, and Oliver by the end is clearly in a state where he'll say anything to get it to stop. Adrian has to tell Oliver to say what he wants him to say; it's just that what he gets Oliver to say happens to be true.
  • True Companions: When Anatoly gives Oliver the opportunity to just leave, effectively giving his life so his friend can return home safely, Oliver declines, as they are brothers, and everything happening to Anatoly is also happening to him.
  • Unexpected Character: Malcolm appears in the flashbacks making a deal with Kovar with zero hints he'd appear at all this season apart from the 100th episode anniversary (though John Barrowman had made a big deal about his new contract to appear on any Arrowverse show whenever they wanted).
  • Villains Never Lie: Adrian stays true to his word and releases Oliver after Oliver "confesses his secret", though not before burning off his Bratva tattoo.
  • Weapon of Mass Destruction: Kovar makes use of sarin, which is classified as a WMD.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Taiana's mother doesn't get more than 3 scenes before she gets killed by Kovar.
  • You Are Too Late: The gas attack is already happening when Oliver catches up with Kovar, though it seems like most people got out in time.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness:
    • Done by Oliver no less. After Kovar's man gives him his information, Oliver doesn't let him go and instead tortures him to death for practice.
    • Done by Kovar in regards to Viktor.
  • You Monster!: Anatoly calls Oliver a monster at one point, being horrified at how far his friend has fallen. Oliver even admits as much.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: Kovar is seemingly killed in the flashbacks, finally avenging Taiana... except that unbeknownst to Oliver and the rest of the Bratva, he's Not Quite Dead, thanks to his "partner".

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