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Recap / Arrow S 5 E 9 What We Leave Behind

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Prometheus ups his game as he begins to attack Team Arrow members out of costume, and Oliver gets a valuable clue of the true identity of the monster he created.


  • Ambiguous Situation:
    • Whether or not Laurel is really back is unknown, given the existence of instances of Alternate Self and Hallucinations.
    • It's never confirmed whether Prometheus really is Claybourne's son.
  • Anger Born of Worry: The reason Paul wants Curtis to stop playing vigilante is because he is scared for his life.
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  • Asshole Victim: It's really hard to feel too sorry for Justin Claybourne after we find out the full extent of his crimes.
  • Avenging the Villain: Prometheus' motivation. Apparently he was someone close to Justin Claybourne, one of victims of the Hood.
  • Back from the Dead: Laurel Lance, seemingly.
  • Batman Grabs a Gun: Oliver gives the SCPD shoot-to-kill authorization for Prometheus.
  • Big Damn Heroes: For once actually pulled off successfully by Rene - only to be foiled by Evelyn.
  • Breaking Speech: From Prometheus to Oliver:
    "I've studied you, Oliver Queen. I know everything. Who you love. Who you trust. Who you've hurt. Do you know how easy it was to turn Evelyn against you? How easy it will be to turn them all against you? You're not a hero. You're a killer. And I'm going to show them that. I'm going to show them how everything you touch... dies. Four years have I waited, to make you answer for your sins. I told you, Oliver, everything you touch.. dies."
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  • Brutal Honesty: When Felicity clumsily asks if Susan and Oliver want to go on a double date with her and Billy someday, Susan bluntly tells her no.
  • Cassandra Truth: Flashback!Diggle tries to convince Oliver there may be unintended consequences from crossing names off Robert's List. If Prometheus really is Claybourne's son then Ollie really should have heeded Diggle' advice.
  • Character Development: When a tearful, broken Ollie returns to the cave, he doesn't hide from Felicity that he mistakenly killed Billy despite his promise to save him, and Felicity, despite her grieving, immediately tells him it's not his fault. This is in contrast to past seasons where Oliver hid hard truths from others and Felicity blaming Oliver for things out of his control, like his pact to keep his son a secret or working with Malcolm Merlyn.
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  • Chekhov's Gunman: Oliver mentions a woman in Russia that taught him the same flip move Prometheus uses against him.
  • Christmas Episode: For Season 5.
  • Cliffhanger: Two of them:
    • Diggle busts into Lyla's safe house, only to be confronted by a SWAT team.
    • Oliver enters the Arrow Cave, and finds Laurel there, seemingly alive again.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Oliver mentions to Thea being in the fantasy world that the Dominators put them in.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Justin Claybourne was one of the nastiest examples of this trope seen in the series thus far, as he engineered a bioweapon and then sold the cure at a heavily inflated cost.
  • Darkest Hour:
    • Evelyn's treachery is revealed to Team Arrow and none of them are safe since she gave Prometheus extensive intel on them all.
    • Paul leaves Curtis since he can't handle his husband being a vigilante.
    • The military recaptures Diggle at an ARGUS safe house (and Lyla is presumably taken into custody as a well).
    • Billy is accidentally killed by Oliver because he was dressed up as Prometheus, leaving a grieving Felicity.
  • Death Is Cheap: The number of characters to return from apparent death is Lampshaded by Felicity when Prometheus is thought to be a past enemy that Ollie is pretty sure he killed. Turns out to be Foreshadowing, as Prometheus is actually later suggested - but not 100% confirmed - to be Claybourne's son, Avenging the Villain. However, Laurel of all people returns near the end of the episode. Only time will tell if it's actually her, and permament.
  • Doom Magnet: Prometheus' main goal is showing Oliver that everyone around him is doomed. And the man himself starts believing it after accidentally killing Billy.
  • Downer Ending: Between Oliver's Accidental Murder of Det. Malone, Evelyn's betrayal, Diggle being arrested, and Curtis' husband leaving him, the episode certainly ended on a sad note. Laurel's appearance may be considered as a pleasant element, but her suspicious return may not turn out well in the long run.
  • Exact Words: When Felicity asked Billy why he won't leave the Prometheus case to Team Arrow, he specified that he will go after anybody that threatened to kill the ones he cares about (it's also his job as a police detective).
  • False Friend: It's quite jarring watching Evelyn give Christmas presents to her fellow team members when the audience knows full well what she's up to.
  • Foil: If Prometheus is indeed Claybourne's son, then he becomes an even greater one to Oliver, as both of their respective quests were sparked by the deaths of their fathers.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When Oliver visits Susan's apartment and she pours him a drink, one of the bottles is very conspicuously and clearly labeled in Russian.
    • Felicity's Leaning on the Fourth Wall that people come back from the dead every Wednesday foreshadows the Wham Shot at the end of the episode.
  • Forgiveness: Despite the overwhelming sadness that had Oliver in tears, Felicity heartbroken and the rest of the team in shock, Felicity doesn't for a moment blame Oliver for Billy's death and even tells him it wasn't his fault, it was Prometheus to blame.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • Felicity blames herself for Evelyn's betrayal feeling she didn't vet her thoroughly enough before she had her join the team.
    • Oliver hits it hard when he realizes he killed Billy.
    "I was reunited with someone from my past, recently. I knew their father. And they told me that I ruin the lives of everyone that I come into contact with. It doesn't matter who they are. It doesn't matter how much I love them. That life turns to ash."
  • Internal Reveal: Team Arrow finds out that Evelyn has sold them out to Prometheus.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Evelyn believes that the city needs to be "saved" from Oliver by teaming up with Prometheus - a man who has killed scores of innocent people.
  • Invincible Villain: Averted. Unlike previous years with the Dark Archer, Deathstroke, Ra's Al Ghul and Damien Dahrk, Prometheus is not an initially invincible villain. Even his massacring of the police is nothing more than what Oliver could pull off as the Hood. For once Oliver actually gets the upper hand in a fight against the Big Bad. Even Curtis doesn't do all too bad against him.
  • Irony: Rene says he doesn't like rules, or listening. Can you guess what the primary criticisms of him were as this season came out?
  • Kill the Cutie: Poor Billy gets set up to be killed just to twist the knife for Team Arrow some more.
  • Kill the Poor: In accordance to Malcolm Merlyn's goal in Season 1, Justin Claybourne sees "thinning the herd" as the appropriate way to make the city great again.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • Paul asks Curtis how many times he's been injured as Mr. Terrific, and Curtis meekly replies he's lost count, a nod to how Curtis is always the first to go down in a fight.
    • After the DNA analysis shows that it really was Claybourne's ashes, someone asks how often does a person come back from the dead. Felicity replies every Wednesday.
    • Rene says he doesn't like rules or listening, which were two primary criticisms of him (before his capture by Church, for the most part).
    • Oliver mentions that he rewatched It's a Wonderful Life last week. Not only does this reference him going through It's a Wonderful Plot in the previous episode, but It's A Wonderful Life actually did air on NBC the week before this episode.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Much like Slade Wilson before him, Prometheus does not seek to kill Oliver, but to gradually break his spirit by destroying the relationships he has with his friends and family.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Susan Williams opens the episode being a Lady in Red, and closes it with a Lingerie Scene.
  • Misplaced Retribution: Averted with Billy's death. Felicity immediately assures Oliver that she is blaming Prometheus.
  • My Way or the Highway: Paul gives Curtis the choice to either be a vigilante or with him. At the end of the episode, he breaks up with him.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Prometheus' comic origin was an inverse of Batman's, being the son of two criminals who, after witnessing their deaths, was inspired to become a supervillain. Assuming the information given in this episode is true, Prometheus' comic origin is roughly maintained, but altered to reflect Green Arrow's instead.
    • The name of the terrorist organization "AK Desmond Group". From the Arrow wiki:
    The organization's name and their MO of weaponizing chemicals for criminal purposes makes them a likely reference to Albert Desmond, a sometimes friend, sometimes enemy of the Flash, whose personality disorder forced him to operate as either the chemical-creating meta-human criminal Mr. Element, or the essence-changing sorcerer Dr. Alchemy. However, this character was already adapted in the Arrowverse as Julian Albert Desmond, a CSI at CCPD, and an unwitting host for Alchemy. The connection between the two is unlikely, but it's possible that AK Desmond Group is a reference to Mr. Element specifically, who hasn't been portrayed on The Flash so far.
  • Murder by Mistake: Invoked by Prometheus, who deliberately dresses Billy as him so Oliver would kill him.
  • Noodle Incident: The flashbacks showcase one of the Hood's missions from between the time Oliver recruited Diggle, but before he recruited Felicity.TT
  • Not Named in Opening Credits: Katie Cassidy's appearance as Laurel isn't mentioned in the opening credits, to make her ultimate appearance a surprise.
  • Oh, Crap!: During their fight, Oliver recognizes one of Prometheus' moves as one he learned in Russia - meaning he's been learning how to fight in the same places.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Thus far, only Justin Claybourne's name has been seen on the list. The man and the actual hit was shown in this episode.
  • The Reveal: Possibly. Prometheus is implied to be the illegitimate son of Justin Claybourne, a corrupt drugs CEO that the Hood killed in Season One because a) he was gouging drug price and b) he was working on turning tuberculosis into a bioweapon. But Prometheus never actually confirms if he is indeed Claybourne's son, so the mystery of his identity still stands. We also never see his face under the mask, leaving open the possibility that he's still a character that we've met before.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: Claybourne, a Pharma executive whose plan involves price-gouging prescription drugs, bears clear similarities to Martin Shkreli.
  • Shoot the Bullet: Prometheus is able to save himself from one of Oliver's arrow, by splitting it in half with a shuriken.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Thea and Oliver's viewpoints collide on whether Oliver leaves more things for their parents to be proud or ashamed of behind.
  • Take That!: Justin Claybourne heavily inflates the price of a drug that people need to survive, evoking memories of the recent news story of Martin Shkreli. Although, Claybourne's plan is ultimately revealed to be much, much worse.
  • Tempting Fate: In the flashback to Season 1, Felicity says she doesn't believe in magic. Little does she know that in about three years...
  • The Un Reveal: How did Prometheus learn about the List and where did he get his training at? We don't know (yet).
    • For that matter, Prometheus' face and true identity. While the episode strongly implies that he's the son of Justin Claybourne, it's never 100% confirmed, and thus still possibly a Red Herring.
  • Title Drop: Done courtesy of Thea.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Team Arrow goes through hell during this episode and only come out the other end in a much worse situation...however, Laurel has seemingly returned from the dead!
  • Tranquil Fury: Oliver is furious when he finds out that Evelyn has turned traitor but he manages to keep his cool.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: After Evelyn's treachery is revealed, she vanishes for the remainder of the episode.
  • Wham Shot:
    • The episode ends with Oliver meeting Laurel Lance in the Arrow Cave!
    • To a lesser extent, moments before this we see John entering his apartment after a distress phone call from his wife... only to get recaptured by the government.
    • Oliver successfully kills Prometheus with an arrow through the chest...only to see his sword taped into his hand and a speaker on his chest.
  • You Killed My Father: Prometheus' main motivation for his war against Green Arrow. Possibly.
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