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Arrow – S5E9 – What We Leave Behind

Previously on Arrow, “Invasion!” 

The midseason finale saw Oliver and Co’s holiday festivities being interrupted by Prometheus, who, with the help of Evelyn, put Curtis in the hospital and orchestrated the death of Benny Barry Bobby Felicity’s generic boyfriend. Also, Laurel is alive. Maybe.

Images: The CW

Images: The CW

The Good

It can be pretty tedious watching superheroes constantly breaking up with their significant others over their secret identities, so it was a pleasant surprise that Curtis and Paul’s breakup was so well handled. As sad as I am to see them split up, they managed to avoid making Paul look like the bad guy, as so often happens when the civilian gives their superhero partner an ultimatum. It probably helps that Paul was more interesting in one episode than all of the other guest characters this season combined. Hopefully in the coming episodes Curtis’ feelings will get the same exploration that straight characters always get after a breakup.

The Bad

Evelyn’s betrayal would have hurt a lot more if they had spent any time at all developing her character, especially with how thin her motivations are under any scrutiny (she’s disillusioned with Oliver having killed a lot of people five years ago, despite knowing that he killed people currently and having killed people herself?)

Even if you accept that she wants to kill Oliver (and really, who could spend long periods with that guy WITHOUT wanting to kill him?), the fact that she is willing to sacrifice the rest of her teammates with no explanation is lazy storytelling.


Billy is such a nothing character that they needed to add a flashback to earlier in the episode to make sure we would recognize his face after his murder. Oliver dealing with the guilt of accidentally killing him would have been much more powerful if we had been given any sense of Billy as a character apart from just how he relates to Felicity. It’s hard to care about his death when there was never any effort to flesh him out at all. Even his death was completely about Oliver, with everyone spending more time trying to convince Oliver that it wasn’t his fault than caring about Billy dying. Felicity just lost her boyfriend, but by all means, give Oliver the group hug.

Oliver sure has murdered a lot of security guards for one of the ‘good guys’.

Quote of the Week

“Well in our town people who are dead turn out to be secretly alive almost every Wednesday”

Arrow S5E9
  • 8/10
    Plot - 8/10
  • 7/10
    Dialogue - 7/10
  • 6/10
    Performances - 6/10


Prometheus’ gambit was actually an interesting piece of plotting, but was let down by a season of lazy characterization. It would be interesting to see this episode in the alternate universe where Billy matters.

User Review
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About Alison Millward (103 Articles)
Alison is a big nerd living in Melbourne, Australia. She is a lover of all things television, particularly anything in the "hot young people in depressing sci-fi situations" genre. When not watching tv, Alison enjoys long walks on the beach, corrupting young minds, and actively avoiding thinking about her future.
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