Warning: spoilers for Arrow episode 518 below.
Arrow continued its season five hot streak this week with Disbanded, another fantastic addition to the season’s roster. The episode dealt with the fallout of Oliver’s torture at the hands of Adrian Chase, as well as the search for evidence against the aforementioned villain. On the other hand, the Russian flashbacks slowed down a bit while the focus shifted back to the main Prometheus arc, which continues to pick up steam.
Oliver, released by Prometheus after days of brutal torture, returned to Team Arrow as a broken man. Oliver shuts down the team, but the rest of his partners are not willing to their crusade go. The drastic effects of Oliver’s torture was shown clearly in this episode, as he rejects those close to him and even invites his old friend Anatoly Knyazev back into Star City to kill Adrian in return for allowing the Bratva to steal prescription pills. One of the best scenes in the episode occurred when Diggle confronted Oliver about his actions in an intense, back and forth conversation which included callbacks to earlier in the season and allowed both actors to deliver emotional performances.
On the other hand, Felicity dove deeper and deeper into Helix in order to gain information on Adrian. Her arc may be becoming a bit repetitive, but it is still stronger than anything we have seen for the character in the past few seasons. Some parts of the storyline were a little ridiculous, such as the fact that Curtis and Felicity decided to break into Kord Industries without wearing masks. However, Felicity’s efforts came to fruition as she found incriminating evidence against Adrian, but at what cost to her own morality?
The return of Anatoly, this time in the present day, was also interesting to watch. Not only did it show how far Oliver has come since the Russian flashbacks, but it also allowed us to see how Anatoly himself changed over time. The bond between the two men, which we watched grow strong in Russia, is hanging from a thread as Oliver continuously puts his interests before that of the Bratva, and in the end, Oliver makes himself into Anatoly’s enemy. The final rooftop scene between the two was heart wrenching, as we saw the friendship which began all the way back in season two come to a bitter end.
As for the Russia flashbacks, there was hardly any progression in the storyline. They certainly seem to be slowing down as we draw closer to the end of the season, and I maintain that besides getting Oliver back on Lian Yu, no further storyline is necessary in Russia.
Josh Segarra’s Adrian Chase was not in the episode as much as he has been recently, but his presence was heavily felt elsewhere in both Oliver’s decisions and those of the rest of the team. However, as his identity was ousted once and for all to the public, Adrian’s dangerousness was put on full display as he murdered two government agents with a pen, bleeding profusely out of a shoulder wound as he choked one to death while the chilling Prometheus tune played in the background. The episode ended on a haunting note, as Adrian escaped in a police car, covered in blood, whistling along to A Beautiful Morning.
Overall, the episode delivered on nearly all fronts apart from the flashbacks. The main arc progressed significantly, both with Oliver’s psyche and the Prometheus story as a whole. All actors, including supporting cast, delivered intense and heartfelt performances throughout the episode. The standouts were Stephen Amell as Oliver dealt with revelations about himself, Josh Segarra (again) as he taunted the team throughout the episode, and David Ramsey’s Diggle, who acted as a mental anchor for Oliver and was key in one of the best scenes in the episode.