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“Fighting Fire with Fire” shows that Arrow has come a long way from the many missteps of the previous two seasons. This episode’s pacing, character development, story progression, and overall tone shows that the Arrow crew is absolutely capable of creating quality dramatic storytelling. We also got the season’s biggest reveal, so if it wasn’t clear enough already, this review will be filled with spoilers!
Setting the tone of each episode has been one of the greatest strengths of Season 5 and this particular episode was a prime example. This week we dealt with a plot that not only held a lot of dramatic tension, but also had a lot of meaning to the story at hand. Not only that, but the stakes were actually high for once. What we got was an episode that took itself seriously, whether it was the impeachment process and the truly tough obstacles the team was facing, or the very prevalent threat of Prometheus. Oliver almost getting impeached had quite the emotional impact and it was great to see the mayor side of his life take an important role in the show. In fact, the Green Arrow didn’t even make an appearance, but it does make sense given the current situation.
Fifteen episodes in and we finally got to see the true identity of Prometheus. Adrian Chase is the serial killer tormenting both the city and Oliver himself, and the twist was nicely done and, more importantly, unexpected. You have to be careful when surprising the audience this way. Since Vigilante and Adrian Chase were introduced, fans were very quick to assume that the two were one in the same. Who can blame them? It’s exactly what happens in the comics, so you can imagine the surprise when Prometheus took down Vigilante and revealed himself to be Adrian. This kind of misdirection can feel very unfair if handled incorrectly, but I found the reveal to be earned and in-line with what the show has told us.
The Felicity storyline continued to gain traction and was another highlight of the episode. It’s no secret that the way this character has been handled in the past two seasons has been confusing to say the least, so it’s very refreshing to finally see something interesting happen with Felicity. Felicity’s current arc started when Billy was murdered in the mid-season finale and transitioned to her hooking up with the powerful hacktivist organization known as Helix. Seeing her constantly rely on this dangerous tool, to the constant dismay of her teammates, shows great preparation and foreshadowing to what could turn out to be a really interesting series of story beats.
Everything happening with her character also set up a nice parallel between Felicity and Thea. Both tapped into their darker sides to accomplish the good that they were seeking, with Thea going a bit deeper with her plan to blackmail the councilman. While both were similar in approach, they ultimately dealt with their situations in very different ways. Thea decided she needs another break, not unlike what she did when she left Team Arrow, while Felicity reaffirmed what she had been doing and took it another step further. I was fairly sure that Diggle’s talk with Felicity was going to sway her to stop, so I was pleasantly surprised to see her dive even deeper into Helix by the end of the episode. Needless to say, there is a lot of potential here!
One way the episode did falter a bit was with the inclusion of the flashbacks. While that journey through the past did continue to move along, it did feel out of sync with everything else that was going on in the present. Arrow loves to make the flashbacks relevant to the present-day plot, but this week it felt like we were moving characters from point A to point B so that they’re ready for the next episode.
With the big reveal behind us and eight more episodes left, the rest of the season looks to be packed with the fallout of the events of “Fighting Fire with Fire.” We got some questions answered, including the biggest one of the season, but we’re also left with a new set of questions that make me excited for what’s to come. A very solid episode that shows that Arrow can still create quality entertainment this far into the game.