Everyone watching Arrow needs a damn drink.
“Vigilante” is essentially a greatest hits of previous Arrow Season 5 conflicts:
- Serial killing possibly isn’t the best way to be a hero.
- Quentin (Paul Blackthorne) again points out that he isn’t off the wagon because he was never “on the wagon.”
- Diggle (David Ramsey) is on edge because he’s a fugitive and now an absent father.
- Rene (Rick Gonzalez) doesn’t understand that calling Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) “blondie” isn’t cute, especially after she’s already told him to call her by her name.
- Susan Williams (Carly Pope) is the only consummate professional in the bunch.
- Star City is a haven for serial killers.
So there’s not much new ground to cover.
But now there’s also a new, mass-killing, collateral damage-collecting vigilante in town called — you guessed it — Vigilante. And this week’s cliffhanger reveals that Evelyn (Madison McLaughlin) is supposedly working with Prometheus. This easily explains why Prometheus was such a dud in his fight against her during last week’s otherwise awesome train sequence; unless we’re actually supposed to buy that this 17-year-old B-Teamer, as tough as she is, could stand toe-to-toe with such an intimidating foe suddenly.
The cliffhanger kind of crumbles once you poke it a bit though. Evelyn is working with Prometheus? Alright. But she can’t have been working with him for very long, since that would mean Prometheus would have already known Oliver is the Green Arrow — before Tobias Church told him — and would have used that info to harass Quentin Lance much earlier than last episode. You see, Vigilante comes to the conclusion that Prometheus only went to the trouble of making Quentin look guilty (even just for a moment) simply as a message that he knows Oliver and the Green Arrow are one and the same. So if Evelyn and Prometheus have been working together the whole time, Prometheus would have taken advantage of that knowledge much sooner. Plus, Prometheus clearly has extensive knowledge about the Hood/Arrow/Green Arrow, since his throwing stars are made out of past arrows. Prometheus has long known about the vigilante’s past serial killer ways; Evelyn, on the other hand, just learned about that last week with the rest of the team. So it’s most likely that she joined forces with him after that revelation, as she did seem to forgive Oliver pretty quickly for his past.
The most likely scenario? Given everything we know about Evelyn and B-Team Arrow members in general, she probably decided to go on an undercover mission of her own, simply to prove she’s not a kid or to live up to Black Canary’s legacy or some other lame excuse. (Keep in mind, B-Team Arrow attempts to defend Vigilante for a hot minute despite giving Oliver so much grief last week for his past “judge, jury, and executioner” approach to vigilantism. They’re all over the place.) Honestly though, despite the mystery of Prometheus’s identity remaining alive, everything else surrounding it right now feels like knowing how a magician does their trick: The illusion just isn’t there.
The lack of illusion is a feeling that also exists when comes to Vigilante, the new, Punisher-esque morally ambiguous crime-fighter in town. Or maybe it’s just inconsistency. The major reason for that is the simple fact that, in the comics, Vigilante is Adrian Chase … who Arrow has already introduced as the new District Attorney (Josh Segarra). Since Chase’s introduction, fans have anticipated that he would become Vigilante; after all, there’s been plenty moments in the show of not so by-the-books behavior and flashing red arrows all pointing towards his eventual transformation. Plus, Segarra has done interviews about the fact that he is in fact, playing Vigilante. But by the end of Vigilante’s introduction in this episode, there’s one moment that makes Chase’s transformation suddenly seem too soon:
“You’re not getting the job done, because you don’t take it seriously enough. Maybe because you havent lost anyone. You don’t have a full understanding of what’s out there.”
The Adrian Chase we’ve seen so far this season has overall seemed pretty well adjusted, and until recently, he was essentially anti-vigilante. If this Vigilante really is him (and the episode again plays with and winks at the audience over the idea that he definitely is), what loss has he had all of a sudden? And how has it made his newfound acceptance of vigilantes turn into full-blown homicidal tendencies and acceptance of collateral damage?
Obviously, the point of having a secret identity is to make it so no one would even think to connect the two — that’s another one of the many stresses of the costumed vigilante game — but if the Vigilante introduced in this episode and Chase are currently the same person, this all comes across more as inconsistent writing for eventual “shock” value than anything else. The same would go for Evelyn/Prometheus if that ends up being a legitimate partnership too, because if we’re calling out vigilantes as serial killers all of a sudden this season, then that means aligning with them or choosing that path for yourself should be a no-go.
So, piercing through the illusion once more, what are the chances Vigilante ends up being someone else at first, but Chase takes up the cause, but in the “right” way? Keep in mind (especially for that cliffhanger part) that the prevalent topic of this week’s flashbacks is the simple concept that “truth is a matter of perspective.” That can apply to Vigilante’s truth about how the city should be saved, but really, it should be applied to the truth about either one of these plots. It doesn’t really apply to the mass murder, since both Evelyn and Chase have seemingly made their thoughts on those matters pretty clear. Hopefully, Vigilante can be redeemed, which, if we’re being honest, should really just mean “avoid killing innocent people.”
At least this episode gets infinite points for having Quentin immediately acknowledge there’s no way his blackout drunk self could be Prometheus. Not even for a second. Good luck in rehab, smitty!