Oliver's Darkest Secret Has Changed Arrow Forever

The CW

Oliver might have been stranded in the north China sea, but it was in Russia where the Arrow was born. In “Kapushion,” which will go down as one of the darkest episodes of Arrow, Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) is imprisoned and tortured by Adrian Chase (Josh Segarra). Adrian wants Oliver to confess; to what, Ollie doesn’t know. But lengthy flashbacks to Oliver’s last days in the Bratva climax to reveal the dark truth to the Arrow’s killing streak: Oliver liked killing.

The majority of “Kapushion” (an Uzbek word for “hood,” coined by Dolph Lundgren’s Kovar) shows Ollie’s final mission in the Bratva. Kovar has plans to overthrow the Russian government through a weaponized toxic gas, which spurs Ollie, Anatoli (David Nykl), and the rest of the Bratva to action. Sure, they’re protecting the Russian government, but hey, it’s an excuse to get their hands on Kovar’s smug mug.

But that happened five years ago. In the present, Oliver is broken down by Adrian. After revealing that he chose the name Prometheus precisely for its mythological significance, Adrian now wants Ollie to confess to his darkest secret. It’s not that Oliver killed Adrian’s father, nor is it anything everyone already knows. It’s a secret that Oliver is unable to tell even those closest to him, and it’s become the reason that everyone’s lives are pretty much as messed up as they are.

The dark secret that Oliver finally comes to term to is that he enjoys murder. For five years, the Green Arrow has flip-flopped on the idea of murder in the name of justice. His mission began with a list bestowed to him by his father, but oh, Arrow fans learn it was merely an excuse. Not to sound hyperbolic, but this secret recontextualizes pretty much every episode of Arrow, ever.

“You used your father’s memory to justify a killing spree,” Adrian says to him, as if it’s the most unbelievable thing to him. His torture of Oliver is more than just physical pain; Madison McLaughlin returns as Evelyn, who’s been absent from Arrow since the winter finale last December. The two of them trick Oliver by faking Evelyn’s brutal murder in front of him to emotionally destroy him so they could tee him up for the grand confession.

It’s curious how much Oliver really enjoyed killing if he was able to swear it off for Season 2 and for the majority of Season 3. In Season 4, Ollie once again avoided murder until he killed Damien Darhk (who is actually fine, and on Legends of Tomorrow now).

“Kapiushon” is dark, and that’s even by Arrow’s standards. The episode ties Oliver’s maturation into the “Hood” — the earliest incarnation of the Green Arrow — to Oliver’s confession, which proves how serious the producers have been about ensuring Season 5 closes out the five-year chapter of this Green Arrow.

The episode itself gets somewhat meta as an hour of torture for its audience. Sympathetic characters like the mother of Taiana, who learns through Oliver both her children were killed and which Oliver conveniently withholds the truth that he’s guilty, only for them to also die. At some point the body count feels so intolerably high, it’s almost suffocating.

After the confession, Oliver wakes up to find himself unshackled and his jail cell unlocked. Adrian has let him go, but he has broken Oliver Queen so much; Oliver returns to the cave to tell his team that he’s done. He’s finished. The Green Arrow is no more … at least, for now.

Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. EST on The CW.

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