When Arrow goes dark, it does so in the most scarring of ways. This week’s episode “Kapiushon” (the Russian equivalent for Hood) takes us deep into the psyche of our leading man with surprising results.
We pick up right where we left off last week, with Adrian finding various ways to torture the captured Oliver. The only way Oliver can stop this ordeal is to confess. But what he is meant to confess remains a question.
What starts as physical torture slowly morphs into emotional torture. Adrian pulls out Felicity’s glasses and a picture of his son William to once again prove to Oliver that he is one step ahead, and if he wanted to hurt the people he loves, Adrian easily could.
He then proceeds to bring in a roughed up Evelyn, whose betrayal of her former team is not yet forgotten. Adrian tells Oliver to kill her, or he will do it himself. Evelyn tells him that the only reason she will die is because she was a part of Oliver’s life. Adrian makes good on his promise and pretends to snap Evelyn’s neck.
This act of terror in combination of Adrian’s other techniques eventually gets Oliver to break. He confesses that he didn’t kill the people on his father’s list because he felt the obligation to, but he wanted to, and he enjoyed killing them.
Adrian takes it even one step further. He burns and scars Oliver’s Bratva tattoo, citing that he must have done something extraordinary to deserve to be a Captain in the Bratva. Now Adrian wants it to remind Oliver of his sins.
It is only after that ordeal that Oliver is set free and he returns to the foundry, utterly beaten and defeated. He tells John and Felicity that he doesn’t want to be the Green Arrow anymore and that their mission together is over for good.
Oliver’s current mental state is reflected, even paralleled, in this week’s flashbacks to his time with the Bratva five years ago. He and Anatoli have finally taken down the Pakhan, and are now going after Konstantin Kovar. With the death of Gregor, a new leader is quickly found in Anatoli.
Anatoli seeks out Kovar to tells him about the recent development, who has just finished up a meeting with none other than Arrow’s very own trouble maker Malcolm Merlyn. What is all that about?
Instead of telling Kovar the truth about Gregor’s death, Anatoli claims he was killed by someone called Kapiushon, a man in a hood with a bow and arrow. Kovar reveals that he doesn’t fear the unknown player and that he plans to take over the Russian government.
Oliver and Anatoli find out that Kovar has access to a fatal nerve gas, that could kill thousands of people within a second. Oliver, now donning his green leathers and hood takes to one of Kovar’s men to find out more information, and he ruthlessly tortures him, using a particular skinning technique. It’s exactly as disgusting and cruel as it sounds.
Anatoli confronts Oliver about the monster he has become, and Oliver blames it on the hood, that the moment he wears it, he lets the darkness inside. The Oliver of the past has fully embraced his new identity, his “something else”.
Oliver and the Bratva infiltrate the party at which Kovar planned to kill a large number of government officials using the nerve gas, and are ultimately successful. Throughout the mission Oliver recklessly kills everyone in his way until he comes face to face with Kovar. He takes him down and Anatoli promises he will face justice for his actions, but Oliver decides to take matters into his own hands and kills him. A vigilante is born.
This act of killing Kovar is what earns him his title as Bratva captain.
But as we learn by the episode, Malcolm Merlyn came to Kovar’s rescue, and the man survived. Somehow we have a feeling we will be seeing Konstantin Kovar in present day Star City sometime soon.
Just when you think that Arrow has reached its capacity of batshit-crazy, they pull out an episode like this. Although this episode was shocking, and twisted and dark, it was easily one of the show’s best episodes this season, if not, to date. It was most certainly one of the most profound episodes for Oliver, as we get a deeper insight into his mind and what made him want to be this vigilante we met in season one.
Oliver’s desire to kill, his wish to cross names off his father’s list in the first season becomes so much clearer as it is revealed that he does not so out of obligation, but out of passion. It makes it easier to understand the Oliver we met in season one. However, it is cruel of Adrian to assume the man who killed his father once upon a time is the same man Oliver is now.
Oliver’s changed immensely throughout the last five seasons, and one crucial element of that is his team. John and Felicity, both in their own very unique ways have made Oliver a better person. He has given them the opportunity to help their city, but in return they have given him the chance to redeem himself. They guide him and they make him want to be better, which is evident in his reluctance to admit that he liked killing people when he started this crusade. The Oliver we got to know and learn to love in season one, I firmly believe, is a far cry from the man we see in 2017.
Is this really the end of the Green Arrow?
Does this mean that Adrian won?
Can John and Felicity keep the team together without Oliver?
Do they even want to?
Malcolm: “Malcolm Merlyn, CEO Merlyn Global Group.”
Anatoli: “Anatoli Knyazev, Gangster.”
Adrian: “Confess, Oliver. You don’t kill because you have to, so why? Why do it?”
Oliver: “Because I wanted to! I wanted to! And I liked it!”
Catch Arrow Wednesday’s at 8/7/ ct on The CW.
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