Warning: This recap for the “What We Leave Behind” episode of Arrow contains spoilers.
With the alien threat all but forgotten, we return to Prometheus, whose intricate plans for vengeance continue to unfold. First he takes Evelyn, then he takes Billy. Then he… gives back Laurel? Ending with the cliffhanger of a possibly-revived Laurel Lance is a solid end to the first chunk of Season 5.
Prometheus attacks Curtis after a Christmas party, sending him to the hospital. They discover a drug in his system tied to a former target of Oliver’s: pharmaceutical CEO Justin Claybourne (Garwin Sanford), who released a strain of tuberculosis and jacked up the price of the drug that would cure it. Oliver killed him for it, and they suspect his son may be Prometheus. When the team confronts him, Evelyn reveals that she betrayed them, and the villains escape. Felicity’s boyfriend, Billy, is captured while tracking Prometheus, and when Oliver finds Prometheus again, he mistakenly kills Billy. Diggle is lured out of hiding and captured. And, after spending time in the arms of Susan (Carly Pope), Oliver returns to the Arrow Bunker to see Laurel Lance very much alive.
Laurel’s back? Must be a Wednesday.
Before you ask: There’s a clip from the next episode on the CW app that makes it clear that Laurel is actually back and that her appearance wasn’t a hallucination. Which is fantastic if you’re Katie Cassidy’s accountant, but kind of terrible for the purposes of storytelling on Arrow. Her death was a huge blow last season, but it was only a huge blow because the producers swore she wasn’t coming back.
Is the tradeoff of having Laurel back — and make no mistake, she’s great and it would be wonderful to see her again on a weekly basis — worth making death completely meaningless on the show? Comic books are ridiculed, and rightly so, for bringing people back from the dead willy-nilly. Up until now, Arrow hasn’t overplayed its back-from-the-dead card. Has it finally happened? Or do the writers have something more devious in mind?
Condolences to fans of the Billy Malone-Felicity Smoak romance: Their love was too pure for this mortal realm. Not that anybody should be surprised. Remember that DJ Thea was dating last year? Or that reporter that Oliver’s dating right now? They’re placeholders to be chucked out by the end of the season. Call them Egg, after George Michael’s forgettable girlfriend in Arrested Development.
Jokes aside though, there will be repercussions for his death. The police will be after him for killing an officer. Felicity says she knows it’s Prometheus’s fault, but there’s no way she doesn’t blame Oliver at least a little bit, and she should. Real life tip: If an ex kills your current squeeze, go ahead and blame them.
One positive development might be that Oliver finally gives up killing for good. The Prometheus story is being driven by at least two deaths that are unequivocally his fault. Since killing Damien Darhk at the end of last season, he has been pretty indiscriminate with the people he’s killed and — even taking into account the good he’s doing — that’s unsustainable. Eventually, the collateral damage catches up with you.
Vigilantism is not a married man’s game, so it’s really nice to get a look at things from a perspective we rarely see on Arrow. Paul isn’t a well-developed character, so he comes off as a bit of a shrill, one-note nag — but there’s no question he’s in the right. Curtis lied; he put Paul in the position of seeing his spouse come home late and injured every night, helpless to do anything about it; and — most hurtfully — he’s happier because of it. If Curtis were cheating on him and all of that were true, wouldn’t you leave?
Quiverful of thoughts
*That was a strange, lingering shot over the vodka Susan pours for Oliver, right? We know she’s setting him up for something. Originally, it looked like it would just be for her TV ratings, but what if she was sent by Kovar or the Bratva? #Quilliams
*So that’s probably what the flashbacks will look like next season? Lost tales of The Hood?
*We get it, Rene: You don’t like following rules. Sheesh. He said it so many times this episode, it felt like one of those old G.I. Joe PSAs where the dumb kid ignores the signs, and Shipwreck has to pull him out of a ditch.
*Line of the night: “In our town, people who are dead turn out to be secretly alive almost every Wednesday.” Are un-funerals a thing in Star City? Because it’d be almost as big a business as leg doctors.
Arrow returns to the CW with new episodes on Jan. 18 at 8 p.m.