Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Arrow Episode Guide: Season 5, Episode 15 - Fighting Fire With Fire

For a summary of the episode guide layout & categories, click here.




Plot

Oliver faces impeachment as the cover-up of Green Arrow accidentally killing a cop is exposed to the public  He also faces a new threat, as The Vigilante plans to act as judge, jury and executioner to the "corrupt" mayor. As Spartan leads the rest of Team Arrow to deal with Vigilante, Felicity digs deeper into The Dark Web and the Pandora Cache.

Five years earlier, Anatoly calls a meeting of Bratva captains to call Gregor to account - an action that will either see Gregor lose his position... or Oliver and Anatoly dead!


Influences

The Green Arrow comics of Judd Winick (Oliver balance his position as mayor and being a superhero with limited success.)


Goofs

The wire-work in which Thea is sent flying by Vigilante is a little over-the-top.

Not that it matters given the fake-out, but we never do find out who Vigilante is or if he even survived the second exploding T-Sphere.


Performances

Perhaps Echo Kellum's finest turn to date as Curtis Holt. Granting that the show had to take its time in building up his ability to create Mister Terrific's signature weapon from the comics, the pay-off here made it worth the wait. And his final scene is heartbreaking.


Artistry

The entire sequence with Thea and Dinah fighting Vigilante works well.

The brick joke regarding the protocols for testing for a concussion was unexpected and damn funny as a result.

The final fight between Spartan, Wild Dog and Mister Terrific against Vigilante was well-blocked and well-directed.


Trivia

The "balls" Curtis is seen working on in the early part of the episode are a clear prototype of The T-Sphere. Indeed, he calls them by this name in the middle of the episode.

In the comics, The T-Sphere is Mister Terrific's weapon of choice as well as a useful field tool.  The T-Spheres are capable of self-levitation and releasing controlled explosions and laser blasts. They can form a laser grid between themselves. They can also act as a recording device (video and audio) and a holographic projector. They are Wi-Fi capable and can be used to tap into computers and other electronic data storage devices.

In the episode, we see the T-Spheres being used as a tracking device and an explosive. They are able to levitate under their own power.

Felicity says that everything she knows about politics she got from Keeping It 1600.  This is a popular news podcast hosted by four former aides to President Barack Obama.


Technobabble

The Star City city council has broad powers to conduct impeachment proceedings as they see fit. They call their own witnesses, enter their own evidence and then vote.  The mayor is not allowed to defend themselves directly as it isn't a criminal trial but a lawyer can act on their behalf.

Curtis builds two autonomous mini-drones, which he dubs T-Spheres. One has offensive capabilities. The other has defensive capabilities. He had the idea for them after having a realization regarding quantum computation.

Vigilante makes use of some sort of bola-like thrown device to disable Dinah and bind her feet.

"Spross Dopross" is Russian for "Demand An Exam". It is a phrase used by the Bratva to call a meeting of captains to review the questionable behavior of a leader.

Felicity determines that Vigilante changes artillery suppliers every week. This prevents him from being traced by using a single source of ammunition.

When Dinah's Canary Cry hit Vigilante, it broke off a piece of his visor. She finds it later and realizes it is lined with some kind of circuitry.

Curtis thinks he can use his T-spheres to analyze the visor piece and track technology to the individual user. He is later able to make the magnetic resonance frequencies in Vigilante's tech communicate with his T-spheres. This allows him to use the T-spheres as a tracking device.

Vigilante also uses knock-out darts to disable a security guard.


Dialogue Triumphs

(Curtis explains his new drones to Rene.)
Rene: So what? You can't handle yourself in the field - you got to give yourself a pair of balls?
(There is a pause as Curtis just glares at Rene.)
Rene: That was... that was too harsh, wasn't it?

(Felicity mutes the latest Bethany Snow Channel 52 news report about Ollie being impeached.)
Felicity: That woman never reports good news.

Vigilante: My target's the mayor and his corruption! He surrenders, I'll let the rest of you live.
(POV shot through Vigilante's infared visor. We see motion in the back of the limo.)
Vigilante: Good man.
(Suddenly, the front passenger side door of the limo is kicked open as Dinah emerges and lets loose with a Canary Cry. The force throws Vigilante into the side of a parked car.)
Dinah: Good woman.

Paramedic: Mr. Mayor, all due respect, your head is bleeding. And our concussion protocol's even stricter than the NFL's.
Oliver: Well, I'm the mayor. So I'm suspending it.

(Oliver is trying - and failing - to stand up with Quentin's assistance as Adrian Chase walks up.)
Adrian: He knows the concussion protocol, right?
Oliver: Yeah. So I've heard.

(Adrian and Oliver discuss how to handle the press.)
Adrian:
By the way, while under the threat of impeachment, you can't exactly amend bylaws. So that concussion protocol?  Yeah - it's still a thing.

Oliver: This is ridiculous. I know what a real head injury feels like.
Dr. Schwartz: I can only imagine, given your... other job. And you're right. Your CAT scan is clear.
Oliver: Good.
(Oliver starts to get off the examination table.)
Dr. Schwartz: Ah-ah. Not so fast. Look, I can't discharge you without a few more hours of observation.
Oliver: (gritting teeth) Dr. Schwartz...
Dr. Schwartz: People can withstand only so much strain. And being both mayor and him... it's unsustainable.
Oliver: I assure you - my body can handle it.
Dr. Schwartz: I'm not talking about your body, Mr. Queen. I'm talking about this. (She taps her forehead.) The mind needs rest. Or at least someone to take your thoughts off all the evil you face each day.
Oliver: ... Dr. Schwartz? Are you prescribing me a girlfriend?
Dr. Schwartz: Or just a friend.

Oliver: "Spross Dopross"? Demand an exam?
Anatoly: Yeah. It rhyme better in Russian. Spross Dopross is Bratva way to call Pahkan to account for actions. Captains will listen. Maybe Pahkan will lose position.
Oliver: That's good news! That means we can overthrow Gregor without a fight.
Anatoly: Uh-uh. No. Everyone knows about Gregor's deal with Kovar. No, we still end up dead. Men who call vote are killed if Pakhan keeps position.
Oliver: (incredulous) Anatoly! Why bother?
Anatoly: I did not want to die in hospital basement.
Oliver: That's... fair.

(Prometheus shoves Vigilante off of a rooftop. He steps away from the ledge and pulls off his mask before reaching for a phone. The camera pans around to reveal that he is Adrian Chase.)
Prometheus: Yes. I'd like to report a sighting of Vigilante. This is District Attorney Chase.

(Diggle discovers Felicity is helping Thea to blackmail a councilman.)
Diggle: Come on. This isn't you.
Felicity: Well, it pretty much is.
Diggle: Okay. Do you know what your super power is?
Felicity: Computers?
Diggle: Empathy. Big, reflexive, pure empathy.
Felicity: Well, maybe I'm fresh out.
Diggle: Because of Billy?
Felicity: It's a dark world. And for the past four years I have watched you and Oliver and Laurel and Thea and Roy - I have watched all of you use a little darkness to fight it.
Diggle: It's true. Sometimes we do fight fire with fire. But every time we do, Felicity? Every single time? We risk being burned.

(Adrian has just informed Oliver he won't be allowed to testify to the council.)
Oliver: If the council is not going to let me testify at the hearing, then I need to take my case directly to the public.
Adrian: A press conference?
Oliver: Yeah.
Adrian: Mind filling me in on who you're throwing under the bus?
Oliver: The Green Arrow.

(Vigilante shoots through a door, guns-blazing. Mister Terrific falls back on the ground trying to avoid the fire, dropping one of his T-Spheres in the process. It rolls on the ground toward Vigilante's feed. Mister Terrific begins to laugh.)
Vigilante: What's so funny?!
Mister Terrific: I think I just found a new use for my T-Sphere.
Vigilante: Your what?
(Vigilante looks down just as the T-Sphere explodes, sending him flying back through the open doorway.)

(Vigilante has downed Wild Dog. He's moving in to make a kill shot when Mister Terrific walks up behind him.)
Mister Terrific:
Hey, Vigilante? (holds up a T-Sphere) I've got two of these.
(Vigilante stops and advances on Mister Terrific, who throws the T-Sphere in a wild fastball-pitch. Vigilante flinches and watches the Sphere go flying past his head. He turns back to Mister Terrific and raises his gun.)
Vigilante: Nice aim.
Mister Terrific: That's the thing. They aim themselves.
(The glowing T-Sphere, now flying under its own power, curves back into the room and explodes in Vigilante's face, knocking him to the ground.)  
Wild Dog: (weakly) Hoss?
(Mister Terrific moves to help Wild Dog up.)
Wild Dog: Yo, Hoss... That was bad ass.
Mister Terrific: That mean no more ball jokes?
Wild Dog: Hell no.


Dialogue Disasters

All of the jokes about "Curtis' balls" after the first one.  In this case, repetition does not make it funnier.


Continuity

Adrian Chase tries to resign so that he can take the blame for the cover-up. Oliver refuses and further asks Chase to act as his lawyer during the impeachment proceedings.

Reference is made to the "sniffer" that Curtis and Felicity built in 514. Reportedly Felicity was able to pull a petabyte worth of data from Prometheus' mother's house.

Star City is 140 years old and has only had a mayor face impeachment once before in 1898. In that case, Mayor Prescott was removed from office.

According to Chase, Oliver's biggest supporter on the city council is Councilor Pollard,, with whom Oliver negotiated a local gun control law in 513. Oliver guesses this is because she can never call in the favor he owes her if he is forced out of office.

According to Quentin, the vote is evenly split with a Councilor named Kullens as the swing vote.

The concussion testing protocols for paramedics in Star City are even stricter than then NFL.

While impeachment proceedings are underway. a mayor cannot suspend any city bylaws. This means Oliver cannot suspend the concussion testing protocols.

Thea says she is never getting into a limo with Oliver ever again. This is a sly reference to both how their mother was killed by Slade Wilson following a limo ride and how Felicity was paralyzed following her getting into a limo with Oliver.

Dr. Schwartz - the doctor who treated Laurel Lance before she died in 419 - appears again, tending to Oliver in the hospital. It is confirmed that she knows that Oliver is The Green Arrow. She also appeared in 412 as the doctor who treated Thea when she went into a coma.

Paul - Curtis' husband - calls him and asks him to dinner. Curtis takes this as a sign that he wants to reconcile. It turns out that it is to deliver divorce papers.

Adrian Chase catches Dinah with the piece of Vigilante's visor and offers to log it for her.

It is confirmed that Prometheus and Vigilante are two different people.

Prometheus is strong enough to overpower Vigilante and force him off a roof-ledge. However, Vigilante is somehow able to survive the drop without injury.

It is confirmed that Adrian Chase is Prometheus.

Felicity finds evidence that Councilor Kullen's wife intentionally crashed her car to commit suicide rather than losing control of the car naturally and that Kullen used his clout to cover that fact up. Oliver refused to let her or Thea use this information to blackmail him, however.

Cisco apparently upgraded the Kevlar in Diggle's Spartan costume.

Oliver callas a press conference where he admits to covering up Green Arrow's killing a cop because he mistakenly thought it was for the good of the city. He then calls for Green Arrow to be brought to justice for Detective Billy Malone's death.

Felicity apparently made an anonymous confession to faking the evidence that got Susan Williams fired. Susan is rehired back at her old job and gets an apology from her boss.

Susan Williams agrees to keep Oliver's secret, having realized that he had nothing to do with the plot to get her fired. She never gets a chance to answer when Oliver asks where they stand as a couple.

The council votes not to impeach Oliver.

Thea resigns from her position, begging Oliver to let her go as she needs time to work on herself and not give into her darker impulses.

Felicity accepts the invitation to join the hacker grou Helix full-time.

At the end of the episode, Adrian Chase confronts Susan Williams and says he has an exclusive story for her that is a matter of life and death.

In the flashback sequence, Oliver breaks into Gregor's house and steals a laptop revealing that Kovar paid him funds that were not being split with the rest of the Bratva captains. This leads to a vote for Gregor to lose his position and a gun-fight.


The Fridge Factor

Felicity seems incredibly weak-willed and stupid in this episode, acting more like a plot device than the character  whom she was developed into. She just magically does computer things according to the whim of whoever is talking to her or - in the case of her scene with Diggle - doesn't. This is one throwback to the first two seasons I can do without.

Susan Williams seems to take Oliver back far too easily - presumably because she's due to be the damsel-in-distress in next week's episode.


The Bottom Line

An episode that works, oddly enough, for how it ends rather than what occurs during it. The first half hour is rather weak but once the trap is sprung and the mask unexpectedly comes off, the viewer is hooked. This may be one of the rare times when the fans were more surprised than the people who came to Arrow without knowing anything about the comics. There's a lot here that worries me about the season to come but I can forgive a lot simply for the fact that Mister Terrific lived up to his name for once.

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