Captured by Prometheus, Oliver faces unthinkable torture as his sworn enemy tries to break him and Diggle leads the rest of Team Arrow to find him.
Five years earlier, Oliver's increasingly violent tactics begin to worry Anatoly as they head into a final confrontation with Konstantin Kovar, who they've discovered is plotting a coup of the Russian government.
The Green Arrow comics of Mike Grell (Ollie being tortured while having flashbacks) and Suicide Squad #38 (hero browbeat into confessing he enjoys killing)
I think David Nykl's performances as Anatoly are probably the most underrated guest performance in the show's history. The series frequently required him to be the voice of reason, comic relief and a figure of menace - all roles he filled easily while still seemingly being the same character. In this episode, he does all three of these things in the span of an hour and makes it seem as natural as breathing.
The fight choreography of the flashback sequences is some of the best the show has seen.
The final battle between Kovar and Oliver on the casino dance floor is well-lit, well-blocked and well-directed. Well-done over all, really.
The episode title 'Kapiushon' is a rough Anglicization of the Russian word for "hood". It is later revealed that this is what Kovar's men had taken to calling the figure with the bow who was attacking their business interests.
Prometheus reveals that his took his name from the mythological figure who stole the power of The Greek Gods. It is likewise his intent to take away all of Oliver Queen's power.
"Samovol'shchnia"is a Russian phrase meaning "do as you will." It has a deeper meaning that is tied into The Russian Revolution of 1917. In this case, it means a coup - a violent overthrow of the government.
Much of the plot of the modern-day sequences of this episode resembles the plot of John Ostrander's Suicide Squad #38. In that issue Ben Turner (aka The Bronze Tiger) is interrogated regarding his temper and his efforts to calm it by studying martial arts. Like Oliver, he too adopted a masked persona to try and control his murderous impulses and the issue ends with him confessing that he enjoys killing.
Justin Claybourne's autopsy reveal that his aortic arch was pierced by an arrow. However, the actual cause of death was drowning. He spent 145 seconds (2 minutes, 25 seconds) underwater before his lungs filled up.
Felicity and Curtis had to reroute the electro-optical digital imaging from every reconisance satellite they could gain access to and then capture the data in a 4-dimensional array which could then be parsed using a real-time algorithm. Curtis says solving cold fusion would have been easier.
Gregor: (To Oliver) And you are no one's hero. Every thing and every one that you love will wither and die at your touch!
Kovar: My father once told me "do not have 100 rubles but 100 friends."
Merlyn: (laughing) Fortunately we have both friends and money.
(Oliver wakes up on the floor of his cell. Adrian is arranging the last of several photos on the walls.)
Adrian: Do they look familiar? Do you even remember their faces? These are your victims.
Oliver: (sighs) They were people who did... terrible things. They -had- victims.
Adrian: And husbands. And wives. Daughters. (pauses) Sons. Confess your secret Oliver, and all this ends. I'll give you a gift and you can walk out that door and go back home.
Oliver: Adrian, you're sick. And you're a hypocrite. There is nothing that I've done that compares with you. You murdered your own wife!
(Adrian moves over to one of the pictures.)
Adrian: Cecil Adams. You knew him by his street name, The Count? You put three arrows in him.
Oliver: He was going to kill a friend of mine...
(Adrian moves to the floor where a bow and quiver are waiting. He begins to strap on the quiver.)
Adrian: Felicity Smoak.
Oliver: (impatient) Yeah!
Adrian: Confess. Or you get the same three arrows.
(Oliver steadies himself.)
Oliver: Go to hell.
Adrian: I've already been there, Oliver. And I've come back with a message for you.
(In rapid succession, Adrian shoots the three arrows into Oliver's shoulders.)
The Hood: A friend of mine recently showed me the skinning techniques used by hunters in Mongolia. They remove all the skins of things much larger than you in less than five minutes. Which means... you don't have very long... to tell me what your boss is planning.
Kovar's Man: I don't know anything!
The Hood: I was hoping you'd say that.
(The Hood moves in as the camera pans left. We fade to black as Kovar's man begins screaming.)
(Anatoly has discovered Oliver and what is left of Kovar's man.)
Anatoly: This is not human!
Oliver: Anatoly, I told you - putting on this hood... it helps me direct the darkness inside me. It worked, by the way. I know what Kovar is planning.
Anatoly: But at what cost?! You are a fool to think a piece of cloth can separate man from monster. Dividing yourself in two? Will only make the monster stronger until it is stronger than you.
Oliver: You knew what I was capable of back on Lian Yu.
Anatoly: But this man I see now? Bears more resemblance to Slade Wilson. Or Anthony Ivo.
(Anatoly looks under the cloth and winces.)
Anatoly: Tough man. Clearly he stood a lot before breaking.
Oliver: He gave up pretty quickly. The rest was me practicing.
Anatoly: Practicing to become what?
Oliver: Something else.
(Viktor guides Anatoly and his men into am ambush of Kovar's men.)
Anatoly: You sold us out!
Viktor: We're in a casino, Anatoly. I like to think of it as playing the hand I was dealt.
Adrian: I told you, Oliver. You infect every life that you touch. And now do you realize why? It's because your crusade was based on a lie. You used your father's memory to justify a killing spree. There's a price to be paid for that, Oliver. Your mother paid it. Your friend Tommy paid it. Laurel.... Do you really want to tell me that John Diggle and Felicity Smoak's lives are better having known you?
Anatoly: I cannot believe scared boy in cell beside me would be one to kill Konstantin Kovar.
Oliver: Well, that wasn't me. (Oliver holds up the hood.) That was him.
Anatoly: That is a lie you tell yourself. An excuse that allows you to kill. You kill because you like it.
Oliver: That is not true, Anatoly. I hate it. And I think maybe you've had a bit too much to drink.
Anatoly: Well, that is entirely possible. But in this case I am right. This deal you sold yourself on? That this hood is going to keep this monster of yours at bay? Someday is going to fall apart. And when it does, you are not going to like the man you see underneath.
Every instance of Adrian Chase shouting "Confess" to Oliver and Oliver shouting back that he doesn't know what Chase wants. Pure Narm.
When a Bratva Pakhan dies, a new one is appointed based on seniority.
It is a Bratva tradition that the dead be laid out in state and that other members place money around the corpse. According to Anatoly, this is because the money makes a good gift in Heaven or a good bribe to Satan.
When a new Pakhan takes over, every member of his gang must cut their hand with a knife and shake hands with him.
Malcolm Merlyn was a business partner of Konstantin Kovar.
Merlyn provides Kovar with a large quantity of Sarin Gas in exchange for Kovar providing Merlyn with some unspecified information for Unidac Industries. This was the company which made The Markov Device which Merlyn used to generate earthquakes as part of The Undertaking in Season One.
The Count's real name is revealed to be Cecil Adams. Oliver killed him to save Felicity's life in 207.
Oliver was taught the skinning techniques used by hunters in Mongolia. They are capable of completely skinning large animals in less than five minutes.
In order to win the trust of Taiana's mother, Oliver repeats the phrase she told him in 413 - "The same hammer that shatters glass forges steel."
Evelyn Sharpe/Artemis - last seen in 509 - is thrown into Oliver's cell with a knife. Prometheus says that one of them must be dead when he returns or she will snap her neck in front of Oliver. If she kills him first, she'll be free to go.
Taiana's mother is killed by Kovar. Oliver arrives too late to save her after seeing her being attacked on a security monitor.
Oliver's confession is that he doesn't kill because he has to because of his crusade - he does it because he wants to and because he enjoys it.
Prometheus burns the skin where Oliver's Bratva tattoo is located below his left shoulder.
Anatoly and Oliver got matching Bartva Captain tattoos after Oliver seemingly killed Kovar. Anatoly insisted on promoting Oliver despite his intentions to return home to Starling City so that if he ever needed the Bratva's help, he would be able to get it.
Anatoly also gives Oliver back the hood that he lost in Kovar's casino.
Anatoly refers to the events of the flashbacks in 204 and how Oliver was performing surgery on himself when they first met.
It is revealed that Kovar survived Oliver's beat-down and that he was saved, in part, by Malcolm Merlyn.
Oliver was missing for six days.
The Fridge Factor
Taiana's mother is killed to give Oliver more angst.
The Bottom Line
One of the rare episodes where the flashback sequences are more gripping than the present day material. This is doubly stunning given that we know Oliver and Anatoly will survive their battle with Kovar. The scenes of Oliver being tortured do manage a few honest surprises, though Oliver's confession is hardly a revelation given that it's been at the heart of Oliver's conflict since the first season. Unfortunately, the ending lacks any kind of punch since we know there's still several episodes left this season and no realistic way for everyone else on Team Arrow to quit... particularly when there's a murderous maniac working among them as Star City's D.A.