Arrow: “Dangerous Liaisons” Season 5 Episode 19 Review

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If there is one undeniable truth about Arrow, it’s that the climaxes of each season have generally been strong by the show’s standards, which makes “Dangerous Liaisons” placed very strangely within the season. Adrian Chase has been outed as Prometheus, and now he’s on the run, a cliffhanger left hanging since the end of last month. Yet, after season five’s final hiatus, we start with a diversion. The beginning of the final stretch is an ethical war between Helix and Argus, with Felicity and Lyla falling to their respective sides and Team Arrow caught in the middle.

To be fair, there are some interesting ideas here. Felicity crosses several lines she probably wouldn’t have before Helix, crediting Oliver for inspiration, while Lyla expresses that the ethical difficulties of Amanda Waller’s old post have revealed themselves. But the whole thing goes farther than feels natural, ultimately betraying two of this show’s best characters (yes, I’m including the criminally underused Lyla in that. I’d love a miniseries on her first year taking over Argus from Waller).

Felicity, frustrated with Oliver’s decisions as of late, takes finding Prometheus into her own hands, which involves helping Helix rescue their former leader from Argus, who has been holding him against his will. For Lyla, this man poses a threat to global security, so she justifies her actions that sit above the law. Again, these are great ideas, and a legitimately interesting conflict that could have landed better had it been developed in prior episodes. But we all know Arrow sometimes has trouble thinking ahead.

Felicity goes into the field, armed with a tablet that controls the surrounding gun turrets. But as she essentially robs a government agency she’s previously worked with, we never see Felicity pause to think about what she’s doing, or how Oliver would handle the situation. Meanwhile, Lyla conveniently lies to her husband about a mission he’s involved in. I don’t buy either of these character moves. Naturally, despite all of this, the mission goes as smoothly as possible, with no Argus casualties and Felicity safe and sound, but exiled from Helix. Then Oliver just kind of seems to forgive her, like three minutes after he said he wouldn’t. It’s almost as if Arrow wanted to have the great discussion it sets up, but then realizes it has four episodes left this season and quickly stops it before it can really start. So, you know, typical Arrow.

Whatever, this diversion was also horrendously coupled with a shoehorned effort to give Rene a fatherhood arc, dug up by Lance, just to fill in the extra time. Before the hiatus, this exhaustingly dull season of Arrow was finally starting to build some momentum. This episode brings us back to square one, especially after a month without episodes. On the upside, at least season five only has four episodes left. Grade: C+

By Matt Dougherty

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