By Natalie Abrams
March 21, 2017 at 04:29 PM EDT
Robert Falconer/The CW
  • TV Show
  • The CW

Now that Oliver has been kidnapped by Chase, the Emerald Archer will be forced to face his past.

During Wednesday’s episode of Arrow, Chase (Josh Segarra) basically tortures Oliver (Stephen Amell) — both for his own demented plans and on behalf of Talia al Ghul (Lexa Doig). But the hour really takes viewers back to where it all started for Oliver in Russia, uncovering why he became a vigilante in the first place.

“We’ve always had this tradition of doing what we call the ‘all-flashback’ or ‘mostly flashback’ episode,” executive producer Marc Guggenheim explains. “That’s actually what this episode is going to be. It’s going to be a story that’s mostly set in Russia, with Dolph Lundgren coming back as Kovar. It’s the big confrontation that we’ve been building up to for the past several episodes, which is the Bratva vs. Kovar, with a couple surprises thrown in — Oliver may or may not get a certain tattoo; he may or may not lose a certain tattoo.”

Then, in present day, “It’s Adrian Chase trying to get Oliver Queen to confess his sins, really to confess a secret,” Guggenheim says. “It’s incredibly intense. It’s basically a stage play; it’s essentially just Josh and Stephen in a room together. It’s probably one of the darkest episodes we’ve ever done.”

With Oliver forced to look back on what his legacy has wrought, viewers will finally learn long-held secrets. “Part of the biggest thing that we’re explaining in season 5 is what was Oliver’s motivation?” Amell says. “What was his mindset in the early part of season 1? Essentially, to the same extent, what was his mindset when he really became this person in Russia?”

“The idea is that, quite simply, he could put on the hood, and he could compartmentalize this horrible person that he has inside of him because of everything that he has had to deal with in the past four-plus years being away,” Amell continues. “The death of his father, obviously via suicide, the death of Shado, the seeming death of Sara, the fact that he had to murder Slade, the death of a young child in Hong Kong — all of these things that he has had to deal with broke something inside of him that didn’t end up getting fixed until he had a do-over with Slade Wilson, who had just murdered his mother, and he took the high road.”

But even if Oliver were to ultimately kill Chase — or in flashback, be able to take Kovar down once and for all — would he really be satisfied? “If we’ve done our job with season 5 correctly, if we stick the landing on all of this, by the end of the season, our hope is that you will look at Oliver’s killing in a completely different light and look at it in a totally different way,” Guggenheim says. “And look at his motivations for killing in a different way, in a more complex, more nuanced way. My hope is the whole season will kind of answer that question if we pull it off.”

Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.

Episode Recaps


Billionaire Oliver Queen — under the vigilante persona of Arrow — tries to right the wrongs of his family and fight the ills of society.
  • TV Show
  • 8
  • TV-14
  • Marc Guggenheim
  • Andrew Kreisberg
  • Greg Berlanti
  • The CW
stream service