Arrow Season 7, Episode 5 recap: Who is the Demon?

Arrow -- Photo: Jack Rowand/The CW -- Acquired via CW TV PR
Arrow -- Photo: Jack Rowand/The CW -- Acquired via CW TV PR /

An exciting new episode of Arrow saw Oliver discover the identity of his demonic antagonist and Felicity found evidence that might allow her husband to go free.

In last week’s episode, I assumed that Oliver’s (Stephen Amell) surrender to Dr. Parker’s brainwashing was a feint. He’s endured worst torture in the past and I figured that he was going with the program to get closer to the Demon. However, the events of this episode suggest that wasn’t the case.

It’s clear that whatever his intentions, Dr. Parker’s words about Oliver’s life being a tragic cycle of violence sunk in. As a result, it seems as though Oliver might be reassessing his life priorities, specifically his commitment to being Green Arrow.

Typically, I would view the reconsideration of his dual identity as a temporary phase. Traditionally, when superheroes start to doubt the righteousness of their missions, it’s the first step in a crucible that will lead them to rediscover their passion for heroism. But this might be different.

As Arrow is now in its seventh season and Oliver Queen has more reason than ever to hang up the bow, this might be the end of the road for the Emerald Archer. And while it would be sad to see the long-running series, the first five episodes of Arrow Season 7 suggest the program will be ending in a high note.

Arrow, The CW
Arrow — Photo: Jack Rowand/The CW — Acquired via CW TV PR /

“It’s probably best for you to forget anyone on the outside”

“The Demon” began with Oliver being transferred to Level 2 of the Slab and being fitted with a shock collar. He later made contact with the Demon, who was revealed to be Talia al Ghul (Lexa Doig). Talia proposed an alliance, but Oliver couldn’t let what happened on Lian Yu go.

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Back in Star City, Curtis (Echo Kellum) was ordered to impersonate a scientist as part of an ARGUS trap for a powerful criminal named Byrd. Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) tried to visit Oliver but was denied. However, Oliver’s sidekick Stanley (Brendan Fletcher) informed Felicity about Level 2 and Oliver’s recent actions.

The reveal of the Demon being Talia was pretty great in that it was obvious but also surprising. And even though the explanation that Diaz (Kirk Acevedo) supplied Talia with drugs that kept her alive post-Lian Yu was a bit cheap, it still made sense. In fact, everything Talia did in this episode made sense, which isn’t a typical trait of the show’s villains.

Also, it was fun Easter egg that Talia ended up in the Slab because of “an old foe in Gotham.” If the proposed Batwoman series comes to fruition, I’d be happy if Talia becomes part of its recurring cast.

“Score one for Team Felicity. I’m still workshopping the name”

After failing to secure a meeting with Byrd, Diggle (David Ramsey) told Curtis he’d have to stay in the field, and Curtis angrily refused. Curtis later explained that Oliver’s arrest convinced him he wasn’t strong enough to be a hero.

In the Slab, Oliver learned Dr. Parker’s treatment was occasionally killing inmates. Oliver agreed to help Talia but only if she helped him expose Dr. Parker.

In Star City, Felicity and Black Siren (Katie Cassidy) recruited Dinah (Juliana Harkavy) to investigate Dr. Parker. While conducting research, Felicity discovered Dr. Parker’s treatment was actually designed to mind wipe the Slab’s inmates.

Arrow — Photo: Jack Rowand/The CW — Acquired via CW TV PR
Arrow — Photo: Jack Rowand/The CW — Acquired via CW TV PR /

In addition to more consistent characterization, another one of the best developments of Arrow Season 7 is seeing Felicity take center stage. Even though some of her recent actions have me worried about her longevity, it satisfying to see her finally stop being a purely reactive character.

Moreover, it’s interesting to see how different her approach to the chess of game life is from Oliver’s. Instead of poorly planned out lone-wolf assaults, she’s largely employed a more methodically and collaborative strategy. I suspect that when Diaz is finally brought down, it’ll be at Felicity’s hands.

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“My name is Oliver Queen”

Together, Oliver and Talia successfully exported Dr. Parker’s files. However, before they could escape, Oliver told Talia he was staying because he didn’t want to become a fugitive. Once free, Talia promptly killed Dr. Parker.

Back in Star City, Diggle gave Curtis a heroic speech, which gave him the courage to help take down Byrd. Felicity and company used Dr. Parker’s files to takedown Level 2 and plotted to appeal Oliver’s conviction. Diaz and the Longbow Hunters destroyed Anatoly’s (David Nykkl) operation and took the gangster captive.

While I enjoyed most of this episode because of its potent blend of character development, action, and plot movement, there was one element that didn’t work. I found Curtis’ subplot to be incredibly tedious. Its resolution was obvious, and thus, it was tension free. Plus, other than keeping the corruption in ARGUS subplot going, Curtis’ story didn’t accomplish anything.

I get that one A plot and two subplots is the traditional Arrow episode format, but I would’ve preferred more material with Oliver/Talia or Felicity/Black Siren.

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Even with that disappointing element, this was still a strong installment of Arrow. Despite it stretching on for five episodes now, the Oliver in the Slab arc is still compelling. Probably because every time it’s touched on, some forward movement happens.

The Felicity-led the Star City stuff is similarly interesting for the same reason. And the mystery of the new Green Arrow and Diaz’s new scheme have been kept in the margins enough to not feel tedious. All in all, Arrow Season 7 is easily the CW superhero series’ best in years.

Are you still interested in Oliver’s prison story? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Arrow airs on The CW Mondays at 8 pm.