That was grim. I mean, it’s been grim for a while now, but Arrow is going back to some pretty dark places this season, and “Checkmate” showed just how brutal things are getting, and we’re only 16 episodes in!
You’d think the real of Adrian Chase would do certain things, like make him more reserved. Nope! He’s not afraid to show his face to anyone. In fact, he uses that to twist the knife in further. Like he said in the episode, there’s an “honesty” to knowing each other identities. And man, did Josh Segarra play Chase perfectly here. Cocky, arrogant, not afraid of anyone, and loving every insult and low blow he threw at them all, and he threw plenty.
And though a lot of villains can say, “I’m twelve steps ahead of you”, Chase really meant it, as every time Ollie had an answer it seemed, Chase was ahead of him with his next play. And even when he DID have a movie Chase didn’t anticipate, he wasn’t afraid of removing it lightning quick.
The real shock though was Talia, as she not only trained Chase, but we found out that Ollie didn’t know her last name (irony) and that her fathers death was her reason for training him. But unlike Nyssa, who would’ve sought out revenge personally, Talia doesn’t mind doing it from the shadows, which is how she is in the comics. I certainly didn’t expect her coming in at the end to save Chase, and I doubt this’ll be the last of her this season.
Another twist was Felicity’s involvement with Helix. She’s clearly enamored with them, and now that things have gotten even darker, she’s not afraid to do some quid pro quo to get what she needs. That’s a dangerous rabbit hole to go down.
Everyone had solid performances as they had to deal with not only Chase’s identity being revealed to them, but having to deal with his threats and countermoves. Now that Oliver is kidnapped, it’ll be interesting to see how they come together to find him.
The flashbacks were simple, like always, but they did show Gregor dying. So all that’s left now is Kovar. Ollie took another step towards being the Arrow in the flashback, so I look forward to seeing how far it progresses.
In the end, “Checkmate” made sure that Prometheus/Chase’s influence was felt in the worst way possible, and now everyone is in jeopardy. Especially Ollie.