'Arrow' season 5, episode 14 recap: Oliver's secret is threatened in "The Sin-Eater"


After last week's politically-charged Arrow, season five, episode 14, titled "The Sin-Eater," was a return to form for the CW series. Oliver Queen and the rest of his team had to deal with the jailbreak of three villainesses from past seasons. Unfortunately for Oliver, he had plenty of other issues to overcome. 

(Editor's Note: Spoilers ahead for season five, episode 14 of Arrow.)

While most episodes of Arrow have a clear primary story, "The Sin-Eater" was decidedly more layered. Not only did the Green Arrow have to capture escapees China White, Liza Warner and Cupid, but he had to do so with the ACU hunting him. 

Meanwhile, Oliver Queen's personal life took some hits as well, with Susan Williams confronting the mayor over his connection to the Green Arrow — specifically asking if they were one in the same. And though Oliver denied the accusation, things did not end there. 


Robert Falconer /The CW

Early in the episode, during a prison transfer, China White, Liza Warner and Cupid escape custody and head to Star City. While we saw Cupid and Liza Warner last season, it has actually been quite a while since China White was part of the show. And though her screen time is limited, she is a fun, albeit dangerous, character. I definitely would not mind seeing more of her going forward.

The dangerous trio immediately starts causing trouble in Star City. After news of their escape, Oliver learns they attacked a Chinese Triad hangout in hopes of finding a depository. We later learn they are looking for Tobias Church's stash of cash — $100 million to be exact. 

The Green Arrow and Quentin Lance track them down, and while it seems like they have the upper hand, things get a bit complicated when the ACU shows up to arrest Oliver. It was only a matter of time before the police figured out Oliver killed Detective Malone — even if he was manipulated by Prometheus. 

Public Enemy #1

Robert Falconer/The CW

The ACU are alerted to Green Arrow's involvement in Detective Malone's murder when Captain Pike is sent a completed autopsy that reveals the fallen officer's wounds are consistent with Oliver's alter ego's arrows. Obviously, this presents a problem for the Green Arrow. 

As the mayor, Oliver calls Captain Pike into his office, and with the help of Lance and Adrian Chase, tries to convince him the Green Arrow was not involved in Detective Malone's murder. Pike is not convinced and wants nothing to do with letting a cop killer off the hook. In the end, Oliver comes clean to Captain Pike — well, with everything except the fact he is the Green Arrow. 

The mayor tells Pike the Green Arrow was manipulated into killing Malone by Prometheus. Oliver asks the captain to think what is more logical: the Green Arrow went rogue or he was manipulated. Pike is still unsure, and Oliver is left to go after China White, Liza Warner and Cupid without assurances that he will not be targeted by the police. In Team Arrow's final confrontation with the escapees, after they unleash Star City's underworld, the ACU shows up, but decides to side with the Green Arrow. 

What was really interesting, though, is after China White, Liza Warner and Cupid are caught, the Green Arrow apologizes to Pike for Malone's death, saying he will have to live with it for the rest of his life. It is not lost on Pike that the mayor said the same thing to him earlier. Whether this will lead to the police captain discovering the Green Arrow's identity is, at this point, uncertain.

Relationship troubles

Cate Cameron/The CW

Ever since Arrow's fall finale I have theorized that Susan Williams is Prometheus. There is just something about her that leads me to believe there is more to her than meets the eye. However, after "The Sin-Eater," I will be reevaluating that assumption. Either Susan is a terrific actor, or she is not Prometheus. I am now leaning towards the latter. 

We have known for some time that Susan had been digging into Oliver's life. Several episodes ago she learned of his activities in Russia, leading her to start believing that he may be the Green Arrow. In "The Sin-Eater" she confronts Oliver with that theory. Obviously, Oliver denies it — well, after a tongue-in-cheek "yes." 

While Oliver feels like he handled the situation, Thea, is less sure. Oliver's baby sister pulls a move straight out of Moira Queen's playbook and has Felicity hack Susan's computer, inserting information which suggests she plagiarized her work. And while her intention may not have been to get Susan fired, that is exactly what happens. 

With everything else going on in this episode, this may have been the most interesting sub-plot. Thea is going down somewhat of a darker and less trusting path. After Oliver's anger at her actions dissipates, he even tells her that he is worried about her. How this story develops going forward could be very fascinating. 


Robert Falconer/The CW

"The Sin-Eater" was a good, yet not great, installment in Arrow's fifth season. While there was a lot to like — family drama, some more clues into Prometheus and Dinah Drake suiting up as Black Canary — there was a little too much going on. It is a shame that China White, Cupid and Liza Warner were brought back to play such an inconsequential role in the overall narrative. 

I did feel that the ACU turning their attention on Oliver made for some compelling drama, and it looks like the mayor's involvement in covering up Detective Malone's murder will be haunting him, with that news breaking in the final moments. Honestly, the most interesting part of the episode for me, outside of the plot with Thea, was the small insight we were given into Prometheus' identity. But that was also the problem. 

The initial moments of the episode dangled who is supposedly Prometheus' mother in front of us, and then moved on. And while I understand the writers have to drag out that storyline until the end of the season, it may have been better to save her appearance until later on. Still, if this really is Prometheus' mother, and she only has a son (there was no mention of a daughter), that would eliminate Susan Williams from contention. Who does that leave? Adrian Chase maybe? 

Ultimately, "The Sin-Eater" did a lot to advance the plot of the fifth season. We are closer to learning Prometheus' identity; Oliver's job as mayor is in trouble; and something is going on with Thea. While the episode itself may have had some flawed pacing, I am no less interested in what is to come. 

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