Tonight on Arrow, fans had an hour of awful things happening to their heroes, right up until the moment the lights were about to go out and cameras turn off for a month and change...
...then a ray of hope came to the Arrowcave.
It's going to be a while before we get any sense of clarity on what that -- or a number of other clues dropped this week -- actually means, but in the month-plus before the next episode of Arrow, they've given fans a lot to digest.
That includes an episode that was chock full of references to the first season of the show, as well as references everywhere else.
So let's run down what we spotted, ignore some of the stuff that feels more like part of the necessary plot than a specific reference drop, and see whether you readers agree with our assessment or not.
PROMETHEUS MAKES A DEADLY MOVE AGAINST OLIVER AND THE TEAM — After Prometheus attacks Curtis (Echo Kellum), Oliver (Stephen Amell) realizes Prometheus knows all of Team Arrow’s secret identities and is planning to come for them one by one. Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and Detective Malone (guest star Tyler Ritter) discover a clue that links Prometheus to Oliver’s past.
Antonio Negret directed the episode written by Wendy Mericle & Beth Schwartz.
Arrow airs on Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW. New episodes return on January 25, 2017.
More Arrow: Prometheus Makes His Move In Arrow's "What We Leave Behind" Synopsis/ Arrow's Stephen Amell Gives Update On Being Attacked By Fan / Kevin Smith Wants To Direct Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow, Gotham, and Riverdale / Arrow's Stephen Amell Wants To Play A Villain
We can't be the only ones to notice that the young, female team member who is recruited into Team Arrow and then seduced to the dark side and ends up becoming a sleeper agent for the villain is pretty much exactly the plot to the classic New Teen Titans storyline The Judas Contract.
In fact, we know we aren't: we forgot we were going to count this as an Easter egg, until we saw a few people on Twitter bring it up.
OLIVER'S CHRISTMAS MOVIES
According to Stephen Amell's recent Facebook Live video, he shares Oliver's favorite Christmas movie (Die Hard) and the "Its true!" he delivered after saying so in the episode was actually a Stephen Amell-ism, not Oliver Queen's. The crew presumably opted to leave it in for the humor and personality it gave the take.
His second choice, It's a Wonderful Life, is an interesting one considering...
"I was very lucky to be able to rewatch that movie last week."
...which of course is not a thing that happened. Oliver didn't stop in the middle of the alien invasion and watch It's A Wonderful Life. He was, however, subjected to a kind of custom-made It's a Wonderful Life, where the Dominators showed him a whole different timeline and how his life and the lives of those around him might be different if he had made different decisions.
BIG BELLY BURGER
Usually Big Belly Burgers don't get a full slide to themselves nowadays, but are relegated to the honorable mentions because they happen so much across the three Earth-1 DC shows.
This week we're making an exception because the to-go bag for the DC Universe's favorite burger joint was the focus of a shot that hung on for a few seconds AND transitioned from the present day to the flashbacks. That's a lot of camera time for a fast food container.
While Justin Claybourne's name did in fact appear on The List, we never saw him dealt with in season 1 and all of the scenes here that were calling back to the first year of the series were entirely new material.
This, of course, opens up the question of whether we might see some more such stories in flashbacks for future episodes...!
ALMOST EVERY WEDNESDAY
"People who are supposed to be dead turn out to be alive almost every Wednesday."
Weirdly enough never during the summer or between mid-December and late January, though.
We're going to put almost everything about the season 1-style flashbacks under this broad heading of "The Hood." Oliver's season 1 costume, the kill list, the sets, the mission, his arguments with Diggle...this is what it was like when he was The Hood and not Green Arrow.
THE RED PEN
The red pen is a nice callback to some of Felicity Smoak's earliest appearances, and that makes it worth breaking out to talk separately about "IT Girl Felicity," back when Olvier was still making up outlandish stories to get her help instead of just coming clean with her.
AK DESMOND PHARMACEUTICAL
It seems worth noting, since Dr. Alchemy is such a big part of The Flash this season, that A.K. Desmond Pharmaceutical could plausibly be considered a wink-and-a-nod reference to Albert Desmond, a chemist who would go on to become Dr. Alchemy in the comics. Unlikely, but possible!
MAKE THE CITY GREAT AGAIN
Obviously in his final moments, when Claybourne is trying to appeal to Oliver's ideas about "saving the city," he says that businesses like his can "make the city great again," which in the context of the last years' worth of public life feels suspiciously like a reference to Donald Trump's "make America great again" campaign slogan.