"The night is darkest just before the dawn. And I promise you, the dawn is coming."
These are the words uttered by Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) in "The Dark Knight," the second installment in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy. It's ironic that this line perfectly described the build to the climax of the fifth season of "Arrow," which often draws a lot of comparisons from fans to the Caped Crusader.
Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), much like Bruce Wayne, proclaims to be first and foremost a man who wants to save his city -- his home. Somewhere along the way though, his mission got a bit scrambled. Or did it? At the conclusion of the March 22 episode, "Kapiushon," Oliver admitted to both his adversary Prometheus (Josh Segarra) and himself that when he resorts to killing, it's because he likes it.
While that may be something viewers breeze past due to the sheer number of bodies Oliver has piled up as the Green Arrow throughout five seasons, it's a notion that needs to be looked at closer. The hero of this story takes joy in ending lives. What kind of hero is that?
It's that revelation that leads him to telling his team that he's dropping his Green Arrow persona. His pursuit of vigilante justice has, for now, come to an end. And this is the exact kind of development "Arrow" needs as it heads into the home stretch of a season that has centered, in large part, on the titular Arrow realizing the legacy he will one day leave behind.
This is a man who has time and again taken justice into his own hands, breaking laws regularly and killing without a second thought. In doing so, he has brought the people he considers his best friends into this horrifying and dangerous world of his. People he loves find themselves in constant danger and often times wind up dead. While it's easy to say they all made their own decisions, chances are none of them would have been put in the position of making those choices without Oliver.
Now it's time for his reckoning. Prometheus has broken Oliver, leaving him to pick up the pieces and make something of his life. What happens from here is going to be of the utmost importance.
Oliver has, for seasons, been a very flawed and downright irresponsible hero. His fights all become incredibly personal (How could they not?) and he often gets reckless. Having to own up to that and admit to himself that it's what he thrives on is either going to make him a better savior for Star City or completely destroy him.
We don't doubt that Oliver can be a hero most would aspire to be. With a team like his -- and friends like Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and Diggle (David Ramsey) -- practically anything should be possible. Is that what he wants, though? The man who admitted to Prometheus that he likes the killing and misery he doles out -- this is not somebody aspiring to be more. That's a man trapped in what he actually is, which is nothing to be proud of.
The Green Arrow used to taunt his foes, telling them "You have failed this city." Now we've learned the truth: Oliver Queen has failed himself and everyone he cares about.
Can he be redeemed or will he even want to be? That's the next chapter of the story that will surely be written by the time Season 5 comes to a close. Just remember what Harvey Dent taught us.
"Arrow" airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.