A comprehensive list of all the things Prometheus did to Oliver in 5x17 alone:
Chaining him to a dungeon floor for 7 days
Probably depriving him of food and water for 7 days (the norm is 3 days without water and you die, but rare individuals can survive up to 10 days without water)
Forcing him to hold his breath under water up to the maximum extent his lungs could take it for x number of days
Shooting him in the shoulder with 3 arrows (despite the fact that Prometheus aimed not to kill Oliver by doing this, there’s still a large amount of nerves/muscle in this area; honestly, one arrow alone would be enough to send most people into shock)
Ripping out the 3 arrows unceremoniously and giving him 0 medical attention (also something you could die from–not to mention, you could still be in shock)
Burning his skin with a freaking blow torch
S T R E S S
Constantly reminding him of his past mistakes
Painting all of his actions–both good and bad–in a severely negative light
Making him question his life calling (look, I get anxious when people attack the ideas and choices that I care about, so just imagine someone doing that to you but about every corner of your life–just imagine how exposed and vulnerable and helpless you would feel)
Threatening the woman he loves
Threatening his son
Making him doubt the genuineness of his friendships–the very people he trusts most in the world–and thus making him doubt the fabric of himself
Pretending to kill someone he cares about right in front of him
Having said person actively betray him to his face again
Taking away a piece of his identity–the Bratva tattoo–without his consent
Forcing him to admit his sins out-loud and then condemning him for them
This poor man went through the speed version of hell–through 10 years of pain in about 7 days. As sick as this episode was at times, I also think this could be the thing that pushes Oliver into a better place. He finally went where was never mentally willing to go, and as upsetting as that has to be…it could also be liberating in the long run. I am but no means condoning or supporting Prometheus’s methods, but I hope Oliver is able to seek and receive the help he needs as a result of this…encounter. I’m not a physician, but I know that everything that happened was more than enough to kill a normal person. Once again, Oliver’s power is how he just endures.
I’m not really sure why I made this list other than to point out that despite the fact that the torture we actually saw was “minimal,” I have never been so shaken from watching a TV episode. I’ve seen less intensity in Oscar-nominated films. While Josh Segarra and Madison McLaughlin were also excellent, Stephen Amell 100% made this episode, bringing us back to the core of why Arrow is such a phenomenal show. What a powerful performance. I am still in awe.
When we’re born, all of us are free. People who reject that, no matter how strong they are, don’t matter. The burning water, the land of ice… any of those. Anyone who saw those things would be the freest person in the world. Fight! Who’d value their life over something like that? It doesn’t matter how terrifying the world is. It doesn’t matter how cruel the world is. Fight! FIGHT! FIGHT!