Arrow is halfway through its fifth season on The CW, and the show has gone in an exciting new direction with its flashbacks so far. Oliver has spent most of his flashbacks in Season 5 among members of the Bratva in Russia as he gains the last of the knowledge he needs to return to Starling City and take up the mantle of the Hood. According to Arrow star Stephen Amell, however, we may be in for a different kind of flashback in the second half of Season 5. He had this to say about what's to come in the blasts from the past:
Regarding other flashbacks...yeah. On the island...maybe a few other places, but I can't tell you where or when. They may or may not be four years ago. They might be a bit more recent than that.
The midseason finale featured flashbacks to Oliver's first year as the Hood to retroactively establish an origin story for the Season 5 supervillain Prometheus, so we've already seen a few scenes that took place after his five years of hell but before the present. Although Arrow has seemingly already revealed the name of the man behind the Prometheus mask, a lot of questions about his identity remain. In fact, we haven't even seen his face.
Arrow could use a series of more recent flashbacks to reveal more of Prometheus' origin story. The show went back in time with a few scenes to establish Cupid's origin in Season 3; the same thing could happen on a much grander scale for Prometheus in Season 5. Oliver's flashbacks to times other than his five years of hell have been relatively rare, so Stephen Amell's tease means that could be in for some exciting new looks at days gone by in the second half of Season 5.
All of this said, Arrow will evidently still mostly stick to the established narrative structure of following Oliver's misadventures during his five years away from Star(ling) City. Stephen Amell also said this about whether we can expect flashbacks of places other than Russia in his chat with Syfy Wire:
Yes and yes. We're definitely...We're having so much fun in Russia. It's been one of my favorite seasons of flashbacks, being in the Bratva. It's something we've long wanted to tell and I think it's very compelling and different. We're not on the island. That said, we know we're going to sync up with the pilot at some point so I can definitely tell you we'll be back on the island. Can't say for how long but we will definitely be back there at some point.
Many fans had been waiting and waiting for years to see how Oliver became a member of the Russian mob. His status as a member of the Bratva was one of the earliest ways that Arrow hinted about Oliver not spending his entire five years alone on Lian Yu. The Season 4 flashbacks took him back to the island for some magical shenanigans rather than to Russia to pal around with his Bratva buddy Anatoly, so he'll need to make it all the way back to Lian Yu, put on his raggedy old shipwreck clothes, and apparently drink a potion to make his hair and beard grow approximately two feet by the end of the Season 5 flashbacks. Anatoly didn't seem overly surprised to see Oliver back when they met up in the present in Season 2, so we can probably bet that Oliver wasn't marooned there by the Bratva against his will. He may have returned to Lian Yu in order to stage a rescue and return to Star City with a vendetta against the corrupt.
We'll have to wait and see. Arrow returns to The CW for the second half of Season 5 on Wednesday, February 1 at 8 p.m. ET.