Original Air Date: May 24, 2017
Brianna – Managing Editor
And just like that, Arrow’s come full-circle in a sense.
The Arrow season five finale closed out a very important part of Oliver’s story in a way that showed the growth in an hour that had amazing emotional scenes, solid fight sequences, and a shocking final scene that leaves so many questions about what happens next.
“Lian Yu” felt like the culmination of everything that’s happened this season, especially during 5b, to get Oliver to this point where he can confront Chase without his past weighing so heavily on him.
Oliver and The Rescue Team
With Malcolm and Nyssa on board, Oliver still has two more to recruit to his rescue team: Slade and Digger Harkness. Though Harkness was a very odd choice, it makes sense later as he double crosses them why he needed to be there to set things in motion. It was Slade’s mirakuru-less presence that initially threw me off. We got a Slade that was the antithesis of how we saw him last (as he was hunting the Queen siblings on the island) that some of the time was spent waiting to see when he would double cross, Oliver. Turned out though, that not only was he just as confused about Oliver asking him for help but his grasp on what Oliver has been going through for the last decade allowed him to drop some helpful pearls of wisdom about working through the survivor’s guilt he’s held onto for so long.
As this is all happening, Oliver finds that his family (both found and blood) are split up into three groups. He first finds Felicity, Thea, Samantha, and Curtis in cages. Even with Harkness double-crossing him, he and his rescue team managed to free them after trapping Evelyn –who is beyond redemption at this point considering how she helped torture Oliver—in one of the cages and seeing Talia has escaped.
Emotional Moments Between the Action
The finale did a solid job of balancing the fighting and action with some important and emotional character moments for many, from Oliver and Felicity and Malcolm and Thea to Felicity and Samantha. Seeing Oliver and Felicity have a brief moment before he went after Chase to find the others and his son was sweet as she kisses him and explains she doesn’t want to have any regrets about the two of them. He tells her that they’ll work it out once they get off of Lian Yu, which given the final scene adds another layer to their moment.
Malcolm’s moment comes after Thea steps on a landmine. His sacrifice comes after years of terrorizing not only Oliver and the team, but making his daughter’s life miserable and seemingly forgetting that Tommy existed after his death. In his attempt to atone and to protect Thea, he steps in her place and explains why he’s doing it. John Barrowman is great but seeing Malcolm gone felt like a relief and a closing of another chapter of the story Arrow’s been telling.
The effect that moment has on Thea leads to another touching moment between her and Felicity as Felicity comforts her and explains how she can relate to the complicated emotions Thea has for Malcolm considering she’s dealt with a father sort of like him. It’s too rare that we get to see these two interact like this. Hopefully, we get more next season.
Aside from Thea and Felicity, Felicity also got interact with someone she’s only ever spoken to once before…Samantha. Felicity and Samantha’s conversation, no matter how quick of a conversation it was offered another opportunity to talk about why the break up happened while also giving Felicity’s point of view about sending William away.
One other big emotional moment is the perfect lead up to the action and happens just as Oliver finds Rene, Dinah, Digg, and Lance in the monastery as they go up against Chase’s team. As Oliver hands Curtis’ new tech to Dinah to help break them out, Lance makes an important proclamation that has been about dozen episodes in the making. He corrects Rene, “actually, it’s Black Canary.” Quentin saying it meant so much at that moment. We’ve seen over the span of 12 episodes how she’s not only earned the mantle but made it her own, that it was lovely to see her take it on in such a way and just before she went up against Black Siren and takes her down (with an assist from Lance).
The Flashbacks Come Full Circle
It’s a race against time to get to the boat that Anatoly set up in the flashbacks as the story comes full circle. Oliver has to face against Kovar for the last time, and it was entertaining to see the fight, considering he was fighting Dolph Lundgren. The way that the flashback fight scene cut into the present-day fight scene was great and felt reminiscent of how they shot and put together the fight scene from the midseason finale when Oliver first went up against who he thought was Prometheus.
The final moments of the flashbacks are essentially the opening scene from the pilot as we see him running towards the bag of supplies in an attempt to light the fire and get on the boat. Once on the boat, we get what we didn’t see in the pilot: Oliver’s phone call to his mother as he tells her that he’s alive, his father is not, and that he’s heading home. It was a wonderfully emotional moment that brought Susanna Thompson back adding another layer to Oliver’s return in the pilot. It was heartbreaking to hear Oliver plead with his mother not to hang up. Stephen Amell did an amazing job throughout the hour with the emotional moments in both the flashback and present.
The Search For William, All of That Growth, and Chase’s Last Stand
Meanwhile back in the present, with all of his friends and family found there was still the matter of looking for his son. Those moments when he was closest to finding William were some of the biggest examples of how much Oliver really has grown since his return from the island. Those times were also when he was closest to Chase as he tried to get Oliver to kill him multiple times and at one point even in front of part of the team, going so far as telling him that his son was dead. In that heart-stopping moment, you wonder if the show is willing to get that dark but offers a perfect opportunity for Oliver to showcase how far he’s come as he tells him he will never be that man he wants him to be. He accepts that the side of him that would have risen to the occasion is in the past and that’s not who he is today. The highlight though is when Oliver tells Adrian “you can blame me for your father’s death for the rest of your life. But I am done blaming myself for mine.” Look at that growth! It’s a wonderful thing, and something Oliver needed heading into his final fight against Chase.
And at that moment, Chase’s “I’ll see you on the boat” comment in the last episode makes very twisted sense as Oliver ends up on Chase’s boat to get answers about where his son was. He soon got his answer as he brings out William and in yet another agonizing choice Oliver has been given in the last ten years, he is forced to choose between his friends back on the island and his son. It was heartbreaking to see Oliver try to figure out how he was going to choose. Oliver thinks he wins by shooting Adrian in the leg and manages to have William with him. Of course, it’s not that simple, and Adrian makes a choice for him as he shoots himself right in front of him. With the dead man’s switch activated, in the background we see Lian Yu blown up…presumably with Oliver’s family trapped on the island.
It’s safe to say that Adrian was steps ahead until the very end and never actually intended to get out of this alive. Josh Segarra played Adrian Chase/Prometheus wonderfully from the moment we met him to his reveal and his attempts to break Oliver down. There was something about how he played him and how he interacted with the team that definitely makes him the best villain the show has had.
And that’s how we’ll be heading into the next five months of hiatus. It’s gonna be a long one, people.
What did you think of the Arrow finale? How about that final scene? Do you think we’ll be getting our customary five-month time jump or will we be kicking off right after the explosions? Where does this go for those on the island? Does everyone survive? How does one blow up an island? And do we get to keep seeing Oliver with William?