Original Air Date: May 17, 2017
Brianna – Managing Editor
This week’s Arrow began with a surprise birthday party and ended with the foundation set for the final battle in another solid hour.
The false sense of security that fell over most of the team after having Oliver take Chase in last week is relatively short-lived as Oliver’s concerns about what Chase has planned beyond capture find a basis as the team starts disappearing one by one, starting with Rene last week and Dinah at the top of the hour.
Happy Birthday, Oliver!
From Lance wishing him a happy birthday to the surprise party Felicity throws him, we got to see and acknowledge Oliver’s birthday for the first time in the show’s run. These few lighthearted moments were fun to watch as we saw parts of the team somewhat relaxed and celebrate the man that’s brought them together while giving Oliver a new happy memory with his friends and family.
The lead up to the surprise birthday and the moments immediately after got to showcase some of that growth from Oliver as they talk about the last birthday party Thea had, mentioning she feels she hasn’t really moved forward. He explains to his sister, “being happy doesn’t mean you don’t have issues. It just means that you’re working on them.” Oliver from a few years ago would have never made that observation, and it’s just one of the few examples we’ve seen over the last few episodes of how he’s really moving forward and working to leave the past behind him. It may still be a struggle as his conversation with Malcolm indicates, but there’s an effort.
Where Olicity Stands
After their open and honest conversation, while they were stuck in the bunker and last week’s moves towards that level of closeness they had before their break up, tonight’s Arrow confirmed that Olicity is back together and taking things slowly this time around. It was great to see that it wasn’t a big moment for the pair but rather their simple conversation during his party that made it clear as Felicity suggested they take things “one step at a time” and Oliver adorably mentioning “hypothetically dating my ex-fiancée.” There’s a hopefulness in the idea of one step at a time as Oliver and Felicity continue rebuilding their relationship.
Lance Can’t Catch a Break
If he’s not dealing with the return and loss of one daughter, he’s dealing with someone who looks like his other daughter who died; only she’s the evil doppelgänger from another Earth. That was a tough explanation to hear from Thea, though.
Chase’s Game Continues and The Island Makes a Return
Of course, with two episodes left, Chase’s game isn’t over as Oliver (correctly) guessed at the end of last week’s episode and the beginning of this episode. It doesn’t take long for Team Arrow to put together that Chase has friends in place to start abducting members of the team, one by one, starting with Rene and Dinah, followed by Curtis. It’s not long before Chase’s team Talia, Evelyn, and Black Siren, abduct Thea and Lance and Felicity and Diggle and whisk them away.
Oliver’s not on his own for so long though, as he finds Malcolm (literally) dropped in to help him get Thea and the others back. Their constantly contentious dynamic also gives Malcolm the very surprising chance to drop some useful advice: to embrace the personal connections after Oliver worries over his connections to those he loves.
Unfortunately for Oliver, there’s one person he was worried about and finally gets confirmation on a location…William, who we saw with Chase a few episodes back. He’s been taken, and Oliver’s on the hunt for answers starting with Chase. That moment he asks for his son was heartbreaking as he asks Adrian why “that’s my boy. He’s an innocent.” As with everything involving the crazed sociopath, his answer was simply to blame him for his wife’s involvement.
The hour ends with Oliver’s clue as to where everyone is…Lian Yu. Looks like he, Malcolm, and his first recruit Nyssa are heading the island where Chase and his team are ready for Oliver’s arrival.
Meanwhile in Flashback Land…
With Oliver in Kovar’s grasp, the flashback baddie wastes no time in his attempt to break Oliver completely. He gets some help from an interrogation drug called “Red Death” and begins to conjure up the most painful memories of Oliver’s past, mostly from his time on Lian Yu and featuring Shado’s final moments and hallucinations of Yao Fei trying to convince him to heartbreakingly end his life. He’s able to resist it to the point that he wants to survive and Oliver gets one step closer to putting on that gear Anatoly gave him and going home. But first, time to take Kovar down…
About THAT Return
You may have heard about it, seen behind the scenes photos, but you have to admit that the moment Oliver opens that ARGUS door and you hear that music cue the level of excitement ramped up. No matter your feelings about Slade Wilson, he was still Oliver’s first really big villain that tied to his story (we’re not counting Malcolm here because of of…well, he’s Malcolm). Adrian may have usurped the best villain title, but that history with Oliver still cements Slade in Arrow history.
- Lord Mesa’s shout out in the form of that birthday/renewal cake and the bakery was adorable and so great.
- Also, Oliver’s bit about buying socks with his “summer vacation” time was random but funny and somehow suited Oliver.
- “Mr. Merlyn, I assume you still have no title.” Nyssa’s opening line to Merlyn was FANTASTIC. One of the returns this episode that really got me excited to see it all build up towards the finale.
- Diggle and Felicity facing off against Talia and getting Isabel Rochev vibes from it was great despite getting a vastly different result this time around.
- The concept of instincts and intuition and maybe trusting them came up more than once throughout the hour. The way it’s framed makes me think that Chase didn’t anticipate organic moves rather, he forced Oliver and OTA into moves that would work out for him and his team.
- “Ms. Smoak.” Now, that sounded eerie and ominous coming from Adrian, right?
- And let us all take a moment to realize that for the first time in Arrow history, Star City will (most likely) remain unscathed in the month of May!
So, what did you think of the episode? Thoughts on Slade’s return? What about Oliver’s birthday party and the adorable moments of growth? Who else is excited to see Nyssa face off against Talia next week?