So now, as we are finally at the end of the season, I can say with some clarity that ‘Arrow’ finally did what it set out to accomplish this year. The show brought itself back to its gritty roots, recaptured some of the magic of Seasons 1 and 2, and definitely fixed a lot of the issues that were plaguing it during Seasons 3 and 4. Was this a perfect season? I’d say not, plenty of missteps in there, same goes for this finale, but what they did right they did very well, and was a fun ride to watch, and that is all that counts when it comes to a superhero show.
The finale starts, justifiably, right where the last episode left off, with Oliver speaking to Slade Wilson, who we learn very quickly is no longer insane, as apparently the Mirakuru has finally left his system (Did we know it could do that? No. Do we care how convenient a plot point this is? Not really I suppose…) As such, Oliver now trusts the man again, especially when he offers Slade a deal, help him track down his son (who we happened to have met in ‘Legends of Tomorrow’ last season) in exchange for Slade helping Oliver save his son and his friends from Prometheus. Deathstroke accepts, and Oliver’s merry band of former villains is complete, even with bonus villain Captain Boomerang, who Oliver has no reason to trust, and we all suspect will betray the group. So Oliver, Slade, Merlyn, Nyssa, and Boomerang all regroup near their plane, just in time to watch Chase’s forces shoot an RPG and destroy the vehicle, stranding them on the island. So the dark Quiver Crew goes hunting, with Merlyn and Nyssa splitting off while Oliver, Slade, and Boomerang pretty quickly stumble on the first trap, which has Felicity, Thea, Curtis and Samantha in cages, unguarded. Everyone knows it is a trap, but it doesn’t matter because Oliver is there to save his friends. Talia and Evelyn spring out pretty quickly, joined by Boomerang (SHOCKER!) who revealed he had already made a deal with Chase, but luckily Slade and Oliver do not go down easily, and they are quickly joined by Nyssa and Merlyn who send Talia and Boomerang fleeing, but leave Evelyn behind, where she is locked in a cage by Team Arrow. With the ladies and Curtis now free, Oliver sends Merlyn with them to find Chase’s plane and get off the island, but not before Thea has words with him about trusting Slade and Merlyn, the men who made them orphans, and Felicity gives Oliver a kiss, saying she did not want to regret not doing that before this was all over.
On the way to the plane Merlyn and Thea have a moment, with Merlyn trying to express that no matter what, he is still her father and still loves her, though Thea will have none of it. Meanwhile, Felicity and Samantha speak briefly about William and Samantha’s ultimatum from last season which led to the break-up of Olicity, but Felicity kindly tells her the split was about more than just William and Samantha. Thea is so heated in her conversation with Malcolm that she does not spot a landmine on the ground and steps on it, and everyone knows if she moves she will set it off, a fact that weighs especially heavy on Merlyn, who tells her to move so he can take her place. She refuses, so Malcolm simply knocks her out of the way, saving her and telling the group to flee as Boomerang and more of Chase’s soldiers are fast approaching. Sadly, Thea leaves with the group, and Malcolm faces Boomerang alone, the villain wondering why Merlyn has left himself so exposed. In his final words in the Arrowverse, Merlyn states “Let me show you” and sets off the landmine, taking out himself, Boomerang, and the soldiers in pursuit of his daughter and her friends, making a noble and heroic sacrifice to end his life, showing Thea the kind of father he always wanted to be.
Oliver and Company track Talia to a temple on the island, where Nyssa makes it clear she still does not trust Slade, though Oliver repeatedly tells her he does. They split up to cover more ground and Slade immediately takes down Oliver and presents him to the Black Siren, who is apparently now Chase’s 2nd in command and running the show when he is not around. Oliver is reunited with Diggle, Quentin, Dinah (whose Canary cry has been rendered mute by a sonic dampening device), and Rene, and once they are alone, he reveals a new gadget which will allow Dinah to use her power (and focus it better apparently) even with a sonic dampener around. Dinah then uses her power to break them all out of their chains, and they begin the search for William, just as Nyssa finds Talia, and they begin to duel, after sharing words about their messed up childhoods under Ras al Ghul, with Nyssa pissed that her older sister left her there to suffer with their father, while Talia cannot understand how Nyssa has sided with the man who killed their father. They battle, but pretty quickly Deathstroke enters and knocks out Talia, which annoys Nyssa. We learn Slade’s “betrayal” was all part of the plan to get Oliver close to Dinah.
The team reconvenes just as Chase himself shows up, and we get to hear the Prometheus theme one last time this season. A massive battle ensues (probably the best multi-hero battle of the season, counting the cross-over), and we get to see everyone kick ass. One of the highlights of course being the Black Siren versus Black Canary battle (oh, and she is the Black Canary now, Quentin officially dubbed her with that name in this week’s episode in a touching moment), where they manage to knock each other down with their canary cries, and while Black Siren recovers first, mocking Dinah for thinking she could replace Laurel on the team, the Black Siren is quickly knocked out by Quentin who claims he really, really needed to hurt her (poor guy probably has a whole mixed bag of emotions for the evil doppelganger of his daughter). Oliver pretty handily beats Chase, repeatedly demanding to know where William is, but Chase will not tell him, demanding that Oliver kill him instead, which Oliver will not do.
Meanwhile, at the plane, Felicity and Company console Thea over the loss of her father, and while doing that discover that the island has been seeded with thousands of bombs, all wired together, which Curtis and Felicity immediately start investigating and trying to contact Oliver to warn him about. Back at the temple, with all the other battles won, the rest of Team Arrow watches Oliver grapple with Chase, who refuses to give up William’s location, and then, ends up telling Oliver that William is dead, his final play to force Oliver to kill him. Though it takes a herculean effort, Oliver tells Chase yet again that he is not that man anymore, and will not be killing Chase. Furthermore, he does not believe Chase killed William. Luckily, just at that moment Felicity gets through on comms and warns Oliver about the bombs and their new discovery that there is a dead man switch, meaning if Chase dies, all the bombs on the island will go off, killing everybody. Chase escapes, Oliver sends everyone else back to the plane to get off the bomb-infested island, and he gives chase through the forest to finally end the threat of Prometheus and save his son.
In tonight’s flashbacks, Kovar discovers Oliver’s escape from the prison and sends his men out to kill him, but Oliver is too cunning on Lian Yu to be taken down that easily, and handily takes out all of Kovar’s men, equipping himself with one of their guns just in time, because Kovar himself then comes after Oliver in a helicopter, trying to shoot Oliver with its built in machine guns, but Oliver ends up shooting down the chopper instead. When he investigates the crash he finds Kovar, who says all he really needs to do is stall Oliver and make him miss Anatoli’s boat, and then Oliver would be trapped on Lian Yu forever. So they battle, which is intercut with Oliver’s battle with Chase in the temple making for a very thrilling fight scene, and over the course of the battle we see the rest of Oliver’s unexplained burns, scars and cuts be handed to him by Kovar, with the fight ending with Oliver snapping Kovar’s neck, just as his watch alerts him that the fishing boat should be arriving at the island. Oliver races through the jungle to get to the beach, which is intercut with him racing across the island to find Chase and William (also at the beach), and along the way flashback Oliver stops to find the KGB disguise pack, mounting an even worse wig and fake beard, and worn and torn clothing that would make it appear that he was on the island for 5 years. After dirtying himself up, he makes it to the beach, and shoots the flaming arrow into the signal fire (same as we saw in the pilot), alerting the fishing boat of his presence. Later, we see him on the boat make his first, poignant phone call home, where we get a welcome appearance of Moira Queen in the episode, reliving those touching moments when she first learned her son was alive after all of those years. Despite the familiarity of everything occurring, it still felt very heartfelt, and the closing of the flashbacks circle felt very rewarding, at least to me.
Back to the present, on the island, Oliver catches up to Chase at the dock, where the villain tries to escape on his boat but Oliver manages to jump onboard just in time. After another brief scuffle, Chase pulls out William and holds him at gunpoint, and we finally hit the heart of Prometheus’s plan. He informs Oliver that his friends cannot escape on the plane (a fact confirmed when Felicity and company discover the sabotage to the plane), though Oliver tells them to get to the ARGUS dock on the other side of the island to escape, as Slade knows where it is. So with William being threatened, Oliver has a choice, let his son die and save his friends on the island, or kill Chase, save William, but doom everyone on Lian Yu. Oliver cannot decide (and William is beyond useless. I guess he did not inherit the hero gene), but he slowly lowers the bow, almost making me think he was giving up William’s life, but at the last minute he looses his bow and shoots Chase in the leg, the impact freeing William and allowing Oliver to save the day. Sadly, Chase cannot abide a loss, and needs to see Oliver suffer, so he takes his gun, and after assuring Oliver that at least he and William will have each other, Chase puts a bullet in his brain, ending his own life. And behind Oliver, Lian Yu is engulfed in hundreds and hundreds of explosions, leaving the fate of everyone left behind a HUGE cliffhanger.
- Anyone else worried that Manu Bennet was only in that first scene and the rest of the episode was some other guy wearing the mask with Bennet doing voice-over work? I definitely was, did not feel like Deathstroke walked quite the way Bennet did half the time, I was really happy every time he took off the mask which confirmed Manu Bennet really was there.
- So, if I’ve got the timeline right, it took the Mirakuru about 8 years to wear off? That seems like a really weird number
- I know John Barrowman has stated on social media that Malcolm Merlyn is officially dead, but does that mean he will never return? We still have alternate earths and time-travel, and the Arrowverse just seems so much darker knowing that we may never see that man on-screen again.
- Did William know Oliver was his father before this episode? Did the kid know Oliver was the Green Arrow? Felt like a lot of reactions were skipped in favor of fast pacing… (same goes for Samantha knowing Oliver was the Green Arrow)
- So, real talk, I doubt anyone big will die from the explosions, especially since they have already released the cast for season 6 and a synopsis, but I still like the idea of a cliffhanger leaving some possible deaths on the table.
Again, not the best finale the show has ever done, but it is up there, vastly superior to seasons 3 and 4 at least. This season has been a pleasure to watch and recap (aside from the occasional misfires like that political episode about gun rights, no pun intended), and I sincerely hope they manage to bring a lot of the creative energy that worked well this season into the next. It will be fascinating to see the show transition to an entirely flash-back less format, and I hope it frees up more time for character development and story in the present. Thanks for reading this season, and I hope to see you back here in the fall when I pick up the recaps for ‘Arrow’ season 6!
Nick is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles, who belongs to the privileged few who enjoyed the ending to ‘Lost.’ For more of Nick’s thoughts and articles, follow him on Twitter (@starfro67)