Dean Buscher / The CW

Arrow Brings It Full Circle For The Season Finale

Oliver brings the whole cast to the island where it all began, for an explosive end to the season.

It's the season finale! And it's the fifth-season finale, which means that, for the first time in a long time, I was as interested in the flashbacks as in the present-day story! The flashbacks finally catch up to the beginning of the events of the TV series, so there isn't a lot of drama about whether Oliver will defeat Dolph Lundren and escape. We already got answers to the important questions: turns out he was wearing a wig and fake beard in character, which explains any continuity problems. But there's such a sense of closure to see the stories finally link up like this.

In the main story, Oliver surrounds himself with classic foes like Malcolm Merlyn and Slade Wilson. And also Captain Boomerang, who was standing there like everybody knew who he was just because he had an Australian accent. I guess he was in the secret island prison this whole time? I don't remember. Or, frankly, care.

There are conversations littered with land mines both metaphorical and literal. (...Okay, there's only one actual land mine involved, but that's still more than usual.) Everybody spends a lot of time talking about fathers in this episode. Nyssa and Talia, being sisters, have some excuse. And they make sure to address each other as "Sister" a lot to explain it. Thea gets to explain to Malcolm why she doesn't consider him her father, but then she has to deal with him (probably) sacrificing himself on that land mine I just mentioned.

I liked this episode a lot. Manu Bennett is still great as Slade Wilson, and it was fun seeing the Deathstroke mask again. But an episode set entirely on the island is probably going to be a little unusual. So, for the fifth-season finale, we have to ask: how Arrow-y was this Arrow?

Arrow-ish Element Present?
Trick Arrow Although the island is full of expert archers, nobody bothers with any fancy ammunition. There's one moment where Oliver deflects someone else's arrow in flight by throwing a knife at it, but that's more of a trick knife if anything.
Oliver Queen: A Jerk There's some yelling and a few times he won't listen to his associates, but a season finale comes with a lot of stress. Oliver mostly does a really good job of keeping his temper while dealing with a supervillain who was threatening to kill his child.
Comic book reference Technically there are a lot of references, but they're all to things that have already happened on the show. So when people say things like "I heard you gave up the ring of the Demon's head," it's not as comic-booky as it would normally appear.
Someone walks into the Arrowlair without warning Technically, this could have happened without the audience knowing about it. But since the entire episode takes place on Lian Yu, the Arrowlair never enters into things. So we don't know who could have entered into it when no one else is there.
Flashback scenes mirror the present day Since the flashbacks and the present-day storyline are happening in the same location, there are plenty of similarities. Obviously, there are things like Oliver running through the woods, or holding villains in headlocks. But how about Flashback Oliver saying goodbye to the island, followed by Modern Oliver seeing the island actually blow up? Say goodbye to it for real, Oliver.
Things get gory Not really. Chase gets beat up pretty badly, but he's always healthy enough to lead Oliver to the next location. The entire supporting cast may have been killed (I'll bet you five dollars they weren't), but that's offscreen.
The Only Hospital Room In Town No Star City, no hospital room.
Someone gets kidnapped In the interest of bumping up the Arrow-meter a little, I'm going to grade generously on this one. Slade turns Oliver over to Chase's men, and that's kind of like being kidnapped. Even if it is a trick and Oliver was only "kidnapped" for about three minutes.
Someone goes shirtless You're telling me that with ten thousand guest stars, no one could be bothered to pop off a shirt? That's just laziness.
2 / 9
Final Score
Season-Ending Spectacular
Readers liked this episode
What did you think?


Explore the Arrow forum or add a comment below.