Arrow 5X23 “Lian Yu” REVIEW
So the Season 5 Finale of ‘Arrow’ ended with a BANG. Quite literally. We witnessed the end of Oliver Queen’s 5 years away with the flashbacks concluding in his escape from Constantine Kovar who had followed Oliver back to Lian Yu to torture him. Oliver then kills Kovar, manages to signal the boat that was scheduled to pass by and be “rescued” from the island. We even witness a touching moment as he calls his mother, Moira Queen, to inform her that he is alive and on his way home. It was great to see Susanna Thompson return to the scene and put a nice coda on Oliver’s “5 years in hell.”
Moira Queen wasn’t the only familiar face we saw in the finale. Manu Bennett returned to play Deathstroke (now free of the Mirakuru that turned him evil) & Nick E. Tarabay reprises his role of Digger Harkness who Oliver recruits to help him, Nyssa & Malcolm free his friends and beat Adrian Chase once and for all. The finale was breathless, exciting and seemed to shift effortlessly between flashback to present day even more so than past episodes. Whether this is due to the flashback sequences finally catching up to where the series first began or if it was just the nature of the action in this particular episode is anyone’s guess. Everything that this season had been hinting at or building up to finally came to a head. It was great seeing Oliver ally himself with his former enemies and rivals and we got some spectacular battles as a result including the NEW Black Canary (played flawlessly by Juliana Harkavy) VS Black Siren (an evil version of Laurel played by fan favorite Katie Cassidy) as well as a battle between Talia Al Ghul and Nyssa Al Ghul. The final battle between Team Arrow and Prometheus’ gang was excellently staged and climaxed with a showdown between Oliver & Chase as the latter attempts to escape on a boat with Oliver’s son, William.
Meanwhile, Felicity & Curtis have realized that Chase rigged the entire island to be blown up with plastique explosive charges set ALL OVER the island and if Chase dies, the bombs will go off. Oliver manages to wound Chase without killing him in order to save William but Chase is once again “ten moves ahead” and uses a hidden gun to kill himself. Oliver and William watch in horror from the boat as explosions rip across all of Lian Yu making it appear that none of Oliver’s friends could have possibly survived. The episode, like the one that preceded it, was pitch perfect and may very well be some of the finest comic book television that we’ve been treated to since ‘Arrow‘ kicked off this small screen DC Universe just a hair under 5 years ago. Obviously, we are left with questions about who will survive the events witnessed here as well as what, if anything, will take the place of the flashback sequences that have become a staple of this show? It seems like the adrenaline-fueled finale has somehow closed the book on the first volume of the story of Green Arrow and leaves us open to a bold new direction for the show and the characters’ storylines. The hard part now will be waiting to see how the show and the characters move forward from here in a way that we have yet to witness in the “Arrowverse” to date. Regardless, THIS is how you do a season finale! Bravo to the entire cast, crew and all of the writers. You all have surpassed yourselves and I, for one, can’t wait to see how you top this.