It's Oliver's birthday, Chase is behind bars, Olicity has decided to slowly get back together and it seems like that Arrow
is in its happiest place since ... maybe forever. The only hang-up is that there are two episodes left in this season and in this penultimate installment of season, entitled "Missing," everything falls apart. Prometheus might be behind bars but his reach is long. With the help of Chase's dark counterpoint to Team Arrow nearly all of Oliver's allies are rounded up and captured. "Missing" is really just an episode long prologue for the finale but it is a strong start to what should be an amazing close to this terrific season.
An Exchange of Prisoners
The new recruits are quickly taken out and barely factor into this episode. This turns out to be the right move because while Rene and Dinah are awesome and Curtis has moved from terrific to slightly annoying, they aren't the most important people to Oliver. Arrow spends most of its time presenting the captures of Diggle, Felicity, Thea and Quentin. (The latter two are captured by Black Siren which leads to some nice scenes with Quentin but Arrow is clearly saving the meat of Siren's return for the finale.) Chase isn't doing this to torture Oliver, at least not solely. Chase wants to be freed from prison. If Oliver lets Chase out, in exchange Chase will free everyone his team kidnapped. However if Chase is moved to a more secure facility everyone will be killed.
Oliver isn't quite alone in facing this threat. Getting the news of Thea's capture Malcolm arrives and wants to do everything to save his daughter. As always if Malcolm isn't doing something sociopathic and evil he is yelling at Thea. Arrow has done this song and dance with Malcolm many times before but it works here. Malcolm was a delight on Legends of Tomorrow season 2 but he has been almost entirely missing in Arrow season 5. Malcolm suffered from some overexposure in seasons 3 and 4 but absence has made the heart go fonder. Malcolm being back and trading verbal blows with Oliver is a certain kind of magic ... just like that certain weird way John Barrowman pronounces "my daughter." Malcolm returning at this moment also gives Arrow a certain full circle feel. He was the show's very first villain and now Malcolm has become well, someone else, something else.
The partnership between Malcolm and Oliver is fun but can't outmatch Chase who is still ready for everything. Oliver is content to try to find a third way and not play Chase's game. Yet when Chase is about to be transferred Oliver gets a video call of his son William. William is terrfied, kidnapped and in trouble. It's hard to feel too emotional about this because while William is definitely an innocent he never graduated from plot device to character in season 4. Still as hard as it is to care about William being in danger, it is so easy to empathize with Oliver.
Stephen Amell absolutely knocks it out of the park when Oliver discovers that Chase has kidnapped his son. Amell has done great work all season but there is something particularly raw about him tapping into the love of a parent. Oliver finally breaks to Chase's demands to save his child. With Malcolm's help Oliver frees Chase from his prison guards. Chase flies away on the helicopter that was supposed to lock him telling Oliver that he will see him on the boat.
The present day storyline is a lot of set-up which involves a lot of movement but nothing substantial. The flashback story has even less going on as it is almost a clip show. Kovar injects Oliver with some poison that makes him relive every injury physical and mental as if it were brand new. It is a clever idea but not one with much punch as it is a lot of recycled clips of Amell crying out in pain or anguish. Tormented by these visions Oliver huddles in a cell on Lian Yu ready to kill himself. At the last second Oliver is visited by a vision of Laurel who tells him to keep fighting. Strengthened by Laurel's "ghost" (again) Oliver breaks out of the cell and gets ready for battle on Lian Yu.
Back to the Start
This ending of the flashback is inspiring for one reason only, it just won't be the only fight on the island in the season finale. In the final moments of "Missing" the show firmly establishes that both eras of Arrow will be focused in this one area. The season 5 finale is going to all being taking place on the island that birthed the Green Arrow. Prometheus, showing that he is nothing if not a total drama queen, takes all his prisoners (except presumably William) to Lian Yu for one final showdown.
Using Felicity's fancy tracking software Oliver discovers that is where Chase is heading. To prepare he gets his own little army together. Malcolm is already on board but Oliver calls Nyssa al Ghul to lend a hand. Those two being on board would be enough because not only is Nyssa every type of amazing but the shimmering hatred between Malcolm and her remains comedic gold. Oliver isn't done just yet.
Once on Lian Yu Oliver visits the secret ARGUS facility where Slade Wilson is being kept. Oliver throws the old Deathstroke dud in front of his former rival asks for his help. Slade, surprisingly, is very happy to see Oliver. All of these returns were spoiled weeks ago with casting announcements but it is nonetheless incredibly thrilling to see Oliver gather together a gang of past fan favorites to take on this newest threat. Even if a couple of them, Malcolm and Slade, can't be trusted as far Curtis could probably throw them, I can't wait see them fight again.
But what do you think? Are you ready for the season finale? Can Oliver trust Slade and Malcolm? Are you excited to see the new threat face the old ones? Did Oliver make the right move caving to Chase? Do you think someone will die in the finale, if so who? Sound off in the comments below!
season 5 finale airs Wednesday, May 24 at 8/7c on The CW. Want more news? Like our Arrow Facebook page!
(Image courtesy of The CW)