The Arrow season 5 finale was, at its core, ultimately a battle between good and evil. What made it so interesting was how often the lines blurred from start to finish.
For a prime example, all you have to do is look for a moment at the death of Malcolm Merlyn. Here you had a former villain, dying for the sake of sparing his daughter. Meanwhile, you also had Slade Wilson bobbing back in forth between various sides like a hot potato. At times, he looked like a traitor after Oliver broke him out of his brother. Meanwhile, at others he proved himself to be a valuable resource, given that everyone thought that they had his allegiance on lock. Having this sort of person lending you a helping hand is so valuable in situations like this, and the same of course went for Nyssa al Ghul. She got a chance to face off against her sister Talia, and that produced many a fantastic moment.
In general, the further the episode went, and the more action-packed and intense it became as the edit alternated seamlessly between Oliver vs. Kovar in the past and Oliver vs. Adrian Chase in the present. He made the choice in the past to kill Kovar, but in the present he wanted to make a different choice. He didn’t want to murder Prometheus, and with that, he didn’t. He left him a pile on the floor, even after Adrian refused to tell him the location of his son.
Then, this is where things started to emotionally boil over: Chase told him that William was dead. It was a last-ditch effort in order to ensure that Oliver would kill him, but that didn’t happen. Instead, the story became all about trying to stop Chase from leaving him on the island, which was rigged with explosives.
Did everyone leave?
In the past, we knew that Oliver would eventually escape Liam Yu after he was found by fishermen. (Nice cameo by Susanna Thompson, no? In the closing minutes, he gave Moira a phone call.) As for the present, a fight ensued between Chase and Oliver on the boat in order to find the location of William once and for all.
Well, here is the problem: William was ON THE BOAT. Chase put himself in a position where either he either saved William and killed everyone else, or saved everyone else and allowed William to die. Oliver went through door #3, wounding Chase enough to subdue him, but not enough to kill him.
Unfortunately, here is the problem: Chase killed himself, and the entire island went up in flames. THAT IS THE CLIFFHANGER.
The one issue that you can argue about at the moment when it comes to the final is simply that Oliver never should have trusted Slade and Digger Harkness at the start of the episode, even if the former proved to be an asset. What other option did he have?
The action and the storytelling in the finale were pretty darn great, but one thing that shouldn’t be overshadowed here was the performance of Stephen Amell, who killed it this episode just as he has the past couple of months of the season.
“Liam Yu” may have started with a ton of questions, but by the time it got going, it delivered the best Arrow finale to date. Grade: A.
What’s next for Arrow?
To take a look ahead at possible season 6 premiere dates, just be sure to visit the link here right now. (Photo: The CW.)