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From our first look at Prometheus in the Season 5 premiere to the explosive finale on the island, Arrow has regained its footing and once again reigns supreme in the Arrowverse. Every aspect of the show has returned to form. The story beats, the characters, the emotion, the fight choreography, it was all there, and this episode spared no limits on making sure it was showing off its best. “Lian Yu” was one of Arrow’s best offerings to date and certainly the best season finale the show has ever aired.
Legacy. It’s this season’s theme that tied every aspect of the show together. The flashbacks have chronicled Oliver’s five-year journey before his return home and it all came to a beautiful end in the finale. Last week we got to reminisce about all the hardships Oliver went through, but this episode gave us that sweet end we’ve been waiting to see since the show began. We got a great fight with Kovar, answers to the specifics of his rescue, and an emotional conclusion. Specifically, the scene where Oliver makes first contact with Moira over the phone; a scene both Susanna Thompson and Stephen Amell nailed. A fitting final scene that tied the past with the present.
But the flashbacks served as more than just a great way to wrap up a staple of the show. This entire season saw Adrian Chase telling Oliver he is still the killer he became during his time on the island. The moment after the big fight where Oliver gets Chase into a choke hold perfectly represented Oliver’s evolution over the season. While we watch Oliver choose to spare Chase, scenes from the flashbacks are woven in showing Oliver do just the opposite to Kovar. He’s learned his lesson. He won’t be defined by his past, and that includes not blaming himself for his own father’s death. He keeps this mentality even through the end where Chase puts him through more madness on the boat.
I have to mention the many references and parallels to past events and flashbacks. The biggest one was definitely the final scene. We began the show with a father and his son on a boat and someone pulls the trigger to “save” the other. Now it happened again in the present. So cool!
Let’s get into those fight scenes. Whether it was the brawl outside the cages or the huge fight inside the old monastery, the choreography was completely on point. Everything was action packed and the tension was definitely there. It was also a huge breath of fresh air to see all these fights on the island. We need more Green Arrow in the daylight! Different character match-ups were another plus. Talia against Nyssa has been a fight we’ve all been waiting for, and the same goes for duel between the two sonic screamers, Dinah and Black Siren. Everyone got a shot of the action, including Diggle and Rene who resorted to hand to hand combat.
You know it’s a great episode when the return of Deathstroke isn’t highlighted until the end of the review. The Mirakuru has worn off and Slade is back to being that island ally Oliver knew from the first two seasons. The dynamic between the two hasn’t changed and it screams for more opportunities like this for next season. His story about being tied to his past also helps get Oliver where he needs to be at the end of the episode. It’s funny, the first two seasons are typically regarded as the show’s best, so of course he shows up to wrap up the excellent fifth season.
Besides being an overall fantastic episode of Arrow, the season finale gives a lot to look forward to in the coming season. Yes, it ended on a cliffhanger, but it was done in a way that gave finality to the story of the season. We’re left on the island where all the characters who aren’t Oliver and his son are put in peril as the island is starting to explode. Who will survive? Will a good chunk of the next season take place on the island? How will Slade and Black Siren factor into this? Samantha is still there, as is Evelyn, hanging out in that cage. Lots to look forward to!
Arrow is back. This entire season proved that. The season finale gave a beautiful end to the flashbacks while tying together Oliver’s story from the last five years. Arrow managed to not only top all the previous series finales, but it also gave us one of its best episodes to date.