Arrow Season 5 Episode 22 – TV Review
It’s time to break out returning characters to save a dismal back half of the season.
But damn, they know how to get me.
TL;DR Adrian and his squad kidnap literally everyone except Oliver, so Oliver unites with Malcolm, Nyssa, and Slade motherfuckin’ Wilson to mount a rescue mission; including to save William; Adrian marshalls his forces on Lian Yu for the final boss battle; flashbacks show Kovar torturing Oliver ineffectively.
But he does get shirtless. Which is a nice bone to throw us for having to sit through a sequence of events so pointless.
So Adrian’s locked up, but shocker, his plans are still in motion. The team first notices Tina and Wild Dog are missing (explaining Wild Dog’s failure to appear at his custody hearing last episode), and then Curtis is spirited away. Oliver puts Thea and Quentin into an ARGUS safe house, but Black Siren, having been jailbroken by Adrian’s goons, abducts them (although, apparently under duress). Artemis is also in on the fun, as is an offscreen Talia. Oliver tries to also send Felicity and Diggle to safety, but they, too, are captured as a result of Diggle’s poor driving skills. Out of allies, Oliver is forced to accept assistance from Malcolm Merlyn, who, as per usual, won’t shut up about saving Thea. And he also summons Nyssa, presumably so Talia will have a gender-appropriate opponent for the final boss battle. The unlikely trio flies to Lian Yu, where Adrian and his minions have everyone, including William, hostage. But Adrian “ten steps ahead” Chase evidently didn’t know about Sealed Evil in a Can Slade Wilson’s island home. But Oliver does. And in the flashbacks, Kovar uses some bogus drug to try to torture Oliver into suicide. He feels a bunch of past injuries and stuff, and a vision of Yao Fei berates him. But a vision of Laurel compels him not to give up. Oh, and Olicity is apparently back on the table.
The ship that just won’t sink. I’m grudgingly impressed.
So not a lot actually happens in this episode. We spend a lot of time just counting down the abductions, while Oliver is faced with moral quandary of whether or not to help Adrian escape custody to ensure they’re not all murdered.
It’s just that, at five seasons in, and with Season 6 already greenlit, there’s not a lot of tension. Especially because there’s no way the show would blow its load on a main cast death before the actual finale.
Assuming Arrow would have the confidence to kill a main character with any semblance of permanence.
Which would be an incorrect assumption.
Why I hate this episode:
The only major cast whose deaths would be meaningful are Thea, Diggle, Felicity, and Quentin. Quentin needs to stick around to have subplots with Black Siren next season, so he’s safe; Felicity is literally God in the Arrow writers’ room, so she’s safe; and Thea is Oliver’s last remaining family (William, until now, has been too superfluous to count), so she’s good. The only one in any real danger is Diggle. But I don’t believe Arrow is brave enough to kill him, either. So who cares?
Moving onto minor characters, Tina needs to stick around to have subplots with Black Siren next season; Curtis is Mini Felicity, so he’s safe; and Wild Dog needs to conclude his custody arc. So that really only leaves the “returning for these last two episodes only” characters like Malcolm (God, please) and Nyssa etc on the chopping block. And that’s pretty weak.
Speaking of weak, what the hell happened with Diggle’s driving stunt? A goon of Talia’s slashes at the car he’s driving in with Felicity, and he proceeds to drive straight onto a stunt ramp? Is he not the famous Black Driver? Be better at driving, Diggle. Gosh.
I was not excited for Malcolm’s return. He insufferably continues his endless, seasons-spanning spiel about how he’ll do anything to keep Thea safe. Christ, we get it, man. Shut up.
The flashbacks are more water treading. Kovar spruiks the drug he gives Oliver as making anyone who takes it kill themselves within twelve minutes. Naturally, Oliver is pulled from his funk by a bullshit vision of Laurel. Don’t oversell your wares, Dolph.
Despite my hopes that Olicity had finally been buried a couple of episodes ago, this week it is explicitly put back on the table by Oliver and Felicity. Can you fucking not? I’d take another round with Bitch Reporter than to deal with this again. It didn’t work. You spent nearly two seasons on it, and it didn’t work. Let it go.
Oh, and to prove I’m an equal opportunity de-shipper, I have reconsidered how interested I am in Oliver hooking up with Black Siren. She’s not Laurel. She’s a murderous, bitch imitation of her. And I think it would be kind of rude for Oliver to make things work with a lesser clone. We’ll see.
But it’s not all bad:
In Arrow’s early defence, Black Siren’s scenes this episode are only to do with her latent sympathy for Quentin, and how she’s only assisting Adrian out of desperation. Quentin’s subplots about his relationships with his daughters have always yielded results, so maybe this could be the right way to go.
And can you imagine if Black Siren defects from Adrian during the final battle? It’d be so hot. Because she is so hot.
Oliver’s not doing too badly with his own ragtag team, though. As insufferable as Malcolm is, he’s typically adept at combat. So he’ll come in handy. And I’d have Nyssa on my team over that dickhead Talia any day.
But let’s not bury the lead: Deathstroke’s back. If I’d want anyone on my side for a team knife fight, it’s Slade Wilson. Adrian may be pretty, but he’s not the shredded Aussie beef that Slade is. I don’t think Prometheus is gonna make it out of this one alive.
And I know it wasn’t in the episode, but Captain Boomerang, fellow Lian Yu ARGUS prison resident, is also let out to play. Cool.
Oh, and the flashbacks may be pointless, but they are also shirtless.