Arrow S05E23 “Lian Yu” Review

reviews, TV

“Lian Yu”

Warning Contains Spoilers

This was quite the explosive finale–quite literally the episode ended with a huge explosion! This was a solid finale, but not much was resolved. The season arc was, but the other relationships are up the air and I’m unsure where they are going with season six.

We finally have come full circle with the flashbacks; Oliver is on his way back home. Which I hope to mean that the flashbacks are officially over! There is a strong possibly that they will find a way to have more, but I sincerely hope this is not the case. They perfectly blended the past with the present–something they have executed well this season. Both take place on Lian Yu and both have Oliver fighting for survival. Oliver kills Kovar in the past which to me was rather anticlimactic. I’m also not totally convinced he’s actually dead–he’s come back to life before. Oliver makes it to that boat from the pilot episode and calls his mom to tell her he’s alive. I haven’t gotten emotional watching Arrow in a while, but this scene got me. She thought it was a prank call at first and when she realizes it’s him, she almost breaks. I love that he called his mom first before Lian Yu was even out of sight. He loves his mom, which made his desperation in working with Slade (who killed his mom) more evident.

Slade seems to have really atoned for his crimes. Being on this island with not much else to do but think has helped him become a whole new person. He’s back to the Slade that was Oliver’s friend all those years ago. He is given every chance to betray Oliver and work for Chase, but he doesn’t. He even refused to leave the island without Oliver and William. There isn’t an epic battle between Slade and Chase like I had hoped, but I’ll take he and Oliver’s newfound bromance! I don’t think we’ve seen the last of him–at least I hope not.

Quentin takes some major steps towards accepting Laurel’s death this week. First he calls Dinah the Black Canary instead of just Canary, finally letting Laurel’s legacy continue! Then he knocks out Black Siren in order to help the team escape. He didn’t even hesitate, so I know he accepts that she isn’t his Laurel and it’s time to keep going. I think Quentin is my favorite character on this show: he’s seen the most growth. I also relate to his character more than others, and I always want him to succeed. I know he won’t ever get over Laurel’s death, but he’s on the right track towards acceptance.

One of my favorite parts of the finale was the battle between the al Ghul sisters! They are both highly trained assassins, so it was amazing to watch them go at each other. There is so much history and resentment there, which made the fight that much better. You could tell that this was a long time coming. I was happy that Nyssa was being the one that won; she lost the most in their estrangement. Talia abandoned Nyssa and left her with a controlling father who never thought she was good enough. She also had to deal with his death all on her own. Nyssa is stronger because of what she’s gone through, but that doesn’t mean she didn’t need Talia.

Another family moment happens when Thea steps on a landmine, activating it. Malcolm quickly pushes her aside and takes her place. Maybe he isn’t a sociopath after all; he loves Thea and is willing to sacrifice himself to save her life. I think he legitimately feels awful for what he’s done to her. Thea doesn’t know how to feel after she hears the explosion and knows he’s gone. On one hand she hates him for what he’s put her through, but on the other hand he was her last living parent and she misses him. He makes the ultimate sacrifice to save her life and now she has to live with that. It’s understandable to feel the way she does. I don’t think he’s actually gone though, but we’ll see. Everyone could be gone for all we know.

So the whole time Oliver’s mission was to find his son. Every step he keeps finding more members of his team, but no William. Chase has made it his life’s mission to ruin Oliver any way he can and that meant breaking him and making him lose everyone he cares about. He has everything planned out and is always ten steps ahead of Oliver no matter what he does. Chase has rigged the entire island with dynamite and will detonate when he dies. So Oliver can’t kill him. Chase eventually forces Oliver to make a choice between saving his son and saving his friends and Oliver chooses his son. The three of them end up on a boat sailing in the same waters that Oliver’s father sacrificed himself in. These are also now the waters where Chase kills himself and leaves Oliver to watch the island of Lian Yu explode apparently killing everyone he loves with it. Oliver watches the island fade from sight in the past, just as he watches the island fade from existence in the present.

I would praise Arrow if they just killed everyone and made Oliver start completely from scratch in season six, but Arrow is so low stakes it won’t happen. So this is where I don’t know where they are going with season six. I really hope it doesn’t end up being five more seasons of flashbacks of what happened on this island after the explosion. I am done with the flashbacks if you can’t tell.

I feel like Chase actually won this battle. Sure he died, but his death caused so much destruction and is going to affect season six– and probably the rest of the series. He accomplished what he’s been trying to do all season: ruin Oliver. I have to hand it to him, no other villain has been able to match Oliver the way he has, since Slade! Oliver didn’t actually defeat him; every single thing was a part of his grand plan, including his suicide. I enjoyed him as a villain this season, I just still wish it was someone actually from Oliver’s past that we, the audience, knew.

This finale wasn’t the best; it was exciting and I really loved how parallel the past and the present became, but it was very rushed and left too many questions and not enough wrap up. This season was such a return to form and I really hope season six can continue this way. I actually found myself enjoying Arrow again! Season two is still my favorite, but season five sure made up for the mistakes of season three and four.

Who do you think died after the island exploded? I know it’s none of the Canaries because they are both signed on as series regulars for season six. My money’s on Thea, but I honestly hope it’s Felicity so they can stop Olicity in its tracks. They are getting back together if she doesn’t die, and I just can’t handle that.

Goodbye Lian Yu! On to season six!

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