Arrow "S5E23 Lian Yu" - Review: Arrow ends with a bang!

Arrow "S5E23 Lian Yu" - Review: Arrow ends with a bang!
9 out of 10

Lian Yu – With the help of his unlikely allies, Oliver faces his final showdown with Prometheus on the island but is Chase still 10 steps ahead? While in the flashbacks Oliver faces off against a Kovar trying to make him miss Anatolia’s rescue boat back home.

Talk about a full circle throw down. Nyssa Vs Talia, Laurel Lance Vs Dinah Drake and the whole thing taking place back where it all started on the island of Lian Yu. While the fights of the episode were good they were merely an enabling tool to the mountains of series nostalgia on display that made this a standout episode. At the centre of it all was Manu the man machine Bennett returning as Deathstroke. While opening scene (picking up from last episode) pledging him as reformed as remorseful raised a few alarm bells this in fact gave us something better than a Deathstroke comeback... it gave us Slade Wilson. This episode rekindled the Oliver/Slade chemistry of season one as pair talk of their guilt and regrets it reminds just how much we’ve missed side of their interactions; “You and me kid.... like old times”. Yet this Slade was still very much Deathtroke. Not only masked and offing henchmen in a slick fashion but the way the episode teased towards his former villain status for notions over treachery. It played excellent against the audience expectations for the character. While some may argue these are predictable, nothing was overly drawn out so this has minimal effect. While Manu is still a busy Bennett, hopefully following this successful return we will see again in season 6.

As for the story and plot itself, while at points suffered from typical finale anti-claimax syndrome (the big fights are never as big as we imagined them), it is a well constructed affair with Arian Chase as the island ring master. This was the master plan of a master planner and it genuinely felt like that as Chase pulls out several diabolical twists all designed to torment Oliver to the point of breaking. While the flashback scenes were almost entirely action based they were well weaved in for transitional sequences as Oli goes Rambo on the flashback Russians in the jungle while present day characters are walking through it. The mirroring of the Chase & Kovar fights was also better than some of Arrow’s previous finales. Showing Oliver making the kill in the past reinforced idea of his character change that has his focus throughout the season. Yet the flashbacks biggest service is finally taking a bow as their story finally meets Oli’s rescue back in episode one. While they have delivered some great stories in the past (like the aforementioned Slade & Oli connection) it’s fair to say they’ve outworn their welcome and the show will better off without their regular presence.

I’ve always loved Arrow as a show but it’s fair to rank it as the bottom CW DC show this season. That’s not to say that Arrow has had a bad year, better than its last 2 in fact but its peers (Legends and Supergirl especially) have just stepped up their game. Thankfully the show does bow out on a high with such a great finale. It even leaves on a rather shocking end note. While the obvious seems too implausible to be true there will be certainly be some consequences and goodbyes to come. Season 6 already looks like it will be a big shake up season for the show. For now though Arrow fans, take a well earned summer break.... an island getaway maybe?

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