Missing – With Adrian Chase now behind bars, Team Arrow looks forward to some well earned rest. Yet when someone starts abducting his friends Oliver realizes that things are far from over as Chase’s end game sets in motion.
In some ways, this was a slow and plodding build-up episode but let’s face it: it could have been a train wreck and its end setup would still make everything worthwhile. It’s in keeping with ongoing season theme of going full circle back to season one and the characters lining up on each side now stand to by the greatest smack down in the show’s history (those final seconds alone sent me on an epic geek out). As to the present, although the story wanted for more pace, it did carry good themes and structure. When an episode tries to have the flashbacks mirror present day stories, it can be a hit & miss affair but I really liked the crossover theme of imprisonment and dynamics of power; Oliver, the captor in present and the prisoner in past. Both take the same approach of a captor trying to break their prisoner via different methods. Naturally, the Oli/Chase scenes shone the brightest because Chase’s bog defiant grin in face of aggression is simply delightful but the Oli/Kovar scenes proved their worth in Nostalgia. Although the effects of Kovar’s drug induce a severe slanted head and “seriously?”, Oliver’s pain induced flashbacks across the seasons were entertaining, along with the comeback appearance. I also liked the way the main story allowed Oliver to display defiance against Chase’s vilifying of him while still showing some humanity as his son becomes the breaking point.
A surprising reward this episode was the Black Siren/Quentin sub-plot. Firstly, Thea trying to rush explain multiverse doppelgangers to Quentin was hilarious to the point of satire against the more crazy features of the Arrowverse. Then there’s the emotional dynamic between the pair. Paul Blackthorne nails his initial reaction, getting across a lot of shock and pain in their surprisingly brief initial meeting only to be deepened further from Black Siren’s perspective as she’s revealed to care for Quentin, and part of Chase allegiance was contingent on keeping him safe. It’s been confirmed that Katie Cassidy will be regular cast member again in Season 6. That’s presumably as Black Siren and this looks to be the start of a redemption arc by hinting at lingering humanity inside her. It’s worth considering that we don’t know what happened to Earth 2 Quentin Lance. Quentin could have well had a tragic death in Earth 2 which contributed to Laurel taking the villain path. Then also consider that after her initial debut, Juliana Harkavy’s Dinah Drake has slipped into the background of the team, and it certainly has not felt like she’s taken on the Black Canary mantle. As Harkavy’s also back for Season 6, could it develop into a redeemed Laurel taking back the Canary title from Drake?
Ultimately, Arrow’s season long Queen Vs Chase chess game hasn’t come together the way it would have liked despite some stellar moves along the way, but it leaves this episode an such a tantalising check. From the trailer, it looks like several dream fights will be going down next week in a very fitting setting. Arrow has frequently been outshone by its CW brethren this year maybe it’s saved its best punch for last.