Arrow's Fifth Season Went Out With a Bang

Image: CW
Image: CW

Last night’s Arrow season finale finally brought Ollie’s battle with Adrian Chase to a close. It also said goodbye to the flashback story the show’s been telling for five years, brought back as many characters as it could, and then... well, it wiped the slate clean in the most ridiculous of ways.

Illustration for article titled Arrow's Fifth Season Went Out With a Bang

You know, I must say, I was skeptical of the Arrow crew hauling back as many characters as it could for its finale. But I have to admire the boldness with which “Lian Yu” said goodbye to the show’s past—and potentially a good chunk of its supporting cast—by literally blowing up the island that represents Ollie’s dark past into tiny pieces.

Let’s be kind and rewind a little: Having successfully located Chase and his captive son William, Ollie goes in for one last battle while Team Arrow and friends mop up what’s left of Chase’s henchmen on the island. But Chase offers Ollie a conundrum that attempts to strike at the heart of his being as both Oliver Queen and the Green Arrow: save his son, and Chase will blow up Lian Yu, taking Team Arrow with him in a fiery exit. Or, save Team Arrow, and Chase will snap William’s neck in front of his estranged dad. Does Ollie side with his life as a vigilante, or the life of fatherhood he never really got to have?

Well, neither. He shoots Chase in the leg instead to free William and save his friends. At least, so he thinks, because Chase chooses to activate his dead man’s switch by shooting himself in the head, taking Lian Yu and seemingly 80 percent of Arrow’s ensemble cast with him.

Yeah, Ollie, it’s kinda fucked up, right? So now, Arrow potentially has a casualty list of:

  • Diggle
  • Felicity
  • Curtis
  • Dinah
  • Rene
  • Thea
  • Evelyn, a.k.a. Artemis
  • Slade
  • Samantha, William’s mom
  • Quentin Lance
  • Black Siren
  • Malcolm Merlyn
  • Captain Boomerang
  • Nyssa al Ghul
  • Talia al Ghul

Look at that list! That’s a damn big list! But we can definitely cross off some certainties on both the dead side and the alive side already. Death-wise, we know Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) is toast, considering he actually died before Lian Yu exploded, sacrificing himself on a land mine to take out turncoat Captain Boomerang and save Thea. Plus, Barrowman has said he won’t be a regular in the CW shows next season, indicating his only potential returns will be through time travel nonsense on Legends of Tomorrow. So Boomerang and Malcolm are definitely gone.


Black Siren, Dinah, and Rene are definitely not dead, because we know Katie Cassidy, Juliana Harkavy, and Rick Gonzalez have all signed on as series regulars for season six. So that just leaves Diggle, Felicity, Curtis, Thea, Evelyn, Slade, Samantha, Quentin, and the al Ghul sisters with their lives in the balance. That’s still an awfully long list of who could bite the dust before season six, but I think it’s obvious that not all of those characters are going to make it out alive (my odds are on at least the treacherous Evelyn biting the dust).

Regardless of who emerges from the smoldering ruins of Lian Yu for season six, this was a bold ending at what has overall been a solid season for Arrow. It has tied itself back into the show’s roots, both with the flashbacks and an effective villain that’s managed to strike at the heart of why Ollie made the decision to become the Green Arrow all those years ago. With the past and Prometheus behind him for good, it’ll be interesting to see where Arrow goes next... and how much smaller its cast is.


James is a News Editor at io9, where you can find him delivering your morning spoilers, writing about superheroes, and having many feelings about Star Wars. He wants pictures. Pictures of Spider-Man!


Angrier Geek

You’re kinder than I am because I thought that was some bullshit. I wonder how short the episode would be if you took out all the times Oliver screamed at Chase “I’m not going to kill you! I’m not going to be the man I was!”

I’m also sick of cliffhangers in general. Just end the fucking story for once already. End. The. Fucking. Story. I mean we know they’re all coming back. Every character. Maybe not Oliver’s Baby Mama who painted a “Trope Target” on her back the second she said she wasn’t getting on that plane, but you’re not killing Team Arrow, you’re not killing the Al Ghul sisters because that’s too much fun to play with; and you’re definitely not killing Deathstroke now that he’s clearly got a redemption arc coming, so what was the fucking point!?! Supergirl ended her season. There was a teaser for sure, but the storyline came to a clear and definitive end.

This season was misery but not because the episodes were bad. They were not. In fact they were mostly good. The problem was they existed under a shroud of Chase/Prometheus kicking Oliver’s ass for 22 straight episodes. Oliver jumped through every fucking hoop he put up down to getting Deathstroke and Captain Boomerang. Who the fuck wants to watch a show where the good guy always loses!?! Always. I will give the actor credit. Never did I want to see a bad guy die more. And they didn’t even give me that. He commits suicide (when I thought for sure Deathstroke was going to kill him when Oliver did not). All the good of this episode (Nyssa vs Talia, Canary vs. Canary, Deathstroke, Merlyn, Dolph Lundgren, every character except Roy it seemed) was just ruined by the ending.

I’m not going to claim I won’t be back, but if many people drop this show I cannot blame them. When Supergirl has the best season finale of the three (sorry, I just don’t count Legends of Tomorrow) you know you’ve got a problem.