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TV REVIEWS: FTN Reviews The Arrow Season 05 Finale: Lian Yu

May 25th, 2017 by Todd Black Comments

Forget “jumping the shark”, Arrow just blew the shark up!!! One of the things that truly made Arrow a unique show was that it was about two different timelines. The present, and the 5 years that Oliver Queen spent on the island. Since season 01, the team had said that they had five years of flashback stories, and that once it was done, Lian Yu would be done…but I don’t think we expected it to be THIS DONE!

“Lian Yu” was a truly highlight of not only Season 05, but of all of Arrow, tying up numerous storylines both past and present and delivering some big shockers, team-ups, and cameos along the way. For the record, this is getting a perfect score.

They started the episode in the most perfect way possible, with Oliver and Slade reconnecting. There was a lot of speculation if they’d pull another 100th episode and “show” Deathstroke but not “have” Deathstroke in the form of Manu Bennett due to his commitment to another show. THANKFULLY, this wasn’t the case, and we got to see him in and out of costume (and helmet) for a great deal of time. In fact, just seeing Slade Wilson as more of a character than his last appearance in Season 03 was amazing, and better yet, he’s completely healed from the Mirakuru! Meaning…there may be more to his story than we previously thought.

The numerous scenes between Slade and Oliver were great, but the best one being about “forgiving yourself for your father’s death”. It’s an interesting twist on the thing that was brought up in “Honor Thy Fathers”. Because in the end, Oliver does blame himself for Robert Queen killing himself. Because if he wasn’t on that boat (which he wasn’t supposed to be…) he might not have died like that.

Moving on from Slade (it’s hard to do, trust me), there was a lot of grand scale in “Lian Yu”. Talia, Digger Harkness, Evelyn, and more were used against Oliver, and just when you thought that they might get a way out, Chase was once again one step ahead. And you have to wonder just how long he has been planning this, because he REALLY had everything worked out. From blowing up the plane, to making sure everyone got to the other plane, to it not being able to fly, to being willing to BLOW UP THE ISLAND IF HE DIED!!! A literal deadman switch…wow…

Yet just as much as you wanted Oliver to kill Chase, you had to applaud how steadfast he stood in his conviction to not kill him, even when Chase had Will in a hold meant to kill, Oliver didn’t waver. That shows how much growth he’s had in the recent years, and you believed him when he shouted, “That’s who I was!”

Let’s be clear, “Lian Yu” had a lot of great action scenes and character moments. From Talia and Nyssa having a showdown, and getting some much appreciated family history, to Malcolm saving Thea twice and “sacrificing himself” for her…yeah…he’s not dead. To Lance being the one to knock out Black Siren, and more, there was a lot going on here, yet it never felt like too much.

Which of course brings me to the flashbacks, which truly ended in simple yet glorious fashion as Oliver went full on…well…Oliver, and used his skills to take out Kovar and his men before going back to the beginning and dressing up to be found by the boat….and then…

MOIRA!!! Stephen Amell said that there would be a cameo that wasn’t advertised, and people wondered if it would be Roy Harper or Moira Queen, turns out, it was the latter, and it was all the better for it. This was honestly the one scene and question that many people wondered, “How did Oliver get in touch with his family after he got found?” Well, we found that out in a very Emmy-worthy (I MEAN IT!!!!) scene that was beautiful and profound. I’m so glad they brought Moira back one more time.

But..that wasn’t the end…for Chase wasn’t going down without a victory, and he pulled a Robert Queen and killed himself, ensuring that the island would blow up in grand fashion. To which, everyone of note (both heroes and villains) were still on it. Leaving a bit question about who’s alive and who’s not.

Now, if you recall my Flash review from last night, I critcized a somewhat similar ending. But that was different, because Barry WILLINGLY sacrificed himself to the Speed Force and said goodbye…even though we KNOW he’s coming back (seriously, it’s confirmed he’s still the star). Here though, we only know that certain characters are coming back for Season 06, so there could be some meaningful deaths depending on what they decide to do. See the difference?

In the end, “Lian Yu” was a true testament to 5 years and 115 episodes worth of comic book epicness, and I really hope that this episode brings a lot of people back to Arrow for next Season.

5/5 Nerds

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Todd Black is reader of comics, a watch of TV (a LOT of TV), and a writer of many different mediums. He's written teleplays, fan-fictions, and currently writes a comic book called Guardians (guardians-comic.com). He dreams of working at Nintendo, writing a SHAZAM! TV series, and working on Guardians for a very long time!

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