Arrow is winding down its season, and this week acted as the stereotypical penultimate episode, setting up all the dominoes to fall next Wednesday. To fully set the stage, I warn you, there will have to be some pretty serious spoilers discussed.
1. Flashback: this is your (shitty) life
I do not understand why the show thinks we need constant reminders of who Oliver used to be. This season has been particularly fascinated with reminding the viewers that Ollie used to kill, and hasn’t always been on the right side of justice. We see that he still makes bad choices all the time – it’s not a revolutionary idea, yet the show treats it that way all the time.
This flashback was yet another entry into that game – yes, he’s hurt people. And yes, this ties in with Chase’s ‘everyone around you gets hurt’ theory, but it still felt like a total waste of valuable screen time.
2. Uneasy alliances
Seeing Nyssa and Merlyn together was a nice callback to the show’s third season. It was also a nice callback to how much they hate each other. The Merlyn/League of Assassins stuff was some of the strongest season 3 stuff, and made up for some of the less than stellar aspects of that run of episodes. In fact, the show seems determined to call back to all but season 4 in next week’s finale: major characters from season 1 (Merlyn), 2 (Slade), 3 (Nyssa), and 5 (Chase) are all convening on the Island, the setting of the original flashbacks, to do battle over Oliver’s past. This is literally the culmination of five years of storytelling, and it is setting up season six to be something different (I hope).
Because we know that Katie Cassidy is returning as a series regular for next season, I wonder how uneasy the alliance is between she and Chase. Will she turn and join Team Arrow, or will she be the big bad of season 6? I could honestly see it going either way, but the way she talked to Quentin led me to believe that the former is more likely.
And that’s a bit of a shame, as that’s a pretty predictable prospect for the finale.
3. Chase’s superpower is being prepared
Especially when compared to the past few seasons, Adrian Chase isn’t anything special in terms of supervillain powers. He’s a good archer, cool. But how prepared he is, how far ahead he’s thought – that’s his real superpower. As a few people have said this season, he’s 50 moves ahead of Ollie, and sometimes Ollie has no idea what the game he’s playing is.
The show has done a really nice job of showing just how ruthless he is, and beyond a show that has shown just about the most despicable people on Earth. That recent episode ending where he was driving away, covered in blood, to some light 60s pop, was so chilling and off-putting. It really did a nice job of establishing just who he is and why he’s so dangerous.
4. Where are Rene and Dinah?
They were the first taken, and they were not on the island with the other folks. I doubt they are dead, and I doubt that they flipped to Chase’s side. I can’t think of a reasonable explanation for why they wouldn’t be in that line up of capture allies, can you?
Did I miss a line of dialogue? It’s quite possible, and if I did, let me know in the comments.
Also, come to think of it, is Colton Haynes so over the show he wouldn’t come back for this episode? Wouldn’t you think that either Chase would have gone after Roy, or Ollie would’ve recruited him?
Also, again, call Barry. Call your superpowered best friend. CALL BARRY, OLLIE.
There are a lot of moments from this show that did not age well, or that in retrospect were a little lame. Deathstroke was not one of them – the Slade Wilson-centric season 2 remains the show’s high point. Bringing him back, and bringing him back as an ally of Ollie’s, is an inspired choice. Deathstroke is such a great villain – as I’ve written about a ton lately – because he’s not really evil, he’s motivated. Sure, the Arrow Deathstroke isn’t exactly the ‘Judas Contract’ Deathstroke, but still – there’s good stuff to be mined there, and I can’t wait to see how they use him next week.