I can honestly say that this hour of television belongs in the list of Arrow‘s best. Spoilers galore will follow.
1. Happy early Father’s Day
Arrow is many things; subtle, it is not. But on an episode like this, it doesn’t need subtlety to get its point across. Almost every conflict presented in this hour has fatherhood at its core: Malcolm and Thea, Oliver and William, Oliver and both Robert and the Island (the fathers of Oliver Queen and the Green Arrow, respectively), even Nyssa and Talia are fighting due to their father.
This episode featured three really small, but utterly important moments, all of which, in one way or another, close the book on the first five seasons.
The first is a composite, both when Quentin hit Black Siren in the head, knocking her out, and also when he calls Dinah Black Canary. The Laurel and Quentin relationship has been one of the cornerstones of the show since it began, and to see Quentin finally let go, to see Black Siren for who she is, and to embrace Dinah for what she can become. I’m not saying that Quentin’s journey is over, but it sure feels like its ready for its second act.
The second was Merlyn’s sacrificing himself for Thea. Sure, Merlyn hasn’t been all that consequential in years, but one the overarching themes of this show is legacy, and how you can accept or reject your heritage. Oliver has accepted that he is a Queen, for all the good and bad that represents. Thea hasn’t done the same; in fact, Thea is neither a Queen nor a Merlyn. A few times on the show, she’s taken a break to find herself, but she’s always fallen back into who she was. Perhaps, now that Malcolm is gone, she can succeed in finding who she is.
The third moment is sort of silly, given the source, but Slade Wilson tells Ollie that he’s suffering from survivor’s guilt, and needs to get over his father’s death. The show was obviously using Slade to deliver important information not just to Ollie, but to the viewers as well. But while the show may have hinted at this in the past, this is the first time that it has come out and said that. And the diagnosis seems pretty spot on, at that. If Oliver can let go of his past – not just his father’s death, but what led him to, from, and back to the island, he may just have a chance at a happy life.
2. Trusting Slade
One of the bigger reveals in this episode is that, not only was Ollie right to trust Slade, but it appears that Slade really has changed. Without the mirakuru in his system, he was a much more reasonable fella to deal with, and it was great seeing Manu Bennett back in the Deathstroke mask. I mentioned last week how I was intrigued by the idea of a Deathstroke in the Arrowverse that isn’t purely evil. If all goes well, maybe we’ll be seeing more of him next season.
3. THE GLORIOUS END OF FLASHBACKS
This flashback was still overlong, decompressed, and silly, but the whole time, knowing it was the last one, I had a big, silly grin on my face. Go ahead Arrow, spend those 10 minutes an episode next season doing whatever you want.
Also a flashback this week: the return of the show’s atrocious lighting. That temple gave me a nervous tick thinking about seasons two and three and their insistence in having the scenes lit by an Itty Bitty Book Light.
4. Couldn’t he have shot his foot, and then his hands?
OK, so now we are getting into insanely spoiler territory, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.
So, Adrian Chase lined the entire island with C4, took out the airplane’s hydrolics, and had a dead man’s trigger set up, so once his heart stopped, the island would blow. He gave Ollie an impossible choice: save his son, or save everyone he cares for (and his son’s mother). Ollie tried to have it both ways, and merely wounded Chase, not killed him. But if he was going to shoot him in the foot and get William, why couldn’t he have spun around and put arrows in both of his hands? Or, at least stomped ’em real good, breaking them and making the prospect of him killing himself much, much harder?Continued below
If I were Ollie, I would have knocked Chase in the head so he passed out, and then tied his (broken) hands up, got my friends off the island, and then tossed Chase to the side and celebrated T-Pain/the Lonely Island style on a boat.
5. All but three characters’ fates are up in the air
Aside from Chase (who is totally dead), and Ollie and William (who are totally alive), the rest of the cast is somewhat in limbo. Now, I think we all know that not everyone is dead, but the degrees to which “everyone” can be defined is tricky. For instance, let’s say that all of Ollie’s crew gets out – that doesn’t include Evelyn, does it?
Or even Merlyn – we hear an explosion, but what’s to say he didn’t throw Captain Boomerang onto it and somehow got out of dodge?
My gut feeling is that the show isn’t going to kill anyone, and that it will all be a miraculous save. But to give it some weight, they should kill someone. Who? I’m not sure. But I still think that letting everyone get away seems a little cheap.
Well folks, that does it for me until the fall season begins. Enjoy your flashback-free lives!