The end of season five of Arrow is inching closer and closer, and with this week’s episode “Missing”, we are headed straight to the main battle. As we learn by the end of the episode, this will be fought out in a very familiar place.
Adrian Chase is behind bars, and this year’s big bad has been defeated. Or so it seems. In the beginning of the episode, we see our heroes celebrating Oliver’s birthday, the first one in many, many years. What is originally planned to be a maybe-date-maybe-not dinner between Oliver and Felicity turns out to be an actual surprise party for the birthday boy. And the party includes fancy clothes, green-arrow themes decorations and even a Green Arrow birthday cake (shout-out to the incredible Lord Mesa for the cake design).
All seems well in Star City, as Team Arrow celebrates its fearless leader. Curtis is playing with new tech for Dinah, while Quentin talks to Thea about Rene’s absence from his daughter’s court hearing. The Team also discusses their plans for the summer, thinking that with Chase behind bars they finally will be able to spend some quality time with their families and loved ones. The team subtly tries to push Oliver and Felicity closer together again, who decide to take their re-blossoming relationship slow.
But we all know in TV land good things never last for too long. When both Dinah and Curtis go missing, the team is back on high alert. Oliver seeks out Adrian, who gives him no answers, but the evidence at Dinah’s place leads Oliver to Talia al Ghul.
Oliver immediately sends Thea and Quentin off to an ARGUS safe house. Meanwhile Felicity finds out that Black Siren was able to escape from her cell at ARGUS and is likely involved. Earth Two’s version of Laurel Lance manages to surprise Quentin and Thea at the safe house, and with the help of Evelyn, she takes them both.
Oliver asks Felicity and Diggle to leave the city, but they are intercepted by Chase’s goons as well. Oliver finally breaks down when Chase reveals that he has taken his son, William. Adrian threatens to kill them all, should Oliver not let him go free. In need of support our hero turns to the one person he swore he wouldn’t – Malcolm Merlyn.
The duo is readying to intercept Adrian’s prison transfer, where they have to fight their way through a whole lot of security, likely appointed by Major Queen himself. Oliver is able to confront Adrian, but actually lets him get away, too worried about his family’s and friends’ safety.
Oliver finally decides that and Malcolm cannot take on Chase, Black Siren, Talia, Evelyn and more on their own, so he also enlists the help of another familiar face – Nyssa al Ghul. The trio tracks the plane that Adrian took to get away, and it leads them to the North China sea. While headed towards Lian Yu, Nyssa reveals that this is the place where she first met Sara.
In the final moments of this episode, we see both sides on Lian Yu. Adrian and his team of kickass ladies has taken Team Arrow hostage. Oliver is willing to go above and beyond to get them back. He visits his old friend and mentor, Slade, to beg for help. That doesn’t seem like the smartest decision ever.
In the flashbacks, we see what Konstantin Kovar has planned for Oliver back on Lian Yu. He injects him with a special drug that influences one’s so that they are confronted with their deepest darkest fears. Oliver flashes back to how he received his scars, he flashes back to Shado’s death, and to all the people he killed with his own bare hands.
He also has a vision of Yao Fei, who blames him for the death of his daughter, and claims that Oliver only brings pain to the people he loves. The drug is short of driving him towards suicide, which is exactly what Kovar planned. But then Laurel appears to him, begging him to return home to his family. He uses his final strength to escape his cell, in search of Kovar.
Things are really starting to heat up, and with only the grand finale to come we can confidently say that season five has been one of the best seasons Arrow has had so far. Adrian Chase continues to be an interesting and versatile villain that you kind of want to win a bit every now and then. And Josh Segarra’s performance is nothing short of brilliant. The big showdown between (the admittedly quite unlikely) Team Oliver and Team Chase is going to be a highlight of the show, we are sure of it.
This episode marks the return of Katie Cassidy to Arrow, as Black Siren joins Adrian’s team. Her interactions with Quentin show potential for an interesting storyline next season, and let through quite a few of her own insecurities.
As always it was nice to see the team united in the opening sequences of the episode. We would love for them to have more of these quiet, serene moments of peace and happiness, but if you ask the creators of TV everywhere, those don’t make for good programming. We still enjoy to see them because we care for those characters and their well-being, and are particularly interested when new dynamics arise (especially Thea and Quentin make quite the intriguing duo). Maybe, in the not-too-distant future we will see Team Arrow happy and well … if we don’t have to suffer through a couple of casualties first.
Curtis: “I’m just saying you could have taken a big knife and cut the tension between you two. And by tension I mean sexual tension.”
Felicity: “Yup, I know what you meant, Curtis.”
Curtis: “I mean the way you dressed up for each other! Oooh, Sizzle, sizzle.”
Felicity: “Okay, can you please stop? You’re worse than a shipper on a soap opera.”
Malcolm: “I admire you, Oliver. It takes a special kind of idiot to actually get dumber with time. Human connections are what keeps us human. It’s sad that it’s a sociopath who’s going to have to point this out to you. You can’t live on an island, you’ve already tried. You are always going to have people in your life, Oliver, and they will always need you. For better or worse, baggage and all. And if you can’t accept that, your past will stay your anchor.”
Catch the season finale of Arrow next Wednesday at 8/7 ct on The CW