This week'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.
You know, I must say, I was sceptical 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 per cent of Arrow's ensemble cast with him.
Yeah, Ollie, it's kinda messed up, right? So now, Arrow potentially has a casualty list of:
- Evelyn, AKA Artemis
- Samantha, William's mum
- 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 smouldering 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 will be interesting to see where Arrow goes next... and how much smaller its cast is.