Last night’s ARROW season finale was nothing short of fabulous!
The guest cast was not as expansive as trolls who managed to get into the system made it seem, but it did not matter. There was not one second of downtime in the action-packed episode. Heading the flood of fabulousness was Manu Bennett as Slade Wilson. Just hearing him call Oliver “kid” was worth the price of admission.
Nick E. Tarabay brought the smarmy as Digger Harkness/Captain Boomerang. Watching him size up Nyssa al Ghul (Katrina Law) and her hysterical rejection of “I will feed you your eyes” was a laugh-out-loud moment. John Barrowman (Malcolm Merlin) joined the fun with a nicely-timed quip, which made his apparent departure from the Arrowverse even more depressing.
Poor Malcolm. Maybe he failed miserably at being a father (and a human being), but when Thea (Willa Holland) stepped on a landmine, he shoved her off the device and took her place, allowing his daughter and her friends to escape.
As Harkness and the bad guys caught up to him, Malcolm turned with a sly smile, knowing that with his unselfish actions, he has protected his daughter. As Team Arrow ran to safety, there was an explosion behind them, and it was assumed that Malcolm had stepped off the pressure bomb and blown up himself and Harkness.
Thea’s realization that Malcolm loved her, despite his faults, gives her character new development opportunities for next season. There has been speculation that Merlin escaped because the explosion was off-camera, but Barrowman confirmed on Facebook after the West Coast feed that “Malcolm Merlin is no more.”
Captain Boomerang could have escaped demise with the possibility of a SUICIDE SQUAD sequel. Given the off-camera explosion, nothing is locked into place, and fans have learned to never say never.
For those unwilling to let go of Malcolm quite yet, Barrowman has promised a series of Twitter videos featuring him and Katrina Law including one already posted with Barrowman, Law, Tarabay and a donut.
Speaking of Law, the fight scenes between Nyssa and Talia (Lexa Doig) were nothing short of a ballet. The artistry of movement and the preciseness and detail of the stuntwork, sound, camerawork, editing, direction, etc., surpassed perfection.
The show was not all action, however. The acting was superb with some of the more touching moments of the series. When Oliver (Stephen Amell) asked Slade for help rescuing William, he offers Slade information as to the whereabouts of his own son, Joe. It was a touching father-to-father exchange with each man painfully portraying the difficulty of losing a child.
Despite all the evil that Slade has perpetrated, the bond apparently was not in question. When Harkness tried to recruit Wilson to the other side, Oliie discerned Slade’s maneuver to extract them from the situation and followed his lead.
Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and Thea (Willa Holland) were reticent to afford Wilson the same trust, with Thea pointing out that Slade made them orphans.
But the depths of the bond between the two men was best explained when Slade encouraged Oliver to forgive himself in his continued grief over Robert’s death. The ability of a child to move past the death of a parent is a long, hard road, and the child’s guilt that his parent’s death is, somehow, his fault is a life-altering emotion. Although that situation is not controllable by the child, the guilt is permeating.
How could Oliver have moved fast enough to stop Robert? The simple answer is that he could not.
Slade wisely advised Ollie to find a way to forgive himself, so he could appreciate what he has now. Both Amell and Bennett handled the emotional situation with respect and depth.
A nice flashback with Moira (Susanna Thompson) let Thompson and Amell portray the best in their relationship during a heart-wrenching phone call, and a “just-in-case” kiss marked the possible return of Olicity.
Powerful performances by all propelled the episode with no second wasted. Each made the most of his/her screen time giving new development to the team’s cohesion.
Quentin’s statement that Dinah Lance was “Black Canary” was especially touching, and his takedown of Black Siren was a great metaphor for his letting go of his own Laurel.
As Oliver clutched William, Chase (Josh Segarra) unleashed the C4 to destroy Team Arrow. As the explosions rang out, both Oliver and Adrian understood how the past can destroy the future. Fortunately, Oliver has chosen to move on, while Adrian fell victim to his history.
Did Team Arrow have to pay for Adrian’s sins? Or did it find its way to safety before the explosion? It was a great setup for next season, and neither cast nor crew wasted a moment of opportunity.
The stunt players and camera operators and picture editors and director and writers and the rest of the crew brought everything and more to the party.
The sound folks managed to pull off everything from the small, very important click of the pressure bomb to huge explosions and incredibly-timed sword-fighting effects.
They even made Manu Bennett understandable when he (or his stunt double) was wearing the Deathstroke mask. (More applause for Michael E. Lawshé and the entire ARROW sound team.) There truly was not one moment wasted. Bet Craft Services even rocked the donuts.
The ARROW Season 5 finale is everything it should have been, and so much more. ARROW will return in the fall on The CW.