Arrow: “Lian Yu” Review

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By: Ashley Binion (@ashleybinion)

Arrow completed its fifth season with a bang. “Lian Yu” was an excellent way to wrap up the both the season and a portion of the show’s history.

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

After five years, Arrow came full circle in one of its best episodes of the series. “Lian Yu” had everything from action, comedy, drama, and romance. Overall, the episode felt like a playing of its greatest hits, which is not meant in a disparaging way. Arrow brought everything back it has done well over the past five years, including some excellent guest stars.

I’ve never been a fan of the flashbacks, so I was happy to see them finally complete Oliver’s “island” journey. When they worked, they worked very well. For example, the best flashbacks were during the second season. They directly informed what the characters were going through in the present day. Beyond that, most of the time they bogged down the series. At times it felt like the writers only wrote them out of obligation. As a result, many of them were forced, tired, and forgettable.

“Lian Yu” sent the flashbacks and the island off in grand fashion. I don’t think the series could have done it any better. It was a love letter to the flashbacks of season one and two. There were so many callbacks and parallels throughout the episode. And the appearance of Moira was downright fantastic. There’s no other way the series could have hit that emotional beat without bringing back Susanna Thompson.

All hail Slade Wilson. Anytime they bring back Deathstroke, I’m on board. The scenes between him and Oliver were harkened back to season two flashback greatness. When Slade wasn’t on Mirakuru, he and Oliver had a fun bromance. Their complicated history showed during “Lian Yu” and it created compelling interactions. I wasn’t expecting Manu Bennett to be in the episode as much as he was. Every time he popped up on screen, it was a delight. Considering the show ended on a huge cliffhanger, which he was right in the middle of, I expect him to return during the season six premiere.

There’s no way that Malcolm died. He’s been one of the largest parts of Arrow’s history that he deserves a death on screen. The Dark Archer has been such a staple for the show and the Arrowverse that it’s hard to imagine he would go out like that. You know the comic book and superhero show logic: no body no death. If he is indeed dead, the fact that he did it to save his daughter was a nice redemption moment.

I’m disappointed that the writers decided to kill off Adrian Chase. He was a fantastic villain, maybe even equal to Slade. It would’ve been so easy to put him an ARGUS jail somewhere so he could pop up once in a while to torture Oliver. Josh Segarra will be missed.

Until next time, don’t fail your city.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


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