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– by Mark Cook

Arrow is back with an all new episode!  What does Chase have in store for Oliver and the team this week?  He is obviously pulling the strings from wherever he is imprisoned.  What will the return of Black Siren bring to the episode?  Why has Malcolm suddenly returned?  Read on to find out the good and the bad from this week’s episode:

Photo Courtesy of The CW.

Photo Courtesy of The CW.

Bad: Olicity — Please, please, please do not bring it back…

Good: The Flashbacks — For once I am saying that the flashbacks were good.  I am glad they are back on Lian Yu, and the return of Kovar helped as well.  Oliver’s suppressed memories, and failures, were on full display through Kovar’s torture methods.  The memories spanned the flashbacks from Seasons 1-4 leading to the return of a Yao Fei hallucination. How does Oliver get through the mental torture?  Yao Fei reminds him of his dying words…to survive.  This vision mixed with a hallucination of Laurel helped him conquor the physical torture.

Photo Courtesy of The CW.

Photo Courtesy of The CW.

Good: The Return of Artemis and Black Siren — For the faults this season has had, I have enjoyed how far ahead Chase is of Oliver.  This episode brought us Black Siren acting as Laurel in order to break Lance down, meanwhile we finally got to see Artemis again.  Prometheus has been the opposite of Oliver, and his team is no different.  Where this season has often focused on the other members of Team Arrow, Prometheus’ team has rarely been seen, but have been utilized when needed.  Whether it is Artemis, Black Siren, or Talia, they are now stepping into the focus when Chase is in his cell, which not only makes sense, but ultimately helps with the balance of the characters.  This type of balance should be how the writers handle Team Arrow and Oliver.

Good: Team Arrow Back to the Original Three…Then One — With Chase secured, his team is taking out each of the Team Arrow members, which leaves them with Oliver, Diggle and Felicity.  The dynamics between the three are simple, yet realistic. It gave the episode a Season 1 and 2 feel, which was nice.  It didn’t feel overloaded.  The show needs to go back to this type of balance.  It has actually been better over the past couple episodes.  The members of Team Arrow have still been present, but they all haven’t been in the same episodes, or if they have, they have not shared equal screen time, which has shifted to focus back on the individuals who should be the focus.

After Diggle and Felicity left, per Oliver’s request, Oliver was back on his own, much like Season 1, until…

Photo Courtesy of The CW.

Photo Courtesy of The CW.

Good: The Return of Malcolm Merlyn — We found out that Merlyn was the one who gave Chase the information concerning Oliver’s son.  As he confronted Oliver in the ArrowCave, Merlyn said that he did make a mistake, but he would do whatever it takes to save Thea.  Oliver needs Malcolm right now.  Team Arrow is much like him, and he needs the opposite.  He needs an individual who thinks like a villain (and is a villain) to take down Chase. I thought it was pretty awesome seeing Merlyn and Oliver team-up.  The hero/villain team-up out of necessity is always an interesting story to see played out.

Good: The Underlying Themes — Friendship and family.  These two themes have been expressed throughout the season, but was a clear focus in this week’s episode.  Whether it was his friendship with his teammates, or the focus of Malcolm/Thea and Oliver/William, these themes being used as the focus were much more fluid, and emotional in this episode, much like in Season 1. 

Photo Courtesy of The CW.

Photo Courtesy of The CW.

Oliver’s New Team — So I usually complain about Oliver teaming with others because I feel it is overcrowded, but this is a team I could get on board with because they are all at the same level, which makes it more realistic.  Malcolm, Nyssa and…SLADE WILSON!  Finally, what we have all been waiting for!  With Chase taking Team Arrow as hostages to Lian Yu, Oliver needed a team to balance Chase’s.  This looks set to be a great season finale, although I hope we get to see more of these characters next season, and these aren’t just extended cameos.  I am also happy that the primary goal of this season’s villain hasn’t been to destroy the city.  That has been the constant go-to resulting in a confrontation in the streets of the city.  This season’s finale looks to be much more simple, yet emotional, which is a great change of pace.

This was a good episode, which made me excited for the finale.  The writers did a good job bringing back the excitement previous seasons have had, which was mainly down to good character choices, and story-telling.  What did you think of tonight’s episode?  Are you excited for the finale?  Do you think some of the characters from tonight will feature in more than just the finale, or will this be a one-time deal?  Leave your thoughts in the usual spot, and thanks for reading!

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