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Arrow - S5E23 - Lian Yu

Previously on Arrow, “Missing”

“Lian Yu” was an explosive end (pun definitely intended) to Arrow’s fifth season, digging into the show’s deep stable of supporting characters to assemble the ultimate team-up of heroes (ish) versus villains. Also Captain Boomerang was there.

Images: The CW

The Good

This episode brought in the who’s who of Arrow guest stars, with the return of Manu Bennet and Katrina Law (as Slade Wilson and Nyssa Al Ghul respectively) a particular highlight. As much as it beggars belief that Oliver would so readily team up with the mass murderer who killed his mother, it was fun seeing him fall back into his weird friendship with Slade, and watching Nyssa and Merlyn bicker back and fourth like the sassy pair that they are was delightful, as long as you don’t think too hard about how he killed the woman she loves (even if it didn’t stick).

We also got the (flashback) return of Moira Queen. She may be complicit in the murder of hundreds, but it was still powerful seeing the moment she discovered that her son was still alive.

The action in the episode was top notch, particularly the sister off between Talia and Nyssa Al Ghul. It also really leaned into the show’s comic book roots, with bad guys disappearing in a cloud of smoke, and Deathstroke’s bright, incredibly inappropriate for forest warfare costume.

The Bad

As great as Merlyn sacrificing himself for Thea was, the chances of him being actually dead are slim to none given that it happened off-screen, and the same goes for everyone on Lian Yu during the explosion. The show has a persistent problem with following through on dangers, and it tends to remove any true sense of stakes.

I’m no expert on foreign relations, but surely China has people working to ensure that people can’t just blow up their islands on a whim?

Is it racist that the show always plays vaguely ethnic music over scenes involving members of the League of Assassins? It certainly feels racist.

This was an excellent episode that really brought the show full circle, and it honestly felt like it better suited a series finale than a season finale, which begs the question, does the world really need another season of Arrow?

Quotes of the Week

Nyssa perfectly demonstrating how to deal with creepy men -  “Look at me again like that and I’ll feed you your eyes.”

Oliver – “My past is coming back to haunt me.”

Slade – “That seems to be a recurring theme with you, kid.”

Arrow S5E23
  • 10/10
    Plot - 10/10
  • 9/10
    Dialogue - 9/10
  • 9/10
    Performances - 9/10

"Lian Yu"

Starring: Stephen Amell, David Ramsey, Willa Holland, Emily Bett Rickards, Paul Blackthorn, Echo Kellum

User Review
5 (1 vote)
About Alison Millward (103 Articles)
Alison is a big nerd living in Melbourne, Australia. She is a lover of all things television, particularly anything in the "hot young people in depressing sci-fi situations" genre. When not watching tv, Alison enjoys long walks on the beach, corrupting young minds, and actively avoiding thinking about her future.
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