Posted in Reviews, TV

Arrow S05 E23 – “Lian Yu” Review


Oh holy shit on a stick!!!

It’s been a week now since the Arrow Season 5 finale and I’m still trying to process it, I mean shit son! For me personally it was probably the greatest episode in the history of the show so far! As Oliver’s 5 year journey came full circle in this episode and finally learnt about his final year away before returning to Star City (or Starling City as it was called at the time)

The season finale is the one episode each year that is a culmination of what has occurred in the build up to this final episode, creating that final showdown, that will have ramifications leading into the next season. I thought the season 1 and 2 finales were just amazing, especially the season 2 one with the Arrow vs Deathstroke fight both in the present and the past. I did think that the season 4 finale lacked the elements that made the previous season finales so awesome and epic, but based on how season 5 has gone down I had really high hopes for this final episode. I was not wrong at all as episode 23 in Season 5 was so worth the wait and was the most spectacular way to end the final moments of Oliver’s final year away from Star City. “Lian Yu” was such an amazing season finale, but for me personally it is quite possibly the greatest episode in the history of Arrow.


This was the episode that brought Arrow full circle, finally getting to the conclusion of Oliver Queen’s five-year flashback narrative of the show. We end up back on Lian Yu, the place where all of this began. I really loved this episode as we got to see some old familiar faces returning for the epic showdown between Prometheus and the Green Arrow. In previous season finales, it’s been a race against the clock for Team Arrow to stop a terror attack to destroy Star City but this finale was a lot different which was part of the reason I enjoyed it so much. The episode as a whole felt so epic with plenty of amazing stand out moments that really define the show’s history.

After episode 22’s ending seeing the long awaited reunion between Slade Wilson and Oliver Queen, which I have been waiting to see for ages now! For me, Slade Wilson/Deathstroke has been my favourite Arrow villain to date although Adrian Chase/Prometheus is very close to being the best villain in the show. I was majorly freaking out seeing Manu Bennett back in the show again, as a fan it was awesome reconnecting with this character after the events of season 2. This episode was so worth the wait and did not disappoint at all in the slightest. It was cool seeing a much more calmer and mellowed out Slade Wilson, since the last time he and Oliver came into contact with each other. It appears that the Mirakuru serum had worn of Slade who seemed to be more in control than before. I loved the opening scene between Oliver and Slade as it was cool to see the former friends reconnect the brotherly bond they once shared. I really enjoyed this element of the episode as we got to see the bond they once shared and the trust they had is still there, showing that the two characters have a very complicated history yet can still work together after all this time.

I really thought it was awesome seeing Bennett back on the show, as I have missed his presence on Arrow. I mean it was great seeing him in the episode but when he suited up as Deathstroke and was kicking ass that was so cool to see. I thought that both Stephen Amell and Manu Bennett had such brilliant chemistry with their respective characters and their scenes were just flawless together. The one thing I really would have loved to have seen would have been scenes with Deathstroke and Prometheus, I think that would’ve been really cool to witness.

This episode definitely felt like a long time coming reunion as we also had returning characters like Malcolm Merlyn and Nyssa Al Ghul return, to aid in Oliver’s fight against Adrian Chase and was so cool seeing them back on the show. I mean just the reaction of Malcolm seeing Nyssa again was priceless! I thought that Katrina Law and John Barrowman were just brilliant in reprising their roles as their respected characters. The tension is the episode as building and when Thea ended up stepping on a landmine, shit was about to go down. This was where Malcolm’s role in the episode really came into play as he was the first character to end up dying, he sacrificed himself to protect Thea and the others which was a testament to how his character has developed over the past 5 years. I have always been a fan of Malcolm’s character so this act of heroism felt like his character’s swansong and was a fitting end to his story in the show. I think that his death scene was brilliant and his one last attempt to act as a father towards Thea, taking down Captain Boomerang and some soldiers in the process. I have one rule in this superhero shows and that is unless you see a body then is a character truly dead?! I thought this was a shocker but the episode ending was the mother of all cliffhangers and still can’t believe how it ended!

The moment I was eagerly anticipating….the long awaited Green Arrow vs Prometheus showdown which was highly memorable and the culmination of the struggle between Oliver Queen and Adrian Chase up until this point. One thing I love about Arrow is the choreography and in the main showdown in the episode it was the highest quality I have seen in the show, every character was getting some solid action time and was so cool seeing the major characters pairing off taking down a vast number of bodies in the process. I thought that the Nyssa/Talia and the Black Siren/Black Canary fights were really awesome as the fighting between those characters were a highlight in the episode for sure. It felt like the writers pulled out all the stops in the episode and gave all the characters the screen time they all deserved in this final showdown. The sheer scale of the final battle was just absolutely epic!

I liked how the flashbacks tied in with the present segments of the episode as it was tying everything together. The flashbacks featured the final feud between Oliver and Konstantin Kovar, played by the legendary Dolph Lundgren. I really enjoyed how the past and present linked up seemingly and it did remind me of the dual Deathstroke fights from the season 2 finale. The final flashbacks rounded up how Ollie got off the island and Kovar was the once obstacle standing in his way, so after a solid struggle he managed to take the Russian giant down. It features scenes from the pilot in how Oliver got off the island which was cool to tie it all together. It was a really brutal fight between the two characters, with one purpose for one man to be left standing.

There was a really great surprise cameo in the flashback scenes after Oliver managed to escape Lian Yu on the boat back to Starling City. I did get goosebumps seeing Oliver race towards the shore in an attempt to get on the boat to leave his prison, which showed the same moments we saw back in the season one pilot. The end of Oliver Queen’s five year journey has taken 115 episodes of superhero television and boy has it paid off! Stephen Amell did tease on his social networks that there would be a surprise appearance in the episode from a previous character, I had no idea who it would be until that scene on the boat…The writers managed to find a way to feature Susanna Thompson reprising her role as Moira Queen, it was only for a short moment but man did that scene have a major impact. You can’t argue that it will go down as one of the best moment in Arrow’s history just for the sheer emotional weight it carried and was one of the best acted scenes between the two actors. I thought that Stephen Amell and Susanna Thompson really captured the raw emotion between a mother and son brilliantly, showing how he is making his way home after all this time. I mean shit dude if that scene doesn’t make you almost cry then there is something not right with you….

I think that the happy reunion between Oliver and Moira was much needed after the dark and gritty scenes in the final moments between Oliver and Adrian. What seemed like was a victory for the emerald archer definitely came as a bittersweet moment. On one hand, Oliver proved to Chase that he was done playing his games and wouldn’t be backed into killing for the sake of it. But Chase was always a few steps ahead and in the final moments proved why he was a formidable villain. At the end of the episode Chase really backed Oliver into a corner as he had to choose between saving his son or saving his friends back on the island. I have never felt so much tension in an episode like this, I mean I was literally on the edge of my seat the whole time this played out. In these final moments we saw that Oliver was a father desperate to save his son, armed with nothing but a bow and arrow, trying to reason with a complete psychopath.

I was sitting there thinking that the episode was going to end any moment now and just had a guy feeling that it was going to end of a bitch of a cliffhanger! Oh would you look at that?! It ended on the biggest and worse cliffhanger I have seen in the show’s history. It seemed like Team Arrow had overcome all odds and won the battle, but the ending of the episode says otherwise. Chase had planted bombs all over the island that would explode if he died, proper sick and sadistic move, which really backed Oliver into a corner here. In the end Oliver managed to save William but as a result Chase killed himself and he lit up Lian Yu like the 4th of July! The final thing we see is Oliver’s sheer panic in his face looking around to seeing Lian Yu blowing up in every direction possible. I mean I’ve experienced a cliffhanger before buy holy shit stick this really takes the cake! I mean how can you end it like that?! The wait for Season 6 is going to be a long and grueling one that’s for sure. I’m still not fully over it now and it’s been coming up to two weeks since the finale ended. I don’t think the writers would wipe out all of the main cast in the show, but that’s what they want us to think! It is literally a guessing game as to which members of Team Arrow will make it and which ones won’t be so fortunate going into Season 6. One thing is for sure, Arrow will never be the same after this explosive and climatic ending to a season that has really turned the show around.

Man this is going to be the longest wait for Arrow to return…..

Overall, Arrow really pulled out a strong comeback in the Season 5 finale. I think that “Lian Yu” was an incredible stand out episode not just for this season, but for Arrow as a whole. It really delivered in bringing Oliver’s five year story full circle, with a brilliant use of returning characters that gave the final showdown with Prometheus the dramatic and amazing finish we have longed for. One thing is for certain, the wait for the next season of Arrow just got that much worse and now October can’t come quick enough!

Hands down, for me this is possibly the greatest episode in the history of Arrow.

Brave Guggenheim, bravo.



2 thoughts on “Arrow S05 E23 – “Lian Yu” Review

    1. I really hope Slade has more of a role next season too, loved having him back on the show! Thank you. I honestly think it was one of the greatest episodes in the series and did a brilliant job of rounding off the five year flashback stortline. The show definitely came full circle in this episode

      Liked by 1 person

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