Arrow: “Missing” Season 5 Episode 22 Review

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Look, no one is pretending that Arrow did all the set up it needed to for the finale they’re going for to truly pay off. But “Missing” makes up a lot of ground. Next week’s finale is going to be a big blowout on Lian Yu, where this all began, between Oliver, his entire team, Prometheus, Malcolm Merlyn, the sisters al Ghul, and freaking Deathstroke. In this case, Arrow seems much more interested in celebrating making it to the five year mark, thus ending the flashback saga, than wrapping up this crapshoot of a season. Consider me in.

“Missing” starts with a warm birthday party for Oliver after Adrian Chase’s capture. But hey, still two episodes to go, folks! After the party, Curtis stops by Dinah’s place to find that it’s been broken into. He’s then tranquilized and carried off by an unseen figure. Lance and Thea later find themselves in a similar predicament, but with Earth-2’s evil Laurel. It’s not long before Talia al Ghul and the League of Assassins take Felicity and Diggle as they’re trying to leave town. It’s exciting to see all these different figures picking off Team Arrow one or two at a time, leaving Oliver in a space where he is truly alone.

Enter Malcolm Merlyn, surprisingly siding with his old adversary to save his daughter. Once Oliver realizes what’s happening to his friends, he reluctantly agrees to partner with Malcolm, but only after his old foe gives him a surprisingly respectful speech about heroism. Whatever. The absolute most fun chunk of “Missing” is when Oliver and Malcolm team up to try and break Chase out, which will supposedly save everyone (it doesn’t). But having Oliver fighting side by side with his first big bad as the show gears up for what already feels like a series finale is bundle of laughs and appropriately nostalgic.

But the callbacks don’t end there. Joining Team Oliver is Nyssa al Ghul, who will have to face off with her sister once they get to the island. Also convenient? Arrow‘s most celebrated big bad, Slade Wilson, is already imprisoned on Lian Yu. “Missing” ends before we get to see Oliver make his pitch, but I don’t even care what happens, Deathstroke is back.

“Missing” may have been 100% setup, but what setup it was! Familiar faces from seasons passed are gearing up to square off in the most poetic location possible for this series. It’s preposterous and lacking any and all subtlety, but man, with classic villains siding with our hero, next week can only be fireworks. Throw in the conclusion to the flashbacks, and Arrow, despite this season’s many crippling weaknesses, looks to end another season on a strong note. Grade: B+

By Matt Dougherty

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