Nora Dominick ‘17/ Emertainment Monthly Executive Stage Editor
If one thing is certain, Arrow’s penultimate episodes are always the series strongest hours. No matter the state of the season, the show knows how to bring fans back for iconic season finales. While season five has been the weakest season to date, this week we get a penultimate episode that has every great aspect of the show. From amazing character moments to killer stunt sequences, Arrow’s latest episode “Missing” is the episode we’ve been waiting all season for.
For most of the season, we’ve been praying Arrow returns to the glory days of the show. When Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and Oliver (Stephen Amell) worked together, character development came before flashy plot lines and the characters we love are front and center. This season, Arrow fell flat because of a reboot of sorts. As old characters were killed or left, the show needed to revitalize its cast. While we always welcome new characters, it’s when they come before our main characters that we get confused. This is exactly what happened to Arrow.
In order to fully integrate new characters into Team Arrow, the show shoved as much character development as possible into the front half of the season. Our main characters become background characters so we could better understand Rene (Rick Gonzalez) and Curtis (Echo Kellum). We ended up resenting these new characters because Felicity, Oliver, Diggle (David Ramsey), Thea (Willa Holland) and Quentin (Paul Blackthorne) didn’t get ample screen time or storylines. Now in the back half of season five, our main characters have become our main characters once again.
Is there any pair of actors that have more chemistry than Emily Bett Rickards and Stephen Amell? The answer is probably, no. Now that Felicity and Oliver have been sharing scenes together, Arrow falls back into place. This week’s episode is the perfect callback to the early days of their relationship. When Felicity and Oliver work hand in hand and the sexual tension is palpable. While Rickards and Amell thrive on their own, it’s the quiet moments together that showcase their characters true strength. We’ve enjoyed our fair share of Oliver being “dead,” Felicity in near fatal car crashes and the dio clinging to life at every turn, but it’s the genuine moments between the two of them that make us love them.
Felicity throwing Oliver a birthday party is the perfect grand gesture to get their relationship back on track. After this, the small moments between the pair make our heart sing. From Oliver clutching his chest when he realizes Felicity is safe to Felicity wanting to turn back and help Oliver. It’s hard to not enjoy these two on screen together. Whether it’s romantic or platonic, Felicity and Oliver are the essential ingredient Arrow has been missing. Even their quiet reunion and understanding to take their relationship one step at a time is the perfect moment Arrow needed for these two. We don’t always need an outlandish affair, sometimes just reassurance that the person you love will be there is enough, especially for Oliver Queen.
Each DCTV show has their strengths and Oliver and Felicity are Arrow’s. It may have taken an entire season to realize pushing them away from each other was the wrong move, but we’re making up for lost time. Rickards is electric as Felicity, there’s no denying that. The breakout star of Arrow has only gotten more talented with time. And we didn’t think that was possible. Amell has honed his craft and become the leading male character we always knew he could be. When you put them together, sparks fly and it makes for an incredible penultimate episode.
Several familiar faces return to Arrow this week (Evelyn, Slade, Shado, Yao Fei, Nyssa, Malcolm to name a few), but our favorite return is Katie Cassidy as Black Siren. While we miss Laurel and the dynamic she had with Team Arrow, Black Siren is our new favorite character. Cassidy returns to Arrow and it’s like returning home again. She fits right back into place, even if she’s playing an evil version of her fallen character. Watching Cassidy and Paul Blackthorne share scenes together is the eeriest part of Arrow this week.
Blackthorne gives a striking performance as we watch Quentin crack upon seeing his deceased daughter again. It’s a heartbreaking moment, especially when Thea must tell him it’s not Laurel. Cassidy and Blackthorne fall right back in step with each other. While this might be a different version of Laurel, Black Siren and Quentin have a very interesting dynamic already. We’ve missed Cassidy and can’t wait to see what she brings as Black Siren.
What can we say, we’re in love with Josh Segarra. He’s brought a truly chilling and charming villain to Arrow this season. In our opinion, he’s the best DCTV villain across all The CW shows. Sorry Slade (Manu Bennett), you’ve been dethroned. Even stuck inside a glass box for an entire episode, Segarra gives a striking performance. Between his amazing stunt work opposite Amell to the chilling dialogue he whispers, he’s a villain we won’t soon forget. Adrian Chase became the breakout character this season and we’re already upset we’ll most likely have to say goodbye to him next week. Segarra has stolen every scene he’s been part of this season. Heck, he’s stolen the entire season and we’re not even mad about it.
For five seasons, Malcolm Merlyn has floated in and out of our lives. In this episode, Malcolm returns to kick start Oliver’s ultimate face-off with Chase. John Barrowman continues to bring humor to Arrow and it’s a pleasure to have him return. What surprises us most about this week’s episode is Malcolm brings out the fatherly side to Oliver. We know, Malcolm handing out fatherly advice had us nervous too. It’s a great dynamic we never thought about and really enjoyed. Amell and Barrowman have played every facet to their characters complicated relationship. From greatest adversary to mentor, Malcolm also represents someone Oliver fears he could become. Malcolm’s arrival not only sends Oliver into fighting mode, but it also allows Oliver to open up about William.
When the storyline began, we were not the biggest fans of William. Oliver’s child reappearing felt like a clever way for Arrow to write their way out of the Olicity romance they rushed in season four. It felt like a cop out and we weren’t buying it. Now that William has become another pawn in Chase’s game, Oliver finally shows real emotion towards his son. The heartbreaking moment when Oliver receives a video of William pleading for help sends Amell into one of his most heart wrenching moments all season.
A simple sentence: “He’s my boy.” That’s all Amell has to tearfully utter for us to melt. It’s a small moment, but it speaks volumes for Oliver’s character development. Last season he didn’t even want to acknowledge his son, let alone speak about him. Now, after months of trying to distance himself from the killer within, Oliver opens up about William to Felicity and pleads for Chase to let him go. Oliver even tells Felicity that William is the purest part of himself. These small moments finally allow us to appreciate William. Amell gives us a heartbreaking performance in these small moments. For the first time we get to see Oliver as a father. It’s a powerful character arc and we’re so happy how it has turned out. Amell shows his full range as he proves the quiet moments between characters are when he can truly shine.
Arrow delivers its strongest episode this season as we head towards the season finale. The penultimate episode perfectly sets up the next episode. With Rickards and Amell at the helm, Arrow is once again unstoppable. Josh Segarra continues to prove his worth while Katie Cassidy makes a well-deserved return in an episode that has all the right elements working together.