Arrow: 5.22 Missing
Regardless of the fact that there is going to be a sixth season of Arrow, the current run feels like it is well and truly heading towards its end game. Oliver was back on Lian Yu in the flashbacks, having drug induced hallucinations and memories (thanks to Konstantin Kovar) of dead characters like Yao Fei and Shado as he gets closer to his return to Starling City from the pilot. And in the present, there was a reunion of old faces - allies and villains - as Oliver recruited them to save his friends and family from Adrian Chase, all culminating with pretty much every living character back on the island for the finale.
The stakes rose higher and higher over the course of the episode; it began, rather foolishly with team Arrow celebrating Oliver's party and planning vacations. Things were far too happy after Chase's capture last week and so of course it was all going to fall apart. Step one was the absence of Rene from his custody hearing last week and this time Dinah had vanished too. What followed was a series of skilled abductions as Oliver found himself loosing each person he cared for one by one.
Curtis was the first to go, tranquilised while he searched for Dinah in her broken into apartment. Thea and Quentin were next, the ARGUS safe house no hindrance to the returning Black Siren (aka Earth 2's Laurel Lance) and Evelyn Sharp. I hadn't realised that Quentin was unaware that the evil doppelganger of his dead daughter was around; naturally he went through the same issues Oliver and co went through in the mid-season opener. I would have liked more of the interaction between these two, though there were plenty more events to get through. What we did learn though was that she likely cared for her version of Quentin back on Earth 2 and that despite working for Chase, she might not be quite as evil as she pretends to be.
Talia Al'Ghul and her rogue band of assassins meanwhile took down Diggle and Felicity's car in spectacular fashion while Oliver faced Chase in his prison cell. Again, I would have liked more of these moments - Josh Segarra was doing his best to deliver his Hannibal Lecter impression in the few prison cell scenes he had - but the pace of the episode was too quick to linger. Finally Oliver caught up with what the audience had known for a few weeks - Chase had kidnapped his son William - and he was forced to turn to an unlikely ally to help break Chase from custody in exchange for everyone's safety.
The team up of Malcolm Merlyn and Oliver Queen was a surprising but fun addition to the episode and the attack on Chase's guard down the rain drenched narrow fenced walkway was fantastically choreographed. John Barrowman continues to bring the camp back as ever, particularly when faced with his arch nemesis Talia Al'Ghul. Having these two villains back on Oliver's side and then recruiting none other than Slade Wilson himself in the episode's closing minutes, promises some exciting action and drama for the finale.
What's really exciting is that for all the expansion of team Arrow this season, Prometheus' band of rogues are just as impressive. I can't wait to see Talia v Nyssa, Black Siren v Malcolm and Deathstroke and the final battle between Adrian Chase and Oliver Queen,. Returning to the island for the final battle is a great move; I've been looking forward to plenty of next episodes this season on Arrow but I don't think I've been nice excited for a new episode in years. Quite simply, Arrow has found its groove again this season and as long as the finale doesn't screw things up, it could up there as one of the best seasons the show has ever done...