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Oliver mixes it up with former friends and foes as he tries to rescue his friends from the island


S5 E23
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May 24, 2017 at 09:00 PM EDT

Arrow’s fifth season finale features explosive action, explosive emotions, and then just… explosives. Let’s recap.

Last week, we left Oliver mid-recruitment of Slade Wilson, who’s now Mirakuru-free and is incredulous that Oliver would want his help. Oliver, in turn, offers Slade a jump drive with his son’s location and a brand-new Death Stroke mask. (Oliver’s mask guy must ask zero questions when a new order rolls in.) Slade actually takes a step back when he sees the mask, then rasps, “You and me, kid. Like old times.”

So Oliver leaves the A.R.G.U.S. island supermax with Slade and, as a bonus, Digger Harkness, a.k.a. Boomerang, to fight on his side. They join Malcolm and Nyssa on the beach, and nobody’s terribly happy to be working with anybody else. However, their bickering stops when an RPG drops from the sky to destroy their plane.

Flashback: Kovar’s shocked to find that Oliver didn’t kill himself and sends his men to find him, while Oliver and his wig race to the hidden cache of supplies, where he straps on a watch counting down to the arrival of his escape boat.

In the present, Nyssa and Malcolm check out the source of the RPG, while Oliver, Slade, and Digger track William’s call. Digger complains about not being given a weapon, but Oliver makes it clear he only trusts the man with the eyepatch.

Oliver’s group stumbles across Felicity, Curtis, Thea, and Samantha locked in cages, but of course, it’s a trap, and Talia and Evelyn leap into the clearing. Before you can say, “Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal,” Digger pulls a gun Chase gave him earlier and asks Slade to join the winning side. Slade declines, and when Nyssa and Malcolm arrive, Talia throws a smoke bomb so she and Boomerang can disappear.

Poor stupid Evelyn ends up locked in a cage, and Felicity and Thea are understandably displeased that Oliver’s working with Slade. (Thea even reminds Oliver that they’re orphans because of him and Malcolm.) But Oliver’s more focused on getting everyone off the island. He tells Felicity that he can’t focus until she’s out of harm’s way and begs Thea to go with Curtis and Malcolm to keep Felicity and Samantha safe, even invoking her nickname: “I need your help, Speedy.”

Before they depart, Oliver gives Curtis comms — “Just in case something goes wrong” — and Felicity satellite images of the island, again “just in case.” Felicity, in turn, leans in and kisses him. When he asks what that was for, she replies, “Just in case.” She regrets many things about their relationship but didn’t want to add not kissing him to the list. They promise to discuss the State of Olicity in greater depth when they’re off the island, and folks, the kiss may have been more chaste than some fans might’ve liked, but the sentiment behind it, and the conversation to come, is not.

Elsewhere on the island, Black Siren leads John and Quentin into the temple, where they join the already chained Rene and Dinah, who’s frustrated by a sonic dampener that shuts down her power. Black Siren winks and leaves, and I’ll say it again: Evil Katie Cassidy is the best Katie Cassidy.

While Nyssa tracks Talia and Boomerang through the jungle, Oliver and Slade pass a skeleton in relatively fresh clothes (hmmm, wonder if we’ll circle back to this) and Slade tries to catch up: “So instead of marrying the blonde, you married Ra’s al Ghul’s daughter?” When he learns why Oliver’s beefing with Chase, Slade declares that it all comes back to Oliver’s past and urges him to stop blaming himself for his father’s suicide and everything that came after it. “You need to forgive yourself for your sins,” he says, even though “it’s the hardest thing in this world.” After all, Slade’s a guy who understands the importance (and difficulty) of self-forgiveness.

In the horribly awkward conversation part of the island, Samantha announces that she’s not leaving without William, then asks Felicity if her ultimatum to Oliver is the reason they broke up. Felicity’s gracious and says the reasons were complicated. Thea, meanwhile, is so busy telling Malcolm that his paternal feelings mean nothing to her that she steps on a landmine. She’s clearly terrified but refuses to let Malcolm take her place, so he simply knocks her aside. Thea realizes he’s on a suicide mission and tells him he doesn’t have to prove anything to her.

“From the moment you were born, all I ever wanted was to protect you,” he tells her. “You may not think of me as your father, Thea, but you’ll always be my daughter.”

This emotional moment’s cut short by a Digger boomerang embedding itself into a nearby tree. Malcolm yells at his daughter and her friends to run. Digger can’t understand why Malcolm’s just standing out in the open, and Malcolm gives one last smirk. “Let me show you.” The next thing we see is an explosion in the background as Thea, Felicity, Curtis, and Samantha dash through the woods. But… Malcolm… Malcolm couldn’t have… NOOOOOO!
(Recap continues on page 2)

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Billionaire Oliver Queen — under the vigilante persona of Arrow — tries to right the wrongs of his family and fight the ills of society.
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