#Arrow Season Finale 5X23 "Lian Yu" Recap & Review

With his team and son captured by Prometheus, Oliver recruits Nyssa al Ghul and Malcolm Merlyn to help get them back. But, Oliver knows that the two archers won't be enough. The episode opens with Oliver talking with his friend turned enemy Slade Wilson, who is locked up in Oliver's secret prison on Lian Yu. With the Mirakuru being out of his system for a few years, Slade is sane and remorseful of what he did to Oliver. Oliver asks his friend for help and offers to give Slade information on his son. Slade agrees, and along with Digger Harkness, they return to Nyssa and Merlyn. The team splits up and searches the Island.

Oliver, Harkness, and Slade manage to find Felicity, Thea, Curtis, and Samantha locked in cages. It turns out to be a trap as Evelyn and Talia jump down from above. Harkness reveals himself as a double-agent and pulls a gun on Slade. He offers Slade a spot on the "winning side, " and Slade tells Evelyn to put a gun to Oliver's head. This is a mistake as Slade attacks Harkness and Oliver disarms Evelyn. Talia is about to execute Samantha, but Merlyn and Nyssa show up, and the villains are forced to flee. 

Oliver released his team and locked up Evelyn. The team questions Oliver's allegiance to his former villains, but Oliver states that he needs them. Oliver sends Merlyn with his team to Adrian Chase's plan. He wants them out of harm's way, so he isn't distracted worrying about them. Oliver, Slade, and Nyssa then make their way to a temple, where the rest of Oliver's team is being held.

On the way back to the boat, Thea is resilient of Merlyn's claims of love and fatherly protectiveness. This is interrupted when Thea steps on a landmine. She orders everyone to leave, but Merlyn tackles her off the mine and takes her place. He orders her to take the others and leave. She reluctantly does so as Harkness and Talia's acolytes arrive. Harkness gloats to Merlyn, but Merlyn gets the last laugh and steps off the mine. Thea and the others see an explosion in the distance, confirming Merlyn's death (John Barrowman also confirmed Merlyn's death). They make it to the plane, but it has been sabotaged. It is then that Felicity and Curtis also discover that Adrian has placed explosives all over the island. 

Oliver, Nyssa, and Slade make it to the Temple. Nyssa goes off to scout as Slade knocks Oliver out and delivers him to Black Siren, who is also holding Diggle, Renee, Dinah, and Quentin. Black Siren and Slade leave as the team manages to break free. Nyssa faces off with Talia as the team fights Black Siren and more of Talia's acolytes. As the battle ensues, Slade returns and helps Oliver and the team. Black Siren and Talia are defeated and knocked unconscious, and Oliver shares that he and Slade planned his capture. Oliver tells everyone to make for the plane as he chases down Adrian.

Oliver finds Chase at the docks leaving on a boat. Oliver jumps on board and the two battle it out. Oliver defeats Chase but, despite Chase's constant prodding, refuses to kill him. Adrian reveals Oliver's son William and that the bombs on the island are connected to a heart monitor. He gives Oliver a choice. Oliver is given a choice to either save his son and kill everyone on the island. Or he could let William die and save everyone on the island. Oliver manages to outsmart Chase and gets William away from him. Chase congratulates Oliver on his victory and hopes that he will be happy with his son. Chase then proceeds to shoot himself in the head, in a similar fashion to Oliver's father in S1. Oliver and William are forced to watch as the island in consumed by explosions and the season ends. 

A lot was riding on the Arrow finale this year. Last year the already disappointing season 4 delivered an incredibly underwhelming finale. Many fans lost faith in the writers of Arrow and its ability to last. Despite that, the writers heard the fans and delivered the best season of Arrow in a long time. Rivaling the first two seasons of the show this season gave us fresh new characters, and original villain, and significantly less forced drama and rehashing of emotional arcs. Arrow needed this season to go well, to conclude the five season arc that it has been developing. With that being said, a lot was riding on this finale. It had to be good. 

In a nutshell, this finale was incredible. It was easily the best season finale of Arrow. It had the characters, the stakes, and the action that was needed to make a worthy conclusion to this story arc. Unlike most of the Arrow finales, this one left off on a massive cliffhanger. It forces us to wait and see who from the large finale cast survived Lian Yu. It was good to have a cliffhanger ending for this season because it builds serious hype for season 6. 

Overall Rating: 9.8