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‘Arrow’ Review: No One Is ‘Missing’ After All Those Dramatic Returns

Arrow Missing Review
The CW

Warning – FULL SPOILERS for Tonight’s Penultimate “Missing”:

It occurred to me last week that the prospect of Arrow Season 6 feels slightly more exciting than these final hours of recent weeks. There’s a great wide world to explore once the series frees itself of Oliver’s five-year past, and hope is a fine color. After all, The Flash is skewing almost as bleak as Oliver Queen these days, and it really accentuates when Arrow has nothing more to offer its characters than another dump truck full of sorrow.

To its credit, “Missing” at least plays with the idea of Team Arrow enjoying last week’s victory over Chase; celebrating Oliver’s’ birthday (that we’ve apparently ignored for four years), mulling over summer vacations, and even pivoting Oliver and Felicity back together. It was never going to last – not with a trump card like Chase abducting William in the mix – but there’s still something deeply unsatisfying about a big bad who miraculously plots for every potential outcome. One by one, a captive Chase still manages to undo every ounce of Oliver’s planning; abducting Thea and Quentin from a safehouse, sending the League after Felicity and Diggle, and finally forcing Oliver to free him, lest William suffer the consequences. Chase is more Josh Segarra’s compelling performance than actual character at this point, and my biggest concern lies with next week’s finale amounting to “Well, that was my last absurdly thought-out move, I guess you can defeat me now.”

Arrow Season 6 Villain
“Neat!”

“Missing” serves the more functional task of getting every character in place for the final Lian Yu showdown and – to that end – a few of tonight’s pieces actually work pretty well. Having Katie Cassidy’s Black Siren back to play off Quentin’s emotions is a good way to call back to his mental state at the outset of the season, and a logical means to insert the real Laurel into Oliver’s flashback visions as well. Having Oliver call on Merlyn for help was also a lot of fun, especially in light of the pair’s finale history, and that gorgeous rain-soaked scene of the two taking town A.R.G.U.S. guards at an airstrip offered the hour’s clear highlight. Just about everyone* came back this week, from Katrina Law’s Nyssa al Ghul to Manu Bennett’s Slade Wilson, and even Byron Mann got to reprise his role as Yao Fei, taking Oliver through a Kovar-induced tour of the past season’s flashbacks.

*Only Rene remains unaccounted for (Dinah was at least visibly abducted), and given the emphasis Quentin placed on explaining to the judge why Rene missed the custody hearing, I imagine it’s more dramatically interesting if he actually did leave town, and couldn’t face his daughter.

Arrow Missing Review
“Just wait ‘til she starts wearing black leather and fishnets.”

I’m hard-pressed to imagine Arrow undergoing too drastic a reinvention next season, but Merlyn articulated well that Oliver has had five years to get in his head that human connections are a necessary liability – not an excuse to spend another year brooding over his failures. It’s a point I hope the series recognizes as well: Oliver and Arrow overall need something new to rely on beside constant punishment, and “Missing” places a lot of pressure on next week’s finale to make Oliver’s triumph over Chase a profound one.

But hey, at least Slade’s back! We can cross that off the list. And kudos for Season 5’s endgame not threatening Star City once again. I’m quite looking forward to a more personal showdown on Lian Yu, even if “Missing” pretty much took us there on rails.

AND ANOTHER THING …

  • How many times do Barry and Oliver have to turn on A.R.G.U.S. soldiers before Lyla finally pulls their support for good, you think?
  • “Like a piece of iron.” Dolph Lundgren humor!
  • Maybe don’t leave the deadly captive alone in a rusty cell with a very functional firearm.
  • I presume Lexa Doig was busy this week?
  • Granted he’s a drug-induced vision, did Yao Fei forget he has another twin daughter?
  • Chase having a wife feels like the most weirdly underdeveloped part of Season 4. He’s fifty steps ahead of Oliver, but never saw coming that his own spouse might complicate matters?
  • Seriously, who takes care of the prisoners on Lian Yu?

Arrow Season 5 will conclude on May 24 with “Lian Yu,” airing at 8:00 P.M. on The CW.

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