Arrow: ‘Missing’ Review
Happy birthday, Ollie?
Warning: Of course there will be spoilers for this Arrow episode review.
You know you’re watching the second to the last episode of an Arrow season if the level of intensity is this high. Chase may be in a highly enforced cell at A.R.G.U.S. but he still remains the most dangerous and fascinating villain Oliver has ever faced. While he waits to be released, his evil allies grow and they begin to round up members of Team Arrow, forcing Oliver to join up with former enemies. Throughout the season, this conflict with Prometheus has been brewing up a storm of epic proportions. “Missing” was a great penultimate episode that sets us up for a wildly dramatic finale.
As much as I enjoyed watching the team take a night off to happily celebrate Ollie’s birthday, I couldn’t believe they thought they truly won the war with Prometheus. Obviously, they would have deserved the win at this point, but no victory, no matter how minor, has ever been easy with Chase always being a hundred steps ahead of Oliver. As a result of them all letting their guards down, chaos ensued courtesy of Chase’s allies, Black Siren, Evelyn and Talia (whom we didn’t see) who all work together to kidnap every member of Team Arrow. It’s pretty sad when a man who fights for his city and has lost so much, only aspires to buy new socks. And yet, he can’t even have one day to fully celebrate his birthday. Chase, you really are a cruel bastard of a villain.
We were able to see plenty of the wicked Chase’s smug face as he stood in his cell, smiling that his plan was working. Once again, Josh Segerra dominates as his villainous character just has to sit back and play more mind games with Oliver until the latter eventually gives in and allows the former to escape A.R.G.U.S. custody. It’s chilling and exciting to see how maniacal Chase can be, reveling in the fact that Oliver is desperate and weakened without his team. Whereas Segarra rules as the dominant opponent, Stephen Amell continues his strike of awesome acting as the leader trying to keep it together. As tough as he tries to come off as he beats up Chase in his cell, his vulnerable side outweighs his aggressive one. These two are just awesome when they clash like this. The drama between these two is often more thrilling than their action packed duels.
We all know that Oliver is a bad ass, but as this season has shown, his strength relies on the support of his team. Taking them away forces him to work with some adversaries, including Malcolm Merlyn. Although he had a big role as Merlyn during this season’s Legends of Tomorrow, watching John Barrowman make his return to Arrow was something I’ve been waiting for. There was no disappointment to be had. It was quite startling that he would be the voice of reason for Oliver to calm down and think about his next move. Their team up was fantastic. Of course I enjoyed watching them fight off the guards trying to transfer Chase to prison. It was pretty much the only major action sequence in this suspenseful cat and mouse game-like episode.
There were a lot of great cast members who made their return. I did watch the sizzle reel for this final stretch of the season when it dropped online, so I wasn’t surprised by anyone’s appearance, but I was excited either way. The lovely Katie Cassidy made her return as Black Siren aka Laurel from Earth-2. It’s kind of ridiculous that the team never mentioned her existence to Quentin. Especially since she was imprisoned on their Earth. It just seemed like valuable information, ya know? Fortunately, it did allow for some great dramatic work to be given by Paul Blackthorne. Thankfully, the other two “surprise” guests were not credited during the opening credits. The gorgeous Katrina Law returned as Nyssa al Ghul in the final moments. Loved Merlyn’s annoyance with her. And of course, the appearance I heard was coming… Manu Bennett as the great Slade Wilson aka Deathstroke is back! His five seconds of screen time was my favorite moment of the episode. I can’t wait to see Wilson interact with Oliver again.
In the flashback, we were able to see more of Dolph Lundgren as Kovar. It was a great showcase of Dolph’s talents as an actor. He proceeds to torture Oliver with a drug that causes him to relive every painful memory he ever had. It was a very effective way to show us that Oliver always carried the idea that everyone he ever knows and cares about will suffer because of him. In the past, that message came to him in the form of an illusion of his deceased friend Yao Fei. In the present, Chase keeps telling him that over and over again. With that thought in mind, we also knew Oliver would never give up. He didn’t give up when Kovar gave him an out with that one bullet, and he won’t give up while Chase has the team held hostage. So while Oliver depends on his team, he also has the strong will to always push forward.
There’s really no other way to say it, with these returning characters, all the ties to Oliver’s past, and the fact that the final battle is going to take place on Lian Yu, Arrow has truly come full circle. With the five-year flashbacks ending in this fifth season, what better way to end things than on the island that literally changed Oliver Queen’s life? It’s this setup that makes this the most exciting and personal finale yet. It almost feels like a series finale.
Surprisingly, this setup to the season finale is a lot more subtle and possibly smaller in scale than previous Arrow events. Which is what makes this the most emotionally thrilling conflict yet. While this episode was pretty much all setup, it was still thrilling because everything that happened felt meaningful. Like it was truly headed towards a fascinatingly epic conclusion. There were a lot of great dramatic moments, and the entire cast did a terrific job. This season finale cannot fail, please. The stage is set. Let’s make this final act one for the ages.