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We're only hours away from the big finale of Arrow Season 5, which promises to team Oliver up with his old nemesis Slade Wilson to take down Prometheus. Ever since we learned that Slade would be back, many of us have been wondering how exactly these two enemies could somehow work together after everything that has happened. A sneak peek has been released that answers the question, and it introduces what is either a major continuity error or a late-in-the-game Flashpoint effect. Take a look at the sneak peek:
Slade seems to have changed out of his crazypants for his conversation with Oliver. He doesn't exactly apologize for murdering Moira or wreaking havoc on Starling City, but he definitely seems a lot saner than we've seen him in a while. At the very least, the sneak peek indicates that he's genuinely interested in the whereabouts of his son, who is apparently very much alive, and therein lies the continuity error/Flashpoint effect.
The Arrow tie-in novel Vengeance revealed that young Joe Wilson had been killed by his father when Slade was in a Mirakuru rage. Unless Oliver is a huge jerk and Joe's "present whereabouts" are a grave somewhere, Slade's son is evidently very much alive. Given that the reveal of Joe's death was only addressed in the tie-in novel that many Arrow viewers may not have read, there's a chance that the folks behind the scenes decided to just skip over this particular detail and establish Joe as alive to give Slade a reason to join Oliver. It wouldn't be the first time that continuity was sacrificed for plot on Arrow.
That said, there's a decent chance that Slade's son's survival has everything to do with Barry Allen's meddling with timelines over on The Flash. The Flashpoint timeline already affected Arrow in a big way when it resulted in Diggle's child switching from baby Sara to baby John; Joe Wilson could still be alive because Flashpoint somehow affected Oliver's nemesis. Flashpoint often hasn't even made sense on The Flash, so if Joe has survived due to Flashpoint, Arrow fans might be best off not trying to work out how exactly it worked.
Joe surviving due to Flashpoint could also excuse why Oliver suddenly has a flash drive filled with intel about Slade's kid. We haven't seen Oliver gathering -- or getting Felicity to gather -- information on Joe. In fact, we haven't even heard Joe mentioned for quite a while. If Arrow goes the Flashpoint route, it would explain why Oliver conveniently has the intel without even tangentially referring to it on screen. It's not a retcon; it's Flashpoint!
Then again, maybe it's neither a continuity error nor a Flashpoint effect that Joe Wilson is alive. Maybe Joe just never died in the first place. Slade was off his rocker while under the influence of Mirakuru; perhaps he didn't see what he thought he saw when Joe "died." Alternately, maybe Joe just seemed super dead, only to survive. Slade managed to come back from certain death. Maybe it's a talent that runs in the family. Personally, I'm still hoping that Slade pulls a double cross on Oliver and remains his greatest nemesis with a goal to fulfill.
We'll have to wait and see, although we luckily won't have to wait too long. The Arrow Season 5 finale airs tonight at 8 p.m. ET on The CW. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for the latest in TV news, and don't forget to check out our summer TV premiere schedule to discover all your viewing options now and in the coming weeks. Be sure to drop by our rundowns for cable/streaming and broadcast TV renewals and cancellations as well. Our TV season finale schedule can give you all you need to know about your shows ending.