The Arrow Season 5 finale marked the end of an era as Oliver completed his five-year arc of recovery from his ordeals after the sinking of the Queen's Gambit. The episode had to fit a lot into an hour of television to get flashback Oliver to where he was in the pilot and to stage present Oliver's big showdown with Prometheus. Luckily for longtime fans, the finale managed to answer plenty of important questions that have been raised over the past half decade. Check them out!
How Did Oliver Get The Burn Scar?
If Arrow was known for one thing back in its earliest days on the air, it might have been Oliver's penchant for walking around and working out shirtless, which served two purposes: proving that the ab-tastic Stephen Amell could really pull off Oliver's crazy stunts and revealing to the audience that his body has gone through hell. The past five seasons of flashbacks have featured Oliver getting sliced, diced, whipped, and shot in all the right places to get those scars, but there was one that was quite obviously missing: the giant burn across the small of his back.
Well, the finale finally gave him the wound when Kovar pinned him back against a burning helicopter. It does raise a continuity issue, as Oliver's burn wasn't fresh back in the pilot. Still, I'll give the show a pass on this one. At least they included it.
Will Slade Keep His Promise?
Slade Wilson was arguably Oliver's greatest supervillain over the first five years of the show, going to great lengths to deliver on his promise to destroy everything Oliver loves in vengeance for Oliver's inability to save Shado. When news broke that Slade would be back in the Season 5 finale, the big question was whether he would try to keep his promise yet again. He was still pretty set on ruining Oliver when they last met back in Season 3, and Oliver was springing him from his ARGUS cell. The opportunity to double cross was there.
As it turns out, Slade has spent the last season and a half regaining some degree of his sanity, and he chose to help Oliver rather than betray him in the finale. He wants to escape the island and pursue his own interests, not go after Oliver and Star City again.
Why Was There A Temple On The Island?
Way back in the Season 2 flashbacks, before everything went to hell and Slade became Deathstroke, Oliver and Slade spotted a temple in the middle of the forest on Lian Yu. Given that Lian Yu was otherwise pretty uninhabited and undeveloped, the temple seemed quite out of place. Season 2 never did anything with it, and Oliver and Co. ran into trouble with the other inhabitants of the island, and it felt like a dangling plot that would never be resolved.
As it turns out, we just needed to wait another couple of seasons to find out why there was a random temple in the middle of the island. Lian Yu was evidently a holy place before it was turned into a prison by the Chinese government, and the temple was a remnant of less bloody times.
What Did Prometheus Mean By "See You On The Boat?"
In the penultimate episode of Season 5, Prometheus bade goodbye to Oliver in Star City by saying "I'll see you on the boat!" Oliver and Prometheus both flew to Lian Yu and traipsed across the island for the majority of the finale, so the question remained: what did he mean about the boat?
It wasn't until the final minutes of the episode that we really discovered how far ahead Prometheus really planned in his showdown with Oliver. He lured Oliver out onto a boat, where he revealed that this was where he had been hiding William the whole time. It was on the boat that Oliver was forced to choose whether to kill Prometheus to save his son or let his son die to save his friends back on the rigged-with-explosives Lian Yu. Unfortunately, Prometheus was one step ahead until the very end.
What Extra Flashback Scenes Will Be Included?
Executive producer Wendy Mericle teased earlier this year that the flashbacks of the finale would feature "some of the more emotional moments that we never got to see in the pilot," and so we had to wonder how far the extra flashbacks would go and what characters would be included. The finale flashbacks ultimately took us to the unexplored span of time between Oliver's rescue by the Chinese fishermen and his reunion with his mom.
Luckily for those of us who have been mourning the death of Moira Queen (and the absence of the wonderful Susanna Thompson) ever since Slade murdered Moira in Season 2, the finale flashback brought her back to show the first moment she spoke with her son after believing him dead for five years. I won't say I cried when they spoke, but my upper lip wasn't at its stiffest.
Can Nyssa Beat Talia In A Fight?
Ever since the news broke that Talia al Ghul would appear in Season 5, many fans have been wondering who would win in a showdown between the al Ghul sisters. We've seen many times over the years that Nyssa is a formidable fighter, but it didn't take much screen time in Season 5 for Talia to prove that she can hold her own against the best of the best as well. Who would win in a fight: Nyssa, with her long years of training under Ra's al Ghul, or Talia, who forged her own destiny (and fighting style) after leaving Nanda Parbat?
The showdown happened in the Season 5 finale, and Nyssa emerged the definitive victor, refusing to give in to her sister's taunts and knocking her out cold. Nyssa totally took down Talia, and it was awesome.
What's The Deal With Slade's Kids?
Slade's son Joe was mentioned a couple of times in the early seasons of Arrow, but nobody said on screen what happened to him or his mother. Although a tie-in novel explained that Slade killed Joe in a Mirakuru rage, those of us who hadn't read the book didn't know what happened to him, and Arrow actually untwisted that particular plot twist in the finale. Then, there was the Grant Wilson who was seen menacing Star City in a Legends of Tomorrow episode set in 2046. Grant definitely didn't look old enough to have born before the island, so it felt like a continuity error that he was established as Slade's son.
Now that Slade has been sprung from the ARGUS prison and will presumably escape Lian Yu with Team Arrow, he could track down his firstborn and get around to fathering Grant at some point.
How Was Oliver's Hair So Long In The Pilot?
Admittedly, we kind of already had our answer about how Oliver's hair was so long in the beginning of the pilot when it was only shaggy in the Season 5 flashbacks. Anatoly left Oliver on Lian Yu with a wig and a timer so that he could prepare himself to be rescued by fishermen. Oliver actually had a close call in the finale, as Kovar caught up with him and got around to stabbing, beating, and burning him for so long that Oliver almost missed his boat.
Of course, given that we've known for five years now that Oliver would escape, there wasn't too much suspense as Oliver scrambled to get the wig on straight. Still, we saw for ourselves that Oliver donned the wig, giving the impression of five years of scraggly growth on a desolate island.
Arrow will return to The CW for Season 6 in the fall. Check out our breakdown of what we know so far about Season 6, and be sure to see 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.