Like all of the CW’s superhero shows this year, the excellent Arrow season 5 ended on a cliffhanger. Oliver saved his son but Adrian Chase still “won” by blowing up Lian Yu while the entire regular cast was on it. It’s a twist that doesn’t have a ton of weight behind it because no one is really entertaining the possibility that Arrow just killed off every character but Oliver and his son William. Still, for the cliffhanger to have any type of meaning, someone shouldn’t make it out alive and based on the finale it might be the character that already has “death” in their name. “Lian Yu” could be Slade Wilson’s Arrow swan song.
Arrow Season 5 Finale Recap: Oliver and Chase Battle Back Where it All Began>>>
Putting the Death in Deathstroke
There are a few characters left in limbo from the cliffhanger who can’t possibly die. We already know that Rick Gonzalez and Juliana Harkavy, Rene and Dinah respectively, have been promoted to series regulars for season 6. Likewise, none of the other series regulars — Emily Bett Rickards, David Ramsey, Willa Holland, Echo Kellum and Paul Blackthorne — have confirmed they are leaving. (Though “Lian Yu” could serve as the end of Blackthorne’s Quentin since he did officially pass the mantle of Black Canary to Dinah and his death could allow another season 6 regular, Katie Cassidy, to make the switch from villain to antihero.)
This just leaves the guest stars in the finale to bite the dust. Anna Hopkins as Samantha is a possibility but if William’s mother dies that leaves Oliver as sole parent and that’s a bit too much for Arrow to handle. Katrina Law bowing as Nyssa is another possibility and “Lian Yu” could serve as a nice end to her character. By fighting against her sister Nyssa fully rejected her father’s legacy and become her own person and hero. Even though this would be a proper end to Nyssa’s character, Katrina Law is so good as a semi-regular character that it would feel like a mistake to kill her off. It’s true that Manu Bennett is equally amazing as Slade Wilson but the character dying in “Lian Yu,” especially in a noble and heroic way, is the perfect way to say goodbye.
The End of the Line, Kid
As much as “Lian Yu” wrapped up season 5’s storyline, and really a 10-year journey for Oliver since the Queen’s Gambit exploded, it also felt like a send-off for Deathstroke. With the mirakuru having finally worn off, Slade was the character that fans met and Oliver grew to love as a brother in seasons 1 and 2 of Arrow. “Lian Yu” did suggest a future storyline for Slade with him trying to find his son Joe but the finale did much more to redeem Slade and bring his story full circle than suggest it was continuing. So much of the finale was spent repairing Slade and Oliver’s friendship and Slade giving Oliver that last pep talk he needed to move outside the shadow of his past.
Is Arrow Season 5 the Best Season Yet?>>>
Slade was on mission in the season 5 finale, not only to help Oliver, but to redeem himself. It’s hard not to imagine a scenario arising in the season 6 premiere where Slade puts a button on that redemption and sacrifices himself in order to save Oliver’s family and friends. It’s much more Arrow-like for Slade to die in some blaze of glory than to win his freedom off Lian Yu. Arrow loves its symmetry, and what is more symmetrical than Slade dying as a hero on the same island he was born as a villain?
I certainly won’t complain if Slade, or anyone else for that manner, survives the Lian Yu explosion. I’m even a little bummed that Adrian Chase is (presumably) dead because he was the greatest villain Arrow to date. Manu Bennett’s return to Arrow was worth the wait and he can easily keep going for years to come. It just wouldn’t be the worst thing if Arrow ended the character’s journey on a high note and there can’t be a much higher note than Slade’s appearance in “Lian Yu.”
But what do you think? Was the season 5 finale the end of Slade Wilson? Should it be the end? Do you think any characters will die in the explosion or was it all a fake-out?
Arrow will return for season 6 in Fall 2017 on Thursdays 9/8c on The CW. Want more news? Like our Arrow Facebook page!
(Image courtesy of The CW)