‘Arrow’ 5×23 Roundtable: ‘Lian Yu’

While Arrow has been a disappointment for the majority of season 5, these last several episodes of the season has shown us that Arrow is still capable of solid storytelling and beautiful character exploration.

After five seasons telling how Oliver got off Lian Yu and has grown into the Green Arrow, this season finale brought everything full circle in a way that was entertaining and satisfying.

Our Fangirlish writers Alyssa, Lizzie, Lyra, Nora, Sarah, and Charles are breaking down Arrow‘s season finale, which has us feeling impressed, as well as feeling hopeful for Oliver and Felicity’s future, and not freaking out too much about that cliffhanger.

Describe your thoughts about “Lian Yu” using just six words.

Alyssa: What. A. Freaking. Epic. Season. Finale.

Lizzie: Okay, so that was finally good.

Lyra: Hesitant, but I want to believe.

Nora: The definition of an epic finale.

Sarah: Thank God Epic Arrow is back!

Charles: Exciting Season Finale Done Right Finally.

Describe your feelings about “Lian Yu” using a gif.

Alyssa:

Lizzie:

Lyra:

Nora:

Sarah: 

Charles:

What was your reaction to that cliffhanger when it happened?

Alyssa:

Lizzie:

Nora:

Sarah: 

Charles:

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Obviously everyone’s safe and sound, but what were your thoughts on that cliffhanger as it happened in the moment? And where do you think season 6 will pick up?

Alyssa: In the moment it happened, I felt agonizing pain and pure shock at what happened. It’s one of those things that you never expect them to actually follow through with. But they did. But immediately after my initial reaction of “ARE YOU F**KING SERIOUS?!” I realized that obviously Arrow didn’t kill every character not named Oliver or William. Obviously, our faves made it to the ARGUS bunker underneath the island or to an ARGUS boat and make it off the island. This was more a cliffhanger for Oliver Queen than anything. Logic tells us most everyone survived, certainly our core group. But in the moment, this cliffhanger did what a cliffhanger should do. There was real shock, real pain, real crying. It certainly left a lasting effect that will have fans talking for the next five months.

Usually, Arrow keeps with real time, which leads to the typically five-month time jump. There’s a couple different ways this could go. Arrow could keep with tradition and jump ahead five months — to a place where (most) everyone is home safe and sound, and we flash back to the moments after Lian Yu exploded and see what happened next. Or, the new season could pick up immediately after that cliffhanger, and we could see the immediate effects after. My bet is on the former.

Lizzie: I was a bit shocked, yes, but since I don’t for a moment believe they’re all dead, that took  a bit of the emotional resonance away from me. It was just too unbelievable, the show can’t go on with just Oliver. So a cliffhanger involving just a few characters would have been better, in that it would have been more believable. Either way, it kinda sucks to have to spend months wondering how they survived, because they did. Most of them, at least.

I have a feeling S6 will pick up right after, and once we get our explanation, then we’ll get our five month jump.

Lyra: I’m with Lizzie here, the emotional resonance of the scene didn’t hit me as hard and I wasn’t screaming, “I SWEAR TO YOU GUGGIE. IF YOU KILL THEM I WILL SEND YOU A STRONGLY WORDED LETTER!” There’s no way that Arrow is going to kill the people I most care about, Diggle and Felicity, and leave Oliver devastated. Arrow has no problem taking steps back when it comes to character development but this would be a major blow they couldn’t recover from. This show also doesn’t kill people. Look at Malcolm, Thea, Sara, and Katie Cassidy. They always come back. So even if Arrow decided to put it’s big girl pants on and kill Diggle or Felicity, they’d be back in no time.

P.S. I refuse to believe Thea dies on Lian Yu. If she’s going to leave the show let her meet up with Roy and live happily ever without the pain of their pasts holding them down.

Nora: To watch all your favorite characters get seemingly blow up isn’t easy in any situation. So, in the moment I was dying, especially knowing Oliver isn’t sure if any of his friends and family survived. I never expected Arrow to actually put ALL of its characters in danger, so I was surprised they actually went through with it. Obviously, Slade managed to lead the group to the secret underground ARGUS bunker with enough time for our core group, namely Felicity, Diggle, Dinah, Curtis and Rene to make it out alive. I’m nervous for the characters whose fates have been on the fence all season for me, namely Thea and Quentin. Both of them have seemingly run their course in terms of character development so I’ve been nervous all season, especially with Thea not being in much of season five. So, the cliffhanger worked for me because I’m more nervous for the repercussions, I don’t think everyone will make it out alive because I don’t think they’d blow up Lian Yu without someone not making it out alive, this is Arrow after all.

I’m assuming Arrow will also do their usual five month time jump and we’ll get some flashbacks to what happened in the aftermath of how Oliver and William found everyone after Lian Yu exploded. I’m also wondering if Samantha will make it off of Lian Yu or Oliver will have to become William’s father full time. So many options and I’m not emotionally ready.

Sarah: I haven’t had a moment of pure shock at a TV cliffhanger in a while so bravo Arrow for making me momentarily and honestly panic a ton of my favorite characters got blown up on screen. That being said, it was fantastically acted by Stephen especially when in that single moment Oliver believes everyone he loves is dead. Now we all know that’s not true, but it doesn’t take away from how devastating this will be for Oliver however long it lasts.

I suspect it won’t be long into Season 6 we will find out everyone’s alive, but I’m certain it’ll pick up right where we left off shock hanging over Oliver and dive headfirst into the fray. That’s going to be a long wait, and honestly I’m glad this show went out with a bang (pun not intended) to the point where waiting to see it again is going to be hard.

Charles: It was tense and well-done acting by Stephen and Josh. My only problem with it is that well….we all know that most of them are going to be safe. I know some people like Nyssa or Slade are in jeopardy but I would be shocked if something happened to one member of the team. Felicity and Diggle are safe and the rest of the team I believe so too.

Season 6 I believe will pick up very soon after the explosions. As is usual Arrow custom, it wouldn’t shock me if the opening shot is Oliver running around the island looking for Felicity, Diggle and the others before going into the present to show us Oliver back in Star City.

This episode was all about coming full circle as it closed out Oliver’s five-year journey. What were your thoughts on Oliver coming full circle in his hero’s journey?

Alyssa: This season finale was five years in the making. Everything that Oliver Queen has experienced in these past five seasons and 10 years has led to this episode. For so long, Oliver has believed that he’s a monster despite all of the growth he has done. He’s been stuck in this mindset that his past has dictated the outlook on his future. As if redemption isn’t something that he could truly accomplish. This season especially has really tested Oliver in terms of separating the man that he is and the man that he used to be. Chase sought to convince Oliver that he was still the killer he was when he left Lian Yu. And because Oliver’s natural response is to give into that insecurity, he believed him for awhile. But this was the episode where Oliver finally accepted that he’s not that person he was five years ago. He’s grown into something else. Something better. He’s not that person anymore. Chase had no power over him. I don’t know if I’ve ever been prouder of Oliver than in that moment.

Lizzie: In this, more than anything, the season finale succeeded. Oliver’s journey as a hero, one who’s often skewed too much one way or the other, feels like it’s finally been balanced, like he finally understands that it’s not all black and white, that there are shades of grey and that he, as a hero, must sometimes make the hard choices. This is a hell of a lot of growth for a man who basically became the Green Arrow for revenge and who had carried his father’s sins with him for the past five years. Now Oliver is finally ready to be a hero for the right reason, for his reasons.

Lyra: Setting all the crap of S5 aside, and the fact that blowing up his friends could give him epic nightmares/depression/anxiety, I think it’s important and healthy for Oliver to put this part of his life where it belongs, in the past. This island shaped him, gave birth to him, and for a really long time defined him. The destruction of it is a symbol, and a way of scaring the crap out of everyone that his friends might be dead, that Lian Yu is over for him. Now it’s time for him to forge ahead and start a new leg of his journey as a superhero.

Nora: Truly a perfect finale to close out this five year journey Oliver has been on. Everything came full circle and I loved every second of it. This episode only proved that Oliver has grown and become the man everyone always knew him to be. The past five years off the island and the five years back in Star City changed Oliver for the better and this episode showed that. Just the scene where Adrian is begging Oliver to kill him and Oliver decides not to was an incredible moment for him. He’s grown into a man he can be proud of and I’m proud of him. This season tested Oliver in every way possible. He was pushed to the breaking points by Adrian Chase. In this episode, Oliver finally accepts that he’s not the man he used to be. He’s grown and changed thanks to his family and friends. They’ve helped pull him out of a dark place and become a hero in his own right. Also seeing him with William was a full circle moment for me. Five years ago, Oliver would never have been ready to be a father and now he seems ready, especially after seeing the way he protected William from Adrian. Oliver has grown into a better man, who is ready to be a father and a boyfriend for Felicity and I’m excited for everything on the season six horizon.

Sarah: The season finale did a fantastic job bringing Oliver’s five year journey to a close. Bringing everything back round to the point where we met him in the pilot, to where he is now perfectly captured how much Oliver has experience to become the hero he is today. At the beginning and even through the middle he might not have made the choice to spare Adrian after all the pain he put him and his loved ones through. Truly though protecting his son from the man determined to destroy him was a high point given I struggled to connect to his bond with William initially. Considering he started this out alone with a notebook full of names and has grown into a full blow hero with a team of trusted and loved badasses it’s been one hell of a story including the flashbacks. Now I’m proud of the man Oliver has become over the last five years and I can’t wait to see what comes next. After you know he finds out everyone he loves is still alive!

Charles: It had to be done for the man Oliver Queen to move forward. I think I see that he is done being the Green Arrow because of his father. Now he is doing to protect the innocent, like a true hero. Just remember however that even though this journey is over, a new journey is getting ready to start for Oliver.

What was your reaction to Oliver and Felicity’s kiss before everything went to shit?

Alyssa:

Lizzie:

Lyra:

Nora:

Sarah: 

Charles:

What are your thoughts on this whole William situation? Do you care even a little? What do you want from this? Where do you see this storyline going next season?

Alyssa: Honestly, I don’t really care about this William storyline. But I want to feel invested. Because when I think about it, William is a huge part of Oliver’s story. But the thing is, Arrow has never shown us that to be true. Instead, they’ve opted to use William as a means to come between Oliver and Felicity or to use him as bait for big bads. If this show had actually taken the time to explore William and Oliver’s relationship, I might be more invested. Instead, I’m sitting here praying that Samantha survived the explosion and that her and William will exist outside of Arrow full-time. I’m all for slowly exploring their dynamic, but I don’t want it to overtake the show. If anything, this is something that should serve as moments of growth for Oliver.

Lizzie: Nope, don’t care. Not one bit. I guess I could learn to care, if the show did it well – and I have a feeling I’m going to be forced to, as I don’t think Samantha is making it out of that island alive, but right now, I just don’t care. The show can’t just say, oh, here’s Oliver’s son, care for him, no. They have to give me reasons to care, and they haven’t.

Lyra: William is a one dimensional character whose only purpose is to get kidnapped and worried about over and over again. Because of this I don’t care for him one iota. He’s a trope, a cliche, that makes me want to tune out even when I know that this is an extremely important relationship to Oliver. And before anyone thinks it, me not caring for William isn’t because I don’t have kids. I practically raised my sisters and become a crying mess during family reunion scenes. I’m practically made out of butter and will melt like nothing. I don’t care for William because the writing is lacking and I know for a fact that if Williams’ going to be there then he’s going to get kidnapped, plain and simple. If Arrow hopes to make ALL fans care for this relationship then we need to see what kind of boy William is. What does he love besides his “action figures”? What scares him besides Damien Darkh and Prommy? Does he love Stranger Things? And how does he feel about the new damn Fidget spinners? These are all essential, character building things, and William is in desperate need of all the character development he can get. Until then *shrug* he survived. Weeeeeee!

Nora: I had no feelings or thoughts of William until the final moments in the finale. Seeing Oliver protect William on the boat just opened up all these emotions for me. While I’m not 100% invested in William, I’m starting to be open to the idea of seeing William more regularly with Oliver, and hopefully Felicity. William is a huge part of Oliver’s story, but Arrow has always opted to avoid the subject or throw it in at the most inconvenient times. I might be more invested if we could explore William and Oliver’s relationship. William needs a father and if this season proved anything, Oliver wants to be in his son’s life. While I don’t want Oliver being a father to overtake the show, I’m hoping for a possibility to have William come around more and actually become an important part of Oliver’s life. Oliver isn’t done growing and this could be a moment of real growth for him in season six.

Sarah: I will admit as I said earlier, I have not cared about Williams story at all up until literally Oliver was protecting him from Adrian on Lian Yu. The writers didn’t start out his story right using it as an excuse for Oliver to keep yet another secret from his lover ones especially Felicity leading into it literally breaking them up. William I think could be a great story if he’s brought in better than he was initially but it’s going to take a lot for that to happen for me personally. For now I’ll hold off on judgement and simply hope for the best. I’d like to see Oliver be a father in the open, not behind closed doors and getting a real chance to be in his son’s life and vice versa with William.

Charles: Honestly I’m not a big fan of William or his storyline. It felt like it was brought back at first just to be a wedge between Oliver and Felicity. I don’t want William to die or anything like that but in season 6 it would not hurt my feelings any if William was out of sight and out of mind. I want this experience to be a growth for Oliver. For this to lead to him being more honest in his relationships with others, especially his one with Felicity.

While Malcolm is a vile person, he’s proven that he loves Thea as much, or more, than himself. What were your thoughts on Malcolm’s sacrifice for Thea and Thea’s reaction? Also, do you really believe Malcolm is dead?

Alyssa: While Malcolm Merlyn is no doubt a terrible person, if there’s one thing that he cares about more than or just as much as himself, it’s Thea. It’s why the many moments throughout Arrow where Malcolm, a terrible person, has sometimes offered help if it ensures Thea’s well-being. In fact, the only good thing he’s done in recent memory is love and protect Thea. Sure, he has a fucked up way of showing how he cares. But that’s Malcolm for you. It’s come to the point where we’ve been begging Oliver to just kill the bastard already. (I love John Barrowman, but I despise Malcolm.) But given Malcolm’s love for Thea, I wasn’t surprised in the slightest when he stepped up to protect his daughter. It was something that you could see happening before it did. Of course, Malcolm sacrificed himself for Thea. He would do it in a heartbeat. It’s one of the few redeeming qualities of his character. When all is said and done, Malcolm deserves to feel as much pain as he’s inflicted. But the fact that his “death” was something that he stepped into rather than something that happened to him unexpectedly was something that I actually admired. Although, I don’t truly believe Malcolm is dead. No body, no death. But even then, you never know with Arrow. Anyone can come back to life.

Lizzie: Malcolm Merlyn will never die, and that’s why I’m loath to believe this is the end. If it is, then it would be the perfect ending, it really would. He’d go out as a flawed man who, despite all his flaws, always loved Thea above everything else. But then again, that’d be too full-circle for Arrow, I believe. If Barrowman wants back, they’ll bring him back. And that’s the problem. This is really where Malcolm’s story should end.

Lyra: I’d like to believe that Malcolm Merlyn is dead. “Man who sacrificed himself for his daughter and actually did something right for once” has a nice ring to it and would look lovely on a tombstone. Unfortunately, John Barrowman is loved to the moon and back by everyone. YES, EVERYONE. There’s no way that sneaky Malcolm Merlyn is dead because he’s JB and because he’s a sneaky and conniving cockroach that never dies. As for Malcolm’s sacrifice and Thea’s reaction, in the words of Johanna from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, “Love is weird.” You can have the most complex, backwards, I totally manipulated you into killing a friend, relationship and still care about them. It doesn’t make you a freak or what they did any less wrong. It just proves that family is the most complex thing in the world.

In Season 5 of Arrow, and if they’re willing to take a chance at not writing the same stuff again where Malcolm goes rogue and evil, Thea and him could build something. It’ll be weird, have a load of problems, but it’ll be a new journey for them.

Nora: Malcolm’s sacrifice for Thea is the perfect ending to his character arc. Talk about a character that has run the gambit of ups and downs. While he’s someone that has done terrible things, he does have an undying love for Thea and that was at the heart of his decision to save Thea, Felicity and the others. The only good in Malcolm has come from protecting Thea, even helping Oliver comes from a place where he’ll do anything to assure his daughter’s safety. In recent seasons, I felt like Malcolm’s storylines were getting tiresome. There are only so many times a man can go from helping Team Arrow to betraying them before it gets boring. There was nowhere else to go for his character. He had done the evil thing, he tried to redeem himself, then he went back to being evil. Malcolm was trapped in a vicious cycle of the writers trying to keep him around because let’s face it, we all LOVE John Barrowman. Malcolm’s sacrifice for Thea is the perfect moment that showed that while he’s an evil person, protecting his family was always the reason behind some of his insane plans. I’m glad that Malcolm wasn’t killed in some battle, I also admired that he chose to end his life to save everyone. Thea turning to Felicity afterwards and wondering why she’s upset over a man who only caused her pain was completely justified and I think it was a good moment for Thea to have.

In terms of whether or not Malcolm is actually dead, I think he is. Part of that comes from John Barrowman saying Malcolm is actually gone in a Facebook video, but like I said Malcolm’s character arc had run its course. Now, just because he’s dead in the current timeline, that doesn’t mean he won’t show up in flashbacks or on Legends of Tomorrow in other time periods. If the Arrowverse has taught us anything, no one stays dead forever.

Sarah: Malcolm has been a character that I’ve loved to hate and simultaneously care about just a bit in the times he’s stepped up to protect and put Thea first. His love for his daughter was one of the few redeeming qualities he had left at this point. He knows he’s not a good person or anywhere close to a hero, but he embraced the good and bad anyways to fight for what he believed in. Sadly most of the time that cause was for himself, so the shining times only happened when it was for Thea. Say what you will about Malcolm (and yes I agree he was a bad person and not the best father) it didn’t surprise me at all he was willing to die for Thea. He went out on his own terms and for the best possible reason in his mind.

That being said, even with John Barrowman saying he’s gone here in the real world if the Arrow writers wanted to bring him back he’ll be back. I mean with Legends of Tomorrow crew out there I don’t think it would be that hard. If this was truly his swan song though it’s been ok knowing you Malcolm but I’ll always love John Barrowman far more.

Charles: I think it when it comes to Thea, Malcolm has tried to be a good father to her. At least in his mind, he has. Now in reality, he brainwashed her and lied to her so father of the year is slightly out of reach for him. Now his sacrifice on the landmine for Thea here was probably the purest, truest moment of unselfishness Malcolm has done as Thea’s father. Thea’s reaction is understandable. Thea Queen for all her toughness still is a gentle soul at heart. Sure he wasn’t great but when your father dies, it’s always going to bring out emotions in you. I would be more worried if she had felt nothing.

As for if Malcolm and if he is really dead……the only Merlyn that ever stays dead is Tommy. So it wouldn’t shock me at all to see him again. (But I don’t think we will)

While we were all hoping that there would be a way to keep Josh Segarra — alive, at the very least — alas we had to say goodbye to Segarra’s Adrian Chase. Time to spill your soul to Josh!

Alyssa: The only bad thing about Prometheus dying is that we have to say goodbye to Josh Segarra. He’s been an unexpected yet sensational addition to a season that, as a whole, wasn’t very good. But it was when Josh was allowed to sink his teeth into Adrian Chase as Prometheus the season finally picked up. Josh was the highlight of this season. He really devoted himself to this character and this portrayal in a way that he essentially created this character. It’s one thing to write a good villain. But it’s another to actually bring it to life. Josh was able to do it so effortlessly and so mesmerizingly. He brought out the best in Stephen Amell, which made for an amazing dynamic that was a treat to watch onscreen. Josh helped push Adrian Chase to the top of my favorite Arrow villains list just above Slade Wilson. Josh wasn’t this character. Josh made this character who he was.

Lizzie: I didn’t expect to care as much for Prommy, and hats off to Josh for making me care. He’s a hell of an actor, and I’ve thought this for a while, ever since Chicago PD, at least, and Arrow is now just another thing to add to the list of reasons why I’ll be certain to give whatever project he’s got coming up a chance. It’s not easy for an actor to make you root for the villain, and Josh did that, and for that, I will always regard his Prometheus as the best Arrow villain of them all.

Lyra: Remember how Prommy was always ten steps ahead? Well, even after killing himself he’s steps ahead of Oliver. My bet is that he recorded a bunch of videos, set up a bunch of schemes and henchmen, to make Oliver’s life a living hell from the afterlife. That sneaky bastard isn’t done with Oliver. So no need to fret. Josh will be back!

Nora: My love for Josh Segarra runs deep and far beyond the Arrowverse. I saw him on Broadway in On Your Feet a few years ago, I loved him as Justin Voight on Chicago PD and now he’s become my favorite villain on Arrow. All season I kept trying to figure out a way for Adrian to make it out alive and be like Slade Wilson, a villain we call upon for a favor. As the finale progressed I began to realize there was no way Adrian was getting off of Lian Yu. He was either dying at Oliver’s hand or his own. Josh became the unexpected hero of Arrow this season. He pushed the character far beyond a villain for Oliver, but a character that truly helped get the show back on track. It’s hard to create a villain people hate to love, but Josh and the writers did just that. Josh’s passion for the show and the character allowed him to be the highlight of the season and I’m still in awe of his work. He brought out the best acting in so many of the actors this season, particularly Stephen Amell. The dynamic between Stephen and Josh was exceptional and one of the best hero/villain relationships on TV. Josh pushed Adrian to the top of my favorite Arrow villain list, just above Slade. Josh molded this character into an incredible asset for Arrow and while I’m extremely heartbroken he’s gone, I hope he returns in flashbacks in the future. Josh, you’re forever part of the Arrow family.

Sarah: Straight up I will say I’m going to miss Adrian Chase more than any villain before on Arrow because I didn’t want to say goodbye to Josh Segarra. He’s been phenomenal in this role and personally my favorite adversary for Oliver (though Slade is a close second.) It might have been understated when it came to his reveal, but once he got to play Prometheus out in the open Josh shone as the villain so sure of himself he boasted about being ten steps ahead, targeting Oliver in the places he knew would hurt the most mentally to tear him down all the while playing the long game to hit him where he believed would truly break him: threatening the entirety of his loved ones on Lian Yu. Talk about a great story and Josh sold every single minute of it this season. Oliver may not agree with me, but I’m hoping we’ll get to see Prommy again on Arrow.

Charles: I’ll be honest and say that while Prometheus was great, I still love season 2 slade as my favorite villain. However, Josh’s performance in the back half of the season has been phenomenal. When he was able to cut loose and go wild as Adrian Chase, he was brilliant. I enjoyed how well his mind games affected Oliver and made him lose it. He was able to always stay “10 steps ahead” even if his last plan wasn’t the greatest. Still Josh brought a much-needed ying to Oliver’s yang and is a big reason why the second-half of Arrow season 5 was so damn good.

What was the most emotional moment of the episode for you?

Alyssa: There were definitely a few emotional moments, including Oliver and Felicity’s kiss and Oliver finding William on the boat. But it’d definitely have to be Oliver and Moira’s conversation in the flashbacks. There has never been a moment where I haven’t cried when watching those two share those emotional and significant conversations. Susanna Thompson is a goddess. Her death still remains the most difficult for me because of everything we lost with her departure. But it’s moments like this, where she can come back and really leave her emotional mark, that is a small comfort. Moira loved Oliver so much. And watching Oliver — the man that had become a monster after five years in hell — get emotional as he talked to his mother was emotional in itself. It reminded us that love is an incredibly powerful emotion, a healing emotion. And Moira was definitely part of Oliver’s hero journey. It was also a nice parallel between the present as Oliver was reunited with his son just as Moira was soon reunited with hers.

Lizzie: I’m with everyone here – there were a lot of moments, but the Moira/Oliver conversation in flashbacks absolutely broke me. I didn’t expect it, and that’s part of the beauty of it, but there’s also so much resonance to it now that Oliver has finally figured out how it feels to be a parent and to put everything on the line for your kid. It gave extra depth to that conversation and to Moira’s pain and relief.

Lyra: The most emotional moment was the scene between Oliver and Moira. It wasn’t because I missed Moira like crazy. And it wasn’t because it provided additional emotional resonance with what Oliver was experiencing with William. It hit me in the feels like a mac truck because in that moment his heart was bare and he was just a little boy seeking out the comfort of his mother. After all this time, all this pain, he could finally reach out to her and be vulnerable, happy, safe. His mother’s voice and the fact that he could respond to her was solid and final proof that he was going home where he belonged.

Nora: There were several emotional moments during the season finale for me. The Olicity reunion and kiss was a big one because it just means there relationship is going to move forward. Oliver finding William on the boat is where the tears started for me. Mostly because seeing Oliver being protective and truly becoming a man to be proud of was a big moment. But, the moment that had me breaking out the tissues and sobbing harder than I have in several seasons was when Oliver called Moira and told her he’s coming home. I haven’t cried that hard over Arrow since Tommy died. Watching Oliver finally talk to Moira after five years and say he’s alive and coming home was so emotional. Susanna Thompson is one of those actresses I miss everyday on Arrow and I’m always thrilled when she returns. Watching Moira and Oliver together again was just a rollercoaster of emotions. No matter what Oliver has done, his love for his mother has always been something that guides his decisions and this just showed how special their bond is. It was such a powerful, emotional and necessary moment for the show and I loved every second of it. Moira was a major part of Oliver becoming the man he is today, so to have that shown on screen was sob worthy.

Sarah: It’s hard to pick one emotional moment truthfully. Between Oliver finding William, his reunion & kiss with Felicity and the phone call with Moira all hit hard in different places. If I had to narrow it down though to one, hands down it would be the phone call. I absolutely didn’t expect it, in what was already a hell of a rollercoaster episode but it was everything I didn’t know I needed. It hit in that moment how much I’ve missed Moira and watching her pick up that phone realize that it was no trick, to Oliver just needing his mother to stay on the phone to hear her voice and believe him brought back all the feels. It was the perfect flashback to have included in the finale and I will always be grateful they chose to honor his bond with his mom to bring her back here.

Charles: I’m with Alyssa and picking the phone call with Oliver and Moira. Susanna Thompson is sorely missed on Arrow and this scene just highlighted that again. The emotion in this scene was so great and it was a nice callback to the pilot and dang it I miss Moira Queen.

What are your hopes and expectations for season 6?

Alyssa: Honestly, my hopes are that Arrow manages to learn a lesson from season 5 and deliver on the aspects that have made it a success. Basically, review episodes 17-23 and look at what made those episodes work. Capitalize on the strengths of the show: Olicity, Original Team Arrow, character focus, a personal villain, etc. Well, we all know that our core characters like Felicity, Diggle, Thea will be okay. I’d like to see a greater focus on those characters; the characters that I actually care about. As for what I expect? Well, given how season 5 utterly disappointed me, I don’t really know what I expect from season 6. The trust has been lost. I feel like I’m going into season 6 not knowing what to expect. I’d like to have faith. But I can’t at this point.

Lizzie: I don’t have hopes or expectations. Arrow Season 5 burned me bad and right now I sit in a point where the only reason why I might give S6 a chance is because the end was so good, that’s it. But, the only way I can even attempt to watch S6 is if I detach emotionally, and for that reason, I don’t want to pin any big hopes on what might happen. I just want Oliver, Felicity, Diggle and Thea alive and well and fighting the good fight. The rest I can deal with.

Lyra: No backtracking or forgetting that fans have Netflix. That’s my hope for Season 6 of Arrow and the only one I can afford at this moment. Arrow has been a huge part of my life for the past couple years and I have met so many wonderful people because of it. But Season 5 of Arrow burned me like no other show has done in a long time and I don’t know if it’ll ever be the same again. I’ll give it a chance to see if they stick to this version of Oliver, Olicity, OTA, the show, and everything I used to love about it. And who knows, maybe they will surprise, delight, and stick to what they’ve promised. MAYBE. Check back with me during Season 6 mid-finale.

Nora: At the end of season four, I sat typing up the roundtable and listed all of these things I was excited for. It’s no secret the beginning of this season was not my favorite and I’m sad for all the wasted potential some storylines and character arcs. So, now that I sit here looking ahead to season 6, I am once again hopeful, but I am nervous. I need the characters to continue to be central for the show. They’re all in great places right now (I mean granted they’re blown up on Lian Yu, but still) and  hope the writers continue to put them first. If the end of season 5 taught us anything, it’s that we love character development. Season 6 needs to start fresh. It needs to re-energize the show, much like this finale did. I’m hopefully the show can do this.

Specifically, I’d love to see a female big bad go up against Team Arrow. I think it’s time we got one of those. While we’ve had small female villains along the way, I’d absolutely be thrilled to a see a female take charge as the main big bad. I’m also assuming Helix will come back into the picture and am curious about them. I’d also love to Olicity get back to a healthy relationship, more OTA and Dyla to continue to work out their marriage problems and be a happy couple. I’m also genuinely excited for Black Siren. I’ve missed Katie Cassidy and can’t wait to see what she brings to the table. Also, more Dinah!!! She was my FAVORITE addition to Team Arrow this season and I hope she gets a good storyline. And one more request: BRING BACK MAMA SMOAK!!! Charlotte Ross is a friend of mine and I just miss seeing her as Mama Smoak and working opposite Emily Bett Rickards and the rest of the cast.

Sarah: After watching Arrow fly through it’s fifth season with a lot of episodes I honestly just criticized and finally gain some storytelling height near the end leaves me just cautiously hopeful for Season 6. I can’t expect a single thing because any expectations I had previously were broken by the writer’s downward trend for most of Season 5. My challenge for them is to keep going upward and hit that level of balanced storytelling they had during the first four seasons and I’m glad to say I’m interested to see if they hit it. But that’s as far as it goes, I don’t trust this show like I once did and it’ll take time to earn it back.

Specifically I’d like to see Oliver continuing to repair his relationship with Felicity and getting to fight side by side with her and Diggle. I’d like to at least begin to care about the newbies, that they don’t ever break up Dyla and that the characters who began to act like themselves stay that way. Anything else will be a happy surprise so bring it on.

Charles: I’m not expecting a perfect season by any means. What I want and hope for season 6 is just consistence. Especially for the writing of the characters. Even though there was much better improvement in the back half of season 5 , there was still way to much in the first half of season 5 that it can’t just be swept under the rug. So Season 6 needs to from start to finish showcase the characters we have all known and loved from these first five seasons. Let them continue to evolve and grow without losing sight of that.

Other things would include — A healthy Olicity. Diggle and Lyla getting more time. Dinah getting a storyline of any kind. More Thea.

Arrow returns Thursdays this fall on The CW.

Alyssa Barbieri

Senior Managing Editor

Teacher by day, writer by every other free moment. Obsessed with sports, TV, books, movies, and superheroes. Proud shipper and supporter of strong female characters. TV Editor and Sports Editor. I write about DCTV, This Is Us and so much more. Contact: alyssa@fangirlish.com.

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