Warning: Full spoilers for the episode below.
Arrow has become increasingly self-aware at the end of each season. At some point you really have to acknowledge the fact that epic, citywide disasters keep unfolding every May. At the same time, there’s an obnoxious quality to Arrow’s habit of poking fun at its own tropes even as it keeps revisiting them. That’s why the endgame of Season 5 is so refreshing. There’s no doomsday weapon threatening the complete destruction of Star City this time. This is a very personal conflict between two bitter rivals. And their respective armies, of course.
Things started out innocently enough this week, as Team Arrow celebrated what they thought was the earlier-than-expected defeat of Adrian Chase and Ollie birthday. But even if we hadn’t seen Chase kidnap Ollie’s son William a couple weeks back, there would still have been a strong sense of foreboding permeating these early scenes. Chase went down way too easily, and Ollie knew it.
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