As it prepares for the closure of another year, Arrow takes its sweet time (42 minutes, to be precise) to relocate its players in order for the season finale to be a showdown. The plus side? Lots and lots of cameos in “Missing”.
Oliver is having a great birthday with the Green Arrow being once again the hero and the Mayor getting great approval ratings. In fact, Team Arrow even throws a surprise birthday party which had a cool Green Arrow themed caked! Curtis reveals he is working on a device for Dinah to focus her powers and become more efficient. Quentin is having trouble finding René to scold him over missing the court hearing last week.
The flashbacks start with Oliver’s abs as he is restrained, once again, at Lian Yu’s prison by Kovar, ugh, who intends to use a “Red Death” to torture Oliver psychologically. Curtis is on the phone with Felicity while he goes over to Dinah’s to give her the device. He notices there has been a break in, but before the show reveals anything major, Curtis gets knocked out.
Oliver and Diggle investigate Dinah’s apartment and, by the arrow he finds, he presumes the kidnapper to be Talia Al Ghul. He visits Adrian in prison and he tries to find out where René, Curtis, and Dinah were taken, but leaves empty handed and frustrated. At the island, Oliver doesn’t seem to be feeling anything too painful, but that changes when Kovar touches one of his scars and it sort of triggers Oliver’s “muscle/pain memory” so he can feel it all again—sad for Oliver who has a shitload of scars for Kovar to touch in a quasi-erotic kind of way.
As usual, Oliver blames himself for letting things go awry. Felicity gets a notification that Black Siren (yay, Katie Cassidy!!!) is not in her cell along with a refresher that Quentin doesn’t know about her yet. Speaking of, Quentin and Thea were relocated to a safe house that wasn’t safe enough because they get taken by the Siren and Artemis. As a response to this, Oliver asks Felicity and Diggle to leave the city.
Kovar starts using his rhetoric and semi-incomprehensible accent to takes Oliver through the trauma he had endured at that point by not only seeing a lot of people he loved die, but also the atrocities he committed himself. He also hands Oliver a gun with one bullet to take his own life when the memories get too hard on him which, by Kovar’s guesstimation, should take fourteen minutes tops.
Oliver visits Adrian again promising he will never be let go of prison in his entire goddamn life even with Team Arrow being taken. Chase shows his steel spine once again by taunting him and clearing out that he will be transferred to Idaho that night and, by then, the offer to exchange his freedom for the team’s will walk out the door.
After a brief stint with the Legion of Doom that I assumed was erased from his memory, Malcolm Merlyn stops by the Arrowcave because he is interested in saving Thea. A woman with two swords, allegedly Talia, somehow causes Diggle to crash the crash with Felicity in as they were fleeing Star City. They end up surviving okay, but are taken by the League of Assassins.
It ends up being Malcolm to give Oliver a pep talk about how “no man is an island”, which renders the human connections he makes the most valuable things in his life as he attempt to convince Ollie to take up on Adrian’s offer, but he refuses: instead, he decides to make sure his transfer goes well.
Yao Fei’s hallucination taps into the lines of the episode as, in in his attempt to make Oliver kill himself, he preemptively repeats the stuff Adrian says five years later: the ones close to Oliver will end up paying for his sins, leaving us with Ollie with the gun on his temple.
Meanwhile, as Thea has told Quentin about Earth-2, he seems to have accepted that the Laurel he is dealing with is not his daughter. However, Black Siren seems to genuinely not want to hurt Quentin, telling him that for her help, she got Adrian to agree on not hurting him.
Oliver assures Chase that he won’t be let go, but that’s just because he wasn’t counting on receiving a video call from William as he begs for help. Oliver unofficially commandeers a van with Malcolm’s help to take them to the chopper that is supposed to transfer Chase. He ends up letting Adrian escape alone in the helicopter.
Malcolm calls out Oliver’s lack of computers skills to which Ollie responds with inviting Nyssa al Ghul to help him out which Merlyn is initially adamantly against, but it’s Thea’s life, so he’ll handle. He also helps to break out the news that Nyssa will have to fight against her sister. Oliver manages to use a tracking device to figure out where Adrian is taking his prisoners: Lian Yu. Poetic irony much?
Arrow notices they were already bringing Katie Cassidy back as the Black Siren, so they put her in a dark-hair wig to reenact pre-season 1 shenanigans as Oliver, in flashbacks, hallucinates of the Laurel she left behind when he boarded the Amazo. She makes a good point to get him back to the then-called Starling City and he uses the bullet to break his cell’s lock. However, bringing so many people back means that, when this episode’s prisoners are finally at Lian Yu, Dinah and René had to be somewhere else. Also, Talia’s face is never shown so, as much as we know it’s her under the veil, it’s not quite Lexa Doig. Oh, and Adrian is totally counting on a big fight happening with Oliver.
As he prepares for the final showdown, now already at Lian Yu (Nyssa even mentions that’s where she met Sara, how cute), Oliver enters the ARGUS holding cell and asks for help. To whom, you might be wondering if you haven’t read anything spoilery related lately? Well, Deathstroke, obviously, who seems glad to see Ollie again!
So, “Missing” was quite clearly all set-up for the finale next week. It was as fillery as an episode can be, but also was a bit interesting? It felt different than the traditional Arrow filler episode that has an unspiring villain of the week because, at the very least, this was all about the main season arc. Plus, it was nice seeing so many actors and characters back even if some other ones had to be cut down for budget reasons, I assume.
Still, it kind of makes me miss season 2, when the last three episodes were basically three season finales, each episode being better than the one before. Season 2 is gone however and, while they will try to bring some of its feelings back with Deathstroke, season 5 also promises to deliver a great ending to a relatively good villain.