‘Arrow’ Recap: Birthday at Lian Yu

Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen/The Green Arrow in The CW’s ‘Arrow.’ (Photo: Katie Yu/The CW)

Warning: This recap for the “Missing” episode of Arrow contains spoilers.

Why did anybody think that throwing Adrian Chase in jail would be the last of it? Of course he would have a plan, and Oliver Queen watches as his loved ones are picked off one by one. Nobody’s more important than his son, William, though and seeing him helpless and crying is all it takes to send Oliver over to the dark side.

The Plot

The team throws a surprise birthday party for Oliver thinking the danger is passed. But when Curtis goes looking for a missing Dinah, he also disappears. Oliver tries to beat the location of his friends out of Chase in his jail cell, but Chase has a counter-offer: Help him escape or he’ll kill everyone Oliver loves. Thea and Quentin are tranquilized by Evelyn and a newly-escaped Black Siren. Felicity and Diggle leave Oliver in hopes of foiling Chase’s plan, but they are taken, too. Malcolm Merlyn teams up with Oliver because he wants to rescue Thea. Together they free Chase after Oliver is sent a video of his son, William, who has also been taken. Oliver calls in Nyssa al-Ghul, and they track Chase’s escape to Lian Yu where Chase is holding all of Team Arrow (plus William). Oliver recruits one more person — who is already on the island — Slade Wilson.

The Flashback

Kovar injects Oliver with Red Death, an interrogation drug that induces “psychological anguish.” Oliver is forced to remember the pain of every injury and every scar. Kovar locks him up and gives him a gun with one bullet: Every previous recipient of the drug has killed themselves in a matter of minutes. He hallucinates the long-dead Yao Fei, who tells him to kill himself, but then he has a vision of Laurel, who convinces him to live. Oliver uses the single bullet to shoot the lock and break out of the jail.

Chase’s Endgame

Adrian Chase is more like Oliver Queen than he is like any other villain who’s appeared on Arrow. Villains tend to use a twisted morality to justify enriching themselves, but Chase has only ever been interested in one thing: humiliating and destroying Oliver. How different is that from the guy who showed up in Star City five years ago looking to avenge his father by taking out bad guys? In Chase’s twisted world, the Green Arrow is the bad guy and he’s the hero who’ll stop at nothing to take him down. Sure, he’s killed innocent people, but how many people have died because of Oliver? Count up the number of faceless goons who have died on the point of his arrow and it’s way more than Adrian ever killed. Chase is absolutely wrong, but his logic is Oliver’s logic exactly.

Katie Cassidy as Laurel Lance/Black Canary and Paul Blackthorne as Quentin Lance (Photo: Katie Yu/The CW)

Daddy/Daughter Dance

Kudos to Quentin for accepting that this is the Earth-2 Laurel, not his daughter returned to life. He has it, arguably, the roughest of anyone this week. Oliver loses all his friends, but how many times has Quentin had the possibility of his daughter’s resurrection dangled in front of him, then snatched away? On the plus side, Black Siren is showing some real signs of a soul lately. Might she turn on Prometheus in the finale and join the team permanently next season? There are a lot of pros if they go that route, but it also almost certainly means the current Black Canary is going to die — or at least leave the show — which is a shame, because Dinah is an interesting character that could use another season’s worth of fleshing out.

Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak and Amell (Photo: Katie Yu/The CW)

Quiverful of Thoughts

Lot of fan shout-outs this week. First to the “soap opera shippers,” without which the show probably wouldn’t still be on the air. Say what you will about people who’ve posted about #Olicity for almost five years straight now, but none of us would be here without their fervor.

Lord Mesa Bakery is a reference to the fan artist who has been doing chibi versions of the cast for years on Twitter.


Kudos to Katie Cassidy for doing double duty as Laurel Lance and Black Siren tonight, but extra special kudos for every time she says “Daddy” as her Earth-2 alter-ego. It’s probably the creepiest thing this season, and year five has been no slouch in the creep department.

Merlyn being bitter and childish about his missing hand is fantastic. Please never stop making hand puns, John Barrowman.

Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.

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