Okay, so -- whoa.
The CW dropped a new sizzle reel for the last few episodes of Arrow season 5 today, and there is a whole lot to unpack.
In a season that's been marked by the cast constantly being torn apart by lifestyle changes, crises, or just the actors' contracts, the sizzle reel showed us a vision of Arrow where nearly every major character who's still on the board seems to have a pretty significant role to play. Along the way, we also got a peek at guest stars, twists, and the unlikely alliance that has every fan buzzing going into the finale.
So...what were the biggest, most mind-blowing takeaways?
It seems to us that they've nailed the balance on Olicity here. There's definitely some teasing -- a scene that looks like it comes from the past (likely dealing with their breakup) and at least one where it looks like they might be dealing with their future (likely from the "Underneath" episode that traps the two together), but nothing overwhelming enough that the haters should be out in force.
Look, Oliver's relationship with Felicity may be a polarizing element of the show, but it absolutely is an important element of the show, and given how little it's been dealt with this season, we were really hoping that the last few episodes would provide some insight, some forward movement, or at least some closure on exactly what happened between the seasons.
It's been a while since Yao Fei was a major player in Oliver's life; even after his death, he was for a time Ollie's only teacher, but as time went on and Oliver became the man he's been in the last few seasons, the first (and arguably best) of his teachers has been almost forgotten.
Seeing him again brings the fifth season a nice sense of closure. The fact that it appears to be as a ghostly figure to Oliver during his torture on the island is fine; we didn't really need yet another character to find his way back to the land of the living for this.
In spite of the fact that seeing him again -- along with the island, the Deathstroke mask, and other season one cues -- makes perfect sense, it was a shock to the system to see that face, and a pleasant one at that.
...this guy, less surprising. And less great. But still needed.
Malcolm Merlyn is Oliver's opposite number. Even if you feel like he's gotten too much play up to this point and bringing him back isn't "special" on its face, it's special in the sense that, like so much else in this teaser, it's designed to remind Oliver of where he come from, where he's come to, and to allow the audience to view that ten-year-seen-in-five-year-journey in all its fullness.
Plus, the whole catching the arrow in front of his eye thing was a badass visual.
Yeah, there was a ton of chaotic action in this trailer, leaving you with the impression that at least some of these last few episodes are going to balls-out action.
One nice thing about it, though? They seemed to be pairing the "right" people to make the fights have emotional resonance and some charater beats even if it is "just" a fight scene.
Pitting Black Siren against Black Canary and Lance, Artemis against Thea, and ultimately the gambit of Deathstroke versus Prometheus...it's all designed to make you say "Yeah, those are the people who need to be doing EXACTLY THAT right now."
The epitome of that is seeing Black Siren take advantage of Lance and leave him chained up. The idea of picking the team off one at a time works prety well when the team has been so splintered this year -- but even without that dynamic, it's hard to argue that Lance wouldn't have been vulnerable to this sort of attack.
If they had somehow kept Deathstroke's (and Manu Bennett's) involvement in the episode a secret, this trailer would have blown up the internet.
Even knowing that Deathstroke was coming in the finale, and that it was likely he would be Oliver's "secret ally" in the war on Prometheus, it still would have been an amazing moment in the trailer -- and given the significance of Deathstroke to the show's mythology, it can't help but be an epic moment in the context of the show even now that we've seen it in the trailer.