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Arrow's Season 5 Finale Ends With a Bang

The finale was LIT... too soon?

Lindsay MacDonald

It's no secret that season finales often end with one or two major character deaths, but the Arrow Season 5 finale might have just killed off 10 characters at once.

After battling it out on Lian Yu, Oliver (Stephen Amell) finally faced off with Chase (Josh Segarra) in their last confrontation, with William's (Jack Moore) life hanging in the balance. Unfortunately for Oliver, there was a choice to be made on a boat floating just off shore.

As it turns out, Chase rigged the entire island to explode in the event of his death, meaning to save William, Oliver would have to sacrifice his friends still on Lian Yu. If he chose not to kill Chase, poor little William's neck would get snapped. Talk about a lose-lose situation. Oliver chose to go for the arrow to Chase's leg instead, keeping him alive and saving William at the same time. Sadly, Chase committed suicide shortly thereafter, and Oliver and his son could only watch as Lian Yu went up in flames.

Manu Bennett and Stephen Amell, Arrow

Jack Rowand, Jack Rowand/The CW

In case you're fuzzy on just who might have perished in that explosion, here's the lineup: Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards), Diggle (David Ramsey), Thea (Willa Holland), Curtis (Echo Kellum), Rene (Rick Gonzalez), Dinah (Juliana Harkavy), Lance (Paul Blackthorne), Nyssa (Katrina Law), Slade (Manu Bennett) and William's mother, Samantha (Anna Hopkins). They were all still on the island when it went up in flames. Black Siren (Katie Cassidy) and Evelyn (Madison McLaughlin) were also presumably still on the island somewhere.

It's true that season finales usually come with a bodycount, but killing off the entire cast besides Oliver and his son? That seems farfetched, even for The CW.

The CW Is Stuck in a Superhero Rut

No need to worry though, we've got a theory. Earlier in the episode, Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) apparently perished in a land mine explosion after taking Thea's place on the trigger. Arrow would have us believe he sacrificed himself in the off-screen explosion to save his daughter, but Malcolm is like a cockroach -- he'll never die.

Assuming he used one of his extra nine lives, it's possible that Malcolm was able to find the ARGUS ship floating off shore on the other side of the island and pulled it back around to pick up the rest of the bunch; maybe he even saved Black Siren, given that Katie Cassidy will return as a series regular in Season 6.

See The CW's 2017-2018 fall schedule

On top of the many, many fight scenes and explosions that dominated the episode, Arrow managed to insert some seriously tearjerking moments into this finale as well.

After five years, we finally got to see the immediate aftermath of Oliver's rescue from Lian Yu five years ago, and his heartbreaking call to his mother to notify her that he was alive. It's always nice to get Moira Queen (Susanna Thompson) back, and this particular phone call made us miss her more than ever.

It will be a long summer hiatus until we find out how the team survived -- because, come on, they totally did -- so let the speculation begin!

Arrow returns Thursdays this fall at 9/8c on The CW.

(Full disclosure: is owned by CBS, one of the CW's parent companies.)