SPOILER WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for “Lian Yu,” the Season 5 finale of Arrow.
“Lian Yu” may have marked the end of Team Arrow as we know it. At the end of the Season 5 finale, the series teased multiple — and major — casualties after Prometheus blew up the island while Felicity, Dig, Thea, Curtis, Renee, Dinah, Slade “Deathstroke” Wilson, Nyssa al Ghul and William’s mother Samantha Clayton were still on it.
Midway through the episode, Felicity discovered with horror that the whole island was rigged with hundreds of explosives. What’s worse, these explosives were connected to Adrian Chase himself. So long as Chase was alive, the bombs wouldn’t go off; however, if he was killed, all of the bombs would detonate. As such, he spent the episode trying to get Oliver to kill him, so that Oliver would be responsible for the deaths of everyone he loved.
Though Oliver didn’t know about the bombs for most of the episode, he made the conscious decision not to play into Prometheus’ plan and stalwartly refused to kill him, even when Chase told him that he had killed Oliver’s son William. Of course, this wasn’t true, and Chase used William as a game piece when he and Oliver faced off one-on-one on Chase’s getaway boat. During this final confrontation, he offered Oliver a choice: kill him to save William, thus blowing up his friends on the island, or let him live — in which case he would break William’s neck, but Team Arrow would live.
Oliver made a third choice and shot Chase in the leg. While Chase recoiled in pain, Oliver pulled William to himself, saving his son. However, Chase was not to be outplayed and pulled a gun. Instead of shooting Oliver, though, he shot himself in the head, triggering all the bombs on the island. Oliver and William watched in horror as the whole island went up in flames, and the episode drew to a close.
Of course, it seems unlikely that every member of Team Arrow died on the island tonight. After all, The CW announced that Rick Gonzalez (Renee “Wild Dog” Ramirez), Juliana Harkavy (Dinah “Black Canary” Drake) and Katie Cassidy (Earth-2’s Laurel “Black Siren” Lance) had been upped to series regulars for Season 6 last month. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean everyone is safe, so it wouldn’t be entirely surprising to see most — if not all — of Team Arrow back this fall. Further, Artemis and Talia al Ghul were on the island when it exploded, so their fates are also up in the air.
Team Arrow appeared to lose one member for sure. Malcolm Merlyn sacrificed his life to save Thea’s after Thea stepped on a landmine. He pushed her off and took her place, giving her and her friends time to flee. When Captain Boomerang and a handful of Talia’s men caught Merlyn in the open, Merlyn stepped off the landmine, apparently killing them all in the process — though the death took place off-screen, which opens up the possibility that Merlyn lived.
Starring Stephen Amell as the Emerald Archer, “Arrow” will return to The CW this fall. The series also stars Emily Bett Rickards, David Ramsey, John Barrowman, Willa Holland and more.