Since the start of Arrow's final season, Oliver Queen has been following the commands of the Monitor. At the behest of the all-powerful cosmic being, Oliver traveled to Earth-2 to collect dwarf star particles, and he later went to Hong Kong to secure the life of a scientist. Then, Oliver went on a mission of his own to learn more about the Monitor, and maybe even defy him. This quest led him to face the League of Assassins, as well as the Russian Bratva.
Throughout this final season, Oliver has revisited the places, the stories and the people that were respective to his entire arc on the series, from the fight against Ra's Al Ghul in Season 3 to his time in Russia examined in Season 5. Now, the series' next episode is just around the corner and, in some ways, it will mark the end of Oliver's journey. After all, the episode after this will take place during the "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover, and the one after this will focus solely on Mia Smoak's upcoming spinoff Green Arrow and the Canaries. Then, it will be time for the series finale. Therefore, this Tuesday's "Purgatory" will mark the end of the road, at least on a certain level.
Therefore, it's absolutely fitting that the episode brings Oliver back to Lian Yu, the island where he spent his formative years. After all, this is where it all began.
Back when there was no Flash, no Monitor and no Arrowverse, there was just Oliver Queen and his bow. When Arrow began in 2012, each episode of its first two seasons showed us the literal hell the character went through on the island he was marooned on after the Queen's Gambit's fateful crash at sea. There, Oliver not only learned to survive, he developed a keen sense of right and wrong. Throughout his time on the island, he learned to shoot a bow from Yao Fei, he became a skilled fighter thanks to Slade Wilson and he first became a hero after taking on the likes of Edward Fyers and Doctor Ivo.
While all of his five years away weren't spent on the island, Lian Yu would always pull Oliver back one way or another. The place holds such an importance that the series would even take viewers back to the island in the present. In fact, it's where Oliver retreated to after his defeat against the Dark Archer; it's the place Slade Wilson was locked up after his failed attempt to destroy Star City; it's also where Adrian Chase would take Oliver and all those he loves for the pair's climactic confrontation; and it's where Roy and William would, 20 years in the future, meet.
Both in the past and the present, and throughout nearly all of Arrow's seasons, Lian Yu has been a place of significance. It's a place that symbolizes rebirth. It's where Oliver's mission began, and where the Green Arrow was born. Now, as the final season of the series has taken Oliver on missions that echo back to what he has been through before, it makes sense that the final place the character would return to is Lian Yu. Now, everything comes full circle.
But this time, Oliver isn't alone on his island. No, this time, he's got his family -- his team -- with him. It's a testament to the growth not only of the character, but the series itself, which became something much bigger than any of us (or Oliver himself) could have foreseen back in Season 1. And now, it's time for it all to end.
Airing Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on The CW, Arrow's final season stars Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen, David Ramsey as John Diggle, Rick Gonzalez as Wild Dog, Juliana Harkavy as Black Canary, Katie Cassidy as Black Siren, Katherine McNamara as Mia Smoak, Joseph David-Jones as Connor Hawke and Ben Lewis as William Clayton-Queen.