Warning: contains spoilers for Arrow season 5 (as you might expect!)
With Team Arrow having dispersed following the events of season four, Oliver and Felicity are at loggerheads over whether they should welcome in new recruits. With Curtis already assisting on the tech side, Felicity has been busy identifying potential candidates – chief among them Rene Ramirez aka Wild Dog. Oliver eventually agrees, and Curtis also requests to be trained.
Rene and Curtis are joined by Evelyn Sharp, but the group is left questioning Oliver’s leadership skills when he attempts to relay his old Bratva training. Eventually, Felicity convinces him to play to their strengths rather than his own, and they begin to work together as a team.
A new criminal gang has arrived in Starling City, led by Tobias Church, and they kidnap the city’s leading political figures – including Oliver himself – to draw out and kill the Green Arrow. In order to escape, Oliver must break his no kill rule, which leads to friction with Thea, solidifying her choice to leave the vigilante life.
When new metahuman Rory aka Ragman – the only survivor of Haven Rock – starts killing executives at the medical centre Oliver has enlisted in a free healthcare scheme for the city’s poorest residents, the team discover that the company’s CEO is working for Church and that it was their nuclear weapons that Damien Dhark was going to use to destroy the world the previous year.
Overwhelmed by her feelings of responsibility, Felicity comes clean to Rory about her role in the Haven Rock bombing, and he considers resigning. Meanwhile, Thea appoints Quentin Deputy Mayor despite his falling off the wagon, a decision that Oliver publicly endorses after she receives negative press.
During a covert military operation, Diggle is confronted by his superior and framed for selling a nuclear trigger. While in jail, he begins to see and talk to Deadshot as a way of processing his guilt over killing Andy. At his lowest, he tells Lyla that he doesn’t want to fight the allegations, and so she asks for Oliver’s help in rescuing her husband. He gladly accepts.
During a weapons raid on the SCPD, Church and his gang capture Rene, who reveals the Green Arrow’s true identity during interrogation. With this knowledge, the team fake Oliver’s death at City Hall and, while his guard is down, successfully capture Church. During transport, however, he is killed by Prometheus.
Oliver’s island story starts to unravel when reporter Susan Williams finds evidence that he was in Russia during the five years he claims to have been stranded. The two begin a romantic relationship.
Felicity uses her proximity to a member of the SCPD’s Anti-Crime Unit – who is now her boyfriend – to the team’s advantage when they discover that Prometheus is killing people based on Oliver’s original kill list. This causes tension among the recruits, who were unaware of his violent tendencies when first returning from Lian Yu.
When it looks as though Quentin is being set up by Prometheus, Thea convinces him to go to rehab and prevent any more gaps in memory. The team decide that the villain must known the Green Arrow’s identity, and it’s revealed to the audience that Evelyn has been the mole all along.
In the 100th episode, Oliver finds himself in an alternate reality in which his parents are alive, he is about to marry Laurel, and Diggle is fighting crime alone. As part of the crossover with The Flash, Supergirl and Legends Of Tomorrow, Oliver, Diggle, Thea, Sara and Ray are all being held by the Dominators and trapped in a shared fantasy world. Before they are rescued by those on the outside, they face off with old nemeses including Malcolm Merlyn, Deathstroke and Damien Dhark.
Billy uncovers the truth behind Prometheus’ vendetta, discovering he was the son of one of The Hood’s former targets. But when Oliver tracks his enemy down to his father’s former office building, he accidently shoots and kills Billy, who had been staged to look like the archer. Meanwhile, Curtis’ husband leaves him after finding out about his crime-fighting activities.
Laurel’s Earth-2 doppelganger appears in the Arrow Cave having been freed from STAR Labs by Prometheus, and Oliver vows to convince her to pick up Earth-1 Laurel’s mantel and become the new Black Canary. However another woman, Dinah Drake, is also revealed to have developed a sonic scream during the STAR Labs incident and, after helping each other, Oliver offers her the mantel instead.
With Diggle’s advice and Oliver’s help, Dinah rejoins the police force and becomes a SCPD officer.
Adrian Chase helps Diggle with his case by keeping him in his jurisdiction when Walker, the corrupt superior officer, attempts to transfer him into custody. Eventually, he succeeds in getting him released but Walker escapes to Russia to strike a deal with Markovian terrorists. In order to bring him down, Oliver must obey the orders of his old friend Anatoli and attack a Bratva rival.
Rory loses his abilities when he uses his rags to endure the blast of Walker’s explosive, and he departs from the group temporarily.
Prometheus leaks evidence that the Green Arrow was the one to murder Billy, and Oliver is forced to reveal the circumstances to Pike. Later, rumours of the cover-up reach the public, who call for impeachment. Vigilante targets Oliver over the allegations but he is protected by Prometheus – revealed to be District Attorney Adrian Chase – and he must publicly denounce the Green Arrow.
Felicity begins to meet with prominent hacktivist group Helix, eventually joining their ranks. When it appears that Susan is getting too close to Oliver’s secret, Thea and Felicity hack into her files and plant evidence of plagiarism, thus destroying her credibility and career. After realising the damage she’d done, Thea leaves Starling City to reassess her outlook.
Felicity, however, continues to work with Helix and, when Susan is kidnapped by Chase and his accomplice – Talia al Ghul – she offers to hack into Department of Security drones in exchange for information. When Oliver attempts to use Chase’s wife to reason with him, Chase kills her and captures Oliver.
While imprisoned by Chase, Oliver is forced to admit that he enjoyed killing people as The Hood before he is released. Back at the base, Oliver disbands the team and hires Bratva to take down Chase against Diggle’s wishes, and Felicity uses Helix resources to reveal Prometheus’ real identity to the police.
In order to locate Chase following his escape from the safe house, Helix and Felicity set out to rescue Cayden James – the inventor of a biometric tracker – from ARGUS custody. Lyla attempts to use this to draw out and destroy Helix, but James ends up being released. Felicity parts ways with the organisation, but does get a chance to use the tracker, discovering that Chase is at the Arrow Cave.
He activates an EMP, disabling all tech in the base including Felicity’s spinal chip. The team rescue the pair before the backup generator causes a deadly explosion, but not before sparks between Oliver and Felicity are reignited for the first time since the as-yet unseen time between seasons four and five.
When Oliver is sent the body of Henry Goodwin, he and Thea discover that he had been killed by their father before the accident. Oliver dons the Green Arrow costume once again in order to stop Chase from releasing weaponised tuberculosis into the city, and he eventually chooses to arrest Chase rather than kill him.
Chase’s team, which now includes Black Siren, Talia and Evelyn, capture Team Arrow and William, leading Oliver to ask Malcolm and Nyssa for help in saving his friends from Lian Yu. Returning to the island, Oliver also enlists Slade, and Malcolm seemingly sacrifices himself after stepping on a landmine. Talia and Nyssa face off against each other.
Realising that their plane had been sabotaged, Oliver tells his friends to find another means of escape. He tracks Chase and William to a boat, learning that the entire island – and all of his friends – would be destroyed as soon as Chase dies. As a final act of revenge, Chase shoots himself and Lian Yu explodes, the fate of everyone but Oliver and William unknown.
Arrow season 6 starts on The CW in the US on Thursday the 12th of October, and here in the UK on Sky One on Wednesday the 18th of October.