This is a review and a recap of the season finale of Arrow. If you don’t want to be spoiled, we suggest you watch it before reading. Because, well, duh.
It’s been a sort of bumpy second half of the third season of Arrow, from the introduction of Matt Noble’s Ra’s al Ghul forward. While this year’s definitely expanded the DC small screen universe, it’s also muddied the waters a bit by making its first hero, Oliver Queen, go on a journey of sacrifice, betrayal, loss, and League of Assasinry. But for the season finale, “My Name is Oliver Queen,” the show’s done something in its Junior year (so is next year’s its Senior year?) that it didn’t do its Freshman and Sophomore years: end happily.
Like Captain Lance said, in possibly my favorite line of the season, “City’s under attack? Must be May!” I was musing last week that the people of Starling City must be like “Dude, why does it suck to live here in the springtime?” and from the set-up of this year’s finale, it seemed like it was going to follow that same path, with some horrible thing (the Alpha & Omega virus this time out, instead of an earthquake weapon or army of super soldiers) poised to take out the entire city. But thankfully, this time there were plenty of heroes to make sure that didn’t happen, and only a few people died. Which, for this show, is pretty impressive. And let’s face it: there are now at least three superheroes in Starling City besides Oliver Queen/the Arrow, not to mention Diggle and Felicity not wearing masks. So, if they can’t stop one measly virus, what the hell good are they?
Perhaps the biggest surprise early on in the episode is that Oliver didn’t keep up the subterfuge of his secret plot against Ra’s, at least not once his deception was revealed aboard a cargo plane headed to Starling to deliver the payload. But he’s Al Sah Him, right? No, idiot: His name is Oliver Queen! The problem is, Ra’s al Ghul is a little too fast and resourceful to simply die in a plane crash, and he escapes while Oliver and Nyssa make a rough but alive landing. This isn’t the only deception going on from the end of last episode.
Remember how it looked like Diggle, Felicity, Laurel, Ray Palmer, and Malcolm Merlyn were dying in a cell in Nanda Parbat thanks to the A&O virus? Well not long after they “die,” they begin to cough and wake up. This is when Merlyn reveals a third layer of deception (they don’t call him The Magician for nothing): Oliver had to rebuild Ra’s’ trust following the blowing up of the stealth plane and the best way to do that was by murdering his nearest and dearest…and Ray and Malcolm. But since Oliver is immune thanks to his inoculation in Hong Kong, he and Merlyn devised a way to secretly inoculate everyone. And there’s a plan for getting them out of the cell: The Flash! Yep, apparently when Oliver had time to help Barry and Firestorm take down Harrison Wells (when the hell was this?!), he asked the Scarlet Speedster to help him, resulting in Barry running(?) all the way to Nanda Parbat and freeing those folks.
Oh, and Tatsu/Katana decides she doesn’t want to play no more.
Back in Starling, Oliver and Nyssa reunite with the rest of the still-angry Team Arrow, and are made even more so — especially Diggle and Felicity — when Oliver reveals that his plan was to die in the plane crash along with Ra’s, something which makes his best friend and the woman he loves understandably piiiiiiiiiiiissed. While the team is having no luck looking for Ra’s the new-fashioned way, they decide to find him using old fashioned means, like seeing if things are out of the ordinary. They figure out that Damian Darke, Ra’s sworn nemesis, is in Starling City and THAT’s actually why he wants to gas the city. What a jerk. Oliver goes to the penthouse and sees a man he thinks is Darke, but it turns out just to be a lackey. Before he can even question anyone, the man is killed with an arrow through the window after he answers a cell phone. It’s Ra’s (hey Rozzy, how ya doing!?) who reveals Darke’s absence will not deter his crazy-ass scheme. There will be four virus-dispersal points and the Arrow crew only have a few hours to figure it out.
We then get a nice Oliver-Felicity scene where he tells her that he’s had a dream since the night on the Mountain (where Ra’s killed him, remember?) that he stayed with Felicity instead. Sometimes he still gets killed, and sometimes he doesn’t, but often he and Felicity just drive off somewhere far away. Felicity reminds him (“Remember what you told me during our night together in Nanda Parbat?” Why yes, character who’s over explaining things for the benefit of the audience.) that he told her he can’t be Oliver Queen and he can’t be the Arrow. She tells him that he needs to be someone else…even SOMETHING else. That is how he’ll beat Ra’s.
At the four points, the different heroes are waiting for a sign of the virus. Diggle sees a suspicious man with a metal briefcase. After a chase, the man is hit with three arrows…from THEA! She’s returned to Starling, now dressed in Roy Harper’s hand-me-down Arsenal outfit. The problem is, the virus isn’t in the case (so why did he have it? Just to look suspicious?) and is actually in the blood of the League member himself. He cuts his own throat and releases the virus, meaning Ray and Felicity then have to work extra hard to figure out a way to disperse the antivirus over a three-block radius. Like now.
Oliver has a score to settle. A League member tells him where to meet Ra’s for a duel. It’s on top of a dam, for dramatic effect. Oliver knows he has to defeat Ra’s, and kill him, or the nightmare will never end. So they fight, but the police, who’ve been mobilized to contain what could be a massive outbreak, have sniper scopes locked on the two similarly-dressed men. Capt. Lance calls Felicity and says that even though he doesn’t like “your guy,” he still doesn’t want to see him dead, especially when it looks like he’s trying to save the city. Felicity beseeches Ray to go ATOM over and save him, but Ray’s got bigger fish to fry, like saving the whole city. Oliver eventually does kill Ra’s al Ghul with a sword following Ra’s insistence that the world will remember him and Oliver saying “uhh, nah dawg.” But Oliver gets shot immediately thereafter by the sniper and falls off the dam…only to be caught by Felicity in the Atom suit. So, can like EVERYBODY fly this thing?
Thankfully, the good guys actually won. Oliver says his first instinct is to always go it alone, but they won today because he didn’t, and because Laurel, Ray, and now even Thea are there to protect Starling City. He says he wants to get away with Felicity in tow. This makes Diggle upset; Oliver says that he knows he can count on Diggle still which he says he’ll think about. Oliver also says that Diggle should work on concealing his identity, which he’ll also think about.
RUMOROUS SIDEBAR: There’s been a rumor flying around, that I actually love: that Diggle is going to be the DC TV Universe’s Green Lantern. I mean, his name is John; who’s to say his full name isn’t John Stewart Diggle? On Tuesday night’s The Flash, Barry made an offhanded comment about a test pilot at Ferris Airlines going missing, which would seem to reference Hal Jordan. While that’d be fine to include Hal Jordan, I feel like they’d be doing a disservice to themselves and to Diggle if they introduced yet another superhero while they have a perfectly amazing character already who doesn’t get to be one. Just food for thought; I think Diggle should be Green Lantern.
While Thea wants Oliver to stay, but he tells her he can’t. She says she’s thinking about calling herself Red Arrow, but he tells her he’s already told everyone to call her Speedy. (Jerk.) Oliver gives Merlyn something and says he’ll never forgive the man for what he did to his sister and killing Sara. Merlyn asks if that means they’re enemies again and Oliver says that depends on what Merlyn does with his end of the bargain.
Elsewhere, Ray is trying to see if the Nano technology will allow shrinkage to occur…and he blows up a floor of the building. Hint: I’m guessing it’ll work.
Merlyn returns to Nanda Parbat along with Nyssa and we see what Oliver gave him: the ring of Ra’s al Ghul. The prophecy says that the man who survives the sword of Ra’s al Ghul shall become Ra’s al Ghul. While this obviously meant Oliver, Merlyn did survive because Ra’s let him go, so Merlyn assumes the mantle of Ra’s al Ghul via a technicality-no-down-boo-over. He makes Nyssa kneel before him. Uh oh.
Finally, we see Oliver and Felicity, driving somewhere far away on the coast. He says, believe it or not, he’s happy.
Oh, and in the flashbacks, Maseo leaves, Oliver tortures Shrieve and decides he needs to be alone, and Tatsu goes off to her life of solitude. All of which were big “duhs.” I really hope next year foregoes the flashback structure unless it’s to see other people’s flashbacks. I personally don’t care about what Oliver did for what’ll be the next two years of his time before being found on the Island. Can we just let that go? Thank you.
This episode wasn’t nearly as much of a gut punch as the two previous years had been, and that’s a good thing. The show needs to establish that sometimes good people can win and revel in their victories a bit. Merlyn being the new Ra’s al Ghul will lead to all new challenges I’m sure, as will Damian Darke who is sure to be a big factor next season, but for now, things look good. Red Arrow, Black Canary, and the Atom are there to make sure Starling does okay. I feel like this is a good place for the show which, three seasons in, still has me excited to see what’s to come.
Did you enjoy this finale and the season as a whole? Let me know below!