Series Issues: Arrow 3×23 – Season Finale

(Photo: Liane Hentscher/The CW)

(Photo: Liane Hentscher/The CW)

Do I have to remind you there will be some spoilers flying your way?

It’s finally time for the final curtain in Arrow 3×23: My Name Is Oliver Queen. As everyone guessed, Team Arrow (and Malcolm) are not dead. This is thanks to Malcolm, who has secretly vaccinated everyone in the room. The ace in Oliver’s sleeve is Barry Allen, I mean, The Flash. Felicity needs to learn to use codenames. The scarlet speedster neutralizes the League single handedly, even pausing to free Katana (Tatsu). Unfortunately, he can’t stay to help save/stop Oliver.

Meanwhile inside a cargo plane, the engines start to blow as the Ra’s Al Ghul turns on Nyssa, thinking sabotage. He’s right, but the guilty party is Oliver, who denies his League codename and vigorously announces this episode’s title. It should’ve been a triumphant moment, but there’s little time for build up. Oliver and Nyssa take down the other members but Ra’s leaves with the virus.

Team Arrow (and Malcolm) get to Palmer Enterprises where Malcolm starts barking orders at everyone. Nobody moves an inch. Then they kill Malcolm. Wait, they don’t, I imagined that part. They turn to Diggle who approves it for now. Nyssa and Oliver arrive and Diggle welcomes Ollie with a punch to the face. Here’s the culmination of an entire season of dark, brooding, double crossing. Oliver has lost himself for the sole purpose of outwitting the master of assassins. In that road, he’s lost the trust of everyone, specially John Diggle.

Ra’s uses the worst possible carrier for the virus. His own men. Just for that reason, the virus goes airborne faster as the infected appear everywhere in Starling City. Enter Speedy, aka Thea Queen, as she helps John take down the first assassin/carrier. As everyone does their part, Ray and Felicity work on a way to make a vaccine that will also go airborne.

Oliver has his final showdown with Ra’s Al Ghul. Ra’s gets the upper hand but, and this I don’t get, he has to stop to monologue in classic super-villain fashion. Oliver gets him back and finally stabs him with a sword. Then he proceeds to tell him that there will be the next Ra’s Al Ghul. He’s after a trinket that Ra’s uses on his finger that apparently gives him the leadership of the League. Still, if you already have stuck a blade in Ra’s there’s little to no reason to regal him with the satisfaction to die thinking he’s won Oliver over. Technically you can take the trinket from his cold dead hand. Yes, I know why he does this.

While the duel has been going on, Felicity has been trying to convince Ray to go save Ollie. This is a selfish request, as Ray’s priority is to develop the vaccine. As Oliver finally kills Ra’s he’s shot by the police snipers, falling to his doom since the duel takes place at the top of a dam. Because of course it has to. Oliver is saved by The Atom. Actually, he’s saved by Felicity inside The Atom armor.

The ending finally spells something of a reconciliation with everyone, although there’s a lot more time needed to rebuild trust. Diggle being the first to leave the reunion is symbolic of that, he leaves just as Oliver tells them he’s not going to be the Arrow anymore. They do get to shake hands, but that bridge has been very badly burnt. Instead, Felicity gets the better deal. Oliver is choosing her over his double-identity life.

There’s a foreboding scene as Ray Palmer discovers he can minimize the suit. Then the armor turns off and Ray decides to try again. We’re treated to an explosion at the penthouse of Palmer Enterprises as the P falls off.

In Nanda Parbat, we learn why Oliver told Ra’s that he will have a successor. Malcolm Merlyn, who receives the trinket from Oliver, inherits the League of Assassins. Nyssa comes back to the League as well, but it’s more to keep an eye on him.

The last scene is another city, boarding the ocean. Olivier and Felicity are cruising in a sports car. Ollie tells her that he’s about to say something strange. “I’m happy.”

Highs:

  • I kept expecting that since Oliver kept alluding to the decision of not being Oliver or The Arrow anymore, he was going to say Green Arrow at some point. Specially when Thea tells him she might call herself Red Arrow. Oliver spoils that when he says he’s already told everyone to call her Speedy.
  • Diggle punching Oliver as he rejoins Team Arrow. Let’s face it, Oliver went too far. He probably will get forgiven and adored again by everyone but for John, it will never be completely the same.
  • Barry calling the Lazarus Pit a hot tub.

Lows:

  • The Flash, who can literally tie up the League in an instant, could in theory have dealt with Ra’s Al Ghul in a second. Or could he? Ra’s is known to have reflexes that rival meta-human response time.
  • Oliver convinces Ra’s that he will have a successor. This is done more to play with the audience than for Ra’s benefit. At the end we learn it’s Malcolm Merlyn. Really, no need to do the whole acting for Ra’s. Then again, is it possible Oliver wanted to send him to the grave with that thought… so he wouldn’t rise again?
  • The road to reconciliation should really have started in the previous episode so we could work up to it. This episode is a little too quick.
  • We do get a few flashback scenes, but they’re really unnecessary.

Finale Thoughts:

In a progressively darker succession, this season took the threat of the League of Assassins to the temptation of power, corruption of a hero and finally to conclude with the-end-justifies-the-means approach. As much as it seems to tie things up in a little bow, specially for the Felicity-Olivier shippers (I am NOT going to say Olicity… dammit I just did), it does seem like a too idyllic ending. I would have been happier with a two parter in which Olivier slowly turns back to the light side, but I get that in an action drama series like this one they’d rather make it dark all the way up to the finale.

Overall, it’s been a great season for a series that has extremely brilliant moments and only a few missteps.

(Source: The CW)

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