Jessie Robertson reviews the final episode of Arrow…
After eight seasons,The CW’s first “superhero” show is the first to come to an end. How did this finale send off our redeemed hero, despite the fact he’s already been dead for two episodes?
‘Fade out’ is a conclusion, but also a rebirth for so many reasons. Yes, it’s the end of Oliver’s journey but it shows us what his sacrifice was worth. Both in the bunker and at the funeral, we see so many gathered faces, some maybe unknown or forgotten to us. Moira Queen, Oliver’s mother killed by Deathstroke at the end of that fantastic season 2, lives and comes to grips with the fact that it’s her son’s death that let’s her do so. Many others are back as well: Tommy, Emiko, Lance. It’s explained that maybe Oliver pulled back the people he wanted to live and that’s why they are here. It’s a Star City remade in his image. It’s completely devoid of crime. Oliver had completed his mission.
The framework of the finale is an odd one; it uses what I believe is a previously unreleased mission from the early days with Oliver and Diggle, when the List was still a thing. Oliver and John have several spirited debates about how exactly Oliver should go about his mission: leaving a trail of bodies or another way. By episode’s end, Oliver buys into John’s methods and as we’ve seen before, that same man he locked up 8 years earlier (John Byrne, by the way, another famous comic book scribe) kidnaps 14 year old William and gives the entirety of Team Arrow over the years one last cause to go after. It’s probably more an excuse to get some of them in costume one last time, but as pointless a caper, it’s also a harmless one.
The finale also spends small segments with nearly every character, explaining where they are, or where they’re going and what Oliver meant to them. One of the most surprising was Ragman, who was only with the team for a cup of coffee back in season 4 I believe. The most satisfying was his sister Thea, who appeared earlier in season 8 already. She’s long since hung up her cowl except for special occasions; when she’s partnered wit Roy on this rescue mission (complete with bionic arm), he can’t help but keep her in his life and proposes, to which in a later scene, she says yes to. A happy ending for two characters with much unhappiness in their lives; a conclusion Oliver must surely be smiling about.
But, really the focal point of the episode is Diggle. He, now, carries the burden and shows it, of carrying on the endless mission Oliver started. With no crime in Star City, there are no need for vigilantes as the Diggle family and Dinah both leave to Metropolis. When all the heroes and loved ones of Oliver are gathered for his final goodbye, no one knows what to say or can’t find the words. It falls on Diggle’s shoulders once again, and he does an admirable job. It’s a strong speech that defines exactly who John is: loyal, loving, warrior. They truly were brothers and always will be and John uses that as his shield against the pain of Oliver not being there. Diggle’s steadfastness next to Oliver has been the support this show has leaned on more times than I can count, and I always loved even when the roster was blown up, Diggle nearly always remained as Oliver’s best friend and brother.
If Diggle was the emotional anchor of the episode, Felicity was the ship. Her appearance alone stirred emotions all throughout her pitch perfect performance all over this episode. She was the latest character to have met her child as an adult and her poignant comment gave the ultimate weight to it, saying “She’s right there but she’s also at the house, waiting for me.” When she finally does talk to adult Mia, it’s gut wrenching in all the best ways in face of this sad moment. The payoff to the finale last year when the Monitor takes her to see Oliver works as well, in a quietly sweet moment that you didn’t want to end. She finds herself in a Queen Consolidated office, a bit confused, high top ponytail Felicity from Season 1. Oliver is waiting and tells her this is his mother’s office, where he first saw her. She is confused but Oliver puts the ellipses on it saying “I have plenty of time to tell you the story.”
It’s a satisfying finale, as we’ve already come to grips with Oliver’s death at this point. Seeing most of the fan favorite characters who were killed over the years actually alive was a nice moment as well, and don’t think I haven’t forgotten to mention Diggle’s amazing discovery at episode’s end (something that’s been teased for quite a while.) For any Arrow fan, this has to be a satisfying conclusion but then again…..was it?
On a personal note, I’d like to thank the brass here at FM for allowing me, a kid who loves to write and read comics, to cover this groundbreaking series for the last 7 or so years. It’s been my utmost pleasure to go on this journey. Thank you Gary.
Rating: 9/10- Arrow ends, mostly without Oliver, but delivers fitting ends for our favorite characters, new beginnings, an awesome action scene like only Arrow can do and an almost metaphysical question mark ending…what more can you ask for?