This season of Arrow has been jam-packed with so much character development, action, death and surprises, but when the credits rolled on another season of the show, I was a little more relieved than I was saddened. Whether it’s been the show’s fault or my own, Season 3 just has not been as engaging as Season 2. That’s not to say Arrow hasn’t been good, or even spectacular, but the story felt so recycled that it wasn’t fun to watch at times. Regardless, the reign of the old Ra’s al Ghul is at an end, and with Oliver riding off into the sunset, there are too many unanswered questions and happy endings for this finale to sit well with me.
Ra’s is ba’dass: Let’s talk about that time that Ra’s beat the crap out of Oliver and Nyssa WITH the Alpha-Omega bioweapon, and then jumped out of a crashing plane, all without any visible means to get on the ground safely. Maybe the dude’s a Transformer, or he turns into a bat on a whim.
Failed this city: The callback to the first time Oliver used his favorite catchphrase was appropriately timed. Although, it revealed something a little deeper about his psyche. He went full Huck (from Scandal) on Shrieve, torturing him for unleashing the bioweapon on Hong Kong. It was a little weird that he tortures Shrieve and then is like, “yeah, maybe I’ll use that from now on,” but whatever.
Laurel: Until she can really carry a story on her own, I like my Laurel in small doses. Her appearance in “My Name is Oliver Queen” was strictly business. I liked that she showed up, kicked some butt, and then scolded her dad for relapsing. I might be coming around to how I feel about Canary. Baby steps.
Olicity: Finally! Cut the charades, stop the teasing. Just let those two crazy kids be together. Felicity was so set on rescuing Oliver that she sincerely asked Ray to stop his work at neutralizing the virus to save Ollie. 1000’s of people < Oliver Queen… Sucks to be Ray. She would not do that for you, buddy. Felicity and Ray actually make for one heavy-hitting tech team, though – great teamwork until Oliver’s safety was involved.
Speedy: Thea’s appearance as the Red Arrow is pretty amazing. I wasn’t expecting to see it unfold so soon, but when it did, the payoff was great! I’m looking forward to seeing Thea really get into the action next season. While this does mean the official end for Roy in the show, I’m sure Thea will make a swell Red Arrow.
Swash-buckling madness: It’s a bit different than a degenerate army of drugged up super-baddies, but there’s a bit of poetry to the mano y mano showdown. It especially makes sense since the consequential events in the show are dependent on there being no League witnesses. Whatever the case, it was fun to see another Ra’s vs. Oliver sword fight.
Wrapped in a bow (and arrow): The season ends perfectly. It’s rare that a show will choose to end its season in harmonious conclusion and not on some ridiculous cliff-hanger; Arrow closes out this season than most shows wrap up their entire series. Oliver has shed his former identity, and become someone else… some… thing else.
Barry’s cameo: While the dungeon jokes were hilarious, Oliver definitely got the short end of the stick when it came to cross-show cameos. Thanks for tying up those guards, Barry, but what about the DEADLY SUPER-VIRUS about to be unleashed on our city? No? It’s not like I took out your arch nemesis for you or anything… What I’m mostly unsatisfied with is the lack of cohesion behind the cameo. How the hell did Oliver stop by in Central City without Ra’s noticing? Eh, it’s showbiz, I suppose.
Random complaints: These guys are basically like Amish ninjas. How do they have these fancy ass jets? Why did Oliver blow his cover so quickly? couldn’t he have just stolen the virus at an opportune time and then destroyed it, or unleashed it mid-flight since he was immune (screw Nyssa)? Sure, Diggle is upset with Oliver, but he became uncontrollably emotional about it, and it was kind of annoying. He may have said “We have bigger problems than hurt feelings and broken trust,” but he is cosmically butt-hurt about this whole wife kidnapping thing.
The feels: Called it! Oliver was going to solve all his problems with the power of feelings. I half laughed, half threw up in my mouth when Felicity told Oliver that letting himself have feelings is the key to beating Ra’s. What is this sh*t, Care Bears? Apparently feelings can stop sniper rifle bullets, too. And they taught Felicity how to fly Ray’s suit. Maybe one day I shall have feelings strong enough to make me stop rolling my eyes at CW shows.
Oliver Queen 101: A little comic book history here, but in issue #101 of Green Lantern, Oliver sacrifices himself to destroy a bioweapon by blowing up the airplane its housed in. We’re all thankful it didn’t end up that way on the show; perhaps the happy ending was to get a second chance with that story – showing that Ollie needs the help of his team.
More Damian Darhk: He almost makes an appearance this episode, but we get the creepy butler from Mr. Deeds instead. Merlyn’s position in the League will surely be challenged by Darhk – either that, or he will descend on Starling with H.I.V.E. because of some beef he has with Oliver (either because he took Oliver’s shot at vengeance, or out of some odd loyalty to Ra’s). What we do know is that he will be causing problems in Season 4.
Nelson Plaza: At the recent Philadelphia Wizard Con, Arrow star Stephen Amell has been making waves with a possible Constantine crossover. One of the most associative comic book characters in Constantine is Doctor Fate himself, Kent Nelson. Coincidence? Probably, but you never know.
4 instruments of death: It’s not exactly an Easter Egg, but Ra’s plan to unleash the deadly bio-weapon with four vessels could be symbolic of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Just picking up crumbs, here.
Andreyko was his name-o: Before getting called out by his daughter for drinking on the job, Captain Lance is complaining about the Andreyko case. Writer Marc Andreyko created the Kate Spencer version of Manhunter, who Laurel’s story is following almost to the letter. Not to go all Freud on this thing, but Quentin may have some daughter issues.
Name dropping the big guns: Where could Ollie find the bioweapon? Oh, I don’t know, around the corner of Adams and O’Neil. Neal Adams and Denny O’Neil deserve all the inspirational credit in the world for Ra’s al Ghul in this season, as a considerable amount of the events in the show came directly from their pages. Adams and O’Neil also tag-teamed the Green Lantern/Green Arrow book that was so popular in the 80’s.
Red Arrow: This is a no duh at this point, but I like that Thea used a color to describe her alter-ego. This should lead Oliver, upon his return, to go as the Green Arrow.
Sins of the Father: This has been a reoccurring theme in the series, starting with Robert Queen, then with the death of Tommy Merlyn, and now continuing with Ra’s al Ghul (what was his name before that? Ted?) and Nyssa. However, when will it be time for Oliver’s actions to make an impact on his child? That’s right; we didn’t forget about Connor Hawke and neither should you. Nothing tests the waters of a new relationship like a bastard child.
Ra’s al Bugle: With his last dying breath, Ra’s (Ted) gives Oliver the symbolic jewelry piece, which he hands over to Malcolm Merlyn, who assumes the mantle. It makes all of Merlyn’s motives perfectly clear, but it doesn’t really explain whether we should still be cheering for him anymore or not. There’s no way this is it for the League’s storyline. I mean, Nyssa is still technically married to Oliver (not by law or anything silly like that, but in the eyes of Nanda Parbat), so he still has ties to the League. Something tells me that Merlyn is going to be a much greater evil than the previous Ra’s ever was.
Going Green: The CW is really leaning in with Coast City references. I swear, if they shove Green Lantern any further down my throat, my butt will be glowing green. With the way the new Supergirl trailer showed CGI, I’m a little… apprehensive about metahuman powers. Honestly, the way they showed Green Lantern’s powers in the big-budget Ryan Reynold’s film had me cringing, so I’m just as nervous as I am excited.
Short-lived felicity for Felicity: Felicity finally got what she wanted, but don’t expect that happiness to last long with a bastard kid and estranged wife to worry about. Felicity has resigned from her position (What were those Transfer of Ownership papers all about??) and Ray blowed himself up (or did he blow himself down… to size), so she’s in the area of no return when it comes to love. I don’t think it will go quite the direction of Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, where the love interest ends up being an evil fembot sent to kill our hero, but is it possible that Felicity has been working for H.I.VE. all along? What a tweeeest!
Hush Comics gives “My Name is Oliver Queen” an A- for doing season finales right. The end of this season could have very well served as the series’ finale, but we’re glad there is another year of this to look forward to.
All images belong to The CW and DC Entertainment and are credited to Cate Cameron, Liane Hentscher