Summary: An epilogue says goodbye to our main hero as the world and the people in his life live on.
If you have not seen this episode yet and do not wish to be spoiled, do not continue reading!
The world, a new world, mourns the loss of Oliver Queen. A world that now sees familiar faces brought back from death and crime all but eradicated in Star City. The motley collection of heroes who have called Star City home come together ahead of a memorial and funeral for Oliver, including Mia who is brought from the future by Sara Lance.
To her horror, her brother William in this time is kidnapped just as his older self was in the future. The heroes suit up one last time to find William with the help of Felicity, who finally comes out of hiding. On the quest, Lyla worries about making things right for Oliver’s family as he did for theirs. Roy proposes to Thea, who accepts after some consideration. Laurel questions an alive Quentin Lance why everyone but the Earth-1 Laurel returned, and why she was there instead. Quentin assures her she’s worth being there. Mia, dressed as the future Green Arrow, is the one to find her brother, held captive by a man Oliver put in prison early in his campaign as “the Hood”.
Flashbacks show Oliver and Diggle butting heads as he pursues the man, a name on his father’s list, and Diggle tries to persuade him not to kill. In the end, Oliver spares the man, sends him to prison, and begins a path of a different method, as well as beginning to trust Diggle.
In the present, Quentin dedicates a statue of the Green Arrow in Oliver’s honor. The next day at the funeral, Diggle provides a moving eulogy, honoring Oliver for ushering in the age of heroes. Mia and Felicity, who had been reluctant to meet her aged daughter, share time. The team says goodbye to the bunker. Rene prepares for the mayoral election. Mia returns to the future. Laurel and a living Tommy Merlyn connect. Dinah takes off to find her own future. Now living, Emiko meets her half-sister, Thea, and Moira assures her that she has a place in their family. On a later night, Diggle is upended by something crashing from the sky. He discovers an artifact with a bright green glow.
In the previously seen future, Felicity meets with the Monitor and says she ready to be taken to see Oliver. With her children now together and capable, Felicity is taken to the afterlife, which appears in the form of Moira Queen’s office at the old Queen Consolidated. There she meets with Oliver to spend eternity together.
Back again, at the end, to share more than a few words on, well, the end.
For all intents and purposes, the story of Arrow, the story of Oliver Queen, ended with Crisis on Infinite Earths, the mega crossover that recast this universe spun from the travails of the hooded crimefighter for the future that will no longer have him in it.
This series finale served as an epilogue of sorts. A quieter chance to ruminate on the impact of Oliver, his sacrifice, and to gather some idea, however small, of what lies in store for the people most closely associated with him.
In that, it was an effective, if not that indelible, series capper.
The Arrowverse will burn on, retrofitted to a new continuity that will make all of the CW shows even more cohesive. That’s perhaps the ultimate legacy of the show. And in a way unlike many series finales, because this gallery of other shows exists, the story very clearly does not feel over.
Heck, we’re going to see Diggle and Lyla on next week’s The Flash. A stop on their way to Metropolis, no doubt. Marc Guggenheim and David Ramsey have both strongly suggested that Diggle will continue to have a future on various series. Last week’s episode of this show was the setup to a potential spinoff that would give us more of Laurel and Dinah. It’s not inconceivable that we will see many of these characters again down the line.
As a result, saying goodbye had a bit of a muted tone. It wasn’t so much the curtain call of a world and a time we’ve all invested in, like most finales, but rather a wake for Oliver.
Opening with a revisit to the “documentary” featured in the 150th episode was a unusual but compelling touch and admittedly brought thoughts that the finale wasn’t going to go quite the way anyone would’ve anticipated. Quickly, though, the gimmick is dispensed with. Its lasting impact letting us know that, surprise, Moira Queen was resurrected in the new multiverse. It was a welcome treat to see Susanna Thompson back — yes, we’d seen her earlier this season as the Earth-2 version of Moira killed in Crisis — and fitting for the finale.
She was but the first of many welcome surprises. Normally, resurrecting the dead, especially en masse, would really undercut the emotion, the drama, the lessons, the consequences of their losses throughout the story. Yet here, we know the impact of the journey and see where Oliver has come by the end of it. So, to have Moira and Tommy and Quentin and baby Sara and Emiko back all felt earned and correct. (Seeming logistical issues aside, it seems a bit odd that Samantha wasn’t seen. Can we assume she wasn’t brought back? Seems a bit cruel to William given everyone else who returned.)
And then, there’s Laurel.
Ultimately, Oliver allowed his former love to rest — though somehow in the new continuity, Tommy’s memories/reality of her included them being married before she died — and the former Earth-2 Laurel keeps what she’s earned: her own place in this world. Sure, there have been some issues with Laurel’s characterization and their use of her throughout the series, either version. But she’s made her bones, and it was lovely to get another shared moment between Cassidy and Paul Blackthorne’s Quentin.
In big ways, the episode was all about housekeeping, tidying things up so they can put this corner of the ‘verse away in the box for now.
The half-hearted attempt at a final call to action for the heroes as a group was wan and fairly rote. Naming the essentially faceless baddie after John Byrne, the legendary comic book writer and artist who relaunched Superman following the comics incarnation of Crisis on Infinite Earths, was one final fun Easter egg for the audience. Other than that, it felt very much in the doing-this-because-we-have-to vein.
The better side of that coin was a final appearance of flashbacks in the series as a callback to its roots. After the early feint revisiting the night Slade Wilson killed Moira Queen with [mostly] existing footage — with, of course, the change with Oliver now stopping Slade and saving Moira — it was surreal to see the final new footage of Stephen Amell as Oliver/The Hood. At times, it felt like something that had previous occurred on the show 7-8 years ago, despite it clearly being invented solely for this episode. True to director James Bamford’s style, we got one final standout action sequence as Oliver goes after Byrne through a nearly comical number of nameless goons in a trademark industrial setting. Watching the dynamism of the camera as Oliver was throwing guys to and fro, slamming lots of heads in lots of places, was visceral and thrilling. A nice bow by the choreo/stunt team who proved so integral to the series.
However brief, it was a joy seeing Rory (Ragman) back in action. It reinforced how vast this world had become. Let alone all of the spinoffs, just seeing the collection of people standing around the monitors in the bunker who were, by and large, primarily contained to the flagship series of the Arrowverse was quite astounding. Same with the memorial unveiling of the Green Arrow statue, as well as the funeral. As part of the housekeeping, we even got to bid adieu to Nyssa and Talia al Ghul, with a side of Sara the Beloved.
All in all, it was a quiet way to go out. This idea that crime in Star City is extinct for the next 20 years is far-fetched. The literal shutting off of the lights at the bunker to retire it as everyone bugs out seems more mandated by the exterior than the narrative of the series. That, coupled with the lack of a throughline to finish in the hour, made for an episode that’s not likely to stick in the craw for time to come. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. This final season was designed as one large send-off with Crisis as the climax.
In the end, we get some fan service to close the show out on some warm notes. Dinah jetting off on her own sets up the mystery for how she ends up in the future, should they move forward with Green Arrow and the Canaries. Roy, the coolness of his robotic arm nearly cancelled out by the constant annoying sounds it was making, getting to tie the knot with Thea. And Diggle finally getting the Green Lantern hint so many have been waiting years for.
But what would the show be without reuniting its arguably strongest (as well as most divisive) element: the Olicity of it all. Whatever your mileage with the pairing, it was wonderful to see Emily Bett Rickards back to help close things out.
It’s only proper.
We were left with a cliffhanger of future Felicity traveling with the Monitor to some unknown locale or time to reunite with Oliver. Turns out, it was the afterlife. In a strange and fitting twist, a Felicity out of time and proper existence — the Felicity who would presumably be around in the new 2040 would be independent of the one who left last season — is able to join Oliver in a new existence for infinite time. It oddly resembles the circa 2012-13 world of the Arrowverse, but gives them a touchstone to connect.
Having watched the retrospective special beforehand, I was affectionately reminded of the highlights of the two. I’ve had my criticisms of the relationship over the years, but two things that can’t be denied are the natural chemistry between Amell and Rickards, and that they have often found ways to display these two as true partners. To give them a sunset that honors that rang honest and well.
With that, the flagship ports. It’s strange to realize that we’re 8 years in on this journey. Strange that this show that occupied such a large part of our consciousness for a time is now over, and yet curiously the world lives on. While some of the other series may have captured the attention and the discourse over time, there was a stature to Arrow that always made it feel like the parent series. It didn’t always hold its footing, but more often it had the most sober of the writing and plotting of the CW shows. A foundation for all of the fantasy.
That will be missed, but I’m grateful we had it for that time.