Tonight, The CW will air the final episode of Arrow. 170 episodes in, Oliver Queen’s mission is seemingly over. And the finale? I was really impressed with it. Surely, there will be some lingering questions, but I feel that so many characters and elements from the show’s past returned in this post-Crisis environment, and each and every one was given a lot of time, thought, and love.
“Time, thought, and love” is something I would say was a part of the series from the jump. Arrow began unapologetically, giving us a flawed hero who would actually kill someone who failed his city. The people making the show – including Executive Producers Marc Guggenheim and Greg Berlanti – were comic book fans themselves, peppering even the pilot with a reference to Deathstroke, a character I never expected to see adapted so faithfully on television. (Smallville’s Slade Wilson was… not good, and Lois & Clark’s “Deathstroke” had nothing to do with the character from the comics.) Other familiar elements from comic book lore started to creep in. Deadshot. The Huntress. Firestorm’s stepmother Felicity Smoak, who I’d imagine if they realized what a major force she would be in the series, they would have given her a different name they wouldn’t have to pay royalties on. By the end of the episode where “The Hood” tells his own mother “you have failed this city,” on through to Felicity joining the team and the introduction of Slade, and then the excellent “Dead to Rights” where Tommy learns Oliver’s secret, we were on a great ride that just kept getting better and better. Fans glorify Arrow Season 2, and for good reason – it was a damn good season of television.
That “time, thought, and love” was echoed through to Arrow’s series lead, Stephen Amell. Stephen took us on this journey that saw his character go from douchebag playboy to someone who could be a loving husband, father, teammate, and friend. And then the guy saved the universe. Stephen took an active role in the promotion of Arrow through his various social media portals; he also used his celebrity to benefit good causes like the F*ck Cancer initiative. Personally speaking, I owe a great bit of gratitude to Stephen himself for being so supportive of this website over the years. It’s incredible when a lead actor like this engages, but Stephen cares. He cares about his fans, and he also, of course, cared about the show and his coworkers. I have no doubt that a lot of the characters and talent who “popped” on this series did so because they had a good rapport with Mr. Amell. James Bamford, possibly the series’ best director who also helmed the series finale, worked with Stephen on stunts and action and that trust built into a great director/actor relationship.
I feel like I’d be accidentally forgetting somebody if I missed some names but I will thank a few people for this ride. Beth — you did such an amazing job as showrunner these last two years, and I’ll never forget your invite to “Sidekick,” a great movie, even though it made me cry a lot. Emily — thanks for the shot at the Sutton Place all those years ago, even though your fans are certain I hate you, I most certainly do not. Marc — I meant it when I said you were a writer whose work I loved long before I knew you, and you were always one whose work I would seek out in comics. The show hit the jackpot with you on board. Paul — always here if you need any charities pushed. David — amazing actor, also an amazing director. John Barrowman — I’ll never forget how geeked out I got when you were cast on this show. I’ll especially never forget Stephen dragging me over to finally meet you and how much I was geeking out on the inside. “Captain Jack” is forever a favorite, but you made me love Malcolm too. Willa — I remember when you were so gung-ho on our first set visit that you might someday get to be “Speedy,” and I’m impressed with where your character took you and your own talent that you brought to the character. Colton — I’m still embarrassed about the time our phone call cut out mid-interview. Bam — I pretty much already said it. You were and are the best. Kat — I was going to say “we can finally talk about a show you’re on without a character who might be romantically interested in someone who might be a relative,” but then I remembered Thea and Tommy stuff, so we’ll move on from that. But Arrow really lucked out to have you, and I think Mia has been a perfect role for you. Colin — so glad they kept bringing you back to the stage. Rick — loved you on Reaper and was so glad to see you on another favorite show. Juliana — so glad for the depth the writers and you gave Dinah in these final seasons. Echo — you made Curtis fun and I can’t wait to see what you have lined up next. Caity — you were never an Arrow series regular but what you brought to this show and to the Arrowverse has been so appreciated. Suzanne, Claire, and Ben — thank you for being so easy to work with with an ability to answer questions and arrange interviews and screenings with superhero precision. And Katie — I was so sad to see you go in Season 4 and so glad when you were brought back, and as an even more delicious character than you played before. Also, Kirk Acevedo: Thanks for not giving in to the more annoying portions of Arrow fandom and speaking your truth. There are some other series regulars and major crew members over the years, that I never really met or might not be online to read this (hi, Susanna Thompson! Hi, Katrina Law!) but know your work was loved and enjoyed.
I’d also like to thank GATV collaborators Matt Tucker, Stephanie Hall, and Derek B. Gayle for their time, especially in the earlier seasons; and folks like Laurel Brown and Melissa Thompson who joined us on the roundtables. This site was a better place because of you. And to the friends I’ve made through the site — thank you as well.
Covering Arrow was different from my previous “rodeo,” covering Smallville for KryptonSite, but it was still rewarding. In the Smallville days, though, there weren’t dozens of outlets trying to land the exact same “scoops,” and there was even a time when showrunners would only do a few interviews a year. Social media and such have definitely changed those things. I do wish more people still posted on forums, of course. And I would love to write Arrow official companion guides like I did with Smallville, but books just don’t sell like they used to, supposedly. I will say, though, that all of those people above that I expressed thanks to really helped make this a great experience.
Arrow built a world, and a legacy, and that’s seen in full force. It’s a universe that has spawned several other shows with more on the horizon. Like Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark, Oliver Queen as played by Stephen Amell has been at the center of it, and he will always be the main face people remember when they think of this era.
As I’ve said, tonight is a perfect tribute. There are character interactions and people meeting that we’ve wanted to see together for a long time — many of whom are in the official photos. There are callbacks. There’s a great story taking place in the past, involving Oliver and Diggle, that I think informs a lot of the present day. Again, built upon the working relationship Stephen Amell and David Ramsey built; it’s interesting to see them as their past selves with the way their characters would interact in Season 1. Questions we may have, especially after Crisis, are answered. And cool things are teased. And hey – Felicity’s back, and yes, she gets some of the best moments of the hour, especially in her scenes with Mia.
There’s a retrospective in the first hour, at 8PM on The CW, and then the second hour is the Arrow series finale. Watch it, drink some Russian vodka and think of Anatoly, and hopefully you’ll end with the feeling I had: Gratitude for this journey and the people that took us on it. And hopefully, if Green Arrow and the Canaries is picked up, that story will continue… as for me? I’ll still be around. There’s a network of websites that I run, starting with KSiteTV. But, of course with Canaries, all you’ll have to do is fly back here…. stay tuned.