Arrow is the flagship of the DC/CW Universe, and arguably helped usher in the modern age of hero tv. The finale of season seven has a very busy time, trying to wrap up major plots in the present and future, set up for the big crossover down the road, and almost end the series, since it comes back for a very short run this fall. We say goodbye to one of the longest running characters, see a few familiar faces come back, and, of course, lots of fighting. The finale is directed by James Bamford, who came up as a stunt man, then stunt coordinator, and has a great eye for action. I was surprised by several developments, and they even contradict something else we’ve seen, so I guess timelines are still changing. In a nod to Oliver’s frequently used line, the title of the episode is “You Have Saved This City.”
Going from the moment the last episode ended, the team is on the roof of the SCPD, surrounded by angry cops with weapons out, and a lot of shouting. The police show some horrible arrest procedures, which is part of what lets the team get away via swinglines and stun arrows. The team makes it back to the Bunker, meeting up with Felicity, and talking about their lives in Star City being over. That draws a quip from Roy that he’s been there before. Somehow, even though it’s fairly well known by now, the police don’t come to the Bunker looking for the fugitive heroes, but Black Siren and Curtis Holt, the former Mr. Terrific, show up to help. How Laurel got back from Earth 2 (or got there in the first place) we never touch on.
Felicity checks on Oliver, who goes on again about the cycle of violence that I’m really tired of hearing about. The team gets an alert that there is some kind of bomb threat at one of the public plazas, and it sounds fishy enough to make them go check it out. They try and clear the civilians out of harm’s way, but the general public is buying the story about the heroes going bad and being resistant. Black Canary tries to deal with the cops and ends up fighting them because they won’t listen. The crowd is on the edge of turning on the heroes when the loudest one gets punched out by the sudden unexpected appearance of Ben Turner, the Bronze Tiger, former foe turned ally. More of the deadly drones get released, and the gas weapon takes a grisly toll on the civilians, although somehow not affecting the heroes. We won’t even get into why Oliver is suddenly toting enough freeze arrows to make Killer Frost jealous.
The news covers the attack and blames it on the heroes, although even they admit the motives are unclear. Oliver tries to stay optimistic about redeeming Emiko (she’s killing people, man, get a grip!), and Laurel bizarrely backs him up. Turner is on parole thanks to the team, and will help with the crisis. I’m fairly sure punching out people violates the conditions of his parole, but that, too, never gets mentioned. The team comes up with a plan on how to proceed, and, as usual, Lyla is being moved to a “safe location” and will take Rene’s daughter Zoe along and Tiger’s son. They manage to get some of the virus contained (funny how both Arrow and Flash have virus/gas weapons at the end of their seasons), and find out the last big threat is at PalmerTech, the former Queen Consolidated.
Virgil reports in to Emiko that the Ninth Circle is worried about how she’s running things, and that her vendetta against Oliver is screwing up the plan. She insists it’s not, but I agree with Virgil. Part of the team gets there, and Oliver details Arsenal, Bronze Tiger, and Spartan to clear the building while he goes after Emiko. At least he’s delegating. There’s an impressive amount of fighting as the rest of the team shows up, with the cops backing them now. Sgt. Billingsley recovered enough to clear the team of attacking the station, so everything is good now. This doesn’t address Roy killing people or the team lying to cover it up, but hey, there’s bad guys to punch, kick, and shoot. And slice, now that Bronze Tiger is helping. I’m sure those claw weapons are fine with his parole officer. Oliver finds Emiko and there’s a lot of talking and fighting. She’s seriously angry when she finds out her detonator isn’t working, thanks to Arsenal downstairs. They fight more, Oliver appeals to her to snap out of it, and then more 9th Circle show up (seriously, how many thugs do they have?) led by Virgil and now Beatrice, just to continue the Dante theme. There’s another huge fight, a predictable death, and a last-minute escape from an exploding building. I guess all the defeated bad guys die in the blast?
I recall people complaining the Lord of the Rings trilogy ended with several endings, one after the other. This episode does the same. The team meets up at the Bunker. Curtis leaves after sharing some personal news with Felicity. Roy feels he should go, but the team tries to convince him to stick around. What’s a little homicide and obstruction of justice among friends? Turner also goes to spend time with his son, but we know that doesn’t work out. They all talk about saving the city, and PalmerTech being a crater now (I hope someone tells Ray). They talk about what will eventually become the tattoos we see in the future, and Oliver and Felicity announce they’re leaving for a while. Diggle comments on it being the end of an era (which it definitely is) and Felicity counters that it’s the start of a new one (fair point). The team stands, arms around each other, looking at the wall of costumes on their impractical storage dummies. What could be ending #1 closes with Oliver standing in the center of the Bunker, alone, as everyone else leaves and the lights go out after he, Diggle, and Felicity talk.
Diggle helps Oliver and Felicity settle in at the cabin we’ve seen in the future stories. Diggle comments the whole neighborhood is made of people retired from CIA, DIA, and ARGUS, either meaning the Queens will have a lot of help if needed, or the entire area is one big target waiting to happen. They tell Diggle the baby will be a girl, and will be named Mia. Diggle urges them to focus on family, and heads out. Oliver comments they never did get their honeymoon and Felicity kisses him. There’s a montage of scenes of them settling in, the birth, raising Mia, and domestic bliss with the three of them. This, too, could have been an ending, but there’s more.
Just as they’re talking about getting in touch with William (which we know doesn’t happen from what we’ve seen in the future), the Ghost of Crossovers Past comes calling. Oliver senses something and grabs a knife, stalking around, and then the Monitor appears. We get reminded, via flashback, of a vague deal Oliver made during “Elseworlds” to save the lives of Flash and Supergirl. That debt is due now, and the Monitor needs him to help save the multiverse. This leads to a tearful farewell as Oliver goes with the mysterious man, and Felicity is left behind to raise Mia as we’ve seen.
The future storyline has a lot of parallels with the present one. The heroes are held at gunpoint, ordered to surrender, and fight their way free, just like we saw in the present. Things tilt their way when one of the Galaxy Zetas turns out to be Connor in disguise. They flee for safer environs while Rene and William get rescued from their mess by the timely arrival of Zoe.
Everyone meets up at Mia’s place, plans are debated, and Felicity being an over-protective mother might be what they need to save the day. Somehow, Mia is implanted with a computer virus, and they need to get her to the checkpoint between Star City and the Glades. Roy gives her a bow and quiver before she goes, because that will be inconspicuous. Felicity reluctantly agrees to the plan after pretty much everyone tells her there’s no choice.
The first version of the plan doesn’t quite work, but does give Mia a chance to beat on some bad guys, which she enjoys. Version two involves her needing to trigger explosives in the wall between Star and the Glades because somehow Archer doesn’t have a server but is based in the wall. Sure. Mia gets a cool move where she drops a guy and surfs on him to knock down a metal door. How that worked, I have no idea. She provides the muscle, William hacks, like Oliver and Felicity back in the day, and Mia makes a last minute escape from the explosion via swingline, much like Oliver in the earlier battle.
Everyone meets up to discuss the future. Zoe, Connor, Mia, and William are going to protect the new Star City, which everyone is happy about except Felicity. Even Rene says the kids are ready. Roy, Dinah, and Felicity are going to take the blame for what happened and go on the run, freeing up the kids to be heroes. Why they can’t just tell the public about what Galaxy One did I don’t know. Presumably Rene will continue his political career. William comments that he never did find out why Roy was on Lian Yu at the start of the season, and gets an evasive answer. Diggle ends up being the only major character completely unaccounted for in the future.
The Queen extended family gets their own goodbye in a depressing but fitting place that seems to confirm a lot of fan theories about the short final season and the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover later this year. Felicity says goodbye to William and Mia, which surprises and saddens them. We see why when Felicity makes her own travel arrangements. What we learn here contradicts the Legends of Tomorrow episode “Star City 2046,” but then, the timelines do keep getting shifted.
What I liked: It was a fitting end in some ways. I’m glad Curtis came back to help, and Laurel, however she did it. Turner assisting the team was a nice nod (the character is a hero, mostly, in the comics). I won’t miss Emiko or the Ninth Circle at all. I’m glad the team is back on good terms with the police, however improbable that is (see below). The future wrapped up well also, and I think the new version of Team Arrow will be a force to be reckoned with. It was a good farewell to Felicity, who is not coming back for the abbreviated final season.
What I didn’t: There are a lot of plot holes here, which I mention above. Not attacking the police doesn’t negate the murder and obstruction. How is Laurel flitting from Earth to Earth without a breech device or a Cisco? I was really hoping that dark future would be prevented, although I guess it still might in the Crisis crossover. The Archer in the walls thing didn’t make a lot of sense. The heroes only got away at the beginning because the cops screwed up (and Billingsley went from out cold in an ambulance to back on full duty amazingly quickly).
It was a worthy finale to an odd season that meandered a lot. I’d actually love a spin off of Team Arrow 2.0 in the future. I have a lot of questions that I hope will be answered next season. I’ll give this a 3.5 out of 5. It’s hard to believe there’s so little of this show left.