After eight seasons, launching a universe of shows and a new era of superhero tv, and some truly amazing crossovers, the flagship show of the CW-verse/Arrowverse, has come to the end of the road. Oliver Queen sacrificed his life during the Crisis on Infinite Earths, and now it’s time to wrap up the loose ends. There’s a funeral, many unexpected returns (and some expected ones), and some fascinating hints at stories we may or may not see. It’s a fitting farewell to Star City and some beloved characters as it’s time to “Fadeout.” With this being both the season and series finale, there will be spoilers below.
The show opens with the newest version of Oliver’s familiar monologue, referencing some key points along the path of his life since the island, with imagery to match. One of the things that we see a lot of in this show is that, when the multiverse was remade, Oliver used the vast power of the Spectre to right a few things he considered wrong. The first of them was from 2014, when Moira Queen doesn’t die at Deathstroke’s hand. This shifts to Moira herself musing on the new world, which she somehow knows about, and praising her late son and all he did for the city and the world. Dinah talks about Oliver’s legacy, and Rene mentions not a city, but a world, of heroes. There’s a lot of references near the end about Oliver being the first hero, and, while Arrow certainly was the show that came first, that’s not accurate. It was implied that Wildcat was around before Oliver took up the bow, and it was definitive that a version of the Justice Society was around decades before Oliver was born. Unless that’s been wiped from the new world, Oliver, impressive as he was, was not first.
Diggle talks about Oliver, and we see that the director from the documentary we saw in the episode “Emerald Archer” is back to remake that film into a memorial for the fallen bowman. When Diggle finishes talking to the director, he, Rene, and Dinah talk about the big changes in Star City. Apparently, Oliver did a lot more than simply bringing back some loved ones when he helped remake the world. Those three join Roy and Laurel in the bunker for a toast to Oliver, and a lot of commentary about the vodka he started his mission with. Somehow, crime has largely vanished from Star City, although the mechanics of that is never gone into. We hear by inference that Quentin Lance is also back from the dead, and various characters discuss their future plans. Oliver fixed a lot of things, but I’m really curious why Roy is still missing an arm. That seems like a big thing to let go for the first man to come to your cause after it started (Diggle was there as it began). Only Diggle seems to not quite accept that the mission is over.
This triggers the first of many flashback scenes to near the beginning of Oliver’s crusade. In just about all of them. Diggle argues for Oliver to both broaden the scope of what he does and become a bit less homicidal along the way. We saw a scene or two of this before, but this is all new material, both giving insight into Diggle and Oliver’s relationship, and allowing Stephen Amell to come back as Oliver for the final episode after the character’s death. What turns out to be a dream about Robert Queen’s murder/suicide on the life raft wakes Mia from a troubled sleep. Or maybe what woke her was the sudden arrival of Sara Lance, come via time portal to bring the woman back in time for Oliver’s funeral. As the show goes on, there’s a sort of weird time loop in effect: the events of “Green Arrow and the Canaries” are in Mia’s past but everyone else’s future, including whatever oddness propelled Dinah forward in time and wiped out all records of her.
Down in the bunker, Diggle gets to be the newest and last person to face the salmon ladder, and does it well, amid barbs from Rene. Dinah is worried about Laurel, who seems snarkier and drinkier than usual. Roy, too, is there, getting his tattoo for the Mark of Four that we saw in the future sequences last season. Roy is worried about seeing Thea again, and everyone is worried about Felicity. Dinah chats with Mia about the future and her legacy, which Mia isn’t sure of, especially after the end of the “Canaries” episode. Dinah’s reassurance gets cut off when the Archer Protocols light up with the alert that William, the present, teenaged version, has been kidnapped.
As an aside, before we get to heroic search and rescue, this is part of what I don’t get about the claim that Star City is now crime-free. When we learn what happened here, we find out the motive, which is a not-exactly unknown one for criminals. If people still feel these urges, I don’t see how there’s no more crime. Or maybe I’m just thinking about it too much. At any rate, the call goes out and they get just about everyone to come help with the search for William. Even Ragman is back, with his mystical costume working again. Rory mentions he’s been active again for a while, roaming around as a hero to
honor Oliver. As people search, there’s a big leap forward in Roy and Thea’s relationship, and, even with Crisis over, another crossover. A memorable scene happens in front of a “Van Wayne Industries” sign. Van Wayne was the character Alan Tudyk memorably played in the short-lived “Powerless” series, thus connecting that show, too, to the Arrowverse. Also, Tudyk voiced Green Arrow on several cartoons, so it was a nice nod to that, potentially. Running the search from the Bunker are the returned and reunited Curtis Holt and, finally, Felicity Smoak.
Mia, fittingly, is the one to rescue her brother, and the kidnapping ties to the flashbacks that happen throughout the episode. Ironically, you could interpret this as Oliver having been right in the arguments with Diggle in the past; if he’d kept up his lethal ways, the abduction wouldn’t have happened. Back in the bunker, adult Mia from the future teaches younger William from the present about bows, while Felicity is very conflicted about meeting her daughter from the future. There’s news coverage of the event, and speculation that Queen has already started to inspire a new generation of heroes.
The end is coming as momentum gathers. Thea and Roy get set up for their future, which is something I’d love to see, and can imagine even if we don’t. Laurel finally reveals what’s been bothering her in a final heart-to-heart with resurrected Mayor Quentin Lance, which is also when we find out Tommy Merlyn has been brought back as well. One of the most impactful scenes is Diggle, Dinah, and Rene talking about their futures down in the Bunker. Lyla has been promoted (I thought she ran ARGUS now?) and is moving to Metropolis, with Diggle going along. This might be a plant to bring those two characters to the upcoming Superman and Lois show. Dinah is going to go find another city that needs a hero, since Star no longer does, which I guess is the closest we get to a setup for how she ends up in the future. Rene will follow in Lance’s political footsteps, and, looking around at the Bunker as the lights go out, comments “I’m going to miss this place.” We all will, Rene. The lights shutting down was really unexpectedly moving.
The crowd gathers for Oliver’s funeral, and it’s truly impressive. Quentin gives a great speech. Talia and Nyssa show up, working in a few great lines for such small screen time. Felicity is there, and gets to speak with Mia finally. Barry Allen and Kara Danvers also show up, risky for their secret identities, but completely understandable. There are only a few missing from the gathering that I could think of. The actresses who played Artemis and Huntress both had other commitments. What I found odd was the absence of Ray Palmer. He started off in Star City, he and Oliver worked together, and I would have liked some kind of explanation as to his absence. We also see that Emiko is back from the dead, and a lot less murdery than she was before, which I’m glad of. Anatoli even got a last appearance.
The final monologue is from Diggle, as he remembers his fallen friend and brother, and the mission going on. Over scenes of people getting ready to face what comes next, Diggle memorializes Oliver. Fittingly, there’s a great scene that seems to indicate Diggle’s days as Spartan are probably over, but a new, larger destiny awaits him. The very end shows us the Monitor taking Felicity to her long-delayed reunion with her late husband, many years from now. I won’t spoil that final scene (although the local CW station mercilessly butchered it for our initial viewing), but I’ll say it was a perfect ending for Oliver and Felicity. I’ll miss those two. And just about everyone else.
What I liked: They wrapped up the show nicely. A truly impressive number of characters came back for farewells. The flashbacks worked well. There were so many nice little moments, and some larger ones. Diggle on the salmon ladder was nice, his final scene was amazing. I was thrilled that Nyssa made it back. The Van Wayne sign was a great final nod to the larger world. Oliver and Felicity’s happy ending was just that. I was glad to see what they did with Roy and Thea. Via flashbacks, we saw many of the major villains from the series. The ones Oliver brought back made prefect sense, and it was nice to see them given new lives and new chances. Barry and Kara making it was a nice reference to them arguably owning their shows to this one, and the Barry/Felicity scene was short but so perfect. That final scene in the Bunker was very powerful.
What I didn’t: I mentioned some questions about the “no crime” thing. Oliver was important, and influential, but not the first hero in this world. Where was Ray Palmer? And, while the show ended on a great note, I admit I didn’t want it to be over.
Goodbye, Team Arrow. You’ll be missed.
I’ll give the finale a 4.5 out of 5, the season the same, and the series as a whole a 4 out of 5, trying to balance some great stuff with some occasional erratic writing.
I’ll miss these characters, but I look forward to the future of the Arrow-verse.