Arrow Season 3 Episode 23 – TV Review
And so finale week concludes with Arrow closing the book on its third season.
Not with a bang.
Not with a whimper.
But more a mildly interested shrug.
TL;DR In a shock twist, Oliver isn’t evil, and unites with most of the main cast to save Starling City from Omega; Oliver kills Ra’s and hands over the title to Malcolm; the Super Friends pledge to continue vigilantism in Starling while Oliver and Felicity go on holiday; the flashbacks are a superfluous time sink.
Just like usual, then.
So the gang doesn’t die in the dungeon: Malcolm and Oliver made sure Malcolm could inoculate them all surreptitiously. And just like how Oliver showed up on The Flash this week to help thwart the Man In Yellow, Barry shows up to free our heroes from the League dungeon. Friendly. Oliver and Nyssa try to sabotage Ra’s’ flight to Starling City (Ra’s is completely taken aback that Oliver wasn’t evil all along. Because he’s blind, deaf, and brain damaged?), but Ra’s gets free. The gang reluctantly reunite with Oliver (they’re all pissy because they thought he was evil, too), and discover that Ra’s’ old rival, Damien, is in Starling City, and they figure that might be why Ra’s is fast-tracking this whole home town genocide thing. They try to capture Damien for leverage, but he is already gone, so it’s back to stopping the release of Omega. Everyone puts their best foot forward (including a now-suited-up Thea, aka Speedy) and eliminates Omega, while Oliver duels Ra’s to the death. To end the season, Oliver gives over the title of Ra’s al Ghul to Malcolm (Nyssa isn’t impressed); Ray blows himself up while altering the ATOM suit; the Super Friends pledge to keep on with their vigilantism; Roy isn’t in the episode; and Oliver leaves to be happy with Felicity. And over in the Hong Kong flashbacks, Oliver tortures Shrieve in retribution for Maseo and Tatsu’s son. Maseo finishes Shrieve off, then leaves Tatsu because he’s dead inside or whatever. Oliver is horrified at his own, violent actions, and Tatsu tearfully bids him farewell to return home.
If Tatsu had broken out that Katana costume a bit earlier, she might have been the Dark Horse of the season, you know.
I can’t say I’m going to miss Arrow while it’s off.
In fact, given the banality of this season, I’m giving Arrow the ol’ I Just Hate Everything five episode ultimatum (like these poor souls). So Arrow Season 4 better pick its shit up, or I’m hopping off by episode 5.
I’ll probably just defect over to Legends of Tomorrow, though.
Why I hate this episode:
A lot of the drama is, again, predicated on the fact that everyone believes that Oliver has become entirely League loyal in the space of a few weeks. I can kind of understand Felicity and Diggle. Felicity is a wide-eyed, idealistic hero. And Diggle is mostly just angry at Oliver’s kidnapping of Lyla. But what isn’t forgivable is that Ra’s, the leader of the League of Assassins, believes that Oliver has drunk the Kool-Aid. He is genuinely shocked when Oliver betrays him by sabotaging the plane. Are you fucking serious?
Ra’s is also the only character to die this episode (outside of the flashbacks, anyway), which is a pretty low body count for a CW show. Why couldn’t Thea have joined him?
Did Oliver seriously hand over the title of Ra’s to Malcolm? The characters keep reminding us that Malcolm is a super villain, and Sara’s murderer, yet Oliver just gives him the keys to the assassin castle and fucks off to go drive around in a convertible with Felicity. Oliver’s motivation to give Malcolm the title is likely so he’ll get out of Thea’s hair, but that is no reason to let Malcolm goddamn Merlyn be in charge of a literal army of assassins. Jesus, Oliver.
Shrieve didn’t get to do anything cool, really. And now he’s dead.
It appears that the change of ownership form that Ray tricked Felicity into signing last episode wasn’t to give her ownership of the company. He just needed her vice presidential signature to rubber stamp it. So who’s getting the company? And do they want it after Ray blew it up?
I’m worried that, with how heavily Arrow is pushing Oliver/Felicity down our throats, Laurel will never get back in the contest for Oliver’s heart. Laurel and Oliver are too beautiful to not be together.
Oh, and Oliver admits to Felicity that his plan with Ra’s’ plane was to die in the crash. Bitch, that’s what parachutes are for.
But it’s not all bad:
Ra’s had the right idea with the parachute. After Oliver betrays him, they duel (with Nyssa keeping the goons at bay). Ra’s ends up defeating Oliver and Nyssa, secures Omega, and then takes the only parachute to jump out of the plane. Oliver and Nyssa then team up to crash land it.
Also, that plane only had one parachute?
The teamwork of the episode is its major selling point, and it’s great seeing everyone on their own assignments to save the day. To disperse Omega, Ra’s sets up four exposure points. Oliver takes one, Diggle another, Nyssa and Laurel the third, and Malcolm the last. And as it turns out, Ra’s has infected goons with Omega and uses their blood to spread it. Groovy.
Diggle has some trouble with his goon, so Thea shows up and arrows that dude in the back several times. Unfortunately, Omega spreads from the goon’s blood being exposed to the air, so people start dropping like flies. Oops. But remember those magic nanobots? Yeah, they come in handy for mass curing the citizens.
Speaking of the nanobots, Ray gets stuck configuring them to be able to do their magic. When Quentin tips off Felicity about police snipers preparing to fire on Oliver and Ra’s (they’re duelling on top of a dam. Keep up), Felicity demands Ray jump in his ATOM suit and fly in to save Oliver. Ray, obviously, isn’t going to put Oliver’s life above the entire population of Starling City. What a dilemma.
Arrow chooses the best solution, though. Oliver does get shot by the snipers, and falls off the dam, but is caught by Ray in the ATOM suit. Only it isn’t Ray: it’s Felicity. It’s pretty cool.
I liked how unobtrusive Barry’s inclusion was. He helps them out of the jam in Nanda Parbat, but he can’t stick around because he has to get back to saving Central City from its finale antics. Oliver’s guest role on The Flash this week was pretty great, too. He teamed up with Barry and Firestorm to take down the Man In Yellow. I hope Barry enjoyed being the filling in an Amell sandwich.
Quentin wins some points back this episode. Although he’s still a drunk arsehole, he recognises that Oliver is trying to save the city, so he attempts to save him from the snipers. He also gets a quiet scene with Laurel where she admonishes him for his drinking, and tells him to nut up and save Starling City, dammit.
I presume Damien Dark will be an important figure next season. Although, I hope he brings less League of Assassins drama with him.
The flashbacks don’t tell us anything we didn’t know. But Maseo’s abandonment of Tatsu is a decent enough excuse to include them. She’s a tough chick.
Oh, and the reason Ray blows up his lab is because he’s trying to test the shrinking function of the ATOM suit. And Brandon Routh is better beefcake than Paul Rudd, too.