written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)
What Arrow season finale would be complete without impending doom on Starling City? The direct follow up from the last episode, Team Arrow is facing death at the hands of the Alpha-Omega and Oliver ventures back to Starling City with Ra’s al Ghul to lay waste to his home. Of course this is far from his master plan, so seeing as this is the last chance to make his move, Ollie and Nyssa make a final stand on the plane… hoping to kill Ra’s before he ever reaches Starling. Team Arrow is miraculously saved thanks to Malcolm Merlyn inoculating them prior to their incarceration and a cameo from the Flash make quick work of any opposition in their way in Nanda Parbat.
Back on the home front, Oliver and Nyssa were unsuccessful in taking out Ra’s on the plane and Team Arrow makes Palmer Technologies their homebase for dealing with yet again another terrorist attack on Starling City. Oliver and Nyssa reunite with the team to a volatile reception, but of course realizing the fate of Starling outweighs any issues they may have as a team. Thankfully there wasn’t a heavy emphasis on the drama, as much as I love Emily Bett Rickards and her portrayal as Felicity Smoak, her weakest scenes all fit in the “sad-mopey-drama” category. I’m just not convinced by her and personally it makes me an even bigger opponent to the whole Olicity pairing.
Back to the problem at hand, the team breaks and all spread out to complete their varying tasks. Team Arrow discovers that Damien Darhk is in Starling City and realize that Ra’s al Ghul’s plan to level their home wasn’t solely to aid Oliver ascension to the Ra’s mantle, but to also take out his arch rival. In the comics, Damien Darhk is linked to H.I.V.E. and with the shadowy organization mentioned in the series before, and having a hand in the assassination of Diggle’s brother, this slight mention feels like the tip of the iceberg for what has already been confirmed to be the big baddie of next season.
Oliver hopes to track down Darhk and trade him for sparing Starling City, of course this isn’t that simple so of course the rest of Team Arrow has to go to work. Laurel, Dig, Nyssa, and Malcolm cover the ground while Felicity and Ray have to use their big brains to help devise a countermeasure for the Alpha-Omega with the help of Ray’s nanoparticles.
The finale does one major thing right, and that’s in the official introduction of Thea as the second red-hooded sidekick. It’s an eventuality that’s been teased since the beginning. In the comics, Roy Harper used the name “Speedy” before adopting Red Arrow and Arsenal as a codename. For fans who’ve followed Arrow from day one, we all know that Ollie endearingly calls Thea “Speedy” and when Thea trained with Malcolm in Corto Maltese she used the name “Mia.” In the comics, Green Arrow adopts a second sidekick named Mia Dearden who eventually becomes the second Speedy. Thea looks great in red and here’s hoping when Oliver eventually comes back next season, he’ll finally adopt the Green Arrow name.
The flashback sequences were the most interesting during the finale than any of the entire season. Oliver goes completely off the rails after Akio’s death, going so far as to torture General Shrieve for hours before Maseo finally puts a bullet between the eyes of an unconscious Shrieve. While Ra’s al Ghul was the main baddie, General Shrieve was the better villain in my opinion. Throughout all the flashback scenarios since his introduction, and especially after the death of Akio, I have never wanted Ollie to enact righteous vengeance on a villain.
The quote of the season has to go to Captain Lance, “the city’s under attack… must be May.” This also begs the question, is Starling City just the worst city to live in during May? After three years of terrorist attacks in late Spring, I’ve grown tired of this continued cycle every season. Arrow needs to be rejuvenated next season to keep me watching, and with the way this season ended it looks like it can happen. The season’s end felt more like how a series finale should be rather than a season finale. After closing the book on Ra’s al Ghul, Thea donning the mantle of Speedy, a surprising new role for Malcolm Merlyn, an accident at Palmer’s office, and Oliver retiring from the role as Starling City’s vigilan… the whole riding off into the sunset (literally) ending leads me to believe next season will be a reboot of sorts… Zod knows we need it.