Is it just me or did that feel like a series, rather than a season, finale?! There’s nothing that screams “ENDING!” more than a happy couple riding off in to the sunset…am I right?! But with season 4 already in the bag, clearly that was not the end ofÂ the Arrow-verse. So why so conclusive? Why give us everything more or less neatly tied up with a bow? This felt so against everything that Arrow normally does. We’re use to big cliffhangers and last second shotsÂ that make perchÂ eagerly on the edge of our seats, waiting to see what happens next week (or next season). But now, it almost feels like people could easily walk away without feeling like they have to watch next season. Or on the flip side, this lack of a cliff-hanger could be a cliff-hanger in and of itself. After Oliver walks away from being a superhero, how does the show continue for a whole 4th season? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want this to be the end and I definitely don’t want some of theÂ characters’ story linesÂ toÂ end in this way, but I still couldn’t help but feel a sense of finality.
But since this was the third SEASON finale and not the series finale, let’s take a look at all that Oliver has lost or given up to take down Ra’s and reach this sunset ending.
Since it was the one that delivered the biggest blow to my heart, I have to start off with the loss of his friendship with Diggle. Sure, they shook hands and seemedÂ amicable when they parted ways in the elevator corridor, but it still felt so cold to me. It felt like they were just going through the motions, already having completely severed any hint of a bond.
Diggle: I’m happy for you, Oliver, despite our issues. You deserve to be happy. You and Felicity. And you’re right, the city is in good hands.
Oliver: Including yours.
Diggle: I’m no superhero.
Oliver: You’re a hero. For three years, you’ve been a rock. The city’s rock. My rock. For three years, you have been the person I can count on. I’m still counting on you.
Diggle: Oliver, I don’t know if I can get past what happened between the two of us.
Oliver: I’m not asking you to.
Diggle: I’ll think on it.
Oliver: John, if you can find a way to keep going, you may want to find a way to conceal your identity when you’re out there.
Diggle: I think on that too. Be well, Oliver.
What gives Oliver the right to tell DiggleÂ that he’s counting on his to take his place? If Oliver can walk away, why can’t Diggle?Â That kind of pressureÂ is totally inappropriate and I don’t blame Diggle for being mad and walking away, especially when he’s been put in such a position by someone he felt has betrayed him. To be honest, if I were in his position, I would be upset too and find it hard to not only trust Oliver but to want to continue his mission at his behest. That being said, as a BIG fan of these two, it still broke my heart.
But that isn’t the only thing Oliver gave up when he manipulated his friends and masterminded his plan to take down Ra’s. He also willingly gaveÂ up the title of Demon’s Head to Malcolm, which willÂ inevitably come back and bite him in the you-know-what.
Sure, Malcolm helped save Team Arrow in this episode, but now that we know that he got something pretty sweet out of the deal, his motivation is much clearer. And to think that I had hopedÂ he might’ve changed and was doing it out of the goodness of his heart or to prove himself to his daughter — I should’ve known better. I may not have, but Oliver clearly did. Even though Oliver and Malcolm appear to have been buddy buddy the past few weeks, it was made clear that Oliver’s trust of Merlyn only extended as far as his own needs to protect the city.
Malcolm: We’ve come a long way, you and I. I’ve always looked at you as a son, Oliver. I’m glad we got to work together, to trust as we did.
Oliver: I’ll never forgive you for what you did to Sara and my sister. Ever.
Malcolm: Does that mean we’re enemies once more?
Oliver: Depends on what you do with your end of the bargain.
Like I said, there’s no way this can end well. And the fact that Malcolm hinted towards their adversarial relationship resumingÂ feels like a big bright neon sign screaming “FORESHADOWING!”Â for season 4.
Finally, while it was not necessarily his fault or initially his intention, Oliver also gave up his identity as the Arrow in this quest. As he pointed out, Ra’s essentially took it from him and he could no longer be the Arrow, even if he wanted to be, but in the end, it was his choice to walk away from the superhero lifestyle, which is still a big step. Its been all Oliver has known for the past 5 years. It’s not only defined him, it’s defined everything around him. So who is Oliver without this? What is his passion? His purpose? What fulfills him? Obviously, I can’t imagine Oliver thriving while working at a bank or sitting in a cubicleÂ after what he’s accomplished — especially now that he is finally acknowledging all the good he’s done.
But as Felicity reminded him, he is no longer Oliver Queen and he is no longer the Arrow, he’s become someone else, something else and maybe that person will be able to find bliss in a more normal, domesticÂ life.Â Just as the intro tells us at the beginning of every episode, Oliver had to become someone else, something else once before when he returned from the island, so who’s to say he can’t do it again? But of course, we’ll have to wait until season 4 to find out.
Final thought -Â I can’t finish this article without giving a shout out to Barry Allen aka The Flash. The scenes with Barry were without a doubt my favorite of the whole episode. Barry always brings a lightness and sense of much needed comic relief, which is farÂ less apparent on The Flash (where everything has more levity), but always stands out on this show, reminding me of how heavy everything weighs in the Arrow-verse.
Be sure to catch Arrow when it returns next fall on The CW. And if you want more Barry Allen, catch the finale of The Flash Tuesday at 8/7c on The CW.
I hear you! The longer it gets dragged on, the less I think I’ll care once it does end, unfortunately.
And had they added a shot of Diggle with Lyla and Sara, I would’ve been okay with this being the end too. I just couldn’t let it end without knowing Diggle is happy…he deserves a little Velveeta too 🙂
The show runners said that they intended a three-year story arc all along then would go from there.
Interesting. Their pacing was a little off, then, because it felt sort of rushed toward the end of this one to button everything up.
I don’t read the BTS stuff because it’s too easy to trip into spoilers. 😉 That almost tells me they’re planning a triple trilogy of nine years, since I doubt CW will let them go at six…
Wow I hadn’t heard that about a three-year story arc. Now that makes me curious as to where they’re going next season.
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It felt 110% like a series finale to me, too! Part of me sort of wishes it was because it was neatly tied up, and I know CW is going to run this show as long as they’re able, storytelling be damned.
I’d be OK if this was where we left everybody even if it was a little Velveeta (two sunset departures on my TV in one week!).