Mordechai: I know I should recap first, but I can’t help it; I’m going right to the ending.
Corrina: Hi, my name is Oliver Queen, and I’m the Worst. Hero. Ever.
Mordechai: What the actual heck is wrong with Oliver?
Seriously. The show manages to make a valid argument that he had no choice but to deal with Merlyn. Let’s accept that for a second. What I can’t accept is that Oliver would leave Merlyn in control of the League of Assasins–and walk away. Seriously? Aside from rewarding a mass murderer with an army of warriors, you’re putting all your loved ones in harm’s way and not telling them.
Corrina: Opening: Sara is murdered via a brainwashed Thea by Merlyn.
Closing: Merlyn is put in charge of the League of Assassins by Oliver Queen.
I was hoping that the flashbacks had a point, that Oliver would kill in revenge there, so he would revert and do that here or, at least, turn Merlyn over to Nyssa to kill. Or that Thea would say “Hey, Dad, I learned to be strong. Guess what that means? I can kill people I love. Watch.” ::stabs Merlyn to death::
Thea then takes the Golden Pinecone of Death and becomes the new head of the League of Assassins because, hey, she died by Ra’s sword too, and survived!
I could have gotten behind that ending.
Mordechai: I now want to see that. I want to see that so badly.
Corrina: Since Oliver has been back… he’s murdered a bunch of people, he didn’t totally prevent the destruction of the Glades, he failed to have a plan to stop Slade and needed help from assassins to do it, and, this year, he’s the one responsible for the virus even reaching Starling City because he could have had the Flash grab it the minute he knew it was there.
Mordechai: And when exactly did Ollie have time to dash off to Central City, by the way?
Corrina: Oliver Queen, you have failed this city.
If the show went there, maybe I could do with that. But now it’s “Hey, I’m relieved of grieving because I didn’t commit suicide via plane crash, so run off with me, Felicity.”
Oh, sure. That works. About as well as Oliver saying “I won’t kill people,” and then killing any members of the League of Assassins he can, including tossing a bunch out of the plane this episode.
I know, I know; the writers are setting up next year and maybe stuff in other shows. But that doesn’t matter. The finale should be satisfying on it’s own terms, even if it leaves questions open. But it’s just a huge WTF? moment.
Back to you, Mordechai.
Mordechai: The writers have said the finale could have served as a series finale. If it had, it would be an insanely unsatisfying one. Oliver learns nothing, and makes two really big mistakes to seal the deal.
Let’s see, what else happened?
We learn that Ra’s insane plan had to do with Damien Darhk, his rival, being in the city. So in order to assassinate the one guy, he’s going to destroy an entire city. Really reasonable. Not to mention that the virus is airborne, so I’m not sure exactly how it would be contained to Starling City.
Corrina: Also, didn’t Ra’s have a whole ton of his assassins just in Starling to pin murders on the Arrow? Way to warn that Damien Darhk dude that you’re coming, Ra’s. Of course, it’s not Ra’s fault. This writing just doesn’t make sense.
Mordechai: Or just have your assassins kill him. You know, the dudes you have a legion of?
Corrina: Even as an evil long-term plan of Merlyn’s, it doesn’t make sense. Because no one knew Ollie would be offered to be the next Ra’s until he got skewered.
Mordechai: And no one knew Maseo and Tatsu would save him!
Corrina: It still makes no sense Ollie would fight to save Merlyn’s life–like, THREE TIMES.
Mordechai: Had the virus worked, Ra’s still might have won. But Ray is able to use his nanites to neutralize the virus, which leads to him not being able to save Oliver, which leads to Iron Felicity.
Corrina: Good thing Felicity’s a superfast learner and that she can totally get into a suit calibrated for Ray!
What else? Ray blows himself up but we know that he just blew him *down* to miniature size.
Mordechai: To be fair, even if we hadn’t seen the trailer, we’d all know he lived because the show has been in development for a bit.
Corrina: Thea likes shooting arrows into people now and Diggle’s cool with it because, who knows. Diggle isn’t cool with Oliver because why the heck should he be. Roy ran off because it’s not like Thea needs his emotional support or anything.
Mordechai: Thea arguably had the strongest arc this season. It’s annoying that the Roy thing will always kind of hang there, but I’m pretty happy with everything (short of her not stabbing her mass-murdering, brainwashing dad).
Corrina: Felicity gave up on her whole mid-season “we’re doing this because it means something to us, too” and instead ran off with her studly dude…
Mordechai: It didn’t even hit me how wrong that was ’til just now.
Corrina: Poor Laurel is lost somewhere in the shuffle. I’ll say it out loud: I liked her arc this season. A lot.
Mordechai: Indeed. It was annoying at times, but I even liked her lecturing Quentin about the drinking. Speaking of Quentin, the scene at the dam seemed weird. How’d he even know to get there? And he’s still a police captain, doesn’t he outrank them?
Corrina: As for Nyssa, my fave? I guess the marriage wasn’t real and maybe she was in on the plan? Or not, because, this episode couldn’t have cared less about her so we don’t know.
Fan theories already have her as Ollie’s spy in the League, but she’s been trained all her life to kill people. You’d think she’d just, well, KILL HIM.
The last scene could have been Merlyn being triumphant about being the new Ra’s only to be shot in the eye and killed from an archer in the shadows. Nyssa appears, takes her arrow back and says “I was created by Ra’s sword. Anyone want to fight my right to be heir?”
League bows down. Nyssa smiles.
She doesn’t because… I don’t know. Mordechai?
Mordechai: You’ve got me. I was honestly expecting Nyssa to stay in Starling and help defend the city now.
Corrina: Wait, I bet the explanation will be that Merlyn agreed to resurrect Sara. But that’s not in this episode and I shouldn’t have to have a trailer explain to me why the smeck Nyssa gives in.
Okay, now back to you again.
Mordechai: Thanks, Corrina. Gotta say, looking at this season in retrospect, I see a lot of cool moments… held together by chewing gum and spit. When you watch the moments, they work. When you try to stream them together to a coherent narrative, they fall apart.
Since most viewers are interested in the cool moments, that’s fine. But, as a writer, I want shows that hold together. On Arrow, it’s not just the writing, but the murky motivations (Why would Merlyn put Thea at risk?), lack of agency for female characters (which will improve for one character, but then the others will suffer), and moral ambiguity (killing is bad, but torture is good, and oh, masked ninjas don’t count) are making me really unsure if I’m coming back.
Arrow writers, you have failed this show.