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Arrow Review: The Journey is Complete

by at .  Updated at . Comments

They did it!

The Arrow Season 2 finale went off without a major hitch. Love interests are still in play, Starling City was saved, the major villain was stopped but not killed, someone died, people left town, a baton was passed, "I love you" was said at least three times... and a hero was finally, completely born.

You helped me become a hero, Slade. Thank you.

Oliver

There was absolutely no way to predict how Arrow Season 2 Episode 23 would play out, but it was satisfying without alienating any true fans.

Considering how tightly the lines are drawn for so many (ladies, I'm looking at you), that's a pretty major feat.

Lyla Michaels in Arrow
Will Lyla turn Amanda in the Arrow Season 2 Finale, "Unthinkable"? Odds are yes.

The strength of the hour lay with the core team, the beloved three who started it all, Oliver, Diggle and Felicity. Without any one of the three, saving the day would not have come to pass. That the writers recognize how important it is for them to be acknowledged is appreciated.

Sara brought Nyssa and the League of Assassins to Starling City to help fight Slade's army. She made a deal with them to go back and join them again as payment in kind. That's not going to make a lot Caity Lotz fans happy, but it leaves the door open for her return, something we know happens quite often with Arrow.

Nyssa's return gave us closure on Isabel Rochev and her short reign as Ravager. A quick snap of the neck and she was gone. Oliver may have been questioning whether killing was the right method to fight the madness of Slade Wilson, but Nyssa didn't come with such quandaries. 

One of my favorite developments was between Thea and daddy Malcolm. She shot him, but he was wearing Kevlar as I expected. He was so proud! Tommy didn't have the guts to take daddy down, but Malcolm is assured with her shot that Thea is daddy's little girl. 

When Thea discovers that Roy has been lying to her, she makes an awesome decision -- to go with Malcolm. She says she won't ever be back, and I believe her. Thea Queen is gone. Who will return in her place? I daresay a villainized version of Speedy. I was hoping that someone would turn bad after all of the darkness that overtook Starling City and Thea is a wonderful choice. It will jab at Oliver to know he let her down and that she took up with her father instead of her heroic brother.

Interestingly, many thought that Malcolm might be involved in the fight alongside Oliver and the League as they took on Slade's army, but it was merely many other League members with similar fashions. He never really left Thea's side. Once he told her he would be there when she needed him, he didn't drop that ball. Thea needs that.

Lyla came to Diggle to help save Starling instead of working on behalf of her boss, and we learned later part of the reasoning behind her moves -- she's carrying Dig's baby! While that is a frightening prospect given their chosen professions, it would seem likely that we can expect a downgrade of Manu Bennett's regular status next season and an upgrade to Audrey Marie Anderson as Lyla.

More action for Diggle, no matter the capacity, is always welcome. Perhaps the two of them will team up and look into H.I.V.E. while someone looks after the baby. 

As for the question of who Oliver loves the most, we didn't get a definitive answer on that and I think it's because he's not in a place to declare his love right now. Felicity gave him the idea he needed to successfully trap Slade and stop him without killing him, even if the price was a false intimate moment between them.

Oliver: You need to stay here.
Felicity: You can't just ask me to stay here.
Oliver: I'm not asking. I will come and get you when this is all over.
Felicity: No!
Oliver: Felicityyyy...
Felicity: Not unless you tell me why!
Oliver: Because I need you to be safe.
Felicity: But I don't want to be safe. I wanna be with you and the others. Unsafe.
Oliver: I can't let that happen.
Felicity: Oliver, you're not making any sense.
Oliver: Slade took Laurel because he wants to kill the woman I love.
Felicity: I know, so?
Oliver: So he took the wrong woman.
Felicity: Oh.
Oliver: I love you. Do you understand?
Felicity: Yes.

But, how false was it? At that particular time, Oliver was saying things for a specific purpose, to make sure Slade came for Felicity. I truly believe that Oliver loves her and they will have something in the future. I also think that Oliver knows he has not fully resolved his feelings for the other women in his life, and until he does that, committing to someone like Felicity is not cool. She's the kind of woman you commit to once. 

You don't toy with Felicity. She is far too important to Oliver and Team Arrow for him to make a move before he is fully ready to commit. The scene with them on the island, however, certainly conveyed that the words between them held far more weight than he was willing to admit just yet. I love that it was that reference to which the word unthinkable was used. It's my guess that Felicity will fall in love with someone before settling with Oliver Queen. He needs to feel it as much as she does.

This all brings us back around to the Lance family. Just when it seemed as though things were going to be fine, they weren't. Sara told Laurel that Oliver needed her, gave her the Canary jacket (it fits) and Laurel and Lance walked off. Lance fell to the ground, gravely injured.

Will Lance die? I don't think so. It does call into question whether he might run for that open mayoral position, however. Maybe hitting the streets will be too much for him. He has the best head on his shoulders in the city and is in the best position to work with the heroes to protect it. 

It would also seem that Sara was giving permission to Laurel to pick up the Canary where she left off. Is she perfect for the job right now? No. Can she grow into it? Yes. She has the desire and the will and the beginning of some training. She also has the jacket and an in with The Arrow -- someone her father still doesn't know. It does raise the risk of Oliver getting close to Laurel again, but there will always be risks of some sort.

Sara likes to kill her prey with the League. She'll likely assume another moniker and be back. That's alright, isn't it? To have both Lance sisters kicking some ass? Granted, these are all assumptions based on a few actions -- but that's what makes Arrow so fun.

The final bit of news is that we've apparently seen the end of the island. Oliver is on his way to Hong Kong with Amanda Waller. We'll finally understand their relationship. She'll have to be on a lot more next season. Oliver also thinks that Sara is dead in that world, which could be why she's gone from the current timeline. We'll hope that's one regular habit that's kicked in Season 3.

Starling City wasn't destroyed, no major characters were killed and there are so many open avenues for stories to play out next season. If you want to relive all of the glory of Arrow Season 1 and Arrow Season 2, you can watch Arrow online. We'll bring you news as we get it over the break and see you here next year!

Grade the Arrow Season 2 finale!

 

Review

Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (146 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.

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Claire boom tothe moon

I loved this episode! It took everything about Arrow that works and thew in to the front and center of it all, namely Team Arrow (O/F/D), all of the action and especially that beautiful relationship between Oliver and Felicity. When I first watched it, I was heart broken that he used Felicity in such a way, after it really sunk in, it was quite the opposite. It showed the amount of trust these two have in each other, and it also showed Oliver for the first time, willingly put Felicity in the thick of things. She's shown her gumption before by insisting she be bait to draw out the Doll Maker, but this was on an entirely different level of danger. Oliver has always felt the need to protect her as we specifically saw in the episodes leading up to the finale. But by doing what he did he put her on equal footing as himself — a true partner and true team work. I am excited at what possibilities this has opened up for them in terms of both relationship and further on the team. I look forward too in seeing how the Malcolm/Thea storyline plays out, and whether Roy can keep her from falling to the dark side. And then there is Quentin — that man needs to survive! So many things though and so well done! I am really looking forward to the flashbacks which will take us to a new location, as well as the future developments with Oliver and Felicity (both team wise and personal), as well as daddy Diggle!

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Great Review Carissa ! That finale was incredible ! OMG ! I loved it! It was well measured, not too much of anything. Brilliant. The fight scene under the bridge was amazingly well choreographed ! WOW.
Thea Queen is no more. Thea Merlin lives ! Lol. Anywho, Malcolm was so cool. I know he's bad but the way he spoke to her was true. He knows he's a psycho but she had the guts to shoot him. She doesn't trust anyone anymore, for good reasons and her going Merlin will rattle Oliver. Love it ! Poor Roy... oh well, he'll be able to focus on being Red Arrow.
When Lance got thrown away I knew he was hurt badly, but hey the man was still walking so I thought, okay. But it finally caught up to him. I don't think he's gonna die, but him running for mayor is a very good idea !
Ollicity had me squealing, then I rewind the scene and understood that he was not professing his love. Yet. He's not ready just yet. Also, Felicity needs to be with someone for him to feel it. Writers please make it happen !
Sara is gone. Laurel as the next Canary... Well we knew it was out there. Now the jacket fits. That should be okay. Laurel is less annoying now that she sorted her ish out and knows the truth. Though it was hard to see Sara get sucked by the waters, AGAIN ! Damn...
Loved Nyssa and Felicity's introductions. Priceless. And Nyssa killed Isabel. Finally !
Deathstroke is out ! Finally ! I couldn't stand this anymore. Though Oliver not killing him ? Fine, he's on a "deserted" island far away but still pretty much alive.
Speaking of, we are finally going to see how Oliver met Amanda ! On the mainland ! Then how the hell did he get back on that island ! Was he sent back there ? Why ?
Baby Diggle on the way ! More Lyla ! Oh yes !
Btw, always happy to see DeathShot !
Amazing finale !

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An amazing Episode. love it more than last year finale. loved how they end the island and start a new chapter of flashbacks. loved the fighting scene and the last speech between Oliver and Slide aaaand this part "You helped me become a hero, Slade. Thank you."

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This show just keeps getting better. I do hope Oliver and Felicity are never romantically linked, that would just ruin Team Arrow. NO chemistry there either.

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@ Kimm

Yes, thank you! I love both Oliver and Felicity, but I HATE the idea of them together. Everything would get so weird. To me they are like a throwback to Clark and Chloe on Smallville; they love each other but never 'like that'. And I agree about the chemistry. They have great chemistry in general, but it's not romantic chemistry.

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@ Kimm

Wha? Okay, not wanting Olicity to happen is perfectly valid, sure, but... no chemistry? Are we even watching the same show?! o.O

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Loved the finale.

Leeloo

The episode was amazing!
Loved Theas decision to go with Malcolm Merlin, this is gonna be much more interesting than her story with Roy. She was always in the dark about all the secrets surrounding her – time for her to step up her game. The role of the damsel in distress doesn’t suit her.
Congratulations to Diggle and Lyla!
Nyssas return was so cool, this woman rocks. It was funny when she checked out Felicity.
…and yes I was disappointed too with the Olicity-story. But I can wait. I waited 5 years for Casckett to happen. Oliver needs to figure out what he wants and Felicity shouldn’t make it too easy for him. She totally rocked, when she put that syringe into Slades neck. Hopefully she’ll gets a little more courage and strength.
I don’t know what to think about “Hong Kong”. Hope they’ll keep the story believable.

Fearless diva

I'm a bit dissapointed with the way they handled Slade and Felicity last night. Even if the Olicity moment was a bait- and-switch, there was no guarantee Felicity would make out alive... Slade could have figured out it was all a ruse or found the mirakuru cure and just snap her neck before Oliver could react. Even if he's not in love with Felicity, that just seem so OOC for Oliver who killed the Count to protect Felicity and when Slade infiltrated the Lair, he had been protecting her. Which brings me to my next point. In theory, Slade should have been smarter then that. He's no idiot. On the plus side, John Barrowman got promoted though! :) More Merlyn! :) However, I hope they stay away from a Laurel/Oliver/Felicity love triangle. It didn't work in season 1 with Tommy and Laurel and it wont work this season.

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@ Fearless Diva

I also thought it was OOC for him to use her as bait, and I do think he loves her, but I also think that it showed a progression of her character, in that he trusts her in the field which will hopefully show more Felicity outside the lair next season as a more active member of the team.

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@ Fearless Diva

I don't think it was really OOC at all - desperate times, and all that. Thanks to Waller it was quite literally do-or-die time, and they were flat out of options. Besides, while he's certainly very smart, I don't think it was unreasonable to count on Slade being a little irrational. Will Graham: I thought you might enjoy the challenge. Find out if you're smarter than the person I'm looking for.
Hannibal Lecter: Then, by implication, you think you're smarter than I am, since it was you who caught me.
Will Graham: No, I know I'm not smarter than you.
Hannibal Lecter: Then how did you catch me?
Will Graham: You had... disadvantages.
Hannibal Lecter: What disadvantages?
Will Graham: You're insane. (Seemed apt.) Barrowman's promotion is interesting - I guess that means he's gonna reveal himself sooner rather than later. I wonder if he'll be able to shift blame for the Undertaking somehow and resume public life... there are certainly a few potential scapegoats, and nobody's really in a position to contradict him now that Moira's dead. The fact that he'll be sticking around also suggests that Thea won't be going too far. But I imagine it'll be a long time before she and Roy patch things up, to say nothing about what's going to happen with her extremely strained relationship with Oliver when she finds out he's the arrow... I'll say this for her: whatever trust issues the girl has, she comes by them honestly. :p

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@ JK

If you think about it, promoting Barrowman to the main cast (regardless of how long it lasts) was inevitable ever since they decided to make Malcolm Thea's father (not to mention Merlyn's role in the comics). The writers would want to explore the Malcolm/Thea relationship and I'd be a little surprised if we didn't end up seeing some Malcolm flashbacks at some point. As far as his role in the undertaking goes, I could easily see him avoiding jail time since any physical evidence tying him to that could easily be destroyed or missing (when you consider all the damage in the city from the past 2 years). Also, everyone involved with the undertaking (to our knowledge) is dead providing no witnesses for a trial. If I had to guess, the early part of the season is guaranteed to have Thea as an antagonist/ "down a dark path" until something causes her to change. Perhaps she ends up wounding Oliver (in costume) and ends up learning the truth. It's all a question of how long until Thea splits from Malcolm (my guess is mid-season finale). Regardless, I can't wait to see what's in store for season 3!

Marissa

Loved the finale. One of my favorite parts was when Nyssa said to Felicity "I am Nyssa, daughter of Ra's al Ghul. Heir to the demon." and Felicity said "Felicity Smoak. MIT class of '09.". When Oliver was talking to Felicity and he told her he loved her I figured it was all part of his plan because well one whenever does a character say "I love you" and the characters not kiss afterwards? I've never seen not happen they always kiss after one says it. It may not have been real but I still loved that moment. I also loved the moment when Felicity injected Slade with the cure all because he wasn't paying attention to her. I believe that Oliver does love Felicity but in a different way and that she is one of the most important people in his life. I want them to be together but not yet they have to be end game and he's just not ready for that. With Felicity it has to be for real because with her he would only get one chance. I loved Roy and Thea's moments together and wasn't surprised to see that she left and went off with Malcolm. It will be interesting to see what those two do together. I'm glad Oliver didn't kill Slade because it shows how far he's come and it leaves that door open for him. I wonder what's going to happen to Lance since he collapsed at the end there. I can't wait till the show returns in the fall.

Modwild
@ marissa

Agreed! Oliver cannot toy with Felicity. If they go there, it will be one shot. She's not going to play rubber band girl and come back again and again. She's too pure.

Fearless diva
@ Carissa Pavlica

I agree with you both and its why I felt like regardless of the plan Ollie had, it felt OOC. We've seen him protect her when Slade infiltrated the Lair and kill Count Vertigo when he threatened Felicity's life. So for me, even if he's not in love with her, he does care for her. So, why was he all of a sudden okay with risking Felicity's life? Instead of the montage they had... I would have rather seen a scene between the two where both(or Felicity) comes up with the plan to trick Slade. Then have Oliver be against it cause he's risking another person but end the scene with Felicity saying:"It's my life, my choice."

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@ Fearless Diva

Originally, I had preferred, too, if the scene in the mansion had been concocted by both, Felicity and Oliver together. I felt that the way they did it instead (without her knowing beforehand what was going on), Felicity seemed to be merely used as a convenient instrument rather than treated as an equal team partner. I couldn't see any motivation for Oliver not to discuss things with Felicity in advance... Now, after some rethinking, I changed my mind a little bit: One the one hand, I think, cooking up the plan together would have been an even more awkward situation than the one that we actually saw in the mansion, so Oliver just couldn't have brought himself to do this. On the other hand, and more importantly, if we had seen Oliver and Felicity talking about staging a scene for Slade before entering the mansion, we, the audience, would have dismissed the whole dialogue in the mansion as a mere fake. However, now we got a scene where we see a genuine reaction from Felicity that, in my opinion, shows (a) that she loves him and (b) that she believed him at that moment (as she later explicitely stated). And given that she can sense when Oliver lies, this is a good indication that there was a lot of truth in what he said - independently of his other motives regarding beating Slade. That makes the whole scene much more significant than it would have been, if it had just been the execution of a plan hatched beforehand by both characters.

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ALSO PLEASE FIX THE THEA AND OLIVER RELATIONSHIP. They need each other more than they admit... BUT YEAH BARROWMAN AS A REGULARRRR!

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Ok, angry Olicity fans, relax. He clearly has some feelings for her but is not ready. Yeah it was kinda dickish what he did, but he knew she would understand. He trusts her enough to do such an important task. That says a lot. He trusts Felicity more than any other girl in his life. Even though he used her as bait, he did it because he knew she could handle it. The hate is insane. It was so awesomely done. Personally I called it. I guess its because I don't have olicity blinders on. It didn't make sense to me that he would confess like that. It kind of would have been rushed and although he has definitely showed signs of feelings towards her, I do not think he would outwardly admit it. She was safe. Hiding her and telling her that wouldn't have done anything to keep her safer considering Slade made the pick with Laurel already. Olivers great and a hero. He deserves to be happy but right now he's focusing on keeping the city safe which is badass. To say she's too good for Oliver is insane. He's damaged and been through a lot. Of course it's difficult for him to open up. That being said, Felicity should definitely have a little action next season just because she deserves to be happy also.

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@ B

I'm with you! Also, he didn't use her as bait - that implies that she had no say. It would have been a dick move if she wasn't aware or in agreement with what was going on. But they staged it together. This was a plan they came up with together, because they're part of a team.

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@ juarhela

I am not sure if they really staged the whole Thing together before carrying the plan out. Maybe it was only Oliver's plan (inspired by Felicity's remark) and, for some reason, he couldn't explain it to Felicity in advance (or couldn't bring himself to do so). However, in my opinion, there was a lot of "silent subtext" in his question "Do you understand?" And, I think, Felicity did understand: She did understand that she simply had to trust that he knew exactly what he was doing, that it was for the sake of saving the city, and that - although he might get her into a dangerous situation - he will do everything he can so that finally all things are going to end up well.

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@ JK

Wow, that's weird... I thought I was the only JK around here. :p

Joyeful
@ JK

@JK - I'm pretty sure it was staged - that's why on the island, when Felicity told him he really sold it, he responded, "we both did." @lisa - I don't think Oliver went off-script; they both went there with the intention of getting Slade to think he should have Felicity instead of Laurel. What they weren't prepared for was how it would feel to actually say and hear those words. I think Oliver said it with more intensity and truth than he thought he would, and it caught Felicity off-guard.

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@ JK

The island scene at the end proves they staged it together, except the part where he said "I love you." That was off script. She says, "You really sold it." He says, "We both did." That means they were both acting. But when he said I love you, that part wasn't in the plan, which is why she said she believed him for a second.

Arrow Season 2 Episode 23 Quotes

Gee Sara, you could have called before you invited ... seven assassins into our lair.

Felicity

He lacked the conviction, the strength to pull the trigger, but not you Thea. You are truly my daughter and I could not be more proud.

Malcolm