Arrow Round Table: "Year's End"

at .

The mid-season Arrow finale was action-packed and full of answers. The Dark Archer arrived, beat up Oliver and revealed his identity. The Queens had their first Christmas in five years and Moira's involvement with the nefarious Starling City organization continued.

Below, our Round Table panel - TV Fanatic staff member Carla Day, Laurel Brown from Buddy TV, Danielle Turchiano from LA Examiner, and Craig Byrne from - discuss the ins and outs of "Year's End."


What was your favorite scene from "Year's End?"
Laurel: So hard to choose... The fight between Oliver and the Dark Archer was amazing (not least because Oliver lost!), but I usually prefer the character stuff. I surprised myself by loving every scene between Oliver and Thea in this -- it’s neat to see that troubled-sibling relationship grow. Also, every single time Felicity showed up was a highlight for me.

Craig: I know I'll get some flack for this, but I did love the bit at the dinner table where Barrowman's Malcolm Merlyn suggests the name "Green Arrow" and Oliver scoffs at it. It's anvily, and some may see it as disrespect to the name and the character, but I enjoyed it.

Danielle: On a purely selfish, personal level, I am a sucker for anything Christmas on television, so to watch Oliver become Hunky Santa, in a way, and try to restore the holiday spirit for his family was my favorite part of "Year's End." The fact that he wanted his family to have a reason to celebrate again shows how far he's come in the five years he was away anyway, but no one throws a party like Oliver Queen! I hope there are some deleted scenes to look forward to on the DVD of more festivities; the episode itself had so much else going on, Christmas got a little short-changed.

Carla: I loved the face off between Arrow and the Dark Archer. It was the first time we say Oliver face someone that was really at his level or perhaps even better. As much as I hated seeing Oliver hurt, it's important to remember that he is human and doesn't have super powers. Though, I'm not sure everyone will or should buy the motorcycle accident excuse.

Arrow RT Logo

The Dark Archer. Merlyn. John Barrowman. Thoughts?
Laurel: First of all, I’m immensely relieved that Tommy isn’t the Dark Archer -- at least not right away. His father was villainous already, so that’s easier to take. It seemed a little odd that Merlyn would randomly be an expert archer. But at least they showed him fencing earlier -- he likes old-fashioned fighting. I do like that Malcolm Merlyn is already the villain we knew Oliver would have to fight. This makes it clear that they will come head-to-head.

Craig: I admit that was a little bit anticlimactic to me. As soon as he was confirmed as Merlyn's father I figured he'd end up being the "Dark Archer," since Merlyn is the name of Green Arrow's dark and archery foe from the comics. An interview that David Ramsey did suggested a hugely shocking moment, and I even wrote about that on the site... but once I saw the reveal, I felt a little underwhelmed. Maybe to a non-comics fan it would have been a bit more surprising.

Danielle: I have to admit, the minute The CW unveiled photos of the Dark Archer and announced there would be a copycat in Starling City, I immediately assumed it would be Barrowman. But does he actually pose a credible nemesis threat? I still have my doubts on that. Barrowman is charming, and he always has a twinkle in his eye which can be mischievous but has yet to instill fear in me on Arrow. I think this Dark Archer is just one more thread Oliver has to pull at in order to get to the bottom of what's really wrong in Starling City. He's certainly a tougher opponent than any of the "little guy" bottomfeeders on Oliver's list, but for him to be the top of that corrupt food chain, well, they have to work a little harder to convince me of that. I like what the personal ties (father's friend, best friend's father, etc) will add to complicate things for Oliver-- eventually, once Oliver learns the Dark Archer's identity. What the Dark Archer said to Oliver about the creator of the list has cracked the door open for Oliver to question if his new code is as just as he had to convince himself to believe in order to carry it out, and I think it's leading Oliver to learn that his father was a bigger part of the problem than he could have fathomed. The best thing the introduction of the Dark Archer did was allow for this greater mythology to seep in and shift the focus a bit.

Carla: Unlike Craig, I haven't read the comics, so I didn't know of the connection. The build up throughout the episode was done in such a way that I wasn't shocked at the reveal, but I was thrilled. John Barrowman as Merlyn is such a devilish, but charming villain. As the Dark Archer, that makes he even more interesting. Plus, it means he'll be around for awhile.

With a new, dangerous foe in Starling City, should Oliver stick to his plan to attack those on the list?
Laurel: I think he should, as long as he can. There are enough names to keep him busy for years, especially if interspersed with other criminals. The names are important, but you kind of get the impression that it’s all going to be related.

Craig: I'm curious what this will mean for the list. With the Dark Archer killing people on the list, could we see it happen where Oliver protects those on the list?

Danielle: It was a little surprising to see the Dark Archer take Oliver down-- even temporarily-- and land him in the hospital. Since Oliver has been back in Starling City, he has seemed invincible, with his super-speed and ability to scale the sides of buildings bare-handed. Personally, I don't see the Dark Archer as all that dangerous; I see Malcolm as dangerous. Of course, Oliver doesn't know the two are actually one and the same yet. If he is as smart as he seems, he'll pull back a bit and do a little more research (especially into who wrote the list, now that he has his doubts about his dad). But Oliver is a man on a mission, and his narrow focus only allows him to see his targets, so I have no reason to believe he'll actually pull back (nor would that really be nearly as interesting to watch). All I really hope is that he trains harder because of the Dark Archer (those scenes are always fun, and hey, a little eye-candy never hurts anything!) and then starts to set traps for him with certain people on the list, rather than just sticking steadfastly to the list. After all, there's a much bigger bad in play now than those little "villains of the week" on the list.

Carla: Hmm ... Craig, that's an interesting question that I hadn't thought about. That would be an intriguing twist. I guess it depends on what the person has done. At this point, I think the list will continue to be Oliver's guide, but he has to deal with attacks or corruption as they come up too. Dingle was correct when he said that Oliver's mission is to protect Starling City, even if that means targeting or protecting someone not on the list.

Moira was complicit in her first husband's death, her second husband's abduction among other actions due to the secretive nefarious organization. Do you see her as a villain, victim, or a bit of both at this point?
Laurel: All villains see themselves as either avengers or victims. That’s what makes a good villain. Moira totally sees herself as a victim of the actions she must take in order to help everyone in the end. Not that we know what the Organization’s plan is, but she’s obviously behind it philosophically. Like everyone on Arrow, Moira deals in shades of grey. She can justify every action, but from the outside she is a villain.

Laurel: All villains see themselves as either avengers or victims. That’s what makes a good villain. Moira totally sees herself as a victim of the actions she must take in order to help everyone in the end. Not that we know what the Organization’s plan is, but she’s obviously behind it philosophically. Like everyone on Arrow, Moira deals in shades of grey. She can justify every action, but from the outside she is a villain.

Craig: Moira Queen is doing anything she can to protect her family ... that leads to moments of desperation and seeming evil. Susanna Thompson plays her so well that I think we can see that she loves and cares for her family and will do anything for them. Even with Walter, I think there is a lot more to her actions than we know or see so far.

Danielle: After watching Moira and Malcolm have their secret conversation in the dark, I feel like Moira is much more a pawn than a player. She kidnapped her own son in the pilot out of a desperation to prove he didn't know anything and therefore should be kept safe from Malcolm's clutches, and now she had a hand in her husband's kidnapping for a similar reason. She certainly seems like her back's up against the wall, and she doesn't see any other options, which is a sad state-- for her and for what that says about the powerful, or lack thereof, women making moves in Starling City.

Carla: Villain. Victim. Villain. Oh, she's a villain, but it's difficult to call her that because we don't know all of the back story. What motivated her to turn against her husband? I want to like Moira, so I hope she was forced into it. That doesn't seem likely though. Out of all the characters, I'm most intrigued with what she's done and why.

What kind of future do Tommy and Laurel have together?
Laurel: Oh, they’re screwed. This is TV, after all. No matter how much Oliver is “OK” with everything (and no matter how much he should date Felicity anyway), Tommy and Laurel are going to get broken up eventually. It’s unfortunate for both of them. For her mental health, Tommy is a better choice for Laurel. And the same applies to Tommy -- his father is going to be defeated sooner or later and he’s already an occasionally angry and jealous man. Add in some heartbreak from Laurel, and he could go very, very bad.  I like them both too much to wish that fate on Laurel and Tommy

Craig: Gah, shipper stuff! This week, I was happy just to see the two of them at *all.* As for the future? I see fishnets for her and following in his father's footsteps for him.

Danielle: To be brutally honest, I really hope Tommy and Laurel have no future together. In the beginning of the series, I was really hoping we'd see the sparks between Oliver and Laurel that allowed us to understand just how deep their connection was years ago, but both of their characters have been so emotionally closed off from each other (with good reason), it's a slower burn than I expected. Naturally, I don't think either of them should be sitting around, pining for what they once had. But Laurel can do so much better than Tommy! Tommy is not dynamic; he's little more than dull right now. Sure, giving Laurel that terribly Photoshopped photo of the Lance family was sweet, but it's not indicative of his overall personality. Add that to the fact that he has no prospects (he can throw a decent party, but so can pretty much everyone else in that kind of high society), and he was perfectly happy to mooch off family money for his entire adult life, and he just has a lot of growing up to do before he's a catch for anyone, let alone a woman with her life together like Laurel. 

Carla: Oh, Craig, no! Tommy can't follow his dad. That would break my heart. I want him to join the Team Arrow! I'd love to see Oliver, Laurel and Tommy all work together fighting crime. Though, I suspect you are correct. I'd like to see Laurel and Tommy date for awhile. They are good for each other and Oliver is in no position to be with Laurel.

What do you think about Colton Haynes joining the Arrow cast as Roy Harper?
Laurel: I think it could be a very, very good addition. I could see him having chemistry with Thea, and he is just tough enough to stand up to Oliver. Whether he is just a love interest or he becomes a sidekick, I’m looking forward to seeing what they do.

Craig: I think Colton Haynes' casting is great. He has a huge following from Teen Wolf but also, Roy Harper is a great character! My only concern with it is that there already seem to be too many characters on the show, and adding Roy to the mix might make things even more crowded. In the end, it's all good, because I'm sure his presence will only help the ratings. I just hope he eventually makes his way back to Teen Wolf to properly wrap Jackson's story.

Danielle: Since I don't know the Green Arrow comics, I don't know more about Roy Harper than what has been previously reported along with Haynes' casting news. If Arrow's version of Roy turns out to be DC's Speedy, Green Arrow's sidekick, I'm going to be really upset. We have Diggle for that, and the dynamic Diggle offers, being Oliver's equal is much more interesting and challenging than what some new kid could offer. What the network has released so far, though, calls Roy "from the wrong side of the tracks" and leads me to believe he'll be more of a bad boy who catches Thea's eye and therefore ends up on Oliver's radar because of his familial loyalty. That I would actually love. I've been lamenting the lack of use of Thea for awhile, and it would be nice to see Oliver personally challenged by being pulled to help his family more and more while still feeling like he has to save the whole city. 

Carla: I loved Haynes on Teen Wolf. Arrow and the role of Roy Harper seems like a good fit for him. Like Craig, I do hope he returns to Teen Wolf as Jackson at some point. Just disappearing and never returning after the finale would be a shame.

Carla Day is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.

Show Comments
Tags: ,

Arrow Season 1 Episode 9 Quotes

I think there should be a national holiday for whoever invented French fries. Or at least a statue in their honor.


So is this guy trying to frame you or call you out?