It's been almost two weeks since Arrow Season 1 wrapped up with the fantastic episode "Sacrifice" - and our team has finally had time to digest all the action.
In this edition of the Round Table, staff writers Kate Brooks, Nick McHatton and Carla Day are joined by Hank Otero, theowner of Hank's Entertainment Site, as they debate various aspects of the finale and look ahead to Arrow Season 2.
So pull up a virtual chair and let's do this!
Tommy is dead. REACT!
Kate: Shock. When they revealed the bar through his chest. I yelled "NOOOOOOOOO!!!!" I'm incredibly sad.
Nick: My entire view of the series is upended now because of his death. I think all of us, because of the comics, were expecting Tommy to slowly become Oliver's biggest rival and nemesis. I'll certainly miss Colin on the show every week, and I'm happy his death was one of selflessness and sacrifice.
Carla: Tears. Lots and lots ... and lots of tears. I was devastated at first, but then the more I thought about it (and I spent probably an unhealthy amount of time pondering his death) I realized that it was the only path for him to take. Tommy would never have followed in his father's Dark Archer ways. He didn't even believe in Oliver's good vigilante activity, so he wouldn't turn dark. And, with his relationship with Laurel over, there was no place for the beloved Tommy on the show. As much as it pains me to say, the writers made the best choice for Tommy. He will live on forever through his love for Laurel and friendship for Oliver.
Hank: I'm actually pretty disappointed they killed off the character. It almost seems like the writers set us up to believe Tommy was going to take his father's place as the Dark Archer, only to fake us out by killing him off in the finale. The writers had a meeting and said, okay how do we make the finale as unpredictable as possible? Kill Tommy, yeah!
Carissa: It was incredibly upsetting and yet a perfect move for the future of the show. Despite my predictions that Tommy would become Oliver's Harry Osborn (to Spiderman's Peter Parker), the writer's knew we would expect that and turned the idea on it's head, making Tommy a good guy, a conflicted man and a true friend. They could have written him in any way, but the best way to make an impact to truly move Oliver on the path of righteousness was to have him die as a friend and saving the woman he knew Oliver loved.
Do you think Malcolm was dead or just looking dead face down in the rocks?
Kate: I do think he's dead and if he isn't at least that raises that stakes in season two.
Nick: I'm torn to be honest. With Tommy's death it would seem the Merlyns are mostly done with, but on the other hand there's some beautifully dark symmetry with Malcolm losing the final half of his family. His crazy plan to upend the Glades took Tommy away from him, and watching him potential take that anger and hatred out on Oliver for something of his own doing makes for some very good television. No matter what his outcome this isn't the last we've heard of from him - like he said in the finale he always has a contingency plan.
Carla: Initially, I thought he was dead and Oliver lied to Tommy as a good friend would do given the circumstances. After rewatching the episode, I'm really not sure. At this point, I think it's open-ended and the writers could go either direction for season 2. Oliver may believe he's dead and he's not. Or, Oliver could have left him on the roof with Diggle still alive.
Hank: Honestly, it can go either way in my opinion. While it seems the Arrow pierced his heart, it was one of those "comic book deaths". I wouldn't be surprised if Malcolm makes an appearance in Season 2, which I'm fine with because the more Barrowman the better.
Carissa: Again, I think this will be something the writer's hold close to the vest. In interviews after the airing of the finale, they've done a great job steering clear of two deaths, focusing only on Tommy. But Marc Guggenheim also teased a "Malcolm-esque" bad guy. My gut says the Merlyns chapter has closed leaving Moira to deal with the aftermath, but I could be surprised. They've done it before!
Which character's sacrifice meant the most to you and why?
Kate: Moira's because for the first time this season I didn't despise her. Finally she is owning up to her sins.
Nick: Moira's. She did a very selfless thing by sacrificing her own family's safety and comfort to expose Malcolm's twisted plan. It's a big turnaround from a woman who partook in the crazy so she could keep her own children and family safe. She sacrificed her own image, her freedom, her family, and her safety to expose Malcolm's plan, and she should be acknowledged of it.
Carla: That's a tricky question. Each sacrifice was different with varying personal cost. Tommy's cost him his life, so he made the "ultimate sacrifice." Going forward though, Lance's decision to believe the unknown vigilante to protect the city at the potential loss of his job will be the most far-reaching. The vigilante was correct and going forward, Lance's relationship with him will be forever changed. Though, I'm not sure how it will end up manifesting. Though, Moira's sacrifice will shatter her family.
Hank: I've got to go with Oliver on this one. His sacrifices not just in the finale, but throughout the season have been consistent. While Tommy ended up making the ultimate sacrifice, which will definitely affect our characters in Season 2, I feel Oliver always sacrifices the most with little to no appreciation.
Carissa: Trick question. What was so wonderful was that every character of merit was willing to make a difficult and life changing decision leading to sacrificing a portion of their past to move on toward a better future. Tommy gave his life to save the woman he loved and give his friend a chance at happiness. Oliver continued to sacrifice his own life to protect the city. Both Felicity and Roy proved they are worthy of trust by putting their own lives behind those of others. Quentin finally saw the bigger picture and believed in the vigilante and the good he was doing, his career be damned, and Moira realized she couldn't protect her family with a veil of lies. Their true colors were beginning to shine, setting the stage for Season 2.
How do you think Starling City will try to recover from the devastation in the Glades?
Kate: I think it will start a battle between the city and the glades. The rich vs the poor.
Nick: It's going to be pretty slow. Half of the Glades have been wiped out, and all of those displaced people will either migrate to the undamaged half or all around the nicer parts of Starling City. The devastation in the Glades might even send it into even more disarray and crime giving Roy an opportunity to really shine.
Carla: Rebuild? It really depends how widespread the destruction ends up being.
Hank: I have no idea, but I'm sure it's going to cost a pretty penny to recover from that. Imagine if Detective Lance had not managed to disable the other device? I've got to say, the finale had some of the best visual effects of the season, they definitely saved a big chunk of the budget for that finale.
Carissa: There's going to be a lot of explaining to do. The citizens of the Glades are going to be on edge, wanting to know who to trust. I'm guessing that's where Roy will come in. They will not only need someone to blame, but an example to follow to learn how to avoid the need for revenge and to rebuild with a better future in mind. Oliver knows a thing or two about that. It could make for some very compelling scenes and bring forth some interesting future heroes if it plays out right.
What was your overall feeling on the finale and the season as a whole?
Kate: It was a great introduction season full of twists and action. I'm so impressed with the cast and how they've portrayed their characters. I look forward to more Felicity, Olicity, and shirtless Oliver Queen scenes.
Nick: I've been a fan of the season since the first few moments in the pilot, and there were some uneven parts, but overall the season has been one thrilling ride. The finale is the perfect cap to it all.
Carla: Loved the finale. A+. It was the best finale of the season and really sticks out as the best in a long time. It was tightly written, plus i had a nice balance of action and emotional moments.
Hank: I absolutely loved the finale, it delivered in every way possible. Some fantastic performances all around, I've got to say. Overall, this first season of Arrow is one of the best, for a new show, I can recall in recent years. Usually, it is very difficult to sustain a decent storyline and keep an audience interested over 23 episodes. I think the writers started with a great foundation and just built on that with every episode. I am really psyched to see what they come up with for Season 2 and although I'll miss Tommy, who knows maybe we'll see him in a flashback?
Carissa: I'll admit that I was stumbling a bit through the beginning of the series. About a third of the way in, I figured it was going to be baddie of the week and then off with them. The build up of plot was going so slowly and so many guest characters seemed to have no point that I was losing interest. Then we had "Vertigo," a rather campy comic like episode but one that started the movement of Felicity into the orbit of our Arrow gang and things started to fall into place. by the time she was fully ensconced in the trio and Diggle was more than just a bodyguard, it felt like a family and together they made Oliver more than just a one-note wanna be superhero.
As everyone worked together and built trust leading up to the finale we could only imagine what would happen, but never did I come up with this particular scenario. It's the surprise, satisfying and emotional, that makes a superior finale, and that's what we had with "Sacrifice."
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.