This is it, Fanatics. The final Round Table of the season. We're dissecting Arrow Season 3 Episode 23 - and it's a rough one!
The Arrow Round Table Team is almost unanimous in their favorite moment, reacts to Olicity riding into the sunset and Malcolm Merlyn as the new Ra's, imagines what they would change about the finale if they could and gives overall thoughts on Arrow Season 3.
Get your typing fingers ready and join TV Fanatics Lindsay MacDonald, Amanda Festa, Hank Otero, Carla Day and Carissa Pavlica when you participate in the discussion by putting your dollar's worth of comments down below. Don't be shy!
What was your favorite moment from the finale?
Lindsay: Probably the partnership established between Oliver and Nyssa. This marriage might not be a romantic bond, but it bonded them none the less. The way Nyssa defended Oliver, and the way Oliver kindly waved off her protection... they were team, plain and simple. I want more of that.
Amanda: I loved Barry showing up at Nanda Parbat. The crossovers are always fun. Although, I am curious about this timetable. When exactly did Oliver in Al-Sah Him gear fly to Central City to help him fight the Reverse Flash? I also really loved that first appearance of Thea in Roy's mask. I am a big fan of Thea's arc over the course of the show. Since Ollie first referred to her as Speedy in Arrow Season 1, it was a bit of foreshadowing done so subtlety that, unlike Laurel becoming Black Canary, it still was a surprise.
Hank: I'm with Amanda, Barry's brief appearance in Nanda Parbat was the best part of the episode for me. I'm all about the crossovers and can't wait to see what the creative team have in store for us on Legends of Tomorrow!
Carla: It's a problem when the best part of a finale is the guest star appearance from the show's spin-off. Barry's few minutes were by far the best part of the finale from his quip about Felicity outing his secret identity to Malcolm to the hot tub comment.
Carissa: I have to agree with the others. Barry's visit to Nanda Parbat wins the hour. He's natural no matter where he stands. It's hard to believe I was once worried about him taking the role of Barry Allen and now he is Barry Allen. I'll accept no substitute (Yes, I'm looking at you, Ezra Miller and DC Universe in general).
Malcolm Merlyn is Ra's al Ghul. React
Lindsay: This will end poorly. Or it could end with Malcolm resurrecting Sara via the Lazarus pit in order to get Nyssa off his back. Either way, it's going to be juicy.
Amanda: Ehhh I think this was a plot device, but it didn't make much sense thematically. C'mon, Oliver, he's evil. Sure, he helped out with Ra's, but that does not make up for killing Sara and using Thea to do it. Maybe don't kill him. Maybe. But definitely don't give him power over the League of Assassins. That's asking for a lot of trouble.
Hank: Hate it, hate the character! If you read our round tables on a regular basis, I probably sound like a broken record. The Merlyn character should have been taken out in Season 1. He's way past overstaying his welcome at this point. The new Ra's... seriously? On a positive note, perhaps he'll be killed off early next season by Damien Darhk. There's no where else for him to go but six feet under.
Carla: Arrow Season 3 has been full of many many holes, but this one is right up there with Malcolm's thinking regarding Thea killing Sara. What was Oliver thinking when he bought Malcolm's help by trading away the leadership of a gang of assassins to Malcolm? How was that ever considered an acceptable trade-off? Sigh. Despite that, it does create an intriguing set up for Season 4.
Carissa: I cannot come up with any scenario in which Oliver thought this was a good idea in the long term. Short term, to achieve a goal and back stab Malcolm, yes. To follow through? No. It's one in many plots that makes absolutely no sense. The desire to keep John Barrowman around could have been done with sound storytelling instead of insanity.
Olicity ride off into the sunset. React!
Lindsay: *facepalm* Okay, so we all know I'm a devout believer in Olicity, but I for realz did not like this happy ending. After an entire season of Oliver telling Felicity they can't be together, the second he changes his mind she's on board? WHAT? Putting aside the very cheesy "drive off into the sunset" scene, I sort of feel like Felicity's fireball attitude was erased in one go. Not cool.
Amanda: I agree with Lindsay. I love Olicity, but it was too contrived. If it had been a vacation, OK. Let's test the waters. But a pick up everything and leave your life behind for a guy who has never been consistent scenario? Without even a follow-up question? Nope. And was I the only one who felt terrible for Ray? Not only did he almost die, but he has to watch Ollie ask her to run away with him and watch her beaming like a teenager when she breaks the news to him. Too soon, Felicity. Too soon.
Hank: It really says something when Olicity fans themselves hated the happy ending. I think it's a shame the two drove off into the sunset, because as with Merlyn there's nowhere else for the writers to go. They've written themselves into a corner, Olicity has peaked. Next season, Ollie and Felicity will be split up again and she will become even more irritating. I hate that in an attempt to cater to fans, one of my favorite female characters on the show became so predictable. Also, as Amanda mentioned, the way Felicity treated Ray was unacceptable.
Carla: This ending was a disappointing turn of events for both Oliver and Felicity. It destroyed the integrity of their characters. Was it a dream? Can it be undone with time travel? I hated it more than anything else in the finale and almost as much as Sara's death. The Arrow writers were a disappointment all around this season.
Carissa: There's not much more to be said. Where do they go from here? Happiness? People who partner up after falling in love due to extreme circumstances rarely have a base connection to use as a true basis for lasting love. They were on one (very bad) date, had sex once and rode off into the sunset. I suppose we're about to find out what kind of love that is.
Is there anything you would change about the finale if you had the chance?
Lindsay: I would have taken out the reference to Damian Darhk. He's clearly being set up as next year's big bad, but his non-presence was more distracting than effective.
Amanda: Felicity sweeping in and saving Ollie in the Atom suit. Felicity can barely walk a straight line without doing something awkward and I love that about her. She is not navigating a flying metal suit with perfectly timed accuracy to catch a full-grown man. Also, did the nanites shrink the suit just enough to fit her? Like Carissa mentions in her review, no way.
Hank: Hmmm how about most everything? LOL While we're at it, why not completely change the direction of Season 3? For me, Arrow is now all about the crossovers. If The Flash had not been such a huge success this season and helped Arrow along, I'm not sure I'd be sticking with Arrow next year.
Carla: There's too much that needed to be different, but that really goes for the season as a whole. There's not one thing in particular that would have made the resolution better. The Felicity-ATOM suit was ridiculous, the R'as-Oliver fight on the dam was anti-climatic and Nyssa kneeling before Malcolm made no sense. Those are just a few of the awful things.
Carissa: Starling City would have been destroyed after all citizens were evacuated to Coast City and Oliver and Nyssa would have decided to be a team to destroy the league from within. They would have broken that news to their team and from there Season 4 would have been born. Season 4 would be two teams working successfully together and Season 5 would be the emergence of Green Arrow and a new life for Oliver Queen.
What are your overall thoughts on Arrow Season 3?
Lindsay: I think they achieved what they set out to do, which was give us a very obvious and over the top season. But I long to return to the subtle days of Season 1.
Amanda: It had its moments. There were a few episodes I really liked. The episodes where the Arrow is revealed and especially the one where Roy fakes his death nailed it. Ultimately, I think Season 3 was a little bit scattered because of the introduction of the The Flash and the whole shift to the established universe that had to happen. For it to work, Arrow had to become someone else. Something else. Cue music.
Don't get me wrong, I love The Flash and I'm glad they did it, and I will love Legends of Tomorrow, but when The Flash came into being Arrow had to adapt. Arrow was originally a more gritty, based-in-reality type show. The most supernatural element was Mirakuru and that could be explained scientifically. Than all of a sudden we have super speed and meta humans in a nearby city and Arrow Season 3 had to find a way to incorporate it without losing its essence.
Not to mention the fact that Arrow Season 2 was epic. There was really no way to top the amazing heights the show reached in that season. Deathstroke, c'mon. They really set the bar high for themselves. But I think Season 4 is a fresh start and I can't wait to see what they do next!
Hank: I have to disagree with Amanda, if anything The Flash/Arrow moments were some of the best of the season. Arrow did not lose its grittiness, and the characters mentioned several times how Central City was supposed to be the fun place. The tones of both series were extremely different, but the game plan for Arrow Season 3 was far more adaptable than The Flash. Where Flash had twenty beats they needed to hit throughout the entire season, Arrow had maybe five.
Therefore, everything in between felt random and scattered. By comparison, Arrow Season 2 was a much more structured season and paid off in a big way. You can't just make shit up as you go along. I'm really hoping the writers sit down and plan a Season 4 arc that is consistent and more like the second season. I agree that Arrow Season 4 feels like a fresh start Amanda, here's hoping they do the story/characters justice. Overall, Arrow Season 3 is my least favorite, but I'm psyched about all the crossovers coming up.
Carla: The crossovers between The Flash and Arrow weren't the problem. Those were well-integrated into Arrow. The problem really started with the introduction of R'as al Ghul and Sara's killing. The premise that set up the series made no sense and the ramifications from that only dug the awful-hole deeper. After Oliver's "death," it would have worked better if he was actually off-screen for a couple episodes with the writers showcasing Team Arrow.
The season wasn't without its highlights though. I did enjoy the reveal of Oliver as Arrow and then Roy taking the fall, loved the introduction of Ray and his fun, lighthearted relationship with Felicity, and the evolution of Black Canary and Speedy were well done. Overall, those highlights were not enough to save the season.
Carissa: It was a mess. It felt as if a hole was dug with Malcolm Merlyn due to desire to keep John Barrowman around without an idea how to do it. It could have been done better. Grievous error #1 was Malcolm using Thea to kill Sara. It made no sense, especially Oliver forgiving him and subsequently working with him (leading to grievous error #2, handing over the League).
Grievous error #3 is pushing Olicity too far, too fast without an acceptable buildup to their love and relationship. She didn't get love. Tossing in Ray Palmer was a terrible idea, as they were great together, and we know what a relationship should look like. Olicity got none of that and it shows.
By killing Sara so expediently, people hated Laurel's ascension and that was unfair. Otherwise enjoyable stories, Ray as ATOM and Laurel as Black Canary, were soiled by the surrounding arcs that will always overshadow their origins. It's a shame.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.