Season 3 is in the books for ‘Arrow’ with the city saved and one surprising death.
I was attempting to figure out why I felt a bit underwhelmed by the season finale and I think in large part I was tired of saying goodbye to Oliver Queen.
It didn’t take long for Oliver to reveal his duplicity to Ra’s as their red eye to Starling City has engine failure — the result of Oliver’s sabotage. The plane made for a different battleground and it was a treat watching Oliver and Nyssa on the same side for a change. Ra’s takes the lone parachute and Oliver and Nyssa barely manage to land the plane.
Back at Nanda Parbat, Team Arrow is seemingly on their death bed after Ra’s released the Alpha Omega in their cell, but Malcolm reveals he inoculated them using a sample of Oliver’s blood. In some clever foreshadowing, Malcolm still doesn’t get why Team Arrow doesn’t blindly follow his orders or express gratitude for him saving them.
The second part of Oliver’s plan pays off that tease from last night’s episode of The Flash as Barry speeds in. Barry’s amazement of their prison cell provided a nice balance to the ever-escalating mood of the rest of the team. Sadly, Barry can’t stick around as he’s got a long overdue conversation with Harrison Wells. I would be totally fine with DC CW putting pop-ups on screen to say ‘For Barry’s showdown with Wells, see next Tuesday’s episode.’ It’d be a fun comic tie-in or am I the only one that thinks that? Katana also is skipping the trip though it was less clear why she was staying behind.
I’m convinced now Ray has whipped up some teleporters as there’s no way Team Arrow could make it back and get settled at their HQ before Oliver and Nyssa arrive. Diggle and Felicity are upset with Oliver for withholding yet another plan. I appreciated Laurel just being over the roller coaster ride that is Oliver Queen and his secrets. Felicity starts crying (take a shot) and it dawns on me that she sure did cry a lot less when she was with Ray. #JustSaying
With Akio dead, there was only one loose end to tie up in Hong Kong — Gen. Shrieve. Although his men had the drop on Oliver, Maseo and Tatsu last episode, Oliver rushes him and kills Shrieve’s men with Maseo’s help. After they receive Akio’s ashes, Oliver resumes torturing Shrieve and I wonder how many viewers felt this was justified. Maseo and Tatsu are shocked and Maseo kills Shrieve to put him out of his misery before walking off from Tatsu as her eyes remind him of their son.
For much of the season, the flashbacks felt like a drag and obligation, but the back end was much stronger. Going forward there still may not be enough of a convincing reason to keep them going next year though. Oliver says his goodbyes to Tatsu saying he’s not ready to be around other people now as he boards a ship called Triton’s daughter. Nice Teen Titans Easter Egg.
Now that Team Arrow is more or less on the same page, it’s time to stop Ra’s from unleashing the Alpha Omega. Felicity sees that lights were down at Adams and O’Neal (a reference to comic book creators Neal Adams and Denny O’Neil). Ra’s didn’t just pick Starling because of Oliver’s connection, but rather Ra’s old nemesis Damian Darhk. Darhk is ahead of Ra’s plan and has fled Starling though so perhaps we’ll meet him next season.
Ra’s tells Oliver he’s planting four devices and while Team Arrow goes to take them down, Oliver prepares for a final confrontation with Ra’s. Felicity gives Oliver a pep talk and all apparently is forgiven. The most frustrating aspect of this season has been the yo-yo treatment of Olicity, who besides one night of passion at Nanda Parbat are pretty much exactly where they left off last season.
The other characters have all had significant advances in their storylines Diggle’s a dad and a husband, Roy has left to find himself, Thea is a deadly warrior, Laurel has become a vigilante and Quentin has lost one daughter and has a terribly strained relationship with his other daughter. Felicity and Oliver’s will they/won’t they relationship was arguably the biggest anchor of the season. Diggle spots one the couriers, but the assassin gets the upper hand until Diggle gets an assist from Thea in Roy’s suit.
Laurel comes to the police station to get Quentin’s aid in getting the police to help contain Ra’s men and finds he’s resumed drinking. Oddly enough, Laurel has been this season’s best developed character with a story arc that started in tragedy led to broken trust and her efforts to restore her relationship with her father who strongly opposes her vigilantism. While Quentin doesn’t magically say he’s done drinking, he does send the police out and warns Felicity that some police snipers are targeting Ra’s and Oliver awaiting a clear shot.
The Ra’s/Oliver showdown occurred on a dam making for a nice visual backdrop, but since Ra’s and Oliver are wearing the same outfit it was too hard to make out who had the upper hand. Ray is putting the finishing touches on a cure and can’t save Oliver from the police. Ray’s got awful timing as Oliver manages to get the upper hand and kills Ra’s.
While it was clear Ra’s was never going to stop coming after Oliver, this went against everything Oliver was striving toward since Tommy’s death. It didn’t get addressed here, but hopefully that will be covered next season. The police finally get a clear shot and shoot Oliver and he falls off the dam to get rescued by
Ray Felicity in the Atom armor.
Team Arrow is celebrating its big victory as Oliver says he couldn’t have done this without them and now he no longer needs to be a hero making this the fifth time he’s said goodbye to his allies this season. In hindsight, post-The Climb, Oliver shouldn’t have returned to Starling as his absence would allow Team Arrow to be the competent fighting squad without him. Oliver’s back and forth strongly impacted the momentum as the writers had to keep resetting and clearing the deck at Oliver’s whims.
This time he’s not going alone as Felicity is all too happy to drop everything and go with him. Strangely, there was no mention of the document Ray had her sign last episode. Thankfully, Diggle isn’t nearly as ready to smile like everything is A-OK. He’ll need time, but when he returns, Oliver suggests he think about concealing his identity.
Looking back on all his machinations this season, Malcolm clearly comes off like the man with the best long-term strategy. Nyssa vows revenge, but for now, she bows before Malcolm, the new Ra’s al Ghul.
Ray is tinkering with his suit and theorizes delving into miniaturization could lead to some exciting possibilities, but an explosion wipes out the entire top floor of his building. Don’t worry. Ray is only leaving to team up with Hawkgirl, Rip Hunter, Prof. Stein and Captain Cold and Heat Wave. Which unrequited lover fared worse this season? Eddie or Ray? I’m going with Eddie. At least Ray got a cool suit out of it.
As for Oliver and Felicity, they’re heading down the coast smiling and happy only to have it ruined just in time for Season 4. How crazy is it that Oliver’s storyline was the weakest of the season? Hopefully the writers will commit to Oliver and Felicity as it’s time to advance their relationship or end it for good. All in all, Season 3 was good, not to the excellent standard of Season 2, but let’s hope next season will concentrate less on the romance and flashbacks and more on Arrow’s place in this new world of heroes.