Arrow: Fadeout review S8 E10

It’s perfectly reasonable to get caught up in the glorious wave of nostalgia for Arrow’s series finale. Fadeout seemed to bend over backwards in its fan-pleasing efforts and if that worked for you, that’s awesome. As for me… it’s a little more complicated. I really did appreciate the fan service gestures, but in maybe too many ways Fadeout felt like a Everyone Gets Out of Death finale that diminished way too much of the series to find it a fitting farewell.

Things started getting dicey right away with the reveal that Moira was alive…or at least a Moira from another Earth where Oliver stopped Slade from killing her. Spectre Oliver plucked her from her world, which apparently wasn’t wiped out in the anti-matter wave… and brought her to Earth-Prime instead of letting her stay on her Earth with all of her family?

The post-Crisis reality has already become heckuva confusing continuity mess. Good job, Arrowverse. It took DC Comics a few years to start making a mess and contradicting too much of the new post-Crisis status quo. Since it was so well received last time by the fans, the episode wraps a series of interviews with Marcia Pedowitz, the director of the Emerald Archer vigilante documentary.

As we start to unfold this new reality, apparently Spectre Oliver also eradicated crime in Star City. But if he’s changing so much, why wouldn’t it stay Starling City? This is getting confusing.

Diggle says Oliver’s mission isn’t over as the writers dutifully start trying to check the boxes from their presumably now altered 2040 continuity for some reason. Why would Roy need to give Dinah the Mark of Four tattoo now? And also, Dinah is crazy confident in cyborg Roy’s skills with his new robotic arm.

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Since this new reality hasn’t had enough screwy stuff with time yet, Sara hops to 2040 so Mia can attend Oliver’s funeral. Add Sara to the list with Laurel and Dinah of folks who completely have no sense of boundaries with Mia and her processing of grief and freedom to actually live her own life. And good grief, the poor girl has seen her father die twice. Does she need to get a funeral encore too? At least Mia is getting the Felicity prop-up treatment proving it does in fact run in the family.

It wouldn’t be Arrow without a flashback so we revisit 2012 with the early pre-Felicity days where Team Arrow was simply Diggle laying a guilt trip on Oliver. Or as I refer to them as the good old days. Oliver is still in kill ’em all mode, but Diggle suggests a kindler, gentler version of vigilantism. Oliver is after a guy on his father’s list named John Byrne. That’s odd as I really don’t remember comic legend Byrne working on Green Arrow to warrant such a clear homage.

Byrne kidnaps young William, who apparently isn’t with his mother as Oliver didn’t deem her important enough to resurrect. Time to assemble the whole gang. Thea, Lyla, Curtis, Roy, Rene, Dinah, Laurel and Diggle are here as well as Rory. I’d missed Rory as he was the one character unafraid to call out Felicity for her mass murder incident with that nuke. Speaking of, Felicity is back and she uses her super power of talking really fast about computer jargon and typing quickly to find the tracker she placed on William. Paranoid much? Good to see Oliver left Felicity’s completely invasive sense of privacy intact.

Roy wins the bad timing award for apologizing for leaving Thea. Poor Roy has to take the bullet for the lousy writing that split them for random cameo appearances. In another attempt to appease the rabid Olicity fanbase, the writers try to make good by having Roy propose to Thea. After a far too brief deliberation period, Thea accepts after Roy thoughtfully agrees not to roll out when he starts getting homicidal urges again. Hey, if anyone on this show can relate to killing people, it’s Thea. Oh wait, did Spectre Oliver just delete Thea murdering Sara? This is getting harder to keep track of by the minute.

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The wild goose chase for William allows one cool scene of seeing Rory in action as Ragman again. Naturally Mia finds William and has a standoff with Byrne. You know, if Oliver was bringing people back from the dead, he probably should have done the same for Adrian Chase’s father so he wouldn’t become the killer Prometheus. If you’re gonna clean things up Oliver, don’t do a half-a job on it.

It’s fitting that the series ends with one of the best long form action scenes in the entire series as flashback Oliver goes after Byrne. Seriously, this was worth watching the entire episode for if nothing else. Taking Diggle’s advice, Oliver spares Byrne. Back to present day, Byrne is upset he spent eight years in prison and Mia decides not to kill him, but send him back. Were we supposed to feel good that this scumbag didn’t get killed?

In keeping with Legends’ complete disregard for history, Mia was recorded fighting off Byrne and speculation begins on the identity of the new Green Arrow.

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Time for the tribute aka what Oliver kept and what he decided to discard. Quentin Lance speaks before unveiling a statue to Green Arrow. Tommy is here naturally. If there seemed to be one thing the Arrow writers seemed to constantly regret it was killing off Tommy.

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It was a nice touch having Diggle, Dinah and Rene close shop on the Arrow Cave. Rene is staying in Star City as the new mayor — apparently Oliver abolished elections too — while Diggle is moving to Metropolis and Dinah moves to a new show (maybe).

At the funeral, Thea rightfully asks Moira why Oliver didn’t bring back “their” father. Moira speculates Oliver could only change the things that didn’t change him. Like his mother dying before his eyes didn’t make him change one thing or having his best friend die in his arms, right? Yeah, I can’t with the logic here. Clearly I’m just supposed to shut up and enjoy the fact that no one’s death meant anything. Or maybe I’m just annoyed that the person who had one of the most meaningful deaths in the series didn’t return so her bitter, cynical version could make Mia’s life miserable in the future.

It was nice to see Tommy though. Apparently his Laurel died on his Earth. What is the deal with Oliver plucking random people from other Earths?? We get a nice roll call with Anatoly, Nyssa, Talia, Emiko and even Barry and Kara showing up for the funeral. It makes no sense that Iris wouldn’t be there to support her husband as he buries one of his closest friends or that Superman wouldn’t be on hand to honor the guy who saved his cousin. Also, Ray actually hung out with Oliver so you’d think he’d catch a ride with Sara to pay his respects too.

In the aftermath with everyone moving on, Diggle and Lyla settle into their new…digs as he notices a meteor crashing. Inside it is a green glowing object. Could it be?

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Time to pay off that whole Monitor and Felicity thing, which I don’t get if The Monitor was killed in Crisis. Felicity reverts to her secretary gear as Oliver explains this was how she looked when he first saw her…or he’s got a secretary fetish, but whatever. I’m sure Oliver said something incredibly special and meaningful here, but the geniuses at my CW affiliate ran a commercial during this pivotal moment of a series finale. Well that was terrible. Get the full conversation on the upcoming Blu-Ray kids.

Fadeout featured some nice call backs, but I didn’t love the cavalier way so many meaningful moments throughout the series were erased for the sake of a mostly happy ending.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Photo Credit: The CW

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