Each of these moments has something to say about Oliver and his mission as the Hood. It was his father’s sacrifice and his final words telling Oliver to live which is what he realizes he’s fighting for when Malcolm has almost killed him and that is what he draws on to kill Malcolm. Oliver has sacrificed his freedom in order to become the Hood and saving people as the Hood has made him a hero. The problem with saving everyone, of course, is that it often means he can’t save the one – like Tommy.
Moira finally does the right thing in this episode. She calls a press conference and confesses everything about the Undertaking. Her atonement is complete when she begins “I have failed this city.” She admits her complicity but stresses that she only participated to try to save her own family. She names Malcolm as the mastermind and also lists a number of the people he’s killed. Of course, warning the people of the Glades sets off a panic to get out of the Glades as well as mobs of looters. I thought there was a good chance that one of the sacrifices we would see would be Moira losing her life, but in the end, she sacrifices her freedom, and in her last scene in the episode, she is arrested.
If there was one thing that I was a little disappointed with in this episode, it would be the portrayal of Laurel in this episode. When Laurel shows up at the Queen mansion, she seems like an insecure teenage girlfriend. And why does she go to her office in the Glades? I have no idea what they are all doing running around answering phones and carrying files back and forth – it’s an evacuation – no one is going to be calling for a lawyer just yet. But why would she go to her office when she was warned repeatedly not to? Finally, she is reduced to the damsel in distress whom everyone must run to rescue: her father, Tommy, and Oliver. That’s not to say that all of her scenes were bad. The scene with Oliver is fantastic – but mainly for Amell’s performance. The look on his face when he looks down at Laurel is the happiest and most content we’ve seen all year. He’s clearly embraced his love for her. I love his realization that the Island didn’t change him: “those five years didn’t change me. They just scraped away all the things that I wasn’t and revealed the person I always was. The person you always saw.” Oliver tells Laurel that “No one in my life is who I thought they were, except you.” Cassidy’s best scene is the one with Laurel on the phone with her father. Cassidy is great in the emotional scenes, but I hope that next season we see the smart lawyer and the kickass woman we had glimpses of earlier in the season. Of course, the big question going forward is how she and Oliver will deal with Tommy’s death. Tommy is the one who saves her after confessing that he came to her because he loved her. I can’t help but wonder if that doesn’t drive a wedge between Laurel and Oliver, it may at least keep Laurel from loving Oliver without feeling profoundly guilty.
It was a great touch to have Oliver flash to his father telling him to live as Malcolm is choking him to death and to find in that moment the core of his mission. My only quibble with the scene is Oliver driving the arrow through himself and into Malcolm’s heart. It clearly looks like the arrow had to go through Oliver’s own ribcage and lung to get to Malcolm, which really ought to have incapacitated Oliver a bit more... but I’m willing to hand wave that.
I’ve saved my final comments for the unbelievably emotional climactic scene between Tommy and Oliver. Amell and Donnell are both fantastic in this scene and it’s heartbreaking on so many levels. Tommy’s wish at the beginning of the episode that Oliver had died on the Island so obviously cut Oliver deeply, yet even though he walked away from Tommy, he didn’t stop feeling like his best friend and is concerned for his safety when he finds him hurt at Merlyn Global. Oliver’s first concern it getting Tommy to safety, little realizing that Tommy will go directly to the Glades to try to save Laurel. Oliver knows what it’s like to have your faith in your father stripped away, and he clearly doesn’t want to hurt Tommy further. It was heart wrenching watching Oliver lie about killing Malcolm. I have to admit that I was right with Oliver, pleading with Tommy to open his eyes. Oliver is clearly going to have a lot of guilt over Tommy’s death going forward next season.
Great performances, great writing, and terrific stunts have quickly made Arrow one of my favorite shows. I can’t wait to see where they take us in season two! I think it’s going to be a long summer... What did you think of the finale? Was it everything you hoped for? Were you shocked and disappointed by Tommy’s death? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. I’ll be posting a season review in a week or so, and I hope you’ll come back to speculate on that too.