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Arrow - Purgatory - Review

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Arrow “Purgatory” was written by the team of Rebecca Bellotto and Rebecca Rosenberg and was directed by James Bamford – which made it surprising that there were so few actual fights in this episode! This episode tries to bring together the various threads and missions of the previous episodes and once again brings back a beloved character – Yao Fei (Byron Mann) – as Oliver (Stephen Amell) and the team gather on Lian Yu. Sadly, the episode doesn’t bring back Manu Bennett but brings back Sebastian Dunn as Edward Fyers to be the big bad. Arguably, by this time Slade isn’t a villain anymore, but why not have him on Lian Yu too?

This episode felt like an excuse for Oliver to say goodbye to everyone, which makes sense given that this is the last episode before the Crisis begins – but then, why are there two more episodes AFTER the Crisis? Either they are pointless or Oliver doesn’t die. And by pointless, I mean that they largely take up Mia’s (Katherine McNamara) story…

Turning to this episode, Lyla (Audrey Marie Anderson) has brought them all to Lian Yu to use its energy spikes to power the weapon that William (Ben Lewis) has to build. We get a renewal of the same-old, same-old fight between Lyla and Diggle (David Ramsey) about keeping secrets. How tired they must both be about doing the same scenes over and over, season after season….

Dinah (Juliana Harkavy), who can fly a plane, Rene (Rick Gonzalez), and Roy (Colton Haynes) bring the plutonium and end up in a plane crash when they are shot down by the ghost of Fyers. In a singularly pointless plot point, Roy has to lose his arm. Of course, this also proves that they’ve changed the future. And really, what’s the point of even setting him up to have a cybernetic arm when the show is ending? Will he have a part in the potential spinoff?

We did get some nice parent/son moments. Connor (Joseph David-Jones) tells Lyla and Diggle that he’s proud to be their son and let’s drop that they are the co-founders of Night Watch. Later in the episode there is yet another terrific scene between Amell and Lewis – but I’ll come back to this.

Mia continues to be a worthless, pouty child and won’t go with Oliver. Of course, this leaves us open for a nice scene between Laurel (Katie Cassidy) and Oliver as she warns him not to leave the Island with even more regrets. And then Oliver finds Yao Fei – who tries and fails this time to shoot Oliver to prevent him stumbling into trouble. It is a nice return to where we started even if it doesn’t entirely work. And again, my problem isn’t with the “comic universe” suspension of disbelief. My problem is that this show started off, declaring that this would be a very HUMAN hero. That it would be darker and that it would be grounded in some reality. And again. THAT is the show that I signed up for – and miss. It doesn’t mean that I don’t also enjoy superhero stories – but it’s also why I love Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. because it has a mix of very human and very not human characters.

I did like William finally telling Mia she as being “harsh” – I wish he’d really told her what she was being. My other favorite Mia-moment is when the psychotic brat decides she has to go off alone after Oliver after refusing to go with him and Laurel turns to her and says “Seriously?!?!?” Which has been my reaction over and over to this dreadful character.

It’s fun – even if stupid – when Yao Fei and Oliver are trapped in Fyers’ nets. It also allows Yao Fei to pass on some wisdom to Oliver. He should make the most of the time that he does have with his kids, but he should also know that he will live on in them in spirit.

Everything culminates in a big fight with Fyers. It’s the kind of spectacular fight we’ve become accustomed to on Arrow. However, how is Rene not even limping after having that huge gash in his leg? Stupid. Will pulls Oliver out of the fight, thinking he needs Oliver’s DNA to turn the machine on. In the end, it turns out to be Lyla’s DNA that they need. Once the machine is on, the enemies magically disappear, Diggle magically forgives Lyla, and Lyla magically walks through a wormhole and disappears.

The episode ends with a series of goodbyes from Oliver, and I wonder how many of these are actually the last time he will appear on screen with these characters. He first thanks Rene and Dinah – who don’t want a goodbye speech – so it looks like they won’t be in Crisis.

William tries to give the Hozen back to Roy, but Roy won’t take it, telling him to keep it in the family. William then tries to give it to Oliver, but Oliver tells William that he’s a hero too and should keep it. Oliver hopes that William will forgive him, but William tells him that he’s had 20 years and forgave Oliver a long time ago. He tells Oliver that he’s proud of him and the two hug. This was a terrific scene.

Oliver asks Diggle for a favor – to make sure that the kids get back to 2040. But he also tells Diggle to go to Felicity and tell her to let William and Mia grow up together. Diggle vows that he’s going to stick by Oliver as long as he can. Oliver points out that every mission has an end (although given how often the show has repeated storylines isn’t anyone else wondering if this is true?!?), and he tells Diggle that he couldn’t have done it without him. And that’s true! The two hug.

Naturally, there has to be a scene with Mia and Oliver at the graves. This is where Arrow dies after all. It’s very clearly a passing of the torch – or the show – from Amell to McNamara. BLERG.

Finally, Lyla shows back up, but now, she is Harbinger and has come to tell them that the Crisis has begun…

At least this episode did try to tie together the various threads of the season, leading into Crisis. So, we can assume that the entire run so far has been about building the machine to make Lyla Harbinger? That’s my takeaway. More great performances from Amell. And a shout out to Colton Haynes. I’ve always loved his portrayal of Roy and I loved the way Roy quietly accepted his fate and put the team ahead of his arm. It’s too bad that we couldn’t have seen him reunited with Thea (Willa Holland). It was nice seeing Yao Fei again and a nice return to the beginning, but I’m still left wondering what they are going to do with those final two episodes…. What did you think of the episode? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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