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[OPINION] - Top Ten Best Episodes Of Arrow

Please note that the views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpoilerTV.

With Arrow taking its final bow earlier last year, I figured now would be as good a time as any to go through what I consider to be the 10 best of the series. Despite hopping on the train later in the game (started watching around Season 5), it quickly became my favorite show. Even though it's had its ups and downs, it still remains as such today. As always, huge spoiler warning for everything involving Arrow coming up ahead.

10. Season 7, Ep. 7: "The Slabside Redemption"

While Season 7 as a whole was a mixed bag, Oliver's prison arc in the first half was incredible and one of the best stories Arrow ever told. It all culminated here in this episode, where Oliver teamed up with the Bronze Tiger to facilitate a mass breakout. Essentially one long fight scene, this episode was packed with wall-to-wall action, incredibly shot by James Bamford (the series' go-to director for great action sequences), and superbly acted. It offered some big moments too, including Stanley killing Brick, Oliver fighting Diaz one-on-one (again), and ultimately Oliver being released from prison. Overall, a fantastic episode that gave us some of the best action sequences on the show. (Side Note: And let's not forget the infamous editing error where Diggle disappears in the final shot)

9. Season 8, Ep. 10: "Fadeout"

Season 8 was a fantastic final season and really delivered the goods after a lackluster Season 7. Any of the 10 episodes could've easily been put into this list (well maybe not 8x09), as they all were very good and acted almost like mini-movies. In the end, though, I had to give it to the series finale. Anytime a series, be it in TV, book, or film form pulls off an ending that's even remotely good, I gotta give it props for what's often a hard accomplishment. Arrow had a tough order, because it was the first live-action superhero show in the modern era to have to wrap a story that didn't involve the ending of an origin (like both Smallville and Gotham). Luckily, the show pulled it off with a great episode that sets the bar for superhero TV endings. Even though we as an audience knew Oliver was destined to die, everything here still hit hard emotionally. Standout moments were both Quentin and Diggle's speeches, the return of all the fan-favorite characters (though Slade was disappointingly absent), a flashback with what I consider the show's best fight scene, and Oliver and Felicity's last scene together. When talking about great series finales, this should always be in the conversation.

8. Season 6, Ep. 18: "Fundamentals"

Season 6 pretty much had the opposite problem Season 7 had. The first half of the season was very disappointing, as it failed to capitalize on the fallout from Season 5, had boring villains, began a ridiculous civil war between Team Arrow, and lacked a clear focus. Things started looking up, however, when Diaz was revealed to be the main villain of the season in 6x13 and caused a whole new energy to be injected into the show. Though the civil war stuff would last a few more episodes, it did allow Oliver to go through the wringer in a way he never had before. It culminated in this episode, where Oliver gets dosed with vertigo and almost reaches a breaking point. He hallucinates Adrian Chase (a surprising return!), his past failures, and Felicity requesting a separation. He tells Quentin that he should've never formed Team Arrow, before donning "The Hood" costume and storming the SCPD in another one of the show's best action sequences. The episode felt like a Season 1 episode and brought the series "back to basics" (as Oliver said), bringing the series focus back on Oliver and ensured an exciting final stretch for the season.

7. Season 3, Ep. 9: "The Climb"

I don't hate Season 3 as much as the rest of the fan base, but I'll be the first to admit the final stretch of the season could've been handled much better. Especially considering how rock solid the first half of the season was. Both the season premiere and the first crossover with The Flash could both easily be included on this list, but to me, the standout episode from the entire season will always be the mid-season finale. Aside from the climactic face-off between Oliver and Ra's Al Ghul and Oliver's subsequent "death" (both incredible in their own right), there were plenty of other great twists and turns here. Oliver finds out about Thea's new fighting skills, Maseo reveals that he has joined the League Of Assassins, Merlyn reveals he drugged Thea and had her kill Sara, Laurel tells her mother about Sara while insisting she doesn't tell Quentin, and Ray debuts his mission to become the A.T.O.M. There's barely a time to catch a breath before the episode is over. Unfortunately, the rest of the season never was able to match this in terms of quality.

6. Season 5, Ep. 17: "Kapushion"

For flashback episodes, Season 1's "The Odyssey" and Season 2's "The Promise" are both strong contenders. I love them both and I'm sure most would prefer them in this list, but my personal favorite has always been Season 5's "Kapushion". The Russian flashbacks showed us Oliver's official transition into The Hood and gave us an incredible villain in Konstantin Kovar. This episode put all of that front and center, and it was an unforgettable hour of TV. It provided exciting action, big moments (such as Oliver officially becoming a Bratva captain), and an Oliver Queen at his most disturbingly brutal. Meanwhile, in the present day, we got an intense torture session (for lack of a better word) between Adrian Chase and Oliver, where Oliver quite loudly admits that he enjoyed killing in his early days as a vigilante. Upon returning to the bunker, he decides to put an end to his days as Green Arrow (for an episode or two anyway), while the audience is forced to rethink the hero they've grown to love for over 4+ seasons.

5. Season 5, Ep. 8: "Invasion!"

Okay, so the first 5 entries in this list could probably move out and around with time, but the top 5 will always be stable for me. To kick it off, we have the show's 100th episode. Basically, the show's take on It's A Wonderful Life, here Oliver, Thea, Sara, and Ray all get sent into a dream world by the Dominators. It's an excellent episode, filled with everything that made Arrow such a great show to begin with: Likeable/Interesting characters, emotionally powerful moments, and a good dose of action. It's a celebration of the series, made for the fans like any good 100th episode should be, while also providing several poignant moments from Oliver. Having to watch him say goodbye to Laurel was particularly heartwrenching, even more so knowing that it was likely the last time the show would have anything to do with the iconic comic relationship. As the icing on the cake, since it doubled as that year's crossover episode, you have some fun Flash/Supergirl/Legends team-up action going as well. What more could you want?

4. Season 2, Ep. 20: "Seeing Red"

Oh man, Arrow sure knew how to break your heart. Though in hindsight it probably should've been obvious, with Moira telling Oliver she "has always known" his secret, the way her death happened still shocks every time I watch it. I think that just goes to show how strong the script was, but more importantly, how strong the acting was from everyone involved. The way Moira firmly stands between Slade and her children, the terror in Thea's eyes, the desperation in Oliver's words, and the calmness of Slade as he confronts them, all meld together to make for one the show's most gutwrenching scenes. For sure one of the most impactful moments in Oliver's life.

3. Season 1, Ep. 23: "Sacrifice"

This is the episode that proved to viewers that this show meant business and wasn't playing around. It set the standard for many Arrow finales to follow: Big bad's plan for mass destruction gets enacted, a rooftop battle between Oliver and the big bad ensues, and some major twist/death/event happens to cap it all off. The thing that still makes this finale effective on every rewatch though, is the fact that Malcolm Merlyn was victorious. The villain won. And not only did he almost completely destroy the Glades (due to an excellently crafted fakeout), but he inadvertently caused the death of his own son, Tommy Merlyn. Completely unexpected, deeply tragic, and expertly acted, this remains the most impactful death for Oliver, and by far the most devasting one in my opinion. This episode raised the bar for what to expect from the show and set the stage for what is arguably the show's best season.

2. Season 2, Ep. 18: "Deathstroke"

Slade Wilson/Deathstroke was easily the show's best villain. They're a great many Slade-centric episodes that I could've picked for this list, and honestly episodes 18-23 are all pretty solid and showcase the show at its best. For me, I had to go with this one in particular, as it's always hit me a little bit more than the others. It's got a very comic book-like plot ala Batman, and I mean that as an absolute compliment. Slade kidnaps Thea and sends Team Arrow into absolute panic mode. Oliver finds out Isabel is working with Slade AFTER she takes over Queen Consolidated, Slade frees a bunch of criminals for his Mirakuru army, Thea finds out she's Malcolm's daughter, Quentin gets arrested, and Slade informs Laurel that Oliver is the Arrow. It's an absolute roller-coaster of an episode full of big twists and exciting scenes and works to showcase Slade as a mastermind and not just a skilled combatant.

1. Season 5, Ep. 23: "Lian Yu"

It might be cliche at this point, but to me, the ending of Season 5 is easily the show's crowning achievement. Oliver assembles a team of bad guys (Slade most prominently among them!) to help rescue Team Arrow from the clutches of Adrian Chase on Lian Yu. Chase definitely comes in second when ranking Arrow villains and his ultimate plan proved to be deeper than most. He didn't care about destroying cities or world domination, he wanted to prove a point: that Oliver enjoyed killing people. Oliver killing him would mean winning. That plan came to a head here, and Adrian intended to go out with a quite literal bang. Of course, while having Lian Yu explode while the show's entire cast was on it was a jaw-dropping twist, Season 6 unfortunately squandered that potential by only having Samantha die. Taking that ending out of the equation completely, the episode still remains just as incredible. Lots of thrilling action, the return of fan-favorite characters, the death of Malcolm Merlyn, and Oliver escaping the island in the flashbacks all made for an incredible hour of television. And who can forget the emotional call between Oliver and his mother as he tells her he's coming home?

So due to this being incredibly hard, I have to list some honorable mentions (there's quite a few here):

- Season 1, Ep. 1: "Pilot"
- Season 1, Ep. 14: "The Odyssey"
- Season 1, Ep. 18: "Salvation"
- Season 2, Ep. 3: "Broken Dolls"
- Season 2, Ep. 8: "The Scientist"
- Season 2, Ep. 9: "Three Ghosts"
- Season 2, Ep. 15: "The Promise"
- Season 2, Ep. 21: "City Of Blood"
- Season 2, Ep. 23: "Unthinkable"
- Season 3, Ep. 1: "The Calm"
- Season 3, Ep. 8: "The Brave And The Bold"
- Season 4, Ep. 1: "Green Arrow"
- Season 5, Ep. 9: "What We Leave Behind"
- Season 5, Ep. 16: "Checkmate"
- Season 6, Ep. 23: "Life Sentence"
- Season 7, Ep. 1: "Inmate 4587"
- Season 7, Ep. 12: "Emerald Archer"
- Season 8, Ep. 1: "Starling City"
- Season 8, Ep. 6: "Reset"
- Season 8, Ep. 7: "Purgatory"

I'm sure my list is gonna be controversial for some, which is all good, these episodes affect us all differently. So please, let me know what your top tens are!

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