Seriously, how freaking long are the writers going to tease the Oliver/Felicity pairing? Those rat bastards.
With flashback Oliver, we pick up with him and Sara being held by Slade on the boat. They watch helplessly as Slade injects prisoners with the Mirakuru, which kills them all. Oliver tries, and fails, to talk sense into Slade, who is getting some really bad advice from his crazed delusions of Shado, when the two hour limit he gave Anatoly expires and the plucky Russian launches the last torpedo. The ship goes boom and Oliver and Sara try to escape. Doesn’t work. A fight breaks out with Slade that ends with Sara getting swept out of the boat, to her “death.” Oliver and Slade fight, the juiced up mercenary having the clear advantage, but before Slade can kill him, an explosion rocks the ship and bits of metal fall onto Slade, pinning him to the ground. Oliver is left with a choice; cure Slade, or kill him. Oliver chooses the renegade option by shoving an arrow through Slade’s eye. Before Oliver can escape the sinking ship, he is knocked unconscious. When he wakes, he is an an unknown room and two Asian guys with guns come in to usher him out. He then meets Amanda Waller and is welcomed to the city of Hong Kong.
In Starling, everything is coming to a head. Slade’s soldiers are ransacking the city, there is a nuke loaded drone heading for the city, and very little hope left. Oliver and Co. have retreated to the clock tower to plan their next move when Roy awakens, no longer super powered or crazy. The news that the cure work fills them with hope, but it’s short lived as Slade’s goons (again, no relation) attack the tower. The team escapes through the window via an ever so handy zip line arrow, and before the baddies can follow, Lilah shows up in a chopper with a rocket launcher (aka, the I win button) and blows them away. Oliver then dispatches Diggle and Lilah back to A.R.G.U.S. to buy him time to save the city. He then returns to the foundry base with Felicity and Roy to gather weapons and plan the next move. Realizing they are vastly outnumbered, Sara has returned with Nyssa and the League of Assassins to help. Oliver, begrudgingly, accepts their help and they launch their attack on Slade’s army. At the same time, the newly promoted Lt. Lance is rallying the troops to defend the city when one of the Slade Soldiers bursts in, throws him around the room, and stomps off with Laurel. While all of this is going on Thea is having a heart to heart with dear old dad, who is proud of her for trying to kill him. (that is totally a healthy outlook to have) Thea runs off to meet up with Roy and tells him she wants to leave the city with him. Roy agrees but receives a call from Felicity, calling him to action. He tells Thea he was one thing to finish up and asks her to pack. While she is packing, she finds his the training equipment Oliver gave him, left him a Dear John letter, and disappeared. Our last shot of her is get getting into a limo with Merlyn, saying she will never return to Starling. To keep Felicity safe, Oliver leaves her at Queen Mansion, telling her that he loves her and she has to stay safe. Through the combined efforts of Team Arrow, fighting on multiple fronts, Slade’s army is injected with the cure, save for Isabel who is killed by Nyssa (poor poor Summer) and the day is saved! Before the luau can begin, Oliver receives word from Slade that its time to end the game. Oliver shows up at Creepy Villain Layer #3 and finds that Slade has nabbed Felicity as well as Laurel. Slade launches into his villainous monologue, the trap is sprung. Oliver and Felicity set it up for Slade to nab her so she could close enough to stick him with the cure. The two fight then fight in their final battle, and of course, the hero wins. Slade is locked away in an underground prison on the island and instead of the super awesome hook up between Felicity and Oliver that we have been waiting for, they talk about how they were able to pull one over on Slade. (grrrr)
Alot happened in this episode, and all of it was amazing. It was almost non stop action from start to finish, and this worked. All of last weeks episode was set up for this, the final battle, and that is exactly what we got. This episode gave us some of the best action scenes of the series to date, the tunnel battle between Oliver’s group and Slade’s army was a fantastically done scene. It was fast, frantic, but clear. This show, thankfully, does not use the shaky cam style of action. We can clearly see the the work put into the fight scenes, and it is amazing. Oliver and the ninjas using the arrows to inject the cure, all of them almost dancing around Slade’s more powerful soldiers is a visual treat. This goes one step further in the final fight between Slade and Oliver. The fight for them cuts between their battle in Starling, and their fight on the boat in the past. The editing for this scene was amazing, the different fights blending together perfectly and acting as perfect mirrors of each other, with one notable different. At the end of the boat fight, Oliver believes he kills Slade, thinking it is the only option he has available to him but in the present he does the opposite. Oliver chooses to spare Slade.
Amell deliverers the best speech of the series to date, saying how everything he has become was because Slade. Slade made Oliver into what he needed to be when he needed to be it. At first, a killer to survive the island, in the end, a hero to save the city. This concept of everything Oliver is is because of Slade is an intriguing concept, because everything that Slade has done and become is because of Oliver’s actions. The two have formed an almost symbiotic relationship, both of them needing the other to evolve into what they need to be. Slade the villain, Oliver the hero.
This was also the first time that Oliver has called himself a hero, and introduces a whole new dynamic for the series from here on out. Throughout season two he was taking a new approach to his vigilante acts, not killing, and at times he has failed in this, but he has always tried. Now at the end game, he is told by several people that his only option is killing, and that his lack of killing has what led them to this moment. It is only Felicity that tells him otherwise, who truly believes he can be a hero, and she’s right. Oliver stands tall, he doesn’t kill because its not who he is anymore, and he doesn’t need too. He has realized that he doesn’t need to kill anymore to save the city. I commented on an episode earlier this season, about how I was upset that everything Oliver does was for someone else, his father or Tommy, and that I wanted to see him set his own path, not try to be the person someone else wanted him to be. It looks like that has happened now. Oliver has realized who he is, what is role is, and what he now must do. This season was a game changer for the series, Oliver is now broke, without his family, and only Felicity and Diggle to rely upon. It will be fantastic to see what happens from here on out.
In terms of characters, we had some fantastic moments for them this episode, even if some were brief. I already commented upon Oliver, his character moments tie strongly into the plot for the episode, his most prominent being his moment with Felicity in his home. When he confesses his love to her it is one of the most emotionally heavy scenes of the series, Amell and Rickards have fantastic chemistry, and their has been a lot of build up to this one moment. In a great, if annoying, twist we discover this was a set up to get Felicity into position to help take down Slade. I would be more annoyed at this if it wasn’t for the final moment of them on the beach, the small smiles they have for each other while they talk about how well they sold it, it all but says that there is truly more to them than friendship, just that maybe their not ready to explore it yet. It is a promise for things to come.
For other characters, we got to see Diggle being his badass self, breaking to A.R.G.U.S. and calling up Deadshot and the Suicide Squad to help stop Waller. The reveal that Lilah is pregnant with their child was a fantastic twist that will be a great subplot to watch play out next season. Sara’s return to Starling, with the ninjas in tow was fun. Not great, but it worked. I was pretty meh towards it until her statement that for the first time in her life she chose her own path, this I liked. Her character was very much adrift throughout this season, her finally having a path of her own is fantastic, even if we don’t see her again. Her final moment of handing the coat of too Laurel, nice foreshadowing for the future. Thea, what can I say about Thea apart from that we may be witnessing the birth of a villain here. I hope that isn’t the case. Throughout the last two seasons, Thea has undergone the most development as a character, and it was amazing to watch. I can understand her whole thing about not wanting to be weak, but I am honestly worried that she is going to return to Starling as villain. With Merlyn for a father, its only a matter of time before he reveals to Thea what Oliver does in his spare time, and with how hurt she is over the constant lies in her life, I can easily see him twisting that hurt into hatred. We may honestly see a brother/sister showdown next season. Which I admit, could be pretty freaking cool to watch. Maybe this could lead into some sort of redemption storyline, Thea going dark before becoming a hero and fighting side by side with Oliver. Yeah, that’d be pretty sweet. Do that writers, make that happen!
Overall, this was a fantastic season finale, one of the best I have seen. The ending of the Slade story was amazing to see as we watched Oliver take his final steps in becoming a hero. All the characters played they roles perfectly, and there was amazing set up for the next season. Oliver being poor and having to reclaim his family’s business. This will introduce a whole new dynamic to the show as Oliver continues his crime fighting with out the resources he is accustomed to. Personally, I can’t wait for the next season to premier, I want to know what happens.