That was not good. In fact it was dull, unremarkable, and borderline embarrassing.
After season two’s Slade-infused epicness, I refused to jump on the bandwagon when everyone criticized season three for being an uneven mess. I had faith that Arrow’s writers knew what they were doing, and I held out hope that the finale would bring everything together in a magnificent crescendo. Unfortunately, My Name Is Oliver Queen is arguably one of the worst hours the show’s ever produced.
The problem with this finale is that it was devoid of any stakes or tension (that virus was all kinds of lame), with Ra’s turning out to be a horrendous villain. The atrocious dialogue, the repetitive monologues, his incessant desire to make Ollie his “heir” – it all became so darn redundant and irritating. Even the climactic showdown between Ollie and Ra’s was a disaster. Whenever Arrow faltered in the past, James Bradford’s exceptional action set-pieces were always there to pick up the slack. Sadly that was not the case this week. Whose bright idea was it to have the two wear identical costumes? Because I certainly could not tell the difference, and the setting (a random dam) did the battle no favours. Major fail.
Even the character work on Oliver himself fell flat. His decision to leave his city behind and ride off into the sunset with Felicity was series finale-ish, and FAR from earned. Actually, his entire character arc this year was ill-conceived and messy. The narrative simply failed to sell me on his motivations and choices, and that blame lies squarely on the writing team.
And then there’s Olicity. Some time between seasons two and three, the writers unwisely decided to make romance one of the show’s focal points. Not only did they push Olicity to the forefront in a most in-organic manner, they managed to make Felicity a whiny, unlikeable fool in the process. I particularly loathed Felicity saving Ollie using Ray’s suit. It took Mr. Palmer several episodes to learn how to navigate flight efficiently, yet Miss Smoak became an expert and pulled off a death-defying rescue in the span of two minutes – turning the show into a sitcom in the process. Please note that Oliver was needlessly shot by the police AFTER killing Ra’s for contrived plot purposes. Yuck.
And Malcolm? Don’t the writers realize that the character serves no purpose at this point in time? The season finale would have been the perfect opportunity to kill off the baddie (and actually produce some thrills), but instead they proceeded to pull off a clumsy twist in which Oliver passed the mantle of Ra’s Al Ghul to the man who killed Sara. Apparently it’s part of some “deal” that doesn’t sound compelling in the slightest, and it also succeeded in wasting Nyssa’s character by having her bow down to the villain instead of staying in Starling with Laurel for some inexplicable reason. Talk about idiotic storytelling.
Finally, someone should have broken it to the writing staff that the flashbacks ended last week, thereby leaving no material for the finale. It’s safe to say that the Hong Kong saga of the show was a total flop on every level, and it produced zero surprises over the course of the year. What was the point of Akio’s death if it was telegraphed half a season ago? Why was China White the focus only to be completely relegated to the sidelines? Why should I care about General Shriever taking center stage?
So did this finale get anything right? Well, Thea finally became a superhero and I thought she looked great in the Red Arrow (or Speedy) costume. However, it struck me as lazy writing to have her entrance be an exact replica of her saving Diggle two weeks back. Still, I’m pumped to watch her and Laurel defend Starling City next season.
Oh and the city was saved off-screen by the way. Let that sink in.
Bits & Arrows
– In case you were worried the whole of Team Arrow was going to perish after Ollie virus-ed them, I’m sure you were relieved to discover that they had indeed been vaccinated. *groan*
– How great was it so see Barry popping in to save the gang? I gotta say, The Flash has been on fire lately.
– Ollie and Nyssa kicking ass on the plane was fun. Even Ra’s jumping off and the duo landing the plane was kinda cinematic. And then the rest of the hour happened.
– Funny how the first time Ollie ever said “You failed this city” was in reference to Hong Kong.
– So Maseo told Tatsu that he remembers his son “every time” he looks in her eyes. But his son was dead for all of ten seconds by then. Seriously?
– If Felicity Smoak cries ONE.MORE.TIME. I will personally dump her off a cliff!
– In an episode this weak, the Damien Darhk tease was even more frustrating.
– I enjoyed watching the gang seamlessly infiltrate the hotel.
– Ra’s revealing his plan with “four vessels” to Oliver was a really contrived way to let our hero in on the plan. I genuinely rolled my eyes.
– Laurel was completely under-utilized in the finale. And did anyone else feel like her dad’s alcoholism was just haphazardly thrown in out of boredom?
– My favorite moment in the finale? Nyssa expressing how proud she was of Laurel kicking ass. Why didn’t the writers give us a SINGLE training scene between these two? Laurel’s growth happened off-screen and that’s a real missed opportunity in my eyes. At least we’ll always have milkshakes and fries.
– Diggle’s getting a costume next year people! Woohoo! Also, he still doesn’t forgive Ollie (that punch was enormously satisfying).
– Ollie and Nyssa are technically still married right?
– So what will happen in the flashbacks next season? Will Ollie go back to the island? And is this the last we’ll ever see of Tatsu?
– If you’re worried about Ray after that huge explosion, be sure to catch the epic trailer for his thrilling new spinoff, Legends of Tomorrow. White Canary!
– I really hated Nyssa kneeling before Maclolm. I hope she slices that grin off his face in the season four premiere.
– I KINDA missed Ollie’s voiceovers. Emphasis on the “kinda”.
– Ollie was driving a Porsche at the end there. I don’t know why that amused me. Isn’t he supposed to be poor?
Malcolm: I saved your lives. I believe the words you’re searching for are “thank” and “you.”
Felicity: Assuming this is all some part of a brilliant double double cross or triple cross– I’m losing count– your master plan still has one major flaw, since we’re still chained in a dungeon.
Barry: (looking at the Lazarus Pit) You guys have a hot tub? Nice.
Barry: Thank you, Felicity. You just outed my secret identity to a super villain. No offense.
Malcolm: None taken.
Felicity: Nyssa looks happy. You two on your honeymoon?
Oliver: Where are we?
Felicity: Nowhere. Ra’s is old school. Every way I have of finding him is new school.
Oliver: We trade Damien for the virus.
Malcolm: That is remarkably ruthless and cold-blooded. I approve.
Felicity: Don’t fight to die. Fight to live.
Nyssa: I have been a most excellent trainer.
Quentin: We got a problem.
Felicity: You’re going to have to be a lot more specific.
Felicity: If I could figure out how to get this thing off, I would be kissing you right now.
Nyssa: You killed my father.
Oliver: I had to.
Nyssa: I wanted to be the one. You’re lucky you’re still alive. You wouldn’t be had you not been wearing League armor.
Laurel: This city isn’t lacking masks.
Felicity: So, where are we going? I’m thinking a state that can annul a Nanda Parbat marriage.
Oliver: Can I say something strange? I’m happy.
Terribly-paced and shoddily-executed, Arrow capped off a flawed year with a grave misfire of a finale.