So in a way, all the various frustrating elements and plotlines, and even character decisions to an extent, were a long complicated ruse designed to...
destroy Ra's and the Virus. Oliver did all that stuff, hurt his friends and family, and obliterated his reputation because he had no intention of coming out on the other end alive.
That kind of makes sense, especially when considering the fact that he was guiding the team's choices ever since Ra's offered Oliver the title of Ra's Al Ghul. We weren't privy to the deal made between Oliver and Malcolm. We were expected to swallow all the questionable decisions they were forced to make, and the inextricable logic they used. I think the writers wanted to do the double, triple, quadruple cross as a fun reveal. Instead they subjected the viewers to several weeks of frustration, without a good enough pay off.
Okay, that might not be totally fair. The final reveal, that moment on the plane when Oliver stood up to Ra's and drew his sword saying, 'My name is Oliver Queen", was probably the best moment in the episode, and possibly worth the frustration in retrospect. For weeks the idea of solving this puzzle of bad character choices felt impossible, that the only way to fix the mess was altering the timeline using the Flash as a plot device. Instead, the writers went for something I hadn't expected.
The main take away from this episode was how much things were allowed to end and change. There was no magical reset, and Oliver isn't the Arrow anymore. He finally stepped away from his quest, and handed the reins over to his team. The whole premise of the show has been changed, and that might be the best aspect of this finale.
Oliver's struggle to find himself, and how he couldn't really be a person and the Arrow finally came to a conclusion. Choosing Felicity over the Arrow was a nice coda, and if this were the end of the series I would be happy with him driving off into the sunset with Felicity. There wasn't really any conflict for her, because the entire time he had been doing all that stuff with Ra's, she was partially convinced he was faking it. So when it turned out he was, her only real anger stemmed from his choice to die instead of fighting to live.
It made that final fight with Ra's have a bit more emotional weight, even if the action itself wasn't very engaging. I did like how Oliver beat Ra's with the same wounds Ra's gave him in their earlier fight. That does make me wonder if Ra's will survive them too. Those wounds are apparently not all that lethal. At least the fight ended with the other great moment in the episode, Felicity saving Oliver using Ray's armor.
I wouldn't necessarily mind the show moving on without Oliver and Felicity. I think the idea of Thea and Laurel and Diggle (with his own superhero identity) watching over the city is a fine one. Thea's training with Malcolm has definitely given her the right skills to become the Red Arrow, or Speedy. Laurel has finally come into her own as Black Canary. And I don't think Diggle is just going to leave the city hanging. The only problem I see them having is; without Felicity or Ray to back them up, the team might have some logistical issues.
The problem is, we know Oliver and Felicity are coming back. I guess that leaves us with the question of how and why, and in what capacity will they return? Is Oliver going don a new hood and become the Green Arrow? I'm not sure how that will work within the situation that has been created by Roy coming out as the Arrow. Will Oliver choose to not hide his identity when he comes back? Or will the new version of the emerald archer be so different that it is clear the Green Arrow and the Arrow are totally different people?
While I really like Tatsu and Maseo, and seeing what happened in Hong Kong was important for both the Virus plot and Oliver's character arc, there wasn't quite enough in these finale scenes to justify their inclusion in this episode. There was a memorial moment for Akio, Shrieve was tortured and killed, Maseo left to join the League, Tatsu mourned and set out to join a monastery near her home town, and Oliver got onto a boat, I assumed headed for Lian Yu. It did feel final, and it was an end, but was this part of the story worth being stretched out for this long? This plotline should've ended in the last episode, allowing for more time to be devoted to the action in Starling City.
The Alpha/Omega virus was built up quite a bit, and ultimately it was contained with no real consequences. That was underwhelming. Malcolm destroyed an entire chunk of his city, Slade orchestrated a small war and there were dozens of casualties. Ra's was totally and completely foiled and his presence forgotten by the end of the episode (cue sad trombone).
Quentin finally got his head out of his ass, after Laurel called him on drinking again. This makes his whole turn against the Arrow make a bit more sense, since his head wasn't in the right place anymore.
Felicity wearing Ray's A.T.O.M. suit does bring up the question I asked several episodes ago, why couldn't Oliver have used Ray's suit to fight Deathbolt?
I was momentarily worried about Thea getting infected, but of course Malcolm inoculated her first.
What happened to Ray? Did he just die, or was the explosion a part of his origin story as the Atom?
The Damien Darhk plotline felt forced, included only as a set up for season four.
Malcolm ascending to the position of Ra's will be interesting, and I hope that his conflict with Nyssa will be addressed next season too. Will they be allies to our team, or enemies?
The final crossover of the season featuring Barry felt a bit shoehorned in. The continuity had to bend over backwards to make it fit, and I'm not sure how much was served by including him. That being said, he had some really fun lines, and it is nice to have the two shows continue to have a shared universe.
Barry: "Thank you, Felicity, you just outed my secret identity to a super villain. No offense."
Barry: (looking at the Lazarus Pit) "You guys have a hot tub?"
Barry: "Wow, this is like a real dungeon."
Although things wrapped up in an okay place, and all the odd choices made during the season do kind of work in retrospect, this was not as strong a season as it could have been. Ra's was never a very good villain, and I don't know if it was casting or writing, or a bit of both. Ra's' plan for Oliver never made a lot of logical sense, because it undercut his menace by making him seem like a petulant child. In the end though, this wasn't a bad episode and the season was only so-so and not horrible.
2 out of 4 Vessels for the Alpha and Omega Bio-weapon
J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related.