Arrow: My Name is Oliver Queen

"The city is under attack. It must be May."

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.


Anonymous said...

It still makes no sense that everyone is pretty much giving Merlyn a free pass. Bringing Sara's killer to justice (Not to mention the 500 people dead by earthquake machine, and who knows how much else when he was Ra's "horseman") was a pretty big deal early on. The Suicide Squad would have been the perfect place to put him.

And what the fuck was with Nyssa kneeling to the person that killed the love of her life? Why did she even return to Nanda Parbat/The League? She has literally no reason to do so.

sunbunny said...

You left out the best quote of the episode! "The city's under attack, must be May." :)

If I'd just read a summary of the episode I think I'd be fangirling over how awesome it was, but the execution was seriously lacking. As much of an Olicity shipper as I am, their FINALLY getting together felt weirdly empty. Part of it was that Oliver's big emotional "I choose you Felicity" speech was given to the show's entire cast (including her very recently dumped ex) and then they just hopped in a car and sped off. I felt a little cheated.

Her saving Oliver was a great moment, although how Ray's armor fit her is a big question. He's the size of a door, and she's the size of a petite human woman.

Just the whole weeks long plan that Oliver hatched with Malcolm offscreen felt so incredibly contrived and relied on Malcolm correctly predicting almost all of Ra's actions and still didn't work for me. Malcolm getting to be Ra's was a great "twist" (I put it in quotation marks because it was sort of obviously where we were headed) and the idea that Oliver's big plan was to sacrifice himself is just so Oliver but there are still holes in the story big enough to drive a truck through.

I hope next season will be better although it will have to start off with some probably unbelievable reason Oliver and Felicity have to come out of retirement which I'm not looking forward to. Couldn't they have just had them take a few months off and not abscond forever? It would've cut down on a lot of backtracking for next season.

Patrick said...

I too am frustrated at how much slack Oliver & the gang keep giving Merlyn. He's responsible for hundreds of deaths in Starling city, not the least of which are his own son Tommy, Sara, and Oliver's father. Not to mention what he did to Thea. And Oliver not only lets him walk away, but hands him the League Of Assassins? As for Nyssa being there, I can only guess that she's trying to avoid being on the League's hitlist again.

The "My name is Oliver Queen!" moment would have been the standout moment of the episode, if they hadn't put it in every damn promo. Seriously guys, stop giving away all the good stuff.

At least they didn't give away the Speedy reveal, THAT was probably my favorite moment of the episode. I wasn't 100% sure it would happen before the end of the season, but I'm glad it did. And I'm glad Oliver didn't fight with her over her decision to put on the mask & hood.

I was seriously white-knuckling it during that scene with Oliver & Felicity driving off into the sunset. I was terrified that Felicity would end up like Diana Rigg's character in On Her Majesty's Secret Service. :)

For anyone who wants to be spoiled, The CW just released a video preview of the new spinoff, Legends Of Tomorrow. It not only features a couple of familiar faces, but offers some pretty spoilerific clues about how they're around.

All in all, I'm still disappointed with the whole Ra's Al-Ghul arc in general. I didn't like the guy they got to play him, and I didn't like the way they characterized him. And by the end, I didn't just want him defeated, I wanted him to KNOW just how defeated he was. He told Oliver in that fight, even if he dies, he knows Oliver will simply ascend just as he wanted. I wanted him to know as he was dying that it wasn't going to happen, to know that all his plans were ruined.

Anonymous said...

Worst line of the night was from Felicity.

Ray: "THOUSANDS of people will die!"
Felicity: "B-but Oliver!"

J.D. Balthazar said...

Great point Patrick, and I pretty much agree with everything you just mentioned. There was a certain lack of epicness to this season, and after the Slade arc it seems natural to use Ra's Al Ghul. But the build up and character interactions never really worked. It's kind of funny, but half way though this season's arc, I remembered how much I dislike Ra's Al Ghul as a villain.

Sunbunny, you should probably check out the top of the review, I didn't leave out that quote. I agree, that the Oliver/Felicity drive off into the sunset felt oddly hollow, and yes he should've saved his declaration of love and commitment for a more personal setting. I blame all of that on the writers though.

Malcolm. I don't know about the characters, but I've never forgotten what he's done. Numerous times throughout the season they have tried to kill Malcolm, but by the end I think all the characters were sort of begrudgingly accepting of the fact he was useful. I would've loved the whole ascension to Ra's to undercut by Nyssa taking his place in that moment instead of her kneeling. Ah well, maybe we'll get that next season.

Patrick said...

JD, the most encouraging thing about having Nyssa kneeling before Ra's Al-Merlyn is that it means if the show brings Merlyn back in any meaningful way, they have to bring Nyssa back as well. And I REALLY want them to bring Nyssa back. I may not have liked how Ra's was portrayed, but I thought Katrina Law was fantastic as Nyssa(admittedly, part of that is because I just think Katrina Law is fantastic in general). She was strong, she was sexy, she showed vulnerability, and given what will apparently be happening to set up the new spinoff, it would be criminal if we don't see how it affects Nyssa.

I'd also love a return visit from Tatsu at some point, but I have a feeling her story is concluded. Rila Fukushima did a wonderful job playing her, and if they find an organic way to bring her back into the story I would welcome it. But given how we left Tatsu, bringing her in "because of reasons" would do a disservice to her character.

Patrick said...

And yes, Ra's Al-Merlyn is what I intend to call him for the forseeable future. :)

Billie Doux said...

All you guys may have figured out that Merlyn was gunning for Ra's Al-Merlyn, but it was a pleasant surprise for me and it made sense. :) I'm just glad that Ra's Al Ghul is finally gone.

I like Nyssa, too. She should have succeeded her father, the sexist pig.

Elfie said...

I feel like the whole Ra's Al Ghul storyline would have been amazing if they had better casting, better dialogue and better execution in general of the plot line. Oh well. I'm still going to tune in when it's off hiatus, especially because of the Legends of Tomorrow preview that raises a HELL of a lot of questions. The Arrow/Flash writers are on fire, I must say.

I agree! I mean on one hand, Oliver and Felicity are my OTP and I was squealing with happiness that they got to drive off into the sunset together, but it all felt sort of hollow, but that is just the writers' fault, obviously. Plus, a TV show protagonist made the mistake of uttering the words, "I'm happy!" so I'm sure his whole world will come crashing down once more when the show returns, I just hope the new villain is more daunting, and that the next season's more intriguing.

The Flash did seem shoehorned in, but all of his adorable lines made up for it, okay? "You guys have a hot tub?" and "This is like a real dungeon" had me rolling around in laughter, it made me realize how dark The Arrow is compared to The Flash's more fun atmosphere.

Billie Doux said...

I knew that "must be May" comment was somewhere, and I found it!

"The Hellmouth has begun its semi-annual percolation. Usually it blows around May."

Josie Kafka said...

The Damien Darhk plotline felt forced, included only as a set up for season four. JD, that is 100% true. Especially for those of us who don't read the comics, a sudden new character came completely out of the blue.

Billie, I think there's also a moment--perhaps in Season Five--when Buffy says "Dawn's in trouble? Must be Tuesday."

Marianna said...

I completely agree about Ra's presentation being inadequate. Ra's typically talks to everyone like he's their grandfather and is so much wiser than they are because he literally has hundreds of years of experience. I didn't get that at all from this rendition of Ra's so the main thing I got from this episode was thinking "Ra's is dead. Finally." (Hopefully he stays dead.) Ironically the actor who plays Nyssa has been successful at the kind of air of superiority that I wanted from Ra's so I really hope she continues to be a major character next season. FYI, for those who don't know the plotline of Oliver being recruited to replace Ra's and marry his daughter was a play on a Batman story where Ra's tried to recruit Batman to take over the league and marry his daughter Talia, who doesn't seem to exist in this universe, although in that case it was partially because Talia was in love with Batman.

The second thing that I got from this episode was that the writers don't know anything about how inoculations work. =)

Thank you, JD for another great season of reviews!

J.D. Balthazar said...


Thank you for all your comments, they have been thoughtful and made me think about some of those previous episodes again after I read them.

I didn't want to bring up the Batman riff because I didn't want to rag on Arrow, but you are totally right. The show has a serious "I wish I was Batman" vibe. The first season had so many Dark Knight references it was kind of funny. There were rumors that Talia would show up at some point, but I'm glad we got Nyssa too. She's been a good character.

You are totally right about the inoculation thing, I tend to overlook medical stuff in television unless it is a medical show (and even then), but it was the wrong word to use for this particular situation.

I can't wait to hear your thoughts on S4 so far, it is has been different.