While we hate to see Season 3 of Arrow come to an end, this killer finale ironically centers around the show's epic beginnings. Literally.
In case the title, “My name is Oliver Queen,” didn't provide us with enough of a hint, the episode focuses on the well-known opening monologue as a reminder to viewers of where Oliver Queen began his quest and how he his still fighting “to save (his) city.”
Here's a little reference guide in case you need a refresher (it has, after all, changed slightly each season … not to mention several times in the last couple of episodes):
My name is Oliver Queen, after five years in hell, I have come home with only one goal - to save my city. Now others have joined my crusade. To them, I'm Oliver Queen. To the rest of Starling City, I'm someone else. I am something else.And just FYI, this is what it's not:
Nice try, Stephen. Don't worry – you're still super fly, and we still love you.
But moving right along, we see the first glimpse of the show's attempt to “throw it back” when Oliver finally comes clean to Ra's Al Ghul about his role by proclaiming, “My name is Oliver Queen!” He then proceeds to fight off Ra's and his men in a pretty kick-butt action sequence … oh yeah, all while the plane is spiraling out of control. The Arrow writers pretty much cover how incredibly awesome this is in this status:
Even before the end of that first fight sequence, we see another reference after Ra's pleads with Oliver to help him with his mission, to which our favorite hooded vigilante replies, “I already have one.” Boom. (Hint hint: it's to “save the city,” for those of you that still haven't caught on. If that's the case, then seriously, read my above reference guide like 3 or 4 times so you can keep up. Or, if you really want to have some fun, go re-watch all of Season 3. But try not to get too distracted by the workout montages & epic, shirtless fight sequences. I know – they're amazing.)
Then, to make things even more nostalgic, the writer's finally grab my attention with all these flashback sequences by revealing to us where “Season One Oliver” comes from, as evidenced by Oliver's merciless shooting of General Shrieve with a whole bunch of arrows. This foreshadowing – does it count as foreshadowing if it's in a flashback sequence? If a tree falls in the woods … just kidding – really showcased the journey of Oliver as the Arrow for me. I love how it reminds us how Oli used to flat-out kill the bad guys for “failing the city” in season 1; then he backed off almost entirely in season 2 because of Tommy's death, only to reach some sort of middle ground at present. Excellent character development, Arrow writers. Well done.
And then, in case the message wasn't entirely clear, Felicity rounds it out with her very aptly timed delivery of “You had to become someone else … something else.” Niiiice. (I mean, not as epic as the “magic hot tub” line from a few episodes back, but it get's the job done.)
So basically the morale of this finale is that Oliver Queen/Arrow/They-call-me-Tim? will continue to fight bad guys no matter where or who he is, but now he's fully embraced those that want to help along the way, which include our Team Arrow favorites:
Hopefully – I mean, I know he has to get over his teenage-girl-type-angst that he's felt towards Oliver for the past few episodes. We all know what he really wanted to say to Oli at the end of the episode was more along the lines of “Why did you try to replace me with a new best friend?” instead of “How could you trust Malcolm and not me?” Does this sound middle school to anyone else? Come on, John. It's not like he threw away the BFF bracelet you made him. Time to man up and get over it. Your wife and baby are fine. (And side note, are we sensing a Green Lantern type situation coming for John? Oliver did suggest he find an alter ego if he's going to keep crime fighting. Fingers crossed!)
Yes! Felicity finally gets to be happy! With Oliver! So much awesome-ness. And yes, I'm totally “girling out” right now, and I refuse to apologize. Thank you, Arrow writers, for making my dreams a reality. I mean, they drive off into the sun, no less. #sorryimnotsorry #swooning #TeamOlicity
… and there's the Team Arrow initiates …
Oh my gosh – I am so pumped that Thea is officially on the team now. (Not to mention, I'm sure everyone's thrilled that she conveniently restructured Roy's jacket for maximal cleavage exposure.) I literally was yelling in my living room “Speedy! Speedy! Speedy!” when she showed up.
… did I mention that I'm a complete dork? At least I didn't try to name her Red Arrow ...
Ok, Laurel. You didn't totally annoy me this episode; and, as Nyssa points out, you did finally receive some good training. So I will applaud you … for now. As much as I liked the plain ole' Canary, the new and recently-somewhat-improved Black Canary will hopefully continue to grow on me. While I thought the PSA announcement scene between Laurel and her dad was kind of redundant (We get it, you guys are alcoholics and drinking is bad when you're depressed.), I enjoyed watching her stand-up for once instead of complaining. Keep up the hard work, Laurel.
Oh, come on. Just because Tatsu says she wants to go back into hiding doesn't mean she actually will. I just hope she comes back sooner than later.
I don't really know what to say about Ray. He's a swell guy, but we all know he's going to get his own spin-off. So when's that going to happen? I'm not counting him as a for-sure Team Arrow member yet, especially with that whole inconvenient explosion thing …
Speaking of spin-offs, what better way to make a “flashback finale” than by having the Flash save the day? The use of Barry as the savior for Team Arrow back in Nanda Parbat was definitely crossover at its finest. At the very least, we apparently needed Barry to show up if only to remind everyone that Malcolm Merlyn is, indeed, a super villain. He was pretty “quick” to figure him out, don't you think? (Oh, I'm hilarious.)
And speaking of the archer we all love to hate, I am so so so excited that Malcolm is now the head of the League. What better way to replace a pretty awesome villain like Ra's Al Ghul than to put someone who does nothing but scheme and plot to better himself as the leader of a ninja army? I mean, the old Ra's was scary because of his unfeeling and indifferent stoicism towards human life, but Merlyn will hopefully make a great villain because of his all-too-human quest for domination. But it all depends on how Merlyn uses his new title. I am over the moon to find out next season!
So, needless to say, I am in love with this season's finale. It was refreshing to see Arrow return to its roots after the identity crisis Oliver and the team (and frankly, the show itself) faced for the last several episodes. Hopefully that means season 4 will show off everything we know and love from Arrow episodes of the past: some quirky one-liners, excellent action sequences and … shirtless workout montages? Please? (Seriously, if I don't see a Stephen Amell do a chin-up ladder workout soon, I might lose my mind.)
I have to reiterate Oliver's last words of the season as my own thoughts about this episode, “I'm happy.”
So are we, Oli. So are we. Happy summer, everyone! See you back next season!
Margot is a huge supporter of all things relating to "nerd culture," in particular those involving superheroes and Disney. She loves books, movies, music and working out, and currently lives in Athens, GA, with her rabbit, Gigi.