Thursday, May 21, 2015

Arrow Season 3 Finale Recap: My Name Is Oliver Queen

The Arrow Season 3 Finale aired last week, giving the viewers a resolution to the Ra's Al Ghul conflict and the hooded hero we call the Arrow.

My name is Jaime. Three years ago I began this journey of watching Arrow with one goal--to enjoy the show. Now I fulfill my vow to TFI--to bring you this recap of the season finale, complete with gifs, fangirling, and my whispers of snarkiness. To do this, I must begin with something else. I must explain something else.

I must tell you the truth of how I felt when completing this episode and it was slight disappointment. I love this show, I love the characters, and I love the twists and turns of the journey so far. But upon the episode's conclusion I felt conflicted. It wasn't a bad episode at all. It was filled with plenty of action, thrilling moments, even uncertainty. But the ending left me not wanting to desperately know what happens next, not what possibly could happen in season 4 (because there is a season 4) with that conclusion, but instead, I felt... confused. Even betrayed. (Oliver did what???)

As I go through my recap, I will try my best to explain this confusion and hopefully answer questions from the previous episodes and also what is next for Oliver Queen, Starling City, and Arrow.

Photo from the Arrow's Official Facebook Page
We left off the last episode with Oliver and Ra's headed toward Starling City to release the Alpha-Omega virus and the Arrow team stuck in a prison on Nanda Parbat, dying from the same virus. It sounds like a pretty hopeless situation. But have no fear, Underdog is here! Or Oliver has a plan... sort of. 

The awful terror of learning Ra's released the Alpha-Omega virus in the prison cell with the A-team is quickly abated. The virus was released, but the team wakes up to find they've been injected with a cure thanks to Malcolm Merlyn. Of course, nobody trusts Merlyn (and nobody should trust Merlyn). Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome Ray Palmer shines in this scene with this: "Not that I'm complaining, but why aren't we dead?" comment. Ladies and gentlemen, I might just end up liking his character after all (shocking, I know. But he's not pining after Felicity any more and ruining my most favorite ship on TV)

Anyways, the A-team is A-ok except for still being trapped in a prison cell. But have no fear, Underdog is here! Or Barry Allen is here. He zips right in there and easily ties up the guards (of this massive, mercenary fortress with a lot of guards and weapons. What did Ra's take all the good fighters with him?). Then Barry lets everybody out and says adios. There's no good explanation why Barry can't stay to help them nor where this fits in with the Flash show timeline. But details, right? 

Barry, you adorable little you

Before he does leave though, Barry remarks on the most pivotal part of the episode: that Oliver Queen needs his team, despite their bitterness toward him (so get over your pain and mistrust and help that boy out). Tatsu doesn't stick with the group but goes her own way (so no more awesomesauce Katana action. darrn! but she's also not dead, so they could bring her back at any time. :D)

Meanwhile  on the Most Awkward Plane Ride Ever:

Oliver rides with the man who is currently ruining his life and the daughter of said man who is now Oliver's wife to go destroy his home city (that he's spent the last three years protecting) with a deadly virus that ruined his friends' marriage five years earlier (whew! that was a doozy to explain). But have no fear, Underdog is here! Or Oliver is a man with a plan! He's tampered with the engines.

So when the engines start failing, Ra's accuses Nyssa and lunges for her. But Oliver, being the good old husband he is (right?), steps in front of her and declares (in a very deep Batman voice): "My name is Oliver Queen," thus announcing to Ra's he's been faking the whole time. As the plane loses altitude, Ra's, Oliver, and Nyssa duel it out. But Ra's escapes out of the plane and takes the virus with him. Oliver's plan has failed his city. (the horror! the horror!) Oliver and Nyssa land crash the plane.

I see what you did there, you sneaky little writers

By now, the A-team has returned to Starling City (and to the new Arrow cave, Palmer Technologies) to decide what they will do about the virus. But nobody wants to listen to Merlyn's lead (and no one should listen to Merlyn's lead). But have no fear, Underdog is here! Or Oliver and Nyssa arrive.  

After a heated argument between Oliver, Diggle, and Felicity--complete with yelling, frustration, and no sign of trust from either party--it's revealed that Oliver's original plan was not to survive the plane crash, but to die alongside Ra's (this makes one Felicity Smoak pretty upset)

Once the tears have been wiped away and everybody calms down, they learn that the one and only Damian Dark is in Starling City. Dark is Ra's' greatest nemesis. But when Oliver and team tracks down Dark, he's gone. This foils Ra's plans to use the virus to not only destroy Starling City but to kill his greatest foe and it messes up Oliver's plans to use Dark as leverage to get the virus. 

Diggle being Diggle, showing off his Diggle power. 

During this confrontation, Merlyn and Nyssa are totally BA and just do things their own way (like taking out guards and being totally cool) without caring what the A-team thinks. I just, yes. In the words of Malcolm Merlyn: "I approve." 

But Ra's is much smarter and knew what Oliver would do (how? how did he know?) He sends a message to Oliver that reveals the virus will be released using four instruments of death, four vessels of death. Laurel confronts her father, demanding he help them. Despite his bitterness toward Oliver, he does take action to keep the city safe (after a convicting alcohol abuse accusation from Laurel)

SWEET TENDER OLICITY MOMENTS when Oliver reveals why he planned to die in the plane crash and these dreams he has about defeating Ra's (more on that later). Felicity is there to give him a pep talk and it's beautiful. My shipper's heart is full of happiness. 

Right. In. The. Feels.

The team figures out probable locations of the virus leak and send members out to scout the area. Diggle finds the first man--he's running and carrying a briefcase (sounds suspicious). But when Diggle chases him down, gets into a tight spot, and is rescued by Thea--in Roy's red hoodie--they soon discover the briefcase is empty. But the man is the virus. To ensure it's release, Ra's used his own men. They soon learn the virus spreads when infected blood comes in contact with open air. Thus, there's a lot of kick-butt action moments where other A-team members take out men poised to cut their skin to release the virus. It's exciting stuff and not to be missed out. 

Hello, Speedy.

Meanwhile, Ra's sends a message to Oliver to meet him, so he does (stupid, stupid, stupid. Not even with back up). They fight a top a dam and the police are ordered to shoot when they have a clean shot. However, Detective Lance learns about said order and calls Felicity to warn her. Freaking out (as usual, Felicity, I love you still), she begs Rays to help Oliver out. But there's just one problem: Ray can't save Oliver and finish creating the cure at the same time. 

It's Oliver or the city. One life or thousands. 

Oliver does manage to 1-up Ra's and stick him with the very sword Ra's stabbed him with (see the mid-season finale for more grotesque violence). Thus, Oliver kills Ra's and is given rights to be the new Demon Head. However, the police still aim for Oliver and shoot him a couple times in the chest, which sends Oliver over the side of the dam. (Noooooo!!!)


But have no fear, Underdog is here! Or the ATOM is here. But it's not Ray Palmer in the suit. It's Felicity!! (yes! yes! yes! yes!) She saves him from the fall, wearing the ATOM suit. And she's adorable and cute the whole time. (and apparently Oliver is wearing some pretty good League armor so the bullets didn't hurt him at all. Convenient.)

Look at her. Just look at that smile. 

In the flashbacks, we learn that Oliver tortures the military man that released the virus in Hong Kong, which led to Akio's death. Maseo is the one who ends his misery by killing him. However, Maseo and Tatsu part ways over their son's death (Maseo doesn't feel worthy of Tatsu's love, he feels he failed her and his son, and he can't look at her without being reminded of Akio). It's a heart-wrenching moment that cannot be softened by the idea they never came back together. Oliver is now free but he decides he cannot return to Starling City, that there is too much darkness inside of him to return. Instead, he wants to be alone (five bucks says he's returning to the island)

Oh, Ollie. :(

Ray finishes the cure and releases it airborn via his nanobots. Ray has saved this city! Oliver gives a great "Good job, A-team" speech, which reveals his appreciation for everybody. He calls all of them heroes (even Merlyn, apparently). But then he announces that because they are heroes for Starling City, he doesn't need to be a hero and he can't be the Arrow any more. Ra's ruined his reputation as the Arrow and he wants to run away with Felicity instead (In the adapted words of Nick Fury: I think that's a stupid decision, dude)

Diggle still isn't happy with Oliver, but they do talk it out and come to some sort of agreement. Oliver also tells him to wear a mask (basically). Thea and Oliver say goodbye. She asks if she can call herself the Red Arrow, but Oliver says he already told people to call her Speedy. 

(fun fact: Red Arrow is the original comic name of Roy Harper/Arsenal when he joined the Justice League. However, for over fifty years before that Roy was the Green Arrow's sidekick known only as--you guessed it--Speedy.)

Best. Scene. 

When Oliver and Merlyn part ways, he mysteriously hands Merlyn something saying "As we agreed." However, he says he won't forgive Merlyn for what he did to Sarah and Thea (and probably Tommy. Don't forget Tommy.). *cue dark foreboding music*

We learn that what Oliver came Merlyn was the heirloom of Ra's Al Ghul (that point yellow finger thing that looks atrocious and uncomfortable to wear). Merlyn is now in charge of the League Assassins (really, Oliver? When did you think that would be a good idea?). Nyssa, however, declares that even if he's in charge, she still will have justice for Sarah's death (yes! yes! yes!)

Ray Palmer continues to work on his ATOM suit, such as adding miniature functions. In his first test, there's a blinding flash of blue and the top of the Palmer Technologies building explodes. Bye, bye, Ray? (More on this later)

Foreshadowing that Palmer Technologies will be no more?

Oliver and Felicity literally drive away from the sunset in a convertible--just as Oliver saw in one version of his dream. He looks at Felicity and says: "I'm happy." 

Oh, Ollie. :D

Cue Arrow logo. 

The ending didn't feel as foreboding as the first three seasons are. The writers have said season four will take on a lighter tone, more like The Flash. I for one don't know how this will pan out and the grittiness of Starling City and the Arrow might return in season four. However, the ending didn't feel very cliff-hanger-ish like most season finales leading into another season. Yes, Oliver left Starling City--but he's done that before. Yes, Ra's is dead and Merlyn took over, but it doesn't seem like a huge threat right now (especially with Nyssa playing baby-sitter to Merlyn). Plus I've got this theory for the end of the show ever that Oliver will have to finally defeat Merlyn. Everything comes back to him; he was Ollie's first real foe and he'll be Ollie's last. 

I'm curious what direction this show will take. It's definitely going to change after that, and that's where my disappointment lies. This show is supposed to have at least five seasons--one for every year he was gone--but already he's giving up on being the Arrow? He's leaving Starling City? It doesn't make a whole lot of sense and I just hope they don't come up with some lame excuse for him to return and go back to his work. This isn't happily ever after yet, but they left us with nothing to look forward to. Not sure about the rest of you, but I don't think the show will be a hit if we're watching Diggle, Laurel, and Thea run around Starling City. The show is centered around Oliver as the Arrow (hence the title)

I'm also intrigued to see the next year he's on the "island." What did he do after Hong Kong? It's going to be a wild ride still, or at least I'm hoping. 

As for Ray Palmer, have no fear, Underdog is here! Or he's not dead. He didn't die in the explosion. He shrunk really tiny. At least that's what the promo for LEGENDS OF TOMORROW reveals: 

Whether you like Ray or not, or  maybe are like me and have slowly liked his character more as the show went on, he'll be back along with a bunch of other characters from The Flash and Arrow. I think it's going to be exciting and I'm definitely going to watch it. (I mean: Hawkgirl, people, Hawkgirl. And Arthur Darvill as a time-traveler [again]. Annnnd White Canary. Aannnd just yes yes yes)

Photo from the Arrow's Official Facebook Page

What did you think of the Arrow Season 3 Finale? What do you hope is in store for Season 4?

(All gifs are from the CW Arrow's official tumblr


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