TV Review: Arrow - Season 3 Finale "My Name Is Oliver Queen"
Join us each week as we review the latest episode of ARROW. Warning: the following review contains major spoilers for the newest episode of the show.
Episode 23: "My Name Is Oliver Queen"
Synopsis: Everyone's lives are in danger as Ra's al Ghul puts forth his final plan. Oliver/Al Sah-him must decide if he's strong enough to take on this new role and what it will mean for everyone on Team Arrow, and his soul.
In Starling City: As Oliver, R'as, and Nyssa take a jet to deliver the Omega Virus upon Starling City, the team awakens in the dungeons of Nanda Parbat to learn that Malcolm Merlyn helped Oliver innoculate them with his blood to protect them from the virus. Still not trusting Oliver or Merlyn, the team is surprised to find Barry Allen rescue them. The Flash tells them all he has to get back to deal with Harrison Wells but implores them to trust in Oliver. Aboard R'as' plane, the engines fail. R'as assumes it was Nyssa, but Oliver reveals he never took up the position of heir to R'as. A fight ensues with R'as escaping via the last parachute on board, leaving Nyssa and Oliver on the crashing plane. They crash land it, barely making it out alive.
Back in Starling, the team is ordered by Malcolm Merlyn to begin the plan: Ray needs to build a cure for the virus, Laurel needs to get her father and the police mobilized, and Felicity needs to find R'as. Oliver and Nyssa drop in and Diggle promptly slugs Oliver. He tells Diggle and Felicity he had to trust Merlyn to get into R'as' good graces to discover his plan for Starling City. He then planned to die in the plane crash with R'as and the virus. Diggle and Felicity have lost trust in their former friend but agree to work with him to find and stop R'as.
Searching for where R'as could be hiding in Starling, Felicity discovers the entire top floor of the Essex Building is reserved by Damian Dark. Oliver realizes R'as was planning to kill his nemesis with the virus. So, Oliver decides they need to get to Dark first so they can trade him for the virus. They infliltrate the hotel and find Dark's employee who says his boss left the city as soon as he learned of R'as' plan. His phone rings and an arrow strikes him through the window. On the phone, R'as informs Oliver he has released the virus by means of four vessels and that he will watch Starling perish.
Laurel tries to war her father but he is reluctant. She smells booze on his breath and chastises him for falling off the wagon. She implores him to quit drinking and help save the city. Felicity and Ray deduce a way to innoculate Starling's citizens from the virus and trigger a satellite to find the trace signature of the Omega. Oliver and Felicity share a moment where he divulges he cannot beat R'as. But, Felicity says he is no longer Oliver or the Arrow but has become something else, something better, and he can stop R'as Al Ghul. The team converge on the four locations found by Felicity and Captain Lance sends out his officers as well.
At one location, Oliver is met by an Assassin who says R'as demands his presence to watch the city die. Diggle spots a man with a briefcase and chases him down. Getting knocked down, Diggle is about to be shit when three arrows get the assassin. We then see Thea in Roy's Arsenal gear, ready to become Speedy. The briefcase ends up being empty and the Assassin slits his own throat, a human bio-weapon. Felicity and Ray work on making the nanotech airborne to disperse the cure for Omega while everyone else tries to clear the public as people begin to be infected. Malcolm and Laurel manage to take two Assassins down and secure them where they cannot expose their blood to the public.
Oliver and R'as fight atop the Starling dam as Captain Lance looks on. The SWAT team is ordered to take the men out and refuse to stand down when Lance orders them. As R'as gets the upper hand and prepares to kill Oliver, Lance calls Felicity to try and save him. Felicity begs Ray to take A.T.O.M. to save Oliver but he is not done programming the nanotech and says saving the city outweighs saving Oliver. As R'as speaks final words to Oliver, Oliver takes his sword and stabs him, reciting a prayer as he kills R'as and takes his place. As R'as hands his ring, he tells Oliver he knew he chose well and dies. At that moment, three sniper shots hit Oliver in the chest, sending him over the damn only to be saved by Felicity in the A.T.O.M. suit at the last moment.
Nyssa tends to Oliver's wounds as a news report says the contagion is contained. Despite wanting to be the one to kill her father, Nyssa understands why Oliver had to do it. He thanks everyone and says the city needs heroes like them. He also says he is done being the Arrow and wants to be with Felicity. Despite saying Starling is in good hands, Diggle gets up and abruptly leaves. Felicity says goodbye to Ray while Oliver implores Diggle to reconsider being a hero. Diggle says he will think about it and will ponder a costume for himself.
Malcolm arrives at Thea's apartment to see Oliver and to say goodbye. Thea is not sorry to see him go but does acknowledge he made good on his promise to teach her to be strong. Oliver tells Thea to be safe on the streets. She asks what he thinks of calling her Red Arrow but he says he already told everyone to call her Speedy. Oliver then hands something to Malcolm Merlyn as they had agreed. Malcolm says he always thought of Oliver as a son but Oliver says he can never forgive him for what he did to Sara or Thea. Malcolm asks if they are once more enemies and Oliver says it depends on what he does next.
At Palmer Technologies, Ray prepares to test his new miniaturization nanotech for his A.T.O.M. suit but when he triggers it, an explosion decimates the entire floor of the building. In Nanda Parbat, we see Oliver had handed Malcolm R'as' ring, making him the new leader of the League of Assassins. On a technicality, since R'as tortured Merlyn but let him live, he is worthy of the title. Nyssa vows vengeance for Sara but Malcolm demands she kneel before him.
As we see the evidence from the Arrow Cave locked away in an evidence room, marked closed, we hear Oliver on voice over say he is becoming something else. We see Felicity and Oliver driving down a coastline.Oliver says he is happy and they head off into the sunset.
Flashbacks: In Hong Kong, Tatsu and Maseo mourn their son, Akio, who just died in their arms from the Omega Virus. Shell-shocked, Oliver attacks the General and shoots his men with arrows, allowing the trio to escape. Akio is cremated and Tatsu is given three urns. She gives one to Oliver insisting he was Akio's friend. An angry Oliver returns to the shackled General and begins torturing him with arrows. Later, Tatsu and Maseo find Oliver with the General's body riddled with arrows and a bloodied Oliver holding a hammer. Tatsu is shocked but Oliver says the General failed the city and this was justice. Maseo finds the General is barely alive and then shoots him, ending his life.
As Maseo walks away, Tatsu begs him to stay. But, Maseo feels broken for failing to save his son and cannot stand to be a failure in the eyes of his wife. He says he cannot be the monster Oliver became and walks away where Tatsu cannot follow. As Tatsu prepares to return to her childhood home, she asks Oliver where he plans to go. He says after torturing General Shreve, he cannot go back to Starling because he is not the man his father thinks he is and that he needs to be alone. He then boards a ship, The Triton's Daughter, headed for Coast City.
Review: I have been wondering if this season of Arrow was leading somewhere. After a great first year and a stellar second run, the third season felt incredibly uneven. With several start and stop episodes, the majority of the second half of the season was focused on Oliver's plan to fight and then replace R'as Al Ghul. Poorly executed for the last half dozen episodes, this finale was one of the best hours of the entire series. Action packed and full of great story conclusions, it also sets up a lot for future seasons. Merlyn is now R'as? Wow, that is cool and I didn't quite see it coming. Ray is now setup for DC's Legends of Tomorrow series, Thea is now Red Arrow/Speedy, and the shitty Hong Kong flashbacks are finally over. The flashbacks felt completely wasted and did nothing to really further Oliver's backstory outside of this final episode, but where he goes next both in flashback and current time is a mystery. In a way, this could have been a series finale and I would have been okay with it. What comes next feels completely open and that is okay, too.
Episode Final Verdict:
Season 3 Verdict:
Next on ARROW: See you next season!