The gang’s all here. (L-R): Colton Haynes as Roy Harper, Katie Cassidy as Laurel Lance/Black Siren, Audrey Marie Anderson as Lyla Michaels, Joe Dinicol as Rory Regan/Ragman, Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak, David Ramsey as John Diggle/Spartan, Echo Kellum as Curtis Holt/Mr. Terrific, Rick Gonzalez as Rene Ramirez/Wild Dog, Willa Holland as Thea Queen, and Juliana Harkavy as Dinah Drake/Black Canary.
Photo: Colin Bentley (The CW)

Eight seasons and who knows how many arrowheads later, Oliver Queen has finally saved that damn city. Who would have thought back in 2012, watching that dirty, hairy man run around on an island, that all he needed to do was command some mighty cosmic powers?

Arrow’s series finale, “Fadeout,” had a daunting task. Not only was it meant to close the door on the CW’s flagship superhero show, but it also had to do so after the dramatic end of this year’s crossover, Crisis on Infinite Earths. I’m not sure what the creatives’ thinking was on the timing of this one, but ending a series after your lead character died and you’ve attempted a backdoor pilot for that character’s daughter does not a thrilling finale make.

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If I’m being honest, I got tired of Arrow a long time ago. But every time I said I was going to stop watching, I didn’t. A big part of that was because of work, of course, but also I wanted to see what DC Comics Thing the show might do next. Even those who were dedicated to the 23-episode seasons can admit there were a lot of ups and downs, and last night’s episode did a great job of reminding everyone of that fact. We got flashbacks, baby!

Interspersed between grieving (oh so much grieving) sessions was a combination of actual old footage from years past and newly filmed scenes meant to take place in those earlier days. None of them said all that much—though they did bring us one more fantastic brawl; if there’s one thing on Arrow that was always top-notch, it was the fight choreography—but it allowed star Stephen Amell to actually do something in the episode. Because again, Ollie is dead.

Speaking of the dead, “Fadeout” also contained Avengers: Endgame proportions of character returns. Though it’s never made explicit just how much influence Ollie himself had on the Earth-combining multiverse mumbo-jumbo, all of his favorite people are back from the dead and Star City—and Star City alone—no longer has any crime. It...honestly makes no sense but we’ll roll with it for the sake of a happy ending. Ollie’s mom Moira? He apparently saved her from Deathstroke in this existence (again, makes no sense as a lot of ripple effects would have happened). Tommy Merlyn and Quentin Lance are also alive once more (but we don’t see exactly how that happened), as is Ollie’s sister Emiko—who, if I’m entirely honest, I had already forgotten completely about.

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Which brings me to my next thought, because a lot of people have died on Arrow but not everyone was brought back. Obviously, you wouldn’t have expected Ollie—if he did indeed have control over what happened—to bring back all the villains but as Earth-2 Laurel rightly points out: Why is she here? Quentin tells her it’s because she’s great the way she is and doesn’t need “fixing,” but the real-world answer is, of course, character development. The writers have put in a lot of work evolving this Laurel from a simple baddie to a reformed and genuine hero. That said, the story gives us yet another throwaway excuse when Thea asks Moira why her father wasn’t returned along with all the others. Moira suggests Ollie couldn’t have brought back anyone whose death made him the hero he was which, again, makes no sense and is pretty rude to some other people (RIP Walter).

Diggle isn’t ready to retire.
Photo: Colin Bentley (The CW)
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But hey, wasn’t it nice they brought back Joe Dinicol as Ragman/Rory Regan alllll the way from season five?

Long story short (too late!), we had two different memorial services for Ollie. There was one for the public which also unveiled a swanky new statue of him in his Arrow gear that literally read: “He Saved This City.” The other was just close friends and family and featured additional cameos by Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) and the Flash (Grant Gustin). Also, young William got kidnapped for a bit but that was mostly a waste of time. It did give Roy an extremely inappropriate location to propose to Thea though so...yay?

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As everyone went their separate ways, we finally flashed to the moment in the future where Old Felicity gets escorted to parts unknown by the Monitor to meet up with Oliver. Is it the island? No, thank god. Is it some other sort of soothing paradise? No. It’s...the Queen Consolidated offices and Felicity is young again. It’s meant to be cute, the place where Ollie first saw her, but it just felt so bizarre. Also, I guess she’s just dead now too? They call this space the “afterlife” and mention they’ll have a long time together but I really hope they uh, go somewhere else.

While that was the proper ending of the finale, it wasn’t the highlight of the episode. Not only did John Diggle get his own salmon ladder moment (hell yeah!), he’s on his way to being a superpowered hero. While the moment was something telegraphed on the show for a while, it’s honestly perfect. Diggle seemed the most disappointed to learn there was no more crime to fight in Star City—he’s always been the one to save the day—so when that meteor fell from the sky I was so glad he was about to find a new job. Yes, Diggle finally got that Green Lantern ring.

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It would have been enough of an uplifting moment on its own but when you pair it with the decision he and Lyla made to move to Metropolis, it gets even better. Remember, that Superman and Lois show starring Tyler Hoechlin and Elizabeth Tullochjust got the greenlight and they’re on the same Earth as everyone else now. Is David Ramsey going to team up with the Man of Steel? We don’t have the official word just yet, but something tells me Green means go.

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What did you think of the Arrow series finale?


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Deputy Editor, io9. Loves cats.

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