As strange as this sounds, I’m glad they killed off the title character before the final episode of Arrow.
One would normally expect such a thing to take place very close to the end of the big finale. And make no mistake, Oliver Queen’s death was probably the most sacrificial that we will ever see in a superhero show, as this episode revealed. But as it occurred (twice) during the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossovers, that allowed this episode to show the rest of the characters dealing with his death, gathering for a memorial, and providing far more closure than often takes place.
It helped that Arrow has been using flashback sequences as part of its style, so we still got to see Oliver Queen in action, in scenes taking place very early in his career, when Diggle was trying to convince him that he could just capture the people on his father’s list, rather than kill them all. It was a tad bizarre that the person Oliver was going after was named John Byrne, a prominent writer and artist for comics, though not someone really associated with the character. Mike Grell would have been the more appropriate choice, in my view.
I did have a couple of problems with the episode, I will admit. It contradicted the previous episode, when it comes to Dinah Drake. Last week we were told that after Crisis she woke up in the future, but here we see her back in the present. And Diggle’s final scene completely confused me, as a green glow brings kryptonite to mind, although apparently that was not at all what was intended.
But there was so much else to love in this one that I really wasn’t much bothered by those things.
Felicity’s return had been announced, so I was expecting that, but I was not prepared for the returns of so many other characters from the last eight years. And some of these were characters I really never expected to see again, a result of Oliver’s desire to fix his city in this new universe. Yes, that’s a vague sentence, but I’m avoiding giving too much away.
While I will admit that this episode would be tedious for anyone who had never watched the series before, I cannot fathom why anyone would begin watching a show with the last episode, so I don’t think that matters at all. This was intended as a treat for those who had been with Arrow from the start, and it certainly delivered on those terms.
To be honest, Arrow was never my favourite of the DC/CW shows. But it was the progenitor of the vast television universe that has grown to include the Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, Black Lightning, and Batwoman, with more to follow. It merited a great send off. And it got it.