Arrow Episode 23 ‘My Name Is Oliver Queen’… (woohoo!)

DOCTOR WHO Christmas InvasionIn the season 3 finale Oliver turns the tables on Ra’s al Ghul to prevent him from releasing the virus upon Starling City. It turns out that Ra’s’ motives for destroying the city were not inspired by ceremonies of initiation for Oliver–but a strike against a rogue league member and his nemesis, Damien Dark. Oliver and the Arrow gang race to save the city–but who will save Oliver?

Season 3 has been a low period for the show, but the last couple of episodes have managed to deliver the enjoyment of the first two seasons–albeit with the unavoidable flaws presented by the story arcs this season has had.

The opening scenes of the Flash racing around Nanda Parbat taking out the league were great fun and gave the episode an instant lift within it’s opening moments, bringing much needed lightness of The Flash to Arrow with the ‘you guys have a hot tub.’ Cool. And Felicity giving his identity away was a lol moment. Although Flash coming to the rescue did make me wonder why Oliver didn’t just get Barry to take out the league before… It was of no surprise to anyone that the Arrow team weren’t all killed in the infected chamber. However, Merlyn surreptitiously touching everyone to inoculate them… Well, that’s one flashback I do want to see for it’s comedy value. Made me think of ‘The Naked Gun’ scene where Frank Drebbin is ‘subtly’ frisking the baseball players for weapons. The quick resolve just screamed dodgy serial cliffhanger to me. Ooh danger. Oh, no danger…

The next moment of awesome was Oliver suddenly turning on Ra’s in the plane with ‘My name is Oliver Queen!’ (woohoo!). That was a geekbump moment for sure. The fight on the plane, with Nyssa fighting alongside Oliver, was nicely done, as was the plane crash. With all the work of maneuvering Oliver into position within the league it is a shame they didn’t make more of this storyline perhaps ending season 3 on a bleak note with Oliver seemingly lost to us within the league. Even though I’m actually keen for things to get back to season 1 and 2 normal. It’s also a shame that Oliver’s plan seems a little dumb when there could be other workarounds that could have achieved the same outcomes. The Flash would’ve made quite a difference to the gang’s attack of Nanda Parbat, and despite their dubious motives, even ARGUS and the suicide squad could’ve supported them. Much safer to attack Nanda Parbat and risk the virus being released there than in waiting to make a move on the virus when it’s over a freaking city of people…

The way of delivering the virus to the city was a nice twist, and I liked the way it split the hero players up into teams to resolve it. Looks like Lance is back on board the team Arrow bus again. Yay! Damien Dark seems to be as tricksy as Ra’s though, and is all set up as the next big bad for season 4. The final fight between Ra’s and Arrow was pretty cool. Although never trust a man to be dead if he gets stabbed and falls off something (mid-season finale survival by willpower, anyone?!) but I’m cool with returning villains. It was then that the episode delivered another moment of awesome–Felicity. In. The. Atom. Suit. So very cool. If anything deserved a geek happy clap it was that. And Felicity was smiling and not in default sulk and cry mode that she’s been in for season 3.

Then I was angry. Merlyn was rewarded for his part in the plans to bring down Ra’s and received the league finger-bob of power. WTF?! I’m glad Oliver stressed that he’ll never forgive Merlyn for killing Sarah… But, well don’t. Stick more arrows in him. Double-cross Merlyn as he would anyone else. I love Barrowman and I don’t want him to leave the show, and from what I’ve heard I don’t think the show producers want him to go either, but this season they could’ve made Merlyn a dark ally with the whole Ra’s plot. If Ra’s had been the one to manipulate the confrontation between Ra’s and Oliver, Ra’s using Thea could’ve been a way to team Merlyn up with the Arrow gang in a way that was believable and understandable for everyone. Yeah, the whole destroying the Glades thing would’ve sat between them all, especially with Laurel and Roy, but that would’ve been some great character defining and bonding for the two who had lost the most in the undertaking. Now Merlyn has an army… Nice one Oliver. It’s lucky he’s pretty, because a tactician he is not.

So, the end to an uneven series, some neglected characters and some out of character writing, and some brave but curious directions. I have to admit, I came close to thinking about giving this show a miss, but plenty of series’ have their off moments, and I love this show’s potential to be so many different things through the variety of characters it can draw from. It’s spun off ‘The Flash’ and now ‘The Legends of Tomorrow’, which is only going to make the Arrow world that much more enjoyable. This may have been a low for the show, but it is not a time to give up on it. Especially as it had a happy ending.

I give it five episodes into season 4 before the unhappy returns and Olicity is over.

And now the wait…

What have you thought of this series? Love to hear your take on it.

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