“Arrow” Finale: Of Heroes and Villains

The season finale is here! Will Malcolm’s evil scheme succeed? Will all of Team Arrow survive? Will Roy take off his shirt?

Well…. So, season one of Arrow has ended, bringing with it shocks and twists and turns and, for this recapper, about two liters of tears.

We have lots to cover, so let’s start with Magical Ninja Island. When last we left our trio of Super Friends, they had been caught by the nasty little jerk Fyers who then proceeded to murder Yao Fei in front of them.

Oliver finally saws through his bonds, after like hours of working on it. Then he leaps into action with a moderate amount of competence. He stabs (and presumably kills) one of the cronies and then frees Shado and the ass-kicking gets underway.

After some fisticuffs, the missile launcher is seized and the endangered airliner is saved. How? I have no idea and if I try to figure it out I think my brain might explode. This show gets a little fuzzy on details sometimes. Anyway, the missile changes course and heads straight for Magical Ninja Island.


The camp goes up in a fireball. Oliver goes running through the wreckage looking for the rest of the Super Friends. Slade survived, making some snarky comment to Oliver and promising celebratory snuggles.

Shado also survived, and because she’s female she naturally gets to be the hostage. Seriously, show, Shado is no one’s helpless prisoner, especially not Fyers’. But we had to have this moment because this was the very first time Oliver kills someone with a bow. How appropriate that it’s Fyers who gets to be his first.

Now we move back to the modern day. Previously, Oliver confronted Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) about how he failed Starling City. Malcolm responded with a total kicking of Oliver’s ass.

So, this is where we pick up…


I may or may not have that picture as my desktop background.

This is a rare case where the villain not killing the hero makes sense. Malcolm is still trying to keep his promise to not hurt Moira’s family. So he’s basically giving Oliver a time-out while he completes his Evil Master Plan.

Of course, Oliver escapes. But even better, Diggs arrives a second later. Oliver had the foresight to put a tracker in his boot. I think this is like microchipping a beloved pet in case they end up lost.

They let Felicity know of the jailbreak, who is pleased. She’s then taken into custody by Detestable Detective Lance, who inexplicably has managed to pin all of her hacking activities on her. I am not really on board with this plot point. It makes no sense at all. I mean, the inestimable Felicity Smoak having her computer kung fu tracked back to her by a computer tech at the local cop shop?

Happily it gets aborted by a call from The Hood. Oliver rings up his frenemy to let Lance know about the imminent destruction of the Glades. He more or less begs Lance to get people out of the danger zone. The scene ends with a wonderful little plea from Felicity that actually seems to put a dent in Lance’s bitterness.

Tommy is also bitter. He shows up at the club and confronts Oliver about his former friend’s violation of the bro code. That is to say, Oliver’s nailing of Laurel. Oliver doesn’t really defend his failure to acknowledge bros before hos. He instead tries to distract Tommy by letting him know his daddy is a big ol’ crazy person.

Tommy responds saying, “I wish you had died on that island.”


Lance shocks me to my core by believing The Hood. He even confesses to his boss that he’s covertly been in contact with the vigilante. His boss is unamused. He demands Lance’s shield. Really? This costs him his badge? All of his screw-ups and misuses of police resources and this gets him canned?


Oliver goes to his mom and begs her to help him stop Malcolm. She insists there is no stopping what is going to happen and that she just wants to keep her family safe. Oliver takes that moment to tell her how Robert really died. Then he tells her he is going to stop the Undertaking, no matter the cost.

I just love the scenes between Moira and Oliver. They play so well off each other.

Laurel stops by to chat about how he wasn’t there after they made the beast with two backs. She wants to know if Oliver is running away from her again. He gives her a truly epic speech about how she is the only person in his life that has always seen the man he truly was.

And then he goes off to save the city.

Tommy goes to his father, completely distraught that Laurel (who he broke up with) flew into Oliver’s arms. Then he tells his dad that Oliver has this nutty idea about how Malcolm wants to nuke the Glades.

Malcolm confesses to Tommy that Oliver is right. He plays the recording of Rebecca’s final voicemail for Tommy and explains that her death justifies the mass slaughter of everyone in the Glades. This is the pivotal moment for Tommy. Will he be swayed by his father’s grief and rage or will he hold to that pure heart we’ve seen him show us before?

Team Arrow has worked out the location of the Markov device. And they’ve tracked down Malcolm. And then they get interrupted by a surprise news conference from Moira. She admits to her complicity in the Undertaking and tells people in the Glades to run for their lives and reveals that Malcolm Merlyn is behind it all.

Malcolm reacts badly. But Tommy, he rewards our love and our faith by turning on his father and showing his disgust at what Malcolm has become. Though it’s not spoken, I think this is the moment when he understands the difference between Oliver’s form of crazy and what his father suffers from.

The cops show up to arrest Malcolm, but he kills them with a sword, because swords are cool. Tommy tries to stop him, which is so brave and noble and I love him, even if he has no chance in the world and gets beaten down for it.

Team Arrow huddles and figures out their plan. They throw out Oliver’s idea of him confronting Malcolm alone, since that plan has a 100%  failure rate. Digg insists he’s going along. That means Felicity has to be in charge of shutting the device down. And she won’t hear any arguments on the matter, because she is Felicity Smoak and she defines awesome.

That means they’ll need an extra pair of hands. Who ya gonna call? Well, personally, my call would be the bomb squad, the National Guard or Meryl Streep. Oh, you know she could totally dismantle a complicated doomsday device. She can do anything.

Well, Oliver calls Lance. Because when you need awesome and absolutely everyone else is busy and you have no other options, you call Detestable Detective Lance. Oliver tells him Felicity will walk him through disarming the thing.

Bad Boy Roy is about to run for his life when he sees some guy getting mugged by a trio of reprobates. And he asks himself, “What would that sexy, masculine, heroic, noble vigilante do?” And he rushes in to save the guy.

He takes out two goons and then is faced with a pistol. Just as things look their worst, Thea brains the last bad guy with a bottle. No one messes with her gay best friend. Roy makes a passing comment about her aim.

Is this just a nod to her connection to the comics Speedy or is it a hint of things to come?

Oliver and Digg show up at Merlyn’s office and see the carnage. While Digg has a look around, Oliver checks on Tommy. He’s just fine, if a little horrified by what he has learned about his father. He asks, so very softly that it breaks the heart, if Oliver is going to kill his dad. The plea for mercy in his eyes is never spoken, though.

Digg finds Malcolm’s man cave and he and Oliver enter to have it out with the deliciously evil psycho. Even double-teaming Malcolm, they are barely able to match the man’s skills. I just love that Malcolm really is a villain to be feared. It really ramps up the excitement.

Digg takes a knife to the shoulder, which brings it down to just Oliver and Merlyn. As we bite our nails on that confrontation, Felicity instructs Lance on how to disarm the Markov device. Now, I know I am a picker of nits, but the drama of this whole scene is totally compromised by the fact that they are treating the Markov device like a bomb when it’s actually a piece of hardware. A bomb you have to treat carefully or it’ll blow. This? Yanks some cables, fire a clip into it, that should do the trick.

But that doesn’t happen. Lance follows Felicity’s instructions, but they set off a failsafe which causes the timer to cut off five minutes. Woops. Lance decides he’s doomed and calls Laurel to tell her to get the hell out of the place he told her to not go to in the first place.

And here at last we get an example of Paul Blackthorne’s acting chops. I have always liked this actor, so I knew he could do better with better material. His confession to Laurel of his failings really did tug the heartstrings. I totally fell for it, expecting him to die. I tip my hat to you, show.

Malcolm and Oliver have their epic showdown and once more, it looks like Malcolm will win. He makes one critical mistake—he tells Oliver that Moira and Thea will be next. Oliver grabs an arrow and stabs him and then decks him. Yay! Victory!

Felicity finds a way to shut down the device. Double victory! The heroes win! Good triumphs!

Or, well, not.

Because Malcolm really is the greatest villain in the history of ever, he had two devices built. The other one goes off, taking a large section of the Glades with it.

Seriously,  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a villain this smart before.

Oliver watches helplessly as whole neighborhoods collapse. The Arrow Cave shakes, with Felicity in it. Laurel’s office rumbles. Everyone seems to be in jeopardy. At this point, anything could happen.

Laurel ends up caught under a fallen beam. You know who rescues her? Tommy! I swear, I let out such a whoop of delight. This guy, this ordinary, average (okay, billionaire) guy rushes to Laurel’s aid because he loves her. And because he loves her, he lifts a slab of concrete that he couldn’t possibly lift.

I just loved that the writers let him be the hero. I loved that he showed that he really was a good person.

So, when the building collapsed on him, I was numb with horror. Was Tommy going to wind up paralyzed? Would he be whisked away to Nanda Parbat for mystical healing? What was to become of this wonderful man?

Oliver rushes into the building and finds him under some rubble. And we think it’s all fine. Laurel was under rubble just minutes ago. Tommy will be fine. And then Oliver moves a slab aside and we see the rebar sticking up from Tommy’s chest in a place way too close to his noble heart for him to survive.

He apologizes to Oliver for being jealous and angry. He asks if Oliver killed his dad and when Oliver says no, he thanks him.

And then he dies.

I did not see this coming at all. I am shocked even as I am crying like a tween girl at a One Direction concert.

Oliver sobs and begs Tommy to open his eyes and then says that it should have been him.

And this is where we leave it. The Glades in ruins. Tommy, dying a hero’s death. Malcolm wounded but not dead. Moira heading to jail.

I think I need a few months off just to recover. What did you all think?

And a big thank you all who commented in these recaps. See you all for season 2!