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There are spoilers in this review. Duh.

Now that’s more like it! This was a good solid episode all around. There were some great emotional beats, strong acting from everyone, and the plot was pushed forward in what felt like an organic way. Obviously it was anything but organic, considering we knew it was inevitable that Oliver would give in to Ra’s. This seemed like the best way to let Oliver join the dark side with it seeming like there’s no other option. What this means going forward is something I’m genuinely interested in, so it’s possible they can salvage the end of the season, even if it’s been rocky otherwise. Oliver cannot go backward now. Previously on Arrow, Ra’s told Oliver he wanted him to take over the league as his heir. Oliver said no thank you, so Ra’s made everyone think the Arrow was a murderer again. Roy took the blame for the Arrow and faked his death. Ra’s then killed Thea at the end of last episode.

It’s hard to see Oliver suffer yet again, since Thea is the last person left in his family. I have to hand it to Stephen Amell who really exceeds expectations as far as acting goes. He’s an attractive man and a great action star, but that doesn’t always mean he has the subtle acting chops this sort of role needs. He does a great job. Your heart really does break for him as he despairs for Thea, and he is determined to do whatever possible to get his sister back. This leads him to the Lazarus Pit and Ra’s al Ghul. Despite the fact that Malcolm warns him Thea will not be the same, he’s not in a place where he can accept all of his family being gone. In the end, Diggle and Felicity go with him and support his choice, even if they don’t agree with him. I do appreciate that he allows them to go; not that he could stop them, but it’s important that Oliver accepts the people who love him now. He wouldn’t have been able to do that in season one. It’s hard for him to let people be there for him, but in this case, he clearly needs it. Thea is put in the Lazarus Pit and comes back to life. She’s clearly unstable and can’t remember her brother, although she remembers Malcolm, which was curious to me. Still, the deed is done. This is their last night, and Oliver’s starting his new life the next day. It’s a good thing that Ray broke up with Felicity right before they left, right? Because he’s going off to a different show (yessss). It did seem a little rushed, but they wanted to get it done quickly. See you later, Ray. Felicity and Ra’s have a rather interesting conversation where he tells her that he used to have a family, but he had to leave them in order to save them. Is this Talia? Is the woman in the episode, the priestess, Talia? I just want Talia to show up, guys!

arrow-olicityFelicity decides to embrace the intensity of the situation and tells Oliver she loves him. The two finally consummate their relationship, and Olicity shippers everywhere cheered as one. Myself included, I’m not going to lie. I am a huge fan of natural chemistry, and this is a prime example of an unexpected pairing that came about entirely because of natural chemistry. I’d much rather shows go with what feels right than what they think they need to plot out. In any case, she drugs him (LOL) afterward so they can try to escape with the unconscious Oliver. It’s a terrible idea, but it’s also a great one, because it means they’re not willing to just give him up without a fight. Team Arrow fights, it’s what they do. Even Malcolm Merlyn and Maseo join them, but there’s no real point. Oliver sends them off with emotional and sincere farewells. He has this calm sort of acceptance which I dig. It’s interesting to see where Oliver is going. He can’t go back to being the Arrow, and he’s always had trouble understanding who the real Oliver Queen is. It’s funny they’re doing this storyline, considering it really is just Bruce Wayne’s story. They can’t have the actual Batman (Gotham doesn’t even have that), so this is as close as we’re going to get. There is a sense of closure from his last scenes with Team Arrow here, and then with him suiting up as a member of the League. I was so sure Ra’s was going to make him kill Maseo for trying to help him escape. I’m sure killing is going to come up quickly, since it’s basically a requirement for the league of ASSASSINS.

The only disappointment for me was that Thea seems to be okay now? I think that’ll change. They purposely mentioned she wouldn’t be the same, so it seems unlikely that she just had some memory loss and now she’s herself again. I wonder if we’re about to see her descend into darkness and what that will mean for Team Arrow. Or maybe she’ll join the group full time, that would be fun! I hope they don’t drop her storyline. This is the first episode in awhile that left me excited to see what’s coming ahead. This season has been overall a disappointment, but Arrow’s managed two very good finales so far, and I’m going to cross my fingers for this one. I think there will be at least one more crossover with The Flash. Could the show temporarily not have Oliver Queen while he rearranges the League? I was hoping that would happen after he died. This show always does better when it allows the emotional storylines to shine, because these are decent actors who have created strong relationships. Here’s hoping those terrible flashbacks will eventually matter to the plot, though.

 

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