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Raise your hand if you ever imagined an episode of Arrow ending with Oliver and Felicity driving off into the sunset.
Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
You’ll get no complaints from your hosts at the Arrow Squad! Yes, we are back to discuss the season 3 finale of Arrow entitled “My Name is Oliver Queen”, which aired on May 13, 2015. The introspection and the character studies led down a twisty and circuitous path, not unlike our method of discussing the show itself, but ultimately reached a resolution in this emotionally gripping finale. We have some complaints, some nitpicks, but we can help but gush over the story! While we want to see Felicity happy, preferably with Oliver, we are also very satisfied to see the show choose a new and different path for Oliver leading into season 4.
Going into the season finale, one thing I was looking for in particular was a feeling of resolution with the flashbacks. On the podcast I’ve mentioned several times how it’s difficult for me to follow everything that was going on in Hong Kong. I kept feeling like I’d missed explanations for this or that, or I was never properly introduced to a character (and then China White/Chien Na Wei comes into play and I’m like, “Say what?”). So I was looking for purpose and fulfillment in this finale episode, and I think I got it.
A lot of the value in season three’s flashbacks will come during a rewatch, of that I am very certain, but in being able to contrast where Oliver is now versus the man he was when he boarded the ship in Hong Kong, I found a lot of purpose in giving us the flashbacks the way we were. The flashbacks were meant to reveal Oliver’s history with the bioweapon, yes, but even moreso, it was a perfect depiction of why he has the mentality of “going it alone.” He teamed up with Maseo and Tatsu, who lost their son, and then Tatsu lost Maseo to grief (and the League). But Oliver also lost a bit of his humanity, he found darkness inside of himself, and saw that as something he needed to hide from the world. He gets on that ship because he doesn’t want to expose his sister and his mother to the darkness that had found him.
Comparing this to the scene when Oliver reveals to Diggle and Felicity why he chose to confide in Malcolm over them (it’s not about trust, it’s about keeping you safe), was incredibly revelatory. I really appreciated the fact that Oliver did have a plausible explanation for every single one of his actions; the explanations weren’t necessarily correct in their intent, but they certainly explain why Oliver did what he did. And I don’t know if the depth of that understanding would have been as great for me had it not been for the flashbacks. I don’t think I would have bought Oliver’s need to go it alone, only confiding in Malcolm, had we not known what had driven him to that belief in the first place.
Luckily, every single one of Oliver’s identities has been stripped away in this episode. And I say luckily because had he someone to fall back on, he might not have listened to the people closest to him when he finally stops long enough to provide an explanation. If he had the Arrow to fall back on, he can lose himself in that identity again. If he had Oliver Queen (the billionaire playboy, that is), he could fall back into those habits. He wasn’t even Warith Al Ghul anymore. The idea that he was no one allowed truth to be spoken into his life. Felicity tells him that he’s right, that he did need to become someone else, but that he can craft who that person is because he felt who that person could be.
I cannot wait to do a rewatch of this season. It’ll need to be in a couple weeks, maybe a month or three, but I think a rewatch will be very rewarding. For now, I am going to relish in the fact that for once, Oliver Queen is happy.
Question of the Week
(Posed by The Shadow)
What the frack?
The season is over, but that doesn’t mean we want to stop hearing from you! We’d really like to get a Superhero roundtable podcast going with Tony & Joe from Central City Underground (Golden Spiral Media’s podcast on The Flash), and perhaps even revisit the season finale or season three as a whole here this summer. If you’d like to contribute to those discussions, please visit our Feedback page and leave us a voicemail or send us an email! We read and listen to everything and, overall, truly enjoy hearing your reactions, thoughts, and analyses!
Thank you for contributing!
*sob* There is no “Next week on Arrow…” But we WILL BE BACK in two weeks with something very special! Hope to catch you then.