For those that have followed my recap/reviews for The CW’s “Arrow”, it will come as no surprise that I am a fan of the series. More so than being an “Arrow” fan, I am a DC Comics fan and have enjoyed all of their television offerings of late. While I wasn’t watching “Arrow” from season one, I did catch up a few episodes in with season two. “Arrow”, while not always a perfect show, always consistently provides an entertaining hour of television and one that brings to life many of the plots and characters from the DC Universe. Season three explored more of the mystical side of that universe with Ra’s AlGhul’s introduction, the League of Assassins, and the concept of immortality. Tonight’s (13 May 2015) episode – “My Name is Oliver Queen”, the season three finale, gave us a proper conclusion to the story line set in place with season one and enough of a tease that will certainly have me return on Wednesday nights on The CW. For those that were watching, I’m positive you enjoyed the season finale and for those as of yet uninitiated to the world of “Arrow”, now would be the perfect time to catch up on the past seasons. (Seasons One & Two available on Netflix, DVD, and Blu-ray. Season Three available to stream on The CW).
“My Name is Oliver Queen” opens to the League of Assassins on their way to Starling City with the Alpha/Omega bio-weapon. Oliver (Stephen Amell) is on the plane, along with Ra’s Al Ghul (Matt Nable) and Nyssa Al Ghul (Katrina Law). Oliver is asleep and when he wakes up, Ra’s tells him that there are three kinds of dreams – truth, desire, and temptation. Oliver instead tells him that he awoke from a dream about rebirth. While still on board, the plane loses two of its engines and Oliver reveals himself as the saboteur. The League, along with Ra’s, battle Oliver and Nyssa before being stopped by both of them. Ra’s, with the Alpha/Omega, promises that Starling City will perish and dives off the plane. Before the plane could crash, Oliver and Nyssa manage to pilot the craft to safety and make their return to Team Arrow.
Team Arrow are not pleased with Oliver’s return and particularly Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) and John Diggle (David Ramsey) feel betrayed by their friend. While Oliver tells them that his plan was always to defeat the League of Assassins from within, the plan went awry once he failed to kill Ra’s Al Ghul on the plane. This especially hurts Felicity as Oliver’s plan was ultimately to never return to her as he would have died on the plane. They manage to set up an uneasy alliance, one that is still primarily directed by Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman). They devise a plot to find Damien Darhk, the man who Ra’s Al Ghul allowed to live many years ago and in turn stole waters from the Lazarus Pit. They want to trade Darhk for the Alpha/Omega as Ra’s is really on a mission to kill him. Team Arrow arrives too late as Oliver speaks with one of Darhk’s emissary’s, who right before he is shot dead by Ra’s, tells him that Darhk left the city once he learned of the League’s arrival. Keeping good on his promise that Starling City will perish, Ra’s unleashes the Alpha/Omega bio-weapon on Oliver’s city.
Once again, Team Arrow has to save the city, just as they had in the season one and two finales. However, the season three finale doesn’t play out in as big a way as previous years. I’m fine with that as seeing the city in peril is a plot element we’ve already seen many times. In fact, the season three finale of “Arrow” provided more of a sense of closure for many of the characters journeys and arcs which started in season one. “My Name is Oliver Queen” felt more like a series finale of sorts and provided an excellent conclusion to the current story line of Oliver and the League of Assassins after a three-year buildup to that story.
As the team discovers that the League of Assassins are the bio-weapons themselves, Oliver meets with Ra’s at the dam. They fight for the city and ultimately Oliver kills Ra’s. He’s then shot off the dam by the police, but Felicity arrives just in time to catch him as she has suited up in the A.T.O.M. suit. Besides letting Felicity borrow the A.T.O.M. suit, Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh) also develops the cure for the Alpha/Omega virus and uses his nanite tech to cure Starling City. I have to admit that the way Starling City is saved and the bio attack on the city did not carry as much weight as Merlyn’s earthquake device in season one or Deathstroke’s street war at the end of season two. Much of the actual attack and our heroes saving the city takes a back step in the finale as we learn that Oliver will be traveling some place far away from Starling with Felicity. He drives off with her at the very end and the scene plays remarkably like the final scene in “Iron Man 3.” It’s a happy ending that would work if this was the series finale, but we are getting season four. As of right now, it remains to be seen how Oliver will be brought back into the fold as he did leave the city to the rest of the heroes – Black Canary, John Diggle, A.T.O.M., and SPEEDY! Thea Queen (Willa Holland) becomes Speedy in the episode and while she suggests the name “Red Arrow”, Oliver says to stick with “Speedy.” It’s a fun nod to the comic books and Thea’s arc for season three felt like it re-energized her character for the series.
Perhaps the biggest development is that *SPOILER* Malcolm Merlyn becomes the next Ra’s Al Ghul. After Oliver defeats Ra’s at the dam, he hands him a finger ring that symbolizes that he’s the next Demon’s Head. Later on, after Oliver meets with Thea to say his goodbye, he hands Merlyn the ring and we find out about a bargain they made. While both men have worked together for the past year to bring down the League, Oliver does tell Merlyn that he will never forgive him for killing Sara Lance (Caity Lotz). I personally enjoyed the development of Merlyn finally escaping Nyssa’s father’s quest to bring him down as it reminded us of just how manipulative and dangerous Merlyn is himself. We also have a great actor in John Barrowman now occupying the role of Ra’s Al Ghul. Despite having to let go of the definitive Matt Nable as The Demon’s Head performance, Barrowman will surely bring his charm and wit to the character and make it his own.
“My Name is Oliver Queen” provided a satisfying end to season three and delivered on its unexpected twists that fans have come to appreciate about The CW’s “Arrow.” While we still have one more episode left of “The Flash”, our time with Stephen Amell and co. is over for now. Season three may have been one of the most excitingly done of seasons and while the flashbacks ultimately didn’t add to the overall story in as heavy a way as season two did, they were still fun as we did get to understand the relationship between Oliver and Tatsu a.k.a. Katana (Rila Fukushima). As seasons one and two acknowledged the presence of Ra’s Al Ghul and the Legaue of Assassins within the world of “Arrow”, season three delivered on presenting us with a dangerous opponent and shadowy group that felt true to what has already been established within the show while also maintaining its shared DNA with the comic books. I know certain viewers felt that the finale wasn’t as good a pay off as the past two seasons, but as someone who truly has enjoyed every step of this current journey, I can’t complain about how it ended.
For those that are interested in “Arrow”, now really is the perfect time to start watching as the story feels complete in many respects. Maybe a What’cha Reading summertime binge on “Arrow” is in store?
“ARROW” – “My Name is Oliver Queen” aired Wednesday, May 13th. (4 stars.)