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REVIEW: Arrow 1×23 “Sacrifice”

Written by Scott Swartz

Well I certainly did not see the season ending like that. I mean, Ollie has suffered, but this was taking it to a whole new extreme as he had a moral victory but lost so much more in return. There were not only great performances and great plot development, but we also got more unexpected turns than you can shake a bow at. Of course, there were going to be big consequences as with any season finale, but this really changes the dynamic of the show in a lot of ways for both the audience and the show’s universe. So let’s dive in once again and to end the season MASSIVE SPOILER ALERT.

 

So yeah Malcolm as a bad guy was amazing and seeing that his entire, well-crafted plan began to come unhinged made me very happy. John Barrowman did a fantastic job of portraying a man who was truly at the end of his rope and losing control, especially in his scenes with Colin Donnell where he ranted that The Glades did not deserve to exist. I have always liked Barrowman as an actor but that was A+ work right there and I could not have wanted any more from such a terrific villain. Even in the moments when Malcolm had lost it, you could not help but respect the fact that in his mind, he was the hero of the story. The reveal of the second device was a nice touch as even in death Malcolm beat Ollie and “saved the city” by leveling The Glades. I am truly going to miss Barrowman in this universe and I hope that they manage to find some way to weave him in with flashbacks as the series goes on.

The episode basically sent a lot of false flags about who would die and with the episode being titled “Sacrifice” you knew it had to be someone. Thankfully the title had a double meaning as many of the characters sacrificed something for the ones they loved:  Detective Lance sacrificed his job, Moira her freedom, Thea her safety. Each one was powerful in itself, but all together they provided some much needed character development for who I consider to be the weakest characters of the show. I really appreciated Moira’s confession to the media as she finally proved that her love for her family was more powerful than her fear of Malcolm. It also sparked Malcolm completely losing his cool, which made him all the more dangerous.

Meanwhile on the island Ollie, Slade, and Shado went toe to toe with Fryers and his men in their attempt to save the Ferris airplane. Slade earned his nickname of The Terminator by gunning down some of Fryers’ fodder while Shado and Ollie worked on disarming the missile launcher. The action sequence had multiple moving parts and I enjoyed how each one of Ollie’s island heroes was given one big moment. It added to the idea that Ollie did not just come into his skills and that he was trained by some of the best. Of course, the big moment came after Fryers and Slade, who both miraculously survived taking a missile to the base, showed up fine. Of course, Fryers was holding Shado as a hostage and Island Ollie did what we have been waiting all season for him to do: kill Fryers with an arrow. Ollie gave up the idea of getting off the island for the time being and now is ready to become the man we know in the present.

Back in the city, we had some great action scenes including the final fight between Ollie and Malcolm, as well as Roy’s quick fight. Both were very well choreographed and Malcolm was super well equipped for the fight, by not only using his bow but also swords and knives. Malcolm might have been able to give Slade a run for his money in the weapons department. I would have to say the scene where Malcolm took down the cops might have been my favorite fight of the night as it showed his brutal efficiency even without a bow in his hand.

Unfortunately the sacrifice of the episode was one of my favorite characters, Tommy Merlyn. Tommy took some rebar to the chest after his noble sacrifice to save a pinned Laurel, and to make matters worse, Ollie had to watch his friend die. I have a feeling Ollie is going to be incredibly scarred by this night for a long time as he failed the city and his friend. Donnell brought his A game, much like Barrowman, and it was great to see him go out with a what was arguably his best performance of the entire season as each scene he was in became 100 times better with his presence. It is hard to argue that Donnell was not the standout of this season and it feels like such a shame that we lost him so early on in the series. Much like Barrowman, I hope we can get some flashbacks with Tommy as he was surprisingly under developed for a large part of the season.

So where does this leave us? The Glades are in ruins, Tommy and Malcolm are dead, Moira is gonna stand trial, and Ollie is clearly broken and has “Failed the city”. Not exactly a happy uplifting season ender now is it? If I did not know any better, I would say I just watched a Supernatural season finale. So now begins the hellatus, we will keep you updated on what is happening with Season Two.

If you are looking for more reviews, I am going to begin reviewing Smallville from beginning to end in our new “Summer Reruns” column. So stay on the lookout and I’ll see you later!

 

Extra Thoughts

-Roy is developing his hero sense nicely as he went to rescue a bus full of people.

-So if Yao Fei’s bow is Ollie’s new bow, where did he get the one he has been using all season? I sense a flashback coming.

-Seriously, Stephen Amell, just run the Ninja Warrior course already. We know you can conquer Mt. Midoriyama buddy.

-Ollie used a trick arrow on Malcolm. FINALLY.

 

Final Grade: A

 

+RIP Tommy and Malcolm Merlyn

+The fights were top notch

+Lived up to the title of “Sacrifice”

+Surprising ending I did not see coming

About the author

Scott Swartz