Features TV

SEASON FINALE REVIEW: Arrow 2×23 “Unthinkable”

So how about that ending? I mean that definitely changes some things for the series but it was not quite the same as watching the city burn to the ground like last year. This years Arrow finale definitely brought the action and emotion that we expect from a high quality episode but I can’t decide if I am satisfied or confused at how things ended. I mean on a scale of Merlyn to sunshine and rainbows this was clearly on the brighter side of how things could have gone. I mean it is super rare for Ollie to win but this was a full on win for our favorite hero: Slade was captured, Isabel was dispatched, and no one on team Arrow payed the ultimate price. Watching how we got to that ending was nonetheless really satisfying with multiple action beats that really helped to exemplify why Arrow has such a strong amount of action per week. So let’s dive in one more time.

This week’s episode was titled “Unthinkable” but it could have as easily been titled “Hey, It’s every Side Character you Love Sans Barry.” I mean damn: Deadshot, Waller, Lyla, Nyssa, Slade, Shado. This episode literally had everyone and none of them felt like a cheat or dropped in, each one managed to get a quality scene or quip for the most part, and they all managed to build towards a satisfying conclusion. I will say it was a little bizarre that Sara was willing to trade her freedom in order to ensure the safety of the city. I mean after everything that she has done is there a physically possible way that she could go back to being an assassin, that would be dramatic backtracking for a character who has tried so hard to be a good person. Then we have Thea who despite everything we have come to know about her has decided to side with her father and abandon both Roy and Ollie. There were some blatant indicators that she is seemingly being set up to be one of the main bad guys next year and possibly Roy’s greatest enemy.

This week however was all about Ollie and whether or not he could possibly indeed be the hero he is destined to be. Slade for all his darkness and hatred was at one point a good man and possibly Oliver’s best friend and by going through the season and seeing what he became it does represent a possible future Ollie does not want to accept. Seeing Ollie have the strength to do the right thing in comparison to island Ollie who let his rage and fear get the better of him  was a powerful moment even if it was slightly undercut by the fact that the cure somehow managed to work on Slade. The intercutting fights managed to work perfectly and demonstrate not only how brutally powerful a Mirakuru powered Slade was, but also just how well trained and refined Ollie had become in the five years since Slade’s “death.” I especially enjoyed what will presumably be the final scene between Manu Bennett and Stephen Amell as it provided the exact right bookend to their conflict. Slade thought he had made Ollie into a weapon when in fact he turned Ollie into the thing farthest from it. A hero. Both Amell and Bennett brought their A game this week and it showed in every scene, I will definitely be saddened every week we do not get to see Slade next season and it will definitely be a challenge for whomever has to be the big bad next year.

Speaking of possible Big Bad’s, Thea is definitely being set up to be a villain in some capacity as she has not only renounced her name but also her brother, her city, and the boy she supposedly loved. It seems really stupid of Roy to keep a training bow under his bed where Thea could have easily found it, but it turned out Roy’s lies were the final straw to make Thea side with her father. I will say Merlyn did not have to do much to make Thea side with him other than show that He has never lied to her about what his intentions are, and if that is the case I am definitely worried for what will become of Thea. Will she become a hybrid of Merlyn and Isabel, or will she turn out to be an even larger threat to Oliver and her former friends? I am certainly excited to see how far this plot line goes and just how far down the dark rabbit hole Thea will go when season three premiers. Regardless this development has definitely laid some strong ground work for season three when it comes.

It seems the only female characters who remain on the cast for when season three starts are Laurel and Felicity and I honestly have no idea where these characters are going to go. Obviously Laurel’s storyline will depend on the fate of her father who was last seen coughing up blood on the docks. It will be interesting to see how both her and Felicity integrate into team Arrow and if Oliver will allow either of them to train with Diggle in order to be able to better defend themselves from future adversaries. It is especially confusing considering Diggle’s current situation and Felicity’s lack of major growth this season. These characters will need to develop into something greater so as to not stagnate the series and feel extraneous to the plot as is often the case with Laurel who is seemingly an after thought to most stories. I am definitely looking forward to seeing where all of our favorite characters go from here even if it is such a long way away.

Of course all of the action scenes this week were top notch. From the initial clock tower raid, to the battle in the tunnel, to Ollie’s final confrontation with Slade, each scene delivered upon it’s promised tension and drama. The only scene which was kind of a let down was when Isabel was so easily killed by Nyssa. I mean that fight could have been just as cool as Ollie v Slade and it just dissolved into a simple break of the neck, I just wanted so much more out of that one scene in retrospect. In comparison the tunnel brawl free for all (say that five times fast) was amazing as every charter managed to show that they did not need powers to take down Slade’s army at all. This was probably the strongest actin scene since last season’s raid on Bludhaven, and kudos to the team for making it so awesome.

Overall the finale was a very strong episode just not quite the spectacular finale we were expecting. Regardless it is gonna be a long ass wait until season three.

Final Grade B+

+Ollie vs. Slade had a great payoff

+Strong foundation for season 3

+Amazing action on all fronts

+Roy finally back in action


-Some stories ended abruptly

-Sara going back to being an assassin

-Merlyn underused


Extra Thoughts

-That look that Nyssa gave Felicity after the introductions. I know that look, I have done that look.

-Man Roy was badass. I can’t wait to see what he does with actual training.

-At the end Waller abducts Ollie to Hong Kong. Are you telling me no one in Hong Kong recognized Oliver Queen.

About the author

Scott Swartz