Arrow, Season 7, Episode 23, “You Have Saved This City”
This season finale had a sense of ultimate finality normally reserved for series on the renewal bubble –- the writing puts the characters in a soft landing spot with some vague notion of a future that we may or may not see. Here’s everything you need to know about the latest episode of Arrow:
What’s the scoop: This was three episodes in one. First, there was the resolution of the Emiko storyline; then there was wrapping up the future plot, and finally giving Felicity a proper sendoff. Some parts worked better than others, but the show did a good job of creating a frenetic pace as the Teams Arrow of the present and future were intercut, never letting the viewer get too far off the edge of their seats. In the present, pretty much the whole gang gets together to thwart Emiko’s biological warfare plans, while Oliver eventually is able to track her down in the old Queen Consolidated building for a final one-on-one showdown.
On the island of the future: After getting out of the pickle they were in thanks to Connor, the young team members –- Zoe, William, Mia and Connor -– volunteer to enter the lion’s den to upload a virus to take out Archer once and for all. Things don’t go exactly as planned, and Mia has to make what she believes to be a suicide run to blow the Archer control towers and take it all down. Thankfully, William has his sister’s back and gives her enough time to make a “cool people don’t look at explosions” escape.
What about the action: The action here was fast-paced, well-choreographed and on a scale befitting a season finale. The chaotic nature of the fights reminded me of the finale of the Damien Dhark season with its massive street brawl. Truth be told both the present and future stories were resolved fairly quickly. Oliver fought Emiko just enough to defend himself as he tried to lead her from darkness. Emiko was eventually betrayed by the members of The Circle, which allowed Ollie and Emiko to fight side-by-side briefly before Emiko was taken out. More significant was the aftermath, where torches were passed in the present and future. Oliver announces that for the first time since he started this mission he feels the city has been saved and that thanks to his teammates, it will be in good hands as he and Felicity take a step back from the hero life. In the future, it’s much the same with Roy, Dinah, Felicity and Rene taking the blame for the Archer-related terrorist incident, and going on the run so that the four youngsters can take over the family vigilante business.
Sex and the Olicity: Most significant in this episode was Felicity’s departure from the series. Ollie and Felicity go into hiding because The Circle isn’t going to stop chasing them. We are treated to a montage of about 18 months of domestic bliss in the country with baby Mia. Then one day, The Monitor (who you remember from the crossover this year) comes in to collect on the bargain Ollie made to save Supergirl and The Flash. Ollie has to leave his new family to save the multiverse even though it means his doom, much to Felicity’s obviously tearful protestations. Oliver makes Felicity promise to protect William and Mia as long as they need it. Just when it seems like Felicity will not get a happy ending, we flash to the future where Mia, William, and Felicity gather in the Queen family graveyard for some goodbyes. Felicity says Mia and William have the best of their father in them and as long as they have one another, they need no other protection. After a pan to Oliver’s gravestone with a 2019 death year on it, Felicity prepares for her big journey … with The Monitor, to reunite her with her love who has been really been saving the multiverse all this time. And with a flash of light and a step through a wormhole, Felicity Smoak exits the Arrowverse.
Last impressions: With Emily Bett Rickards’ departure, the final 10-episode run was always going to make next season a very different version of Arrow. Given the speeches, the dramatic shutdown of the Arrowlair, torch-passing, goodbyes and some very real tears, it feels like the next round is going to be a completely different series. Even though Oliver said he is going to return to start his mission for The Monitor in Star City, I’m sure that doesn’t involve arms dealers, criminal organizations or secret family members hellbent on revenge. It feels like the final season of Arrow is going to serve as the prologue for the Crisis storyline that is the subject for next year’s crossover, and not have a ton to do with the continuity established in the first seven seasons of the show.
In essence, this was a series finale for Arrow and as such, it stuck the landing a lot better than a lot of other shows have. Emiko stopped being interesting once she made her heel turn, so her getting taken out relatively easily wasn’t bothersome, especially since it gave more time for goodbyes. The writers did a good job of giving everyone a heroic moment and giving Diggle a private opportunity to say his goodbyes to Olicity gave the OTA fans a nice salute. With evil thwarted, the next generation on guard, and knowing the series’ two most beloved characters eventually get their happy ending, Arrow as we know it found the center of the target with its parting shot.