Arrow Season 1 Finale Review: The Tragedies of Men

Arrow S01E23: "Sacrifice"

If last week's penultimate episode was Arrow showing that it could actually do a zippy caper of the week, then the finale demonstrated that the show could—finally—embrace its melodramatic tendencies, with generally delightful and heartstring-tugging results. It was a good time to do that, too, since the action stuff, while fine, didn't feel as tight or as fun as it did in last week's outing.

What do I mean? Laurel and Oliver's epic, lens flare-tastic kiss. Malcolm playing Rebecca's voicemail for Tommy. John Barrowman deciding that Arrow's scenery tastes AH-mazing. Moira's ridiculous press-conference admission and arrest. Thea and Roy's epic, power-blowing kiss. Quentin's last-minute phone call to Laurel. Felicity choking back tears as the Arrowcave shook around her. Tommy saving Laurel but getting trapped himself. TOMMY DYING IN OLIVER'S ARMS.

All of the feels. Just. All of them. (Except for the kissy parts, but good grief, after a full season, we all know how I feel about both of the corresponding plots, so why beat those dead horses?)

The big event of the episode was, of course, Tommy's death (didn't you love how they kept switching out who could possibly die in the episode?). Save for the dynamics of Team Arrow, those between Oliver and Tommy were Arrow's strongest and generally most consistent interpersonal facet of the season. They were bolstered by the easy chemistry between Stephen Amell and Colin Donnell, neither of whom any problem conveying feelings of brotherly love, devotion, and then betrayal and regret. In terms of the narrative arc, the show exploited comic fans' knowledge with regard to the name Merlyn, but also any regular media consumer's knowledge with regard to how these sorts of plots tend to play out—especially if said consumers also enjoyed something like Smallville.

The delight in it was that the arc also subverted the expectations of both sets of viewers. Malcolm's arrival on the scene as the Dark Archer put Tommy's development into question for comic-book fans—would he assume the mantle upon his father's inevitable death?—while other viewers were likewise kept guessing because they may not have known much about Green Arrow mythology, unlike the exploration of Clark and Lex's relationship in Smallville. We knew that Lex Luthor was going to become evil because he was Lex friggin' Luthor, but Merlyn isn't as culturally pervasive as Superman's bald baddie.

So the series worked hard to show a dense and complicated friendship between these two men, men who had known each other all their lives, men who, despite having a five-year gap in their relationship, managed to generally fall back into rhythms that they once knew. They had just changed, too, Oliver on his five-year sojourn and Tommy realizing he was ready to grow up because of Laurel. Indeed, the same way Oliver credited Laurel with always seeing the person he was meant to be underneath all the playboy shenanigans, Tommy would likely say the exact same thing about her with regard to himself.

It's why the sense of betrayal in that love triangle—as generally unengaging as that plot was—was so profound for Tommy. He had lost the attention of the woman who had made him want to improve himself and to the person who was the one loyal and meaningful relationship in his life, no less. We've enjoyed and joked about the bromance between Oliver and Diggle, but through the lens of superhero melodrama, Oliver and Tommy's relationship showcased what happens when the struggles in secret identities and a mission come in conflict with a long personal history, and not just a burgeoning partnership.

All of this is why Tommy's death scene landed so well. It was genuinely emotional and touching, a culmination of both his and Oliver's relationship not only in the season, but also within the show's narrative universe. Had Diggle died instead, while I would've broken all the things, it might not have had the same weight as Tommy's death. I can't think of a more obvious sign of just how much these two meant to each other than Oliver lying about allowing Malcolm to live, and giving his best friend a last bit of comfort.

Through this emphasis on the bonds among men, Arrow's first season became something of an exploration of masculinity.* Unlike the unnecessarily murky justice-versus-revenge talk, the struggles of almost all of the show's male characters to reassert their value both to others and to themselves after a severe trauma was never directly addressed within the show, allowing it to perhaps avoid the same fate as the justice/revenge silliness. Oliver wanted to follow the wishes of his father to make up for his past; Diggle wanted to avenge his brother's death to prove his worth to Carly; Tommy wanted to become a better man because he loves Laurel; Quentin gave up on being a good man after the death of a daughter and the departure of his wife, and tried to compensate by becoming an obsessed cop; Malcolm wanted to avenge his wife's death that he credits to his failure to act like a husband; Roy realized he wanted to protect people after the Savior abducted him.

*Of course, it's a heteronormative, cisgendered masculinity, so it's hardly representative. Sure, we can read homosexual undertones into certain things, but the show ultimately reaffirms the standard norms of masculinity. It's like many, many actions movies, but especially those buddy cop ones from the 1980s. Think Lethal Weapon.

It's obviously not the most original approach to dealing with men who do extraordinary things, but it's such a concentrated, pulpy example that I wonder why in the world I didn't pick up on it too much until now. I'd love to hear what you all think about this in the comments.


From a more evaluative standpoint, not everything in the finale grabbed me. The three-way battle of Oliver and Diggle versus Malcolm was an edited into oblivion, much like some of the battle on the island in the flashbacks (Slade's rifle had magic bullets, I think). Quentin cutting wires and dealing with a big digital countdown clock of the earthquake-causing device felt like an action-plot checkbox, but I did enjoy that the show found a way to give Quentin something to do, and to move his character forward, hopefully, next season.

The island stuff was, frankly, anticlimactic. I know it was supposed to be a big moment, Oliver grabbing that bow and killing Fyers, but it just didn't ring any of my bells. With Fyers and the mercenaries eradicated, I am interested to see what will happen for the trio now, especially in regards to their survival. Of course, Fyers' employer is still out there, somewhere, probably furious that China's economy wasn't destabilized.

Going into next season, I'm all for Team Arrow working together more in the field, but also Diggle and Oliver dealing with that Deadshot situation. As we've discussed in the comments once or twice, I wouldn't mind mini-arcs in Season 2, sort like how comics sometimes structure stories (Part 1 of 4!). But a new Big Bad wouldn't be horrible either, depending on the Big Bad. Then there's the matter of Moira being in arrested. I have no idea how that's going to play out, though I suspect we're likely to see Oliver step up at Queen Consolidated, maybe relocate the Arrow Cave. 

Ultimately, though, with the Glades demolished and Tommy dead, I'm very eager to see what it all means for Oliver and his standing as the Hood. He's obviously not giving it up—there'd be no show otherwise—but what are his priorities now? What will motivate him to continue shooting arrows into people? Will that attitude change to a slightly less lethal one? Will he become the hero that Felicity suggested he was to Quentin?



FROM THE QUIVER

– I know we needed to move the episode along, but couldn't we have kept Oliver in chains a little while longer? And maybe another bucket of water? I'm just sayin'.

– Welcome back, Joanna! So glad you managed to stop by to... run out of CNRI during a manufactured earthquake. And without an explanation as to why you were back. See you next season! Maybe?

– This week's Arrow digital comic focused on Malcolm, and it didn't illuminate much. He had been the Dark Archer for while, including initially going around the Glades disrupting crimes while trying to find his wife's killer. Unsurprisingly, the Nanda Parbat stuff was pretty vague, but considering how this episode played out, that's probably for the best.

– I know we may've all rolled our eyes at the blatant in-episode "don't text and drive" PSA between Thea and Roy, and then we likely rolled them even more when they did an actual PSA during the commercial break, but seriously, folks: Safety first.

– I want to take a moment and thank all of you for reading and commenting on these reviews all season. It's been a real pleasure discussing the show with you all, and I hope that I'll see you for Season 2 in the fall!


What'd you think of "Sacrifice" and the season as a whole? What do you hope to see in Season 2?

Comments (242)
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PISS OFF LAUREL. like, why didn't she die? i definitely preferred tommy as a character. that really hurt me. she's so whiny. everytime she speaks i want to yell at the screen. there is no character development at all with laurel whereas with tommy! oh tommy, how i miss you already.
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I am very angry at Laurel too. Oliver asked her to stay away of the Glades. Moira tells the truth to everybody. Quentin begs her to RUN. And she stays there to be trapped and in need of rescue. And Tommy dies because of that. That is not what Laurel Lance should be. This is a stupid damsel in distress. I am so angry.
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Damsel in distress? She RISKED HER OWN LIFE to go to the firm and get all the paperwork and case files that they use to help poor people fight injustice! She was as much a hero as anyone in this episode.
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I don't buy it. There are copies of the things, you know, and judges and jurys will understand not having paper copies of something that was in a building that was destroyed. In the building they should have been many, many more papers. Risking the life for saving a few papers is the kind of idiotic things that make female characters, putting a lot of other lives in danger.
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HEY! Did you hear that Summer Glau will join "Arrow" Season 2 as "Isabel Rochev" ???
That sounds great!
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K it took me bloody ages to finally watch the last 4 eps of Arrow (another case of real life interrupting my entertainment)

First reactions: WOW! Really nice performance from Mr. Amell. Plus the fights with Merlyn Sr. (a.k.a. Capt. Jack!) were awesome... maybe we should congratulate the stunt guys here... wonder who they are!

And... we got rid of superfluous characters (adieu Tommy: you were so cute, especially when you pouted!)

Still, it was a bit soppy... or soap-y, right? Lots of tears and "heart-felt" confessions & stuff. Maybe they thought they might not get another year and decided to close some story arcs in a hurry?

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I just marathoned the whole season over the past week, and I love this show!

The finale was spectacular. Several things took me by surprise, which is great: First, Moira's press conference confession. I have really come to feel for that character, and that was such a brave thing to do. There being two devices - and therefore (part) of the earthquake going off - surprised me, too, in a good way. I liked that Quentin got to be a bit of a hero, but it seemed momentarily anticlimatic when he disabled the device.

And of course, Tommy's death! Totally took me by surprise, and yet, looking back over the season, it made a lot of sense for his arc. And for his future, because unless they went the route of making Tommy a villain, then there wasn't too much more you could do with him, unless you they just rehashed the love triangle over and over (which was already getting kind of old). Doing him as a villain could work, although it's a little too Spiderman for me, in how it's been done before. So as upsetting as his death was (and it so was! Donnel and Amell nailed it! I was in tears), I kind of hope they don't try to bring him back, because it just worked so well.

Plus, his death definitely throws a wrench in Oliver and Laurel's relationship. I know people feel like they killed him so those two can be together, but neither of them are going to want that now, at least not for a little while. I'm sort of torn about the Oliver/Laurel romance. I do like Laurel, I like the character and the actress. I was often bored with her, though, because her storylines often had little to do with the Green Arrow stuff. In fact, I liked her best in the episodes where she worked with Oliver-as-the-vigilante. And I definitely don't think the show has sold us to well on Oliver and Laurel, unfortunately.

Buuuut, I'm not opposed to them as a couple. I just need to see more between them before I can really buy it, I think. And while I don't necessarily need Laurel to find out about Oliver being the Hood anytime soon, I do wish they could find a way to pull her into those storylines, more.

I'm also torn about whether or not I would be interested in seeing Felicity and Oliver as a couple. I'm a little afraid that could totally ruin the great dynamic between them, but she is the one woman on the show that he has GREAT chemistry with. I really love the two of them and definitely want to see more of them, as friends, if nothing else.

I'm interested to see where Season 2 picks up, time-wise: if it begins right after the finale's end, with Tommy's death and the Glades' (half) destruction still playing out, or if some time has passed since then. The one thing that was a little odd was that they never showed where Roy ended up; the last we saw of him, he was going to help people, I think, but we didn't actually see it. I guess we didn't really need to. I really love Roy (and Colton Haynes - miss him on Teen Wolf, but he's even better on Arrow). I'm really interested to see him become Oliver's sidekick next season. I hope they really take their time on that development and play it out well.

I'm also excited to see what new villains we have to contend with. I know a lot of people are hoping Malcolm is still alive, but as awesome as John Barrowman was, I'm good with him being done. We still have Deadshot and Deathstroke, and probably a host of other potential villains (I'm not really familiar with the comics, so I don't who, specifically). I just feel like the Merlins' plot is done, and to bring either of them back right away would cheapen this ending, and draw it out unnecessarily. Maybe we could bring one (or both) of them back a few seasons down the line (assuming the show makes it that long - I'm reasonably hopeful it will).

Anyhow, a great season ending to a great new show. Glad I decided to pick it up!
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Am saving the last 4 eps of Arrow for the middle of the summer when there is nothing much to see but old reruns of classic series and scary (as in atrociously bad) new shows... will come back then and post... see yah!
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The only thing I thought when Tommy was dying, was: Please, take Laurel with ya!
I'd have prefered Laurel dead. She's so getting on my nerves.
If the Arrow, by all means, needs a love interest, then give him Felicity! She is SMOAKING hot! And intelligent und knows Oliver's secret. They're perfecet for each other.
Oliver doesn't need this whiner for a companion. For heaven's sake! He shagged her sister and lied to Laurel's face about it and he's responsible for her death. And then Laurel slept with his best friend, who now is dead.
That relationship is a trainwreck. Make amends and stay friends. I can't take her teary eyes anymore. Laurel is constantly reminding me of an abused Cocker Spaniel.

The finale was great although I'll miss the Dark Archer. John Barrowman was a formidable oponent. He won't be easy to replace. Or will he come back?
Thea and Roy might become Speedy I and Speedy II... Don't know if Arrow really needs them. His cave might be getting too crowded.
What will become of Moira. I liked her a lot. Hopefully, she won't rot in prison.
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At the end when Tommy was dying... Oliver and Tommy were making amends and saying goodbye. Oliver is crying and says "Oh my God"....what did he mean. AND did Malcolm die?
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Oliver said "Open your eyes, Tommy. Open your eyes." And Malcolm looked pretty dead to me.
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what a great finale! Supernatural and Arrow blew away my expectations for their final episodes... I'm somehow tremendously satisfied now :))
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This finale was craaaazy! Arrow really stepped up over the second half of the season. Felicity is fantastic and I look forward to seeing a hell of a lot more of her next season. This whole episode seemed like an intense action movie, from the timer ticking down, to the arrow v dark archer fight, to thea and roy's movie moment kiss under sparks flying down on them...then of course to the actual earth shattering explosion that flattened the glades and then Tommy's death!!! I've never felt strongly towards Tommy as a character however his death in Oliver's arms was absolutely heart wrenching. A perfect season finale to the CW's best new drama!
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I really enjoyed this finale, it really tugged at the heartstrings. The action was pretty good too. I look forward to next season.
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I want to see the Russian mob stuff come back (at least, I think it was something like that). I think that would make a good angle for the island scenes for next season. Also, I want to see them fully embrace the concept of this now half destroyed city. Of course putting Moira to public trial will be the first step in that area, but I would like to see it further developed inside the actual destroyed part of the city, especially when it comes to relief efforts and displaced people.
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Great finale to a really nice first season. This is most likely the best show on the CW in ages! Can't wait for season two...and more!
Can't believe Tommy had to die aswell...that was a total twist! His character had so much potential to evolve into something both good and bad...wish the father/son dynamic was to be explored in the second season instead of killing of both characters...oh well...
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Nooooo! They killed Tommy!
AND John Barrowman!
*sniffles*
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I loved the finale. What a great wrap up of the big story lines of the season. And while I agree with most of the things you have said, I don't agree on the scene where Oliver shot Fyers. This felt like an important step for him to become Green Arrow.

The problem I see them having for season 2 is what you also said, essentialy all the big baddies are gone. So they will need to find a great setup for season 2 to keep things interesting as the resolution to the minor cliffhangers won't carry the show too far.

But it will be very interesting to see where the characters go from here. My guesses are: Oliver will disappear from the building before any rescuer enters it, protecting his identity from Quentin and Laurel. For now. But this potentially COULD go the other way with Laurel and Quentin learning his identity. Roy will probably join Team Arrow somewhere in season 2. Moira... oh well I really have no clue how that will play out. Quentin is going to be very interesting going forward. He knows that Felicity is connected to the Hood. But will he even continue to go after him? I can actually imagine him joining Team Arrow after this finale. Maybe not as a full member but somehow like Comissioner Gordon in the Dark Knight-movies. I would also like to see more of Felicity getting a more meaningful story.
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all of us, we were expecting another episode or two as the finale, but we shall see in the nxt coming weeks
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i'll just post the same here as i did with your other comment, don't know why you needed to make two.

wtf are you on about. this is season finale. look up the word finale..... it's ok, we'll all wait here for you..... back? good. now you can understand how silly your comment was.
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my question is, will there be episode 24 anythime soon? cos from where i see it, it seems like everybody that has been failing the city is out of the game
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wtf are you on about. this is season finale. look up the word finale..... it's ok, we'll all wait here for you..... back? good. now you can understand how silly your comment was.
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Aw!! Captain Jack can't die! It was a surprising plot twist to have both Malcolm and Tommy die. I did think that it was not very realistic considering how smart Malcolm is to let Arrow live at all. It also did not make sense why when arrow can touch the ground, he chooses to keep his knees bent and add a few inches to the arms. You'd think the feet would have been attached to chains too and of course Diggle to the rescue just in the nick of time. With all those guards you'd think he'd have had more trouble getting in quietly. There was definitely a lot of tension and urgency in this episode and one that I will rewind and watch more than a few times. I do think that Roy will join team arrow and clean up his act. Felicity is just awesome! Is there anything she can't do except maybe say the right thing. Thea will have to do some growing up too, maybe Walter might come back to help the kids out since Moira is in jail. It will be interesting to see how the characters develop next year and if the lady in the high heels is revealed.
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THAT ENDING WAS AMAZING!!!
Holly everything! They brought in some Grey's Anatomy writers for this, and they earned every penny. The whole episode was great, and the last 8 minutes or so, killed me!
(Any of you looking to watch this w friends, don't, you will cry in front of them)
So Thea (& maybe Roy, but probably not) lives are in the air, and it's seems to be up to the fans to decide what happens to them.


K so,
- Malcolm IS dead right? That arrow seemed a little fatal.
- Is Grandpa OK?
- Everything was so intense, I forgot about Oliver for a while.
- Everyone else that was in on the plan to blow up the Glades is now dead?
- Srsly, why were Malcolm & Oliver fighting? I mean, it was really awesome, but Malcolm drew Oliver into the fight, so clearly he didn't have the trigger on him to blow the place up. Were they both just literally trying to kill each other b/c they knew each others ID?
- I NEVER Liked Tommy till right now!
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Not because of their identities I hope. :-) Oliver had to take Malcolm down as the cops hadn't done such a splendid job in his office. If blowing up a big chunk of the city qualifies as "failing the city" then he's earned an arrow with his name on it I'd say.
Malcolm meanwhile had taken out Oliver twice, both he and Oliver knew he was better (and flashbacks suggest he had a God complex ego which fits with his choosing who deserves to live or die) I guess he wanted a good vantage point to watch his handiwork and in his defense he did just about choke Oliver out but for the lucky arrow and still destroyed a chunk of Gotham ...errr... Glades!
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agree with Great finale, and as for the whole season, this could very easily been a dog crap poorly done series but I am glad they tried to do it right(Smallville lasted 10 seasons they know this can do well if done right) hoping they continue doing it right and keep the quality up
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Ok, Tommy die.. but why not Laurel ???!!! Falicity, I hope you are ok ! You rock !
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Luv Laurel =P ... No Offence!
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not offended ! :)
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loved the finale and season but did anyone notice this that Arrow and Supernatural had the same episode title "SACRIFICE' now I know that it is common with all the shows in history but the same network and nite
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Very entertaining. Looks as if they are setting up Thea to be Speedy and Roy to be Arsenal. One DC nod you didn't mention-- Moira's middle/maiden name 'Dearden' was referencing Mia Dearden the last Speedy. If Fyers' boss ends up being Talia Head, the Lazarus Pits may come into play, allowing either or both Merlyns to return. Still murky plotline is how Oliver joined the Russian mafia while stuck on the island...
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pretty sure the lazarus pits won't make and appearance in arrow. there are no supernatural elements to the universe.
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Yeah I'm also still wondering how he'd qualified for Bratva membership and held the rank of captain despite being American.
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That artificial Earthquaker, is running on power? Yes, then why not just pull the power cord. Not like it has an extra Duracell power supply..... Just my 5 cents
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How on earth could they do flashbacks to Malcolm's training? He has not been a main character (although a very influential one) and tv shows don't have enough time for such exploration. Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles made a fatal mistake by spending time going into Sarah's mental state, which left not enough time to tell the main story (and may have led to the show getting cancelled).
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I love the Dark Archer and John Barrowman does him full justice. I'd certainly like to see more of him next season
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Me too. He's one of the few reasons I watch this show. That and the fact they were on an island! (Lost vibes)
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If only they could find something to do with Laurel (Katie Kassidy was way cooler in Supernatural imo)
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Not to mention Steven Amell's total hotness ~ although I prefer John Barrowman, I find him sexier. I like the show regardless though, as a fan of the comic books it's a pretty decent effort
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I liked his maniacal smile when he pulled off his mask after the first defeat of the vigilante.
GA "What do you want?"
DA "What every archer wants... to know who's better!"
Pure crazy villain gold. :-)
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It's weird but I am more interested in what happens on the island than what is going on in the present time. I mean what happened to Slade and Shado?? Are they in the comics by the way??

Great Reviews Noel, see you next season
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2 mins to detonation/ activation of earth quake machine.. decides to take a 3- 4 minute phone call to his daughter to say good bye baby i love you...be good don't be alone...and then felicity has the solution for that device...

roy and thea have the impending doom looming in seconds stranded, stuck trapped people to help, and they stand there making out for a minute or 2...

tommy somehow gets impailed on a metal spike/tube where as laurel in the exact same room only gets knocked around...

despite the devestation feliicty some how seems unaffected in verdant club basement...
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As a few others mentioned, I wondered why the device was just smashed up and knocked over.... it wasn't a bomb.

Good episode, and I liked the season finale ending. Malcolm has to be dead though. It would be ridiculous to bring him back - Oliver and Diggie must know if someones dead or not.

I think Malcolm (as much as John Barrowman did a brilliant job) is not needed. There are other villians, and Slade will be there somewhere (in the present).

Tommy was the right character to kill, because he knew Arrow's identity, and we needed that love triangle to end.
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Generally good review but you forgot one thing. We don't know what happened to Thea & Roy do we? (okay I don't think they're dead & Roy has to become Speedy but still) Also are we sure that Malcom is dead? I mean this is comic book world after all.

I also thought that that Moira's press conference was silly, but I liked her getting arrested. Also I liked the Quentin trying to stop the machine scene, his calling his daughter (Paul Blackthorne is awesome) & I think next season he will deal with the realization that the vigilante is actually a hero.

About the island stuff, what if Fyer's boss was Malcom? Also Slade is freaking Crixus he can do no wrong (grrr)

I also loved the who will actually die tango they danced in the whole ep, I thought it would be Diggle & I too would of broken things around me. Yes I agree John Barrowman chewed all the scenery around him (I absolutely love my Captain Jack Harkness)

Yes I too cried for Tommy. Next season ramifications of this ep, Deadshot & how Roy becomes Speedy
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Great finale! I won't get into a deep analysis of the episode, I just want to say that I really enjoyed watching it. Some of the episodes -towards the middle of the season- were lame and boring. I think a 13 episode format would have suited the show better. But the last episodes were good. I liked seeing Diggle and Oliver fighting together and Felicity and Quentin trying to stop the device. Tommy and Moira tried to help too. They avoided the cliché of the almighty hero saving everyone by himself coz the fate of the world depends on him. The other characters weren't mere victims of what was going to happen, they took actions and played their part in the final outcome. At the end it feels like they've all acted like heroes. And Tommy saving Laurel before dying in Oliver's arm was a great moment - even if I liked the character. Hope he won't return as a villain who wants to kill Oliver for lying to him on his last breath!
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I'm just glad Felicity isn't dead.
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Amen, Brother! She is sooooooo HOT!!
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"...unlike the exploration of Clark and Lex's relationship in Smallville. We knew that Lex Luthor was going to become evil because he was Lex friggin' Luthor". But Just like Smallville, if you find out the secret identy of our titular hero...your days are numbered ;)

While obviously not on par with the Luthors, I thought the Merlyns would cover multi-season of being the big bads. Malcolm trying to recruit Tommy. Tommy struggling between loyalty and betrayal of both Oliver and his father. But 42 minutes after discovering Oliver was The Hood, Malcolm is sleeping with the fishes. It was nice to see Tommy discover the circle of morality that is being the vigilante, but in the end, he knew and wasn't a part of team arrow, so that means you gotta go...he's like Pete from Smallville, only with a MUCH better exit.

I really hoped Laurel hadn't given Oliver the "are you running away, again?" speech. Take that away and Tommy's death sets up her taking a little break to sort out her feelings and guilt. During which time, Oliver and Felicity can have the fling writers have been teasing us with, realize they're better as friends, pull the Olivaurel train out of the station. Though I didn't think they'd kill off both Merlyns either, so maybe there's still hope.

I've still got little use for Roy at this point. Let the hood be the hood for a while. He doesn't need a sidekick right now. Let him establish some legit street cred as a good guy which would only further validate Roy's hero worship. If you want to give Oliver a sidekick, make it Quentin and let the hilarity ensure.

Golf clap applause for the finale and season as a whole. Nicely done.
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Not sure about an exploration of masculinity as in those 80s movies (big fan) I see all the characters reaching for purpose and meaning post trauma. Even Laurel is committed to improving the city, I considered early Thea as a reminder of the other characters prior self-indulgement before the Queen's Gambit incident. The check boxes were definitely ticked but so much of it hit my satisfaction button;
Escaping in chains with Diggle just in the nick of time.
Everyone knowing Malcolm is stronger than Oliver and perhaps Diggle and Oliver but for one of the many stray arrows. :-)
Malcolm unrepentant and insane before Tommy.
Moira's conscience leading her to confess to "Failing the city" not vigilante forced!
Quentin's bitter admission of priorities where the law comes second, especially to saving people [Felicity inspired perhaps].
Roy's almost blood debt penance to vigilante inspired heroism held above Thea's love for him.
Fryers offering Oliver a long desired escape and Oliver choosing justice/revenge and exile with a single arrow.
Quentin's phone goodbye to Laurel.
Tommy's rescue despite unrequited love, admission of jealousy and death.
Destruction of half the glades, failure in the face of complete sacrifice.
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I don't think there's a question of a season villain because Malcolm isn't dead, and if anything his hatred and lust for revenge will only be intensified now that he has lost his son. He will most likely be Oliver's arch enemy now, considering him responsible for his son's death. They're going a different direction than the comic books with this one, but it's a good choice given the predictability of the original story (and as pointed out in the review, its similarity to Superman and the Luthors).

Roy will probably be Speedy in this version, which is fine by me, he suits the part perfectly. And we'll probably see more of Felicity and the three of them working as a team. All in all, great season finale and I'm loving the direction the show is taking, it gets better with each episode. Respecting the comics but also scoring some points for originality.

What they could work on is the romantic scenes and dialogues, that always seem a little too stiff and prepared.
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Yeah, I think Malcolm isn't dead too. Also in the similarity of Superman & Luthor, Luthor was even more dangerous when he knew who Superman was.
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JOB WELL DONE! loved it!!
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Did anybody else go "Aww, crap!" when Laurel showed up at Oliver's house just as he was heading out?

Really, what are they gonna do about her? I know they'll break up at the beginning of season two, with all of Laurel's guilt, but as an audience, we're supposed to actually *want* the candy they keep hiding behind their backs. Oliver and Laurel are truly the candy corn of relationships. Or maybe she's just candy corn enough for two people. Candy corn...honestly.

Wasn't that bad, comparatively. I didn't think it would compare to last week, and it didn't, but it shouldn't really have disappointed anyone overall if they've been paying attention the entire season.

Except maybe for Tommy dying. I thought it was really stupid that he had to stand there for so long holding that slab after Laurel got out. Seemed like the Three-minute rule. It would've made all the difference to me if he'd had a moment to set it down, and then got smashed trying to run out. Anyway, once it was done, it really was a champion moment with him and Oliver.

But likely a huge waste of a rival, unless someone puts him on Soap Opera Character Revival Therapy for some ridiculous reason (Only Tommy's mind knows Merlyn's passwords to his laundered billions, etc.). I didn't like Colin to be the vs.-guy for Amell, but he slowly sold it for me, and now, he's (logically) gone. Bigger waste to me than Yao Fei.

So, the island...happened. I kept thinking, "Kill Fyers for once! This is as bad as Revolution!" Then he killed Fyers, and it felt so...Laurel. I'd rather they let him escape if that was all they were gonna do with him.

Joanna's back!! Heh...k. Minority..Revolving Door...Trick? (I don't think that one's gonna catch on.) It was basically "Hmm, Quentin's black partner for a second, or Laurel's black partner for a second?" *Hand-weighing gestures* Soo...she's back, until they have to start paying for special guest stars again, I dunno.

Moira didn't get Walter killed, so I'll chalk up her silliness this week in the 'Win' column. She'll probably get released somehow. I can't see Walter running the company, unless the Queens lose everything. That would actually be interesting.

Heh..Thea.

Disappointing that they didn't show who owned the legs of Fyers's boss from last week. Since it's next season, it can now be anybody again, and I don't see why they bothered at all last week.

I thought the fights with Oliver and Merlyn were alright, but what bothered me was how Dr. Evil Merlyn was leaving Oliver's feet unchained and his body unwatched as he walked away, assuming it all went according to plan. I half-expected Diggle to complain about getting past all the sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads. It was also a twist of masochistic genius to tell The Hood--through his mother--that he upped the timetable of The Glades to give him a sporting chance to save the day. Anyway, I'm truly gonna miss Barrowman, but it would be silly to have him back, especially if Tommy's really dead.

Felicity was woefully underutilized this episode, but mostly because she didn't single-handedly stop both devices, ordering a plane ticket to Gonesville for Laurel, while patching up Diggle, after taking out Merlyn with a drone strike powered by Windows 8 and Google Maps. I can only hope they learn from these unforgiveable mistakes and give my girl the leet skills she was destined to have.

So 'cisgendered.' Basically an art-show-that-serves-gross-and-shiny-cheeses-on-tiny-rice-cakes word for 'predictable.' Are any of their roles actually surprising? They're essentially the same everywhere, from Person of Interest to TVD to SoA to GoT to Hart of Dixie (yeah, I watch it. It's not that bad.) If the men weren't doing the same heroic junk for the same heroic reasons (90% of the time, the love of a good woman...who's always wise, strong, independent, never makes ridiculous decisions and hardly ever needs weekly rescuing), a good portion of the audience wouldn't be watching. Cisgendered is basically the Ice Cream in 31 Flavors. (I'm a gummi bears man, myself, which happens to work with some ice cream flavors.)

I'll probably be back for next season, but I hope I can shake this one off, honestly. I think I enjoyed approximately five episodes so far. It's nice having shows I can watch while cooking or while reading e-books (if I didn't, I'd hardly watch anything), but I'm actually starting to have more shows that I enjoy, and a few of them weren't even canceled this year. Ehh, I dunno. Either way, decent times. We'll see.
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I'm not too sure about the whole Malcolm is dead thing. He might have just passed out in the end after the "redundancy" speech.
Overall i really liked the season finale, had an epic feel to it with the bad guys actually semi winning in the end.
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I cried like a baby at the end and it was the best episode in Arrow so far .
Sometimes I wonder , if the writers of these Awesome Episodes are the same of the crappy Episodes that been stuffed in the Middle of this season because ,Really? Huge Quality Difference ?!
I hope for season 2 , same villain quality character "A badass like Malcolm " and Please , less or cut off the filler episodes and focus on the Main Story .
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Anyone else here felt the defusing of the device was a little ridicoulus? I mean a blind man could see it works by hammering into the ground... just knock it over!
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Yup, not like it was a bomb that would explode if smashed it or cut the power. I think this show tries to take itself way to seriously and fails.
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yeah on the preposterous over usage of the oxford dictionary/thesaurus above, its a TV review not a Shakespeare play... not amused.

Love the show, look forward to next season
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...Yeah not getting you there sport. You have a problem with English?
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I think Tommy was the wrong character to kill. I was hoping they would have killed Thea, making Roy step up and become Speedy, or vice versa. I agree that I would like to see mini arcs, and I can think of 2 I would like to see. More on Nanda Parbet in one, and in another a return to the island in the present. I can see where next year, with the killing of Tommy, they can have an on-again, off-again relationship for Oliver and Laurel, with a side of Felicity every so often. Which doesn't bother me, as she is the hottest women on the show in my opinion.They have Fryar's boss for a baddie next year, and I hope the show in general goes more international.
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I think Tommy was a good obvious choice for the character to kill. If he stayed in and continued with the angry growing apart from Oliver arc it was in danger of becoming tooo similar to Smallville which has been in my head since the start (Saw his name was Merlyn in first episode and knew they were enemies in the comic). If Malcolm is really dead (which I don't think) it would be easy to have him hate Oliver even more to the point of becoming another black archer. With him dead it means they can kill off the best friends become enemies cliché & move it away from Smallville-like plot. It would've been interesting if they kept him in and having him come round to Oliver's ideas since they started to show him being digusted at his dad in this episode but that might've been too complicated a mission for the writers to pull off with the Laurel back to Oliver arc. I guess if they wanted to do that they could've killed Laurel off as they have her mum if they want to have the black canary join the party haha.. I liked Tommy but taking him out of the picture has taken away the niggling annoyance I had of thinking 'Tommy is going to be another Lex'.
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I think it was a surprising twist to kill off Tommy. I thought there was still some mileage left in that character and I thought Colin Donnel was one of the best actors in this show. Steven Amell is great in the action sequences but I liked Colin's acting prowess better.

Not only has Oliver lost his best friend,he failed to keep his promise to his father and stop Merlin from destroying half of the glades, his mom is in jail, his family is falling apart. How much can a hero take without needing a time out? How will his and Laurel's guilt and grief over Tommy's death affect their relationship? And who will be next season's super villain?
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stay tuned when the season returns in..... !
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Yeah, I can see some of the plot line reasons. He also knew too much about Oliver to allow him to live and like I said above, it allows the love triangle to develop between Felicity, Oliver and Laurel and the CW loves those kind of things. He was not only a good character but one of the better actors on the show and will be missed.
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Pardon me while I Google the definition of cisgendered... Okay gotcha society's pre-conceived 'ideals' about sexuality, cheers for the new word.
Anyway entertaining episode though I'm sorry about Tommy's death; in the beginning I was distracted by Oliver and his 26 abs so it was only later when Colin Donnell began to maintain a little scruff that I realised that he was pretty damn gorgeous. Oh well.
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A few years ago I wrote a serial killer thriller about a guy whose wife and unborn son we're accidently killed by someone using a cell phone while driving. So, the guy goes nuts on the people of LA and Orange County, running them down. Just sayin'. Anyway, what a mess indeed, but we get a season 2, so that's good...
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First of all, props to you Noel for knowing the word "cisgendered." I'm glad to see that gender studies wasn't wasted on you. Anyway, I thought this was a great season finale for Arrow, and certainly one of the better ways that it could have ended. First off, we kinda got the best of both worlds, in that the Arrow team stopped the big bad machine from going off, but they also didn't. So we got to see them both succeed, but also see the big earthquake that many viewers were hoping would happen anyway. What's more, it wasn't like in a lot of shows and movies where the heroes fail, and in hindsight they could've just stayed home, had some pizza, and the outcome would have been practically the same. Because, thankfully, Oliver and co. were actually able to ensure that the earthquake was a lot smaller than it would've been if both machines went off. Or at least, based on that line about the destruction being contained to the Northeastern section of the city, I assumed that to be the case.

I personally thought that the island scene was handled very well in this episode, though I agree that Oliver shooting Fyers didn't have as big an effect on me as the writers were probably hoping that it would. Though I think this has more to do with the excellent execution (literally) of Yao Fei's death in the last episode, and that it was a much better moment than Fyer's death. Still, the island storyline came to a nice place, as did the main storyline. Malcolm died (saw it coming, but it was necessary since he knew Oliver's identity), Moira is in jail (didn't see that coming), the glades just got quaked (didn't see that coming), and all of the main characters survived except Tommy (I did think that either Tommy, Thea, or Diggle would die, but I didn't think it would be Tommy). This puts us in a great place for Season 2, since most of the main storylines of the first season have been wrapped up nicely, while just enough things on the show have been shaken up to make us all excited about next season.

I think that, by far, the greatest decision the writers made was to kill Tommy. Now, it's not that I didn't like Tommy as a character; in fact, I liked his arc in his season quite a bit. However, if he had survived, there were only four paths open to him, and all of them were either unrealistic or unpleasant. The obvious path would have been to make him the next Dark Archer, or at least turn him into a villain in some form or other. His jealousy of Oliver and Laurel, combined with his anger at Oliver for killing his father, would have spurred him to turn all bad feelings towards Oliver, and strike back at him in every way that he could, maybe by trying to kill Moira. However, the story of two best friends, becoming a hero and a villain respectively, has been done so many times that it's really hard to do something new or interesting within that model. So I'm really glad they didn't make Tommy a villain, because in my opinion that would actually have been the boring choice.

The second thing they could have done is make Tommy a shell of the man that he once was. Broken, he would have moped about, making everyone feel sorry for him. Thirdly, he could have gone back to being the person that he was for the majority of the first season. He would have been a friend to Oliver and Laurel, while occasionally feeling resentful about their relationship. And finally, he could have risen to become some sort of a sidekick for Oliver, because, I don't know, he wanted to do good where his father did bad, or something like that. Now, the first path would have been dull and expected, the second and third would have been plain old awkward, and the fourth just doesn't work practically, since Oliver already has two sidekicks, and it looks like he'll soon have a third with Roy Harper. Her certainly doesn't need four.

So there you have it, of the four different places the writers could have taken Tommy's character next season, none of them appeal to me all that much, or are simply impractical. By killing off Tommy, they had his character go out strongly and proudly. Also, they demonstrated that this show means business, and that season regulars can die. All in all, it was certainly a strong way to end the season.
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What a mess! Next season's gonna be interesting!
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Tommy's death does 2 things

1) complicates the relationship between Oliver and Laurel
2) Provides motive Oliver to keep being the Vigilante and fight the good fight in Tommy's name so that his sacrifice is not in vain.

Now, here's the rest.
1) Is Malcolm dead? If not, it will be interesting to see how this plays out with Oliver's secret.

2) Will Moira go to Jail? or is she wealthy enough to get some form of 'home' arrest with those ankle bracelets monitors.

3) Will the Detective figure out who the Vigilante is?

4) We know we are getting Speedy, but does this mean, Oliver's secret becomes a full family secret?

5) Will Walter come back? He can't be blind to the news of his wife being arrested.

I would guess that Season 2 will bring in more flashbacks.. I suspect that somewhere in the future of this show, they may marry the flashbacks to the present and provide us with a story ark. I would think that Slade's character is overdue for a present day appearance, perhaps a story to bring Deadshot down.

Some people wonder if the Black Canary is to appear. I'm not so sure they will do that. There doesn't seem to be any metas, like Smallville had or even the short lived "BIrds of Prey".

If they did, she wouldn't be having the canary cry, after all Laurel has never displayed any meta abilities so, as far as I'm concerned, we are probably better off without Black Canary.
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I will admit it ... I cried when Tommy died :(
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PASS THE POPCORN!

Many of you who are familiar with my comments may have noticed a peculiar pattern of my intros having a disproportionately high amount of upper case letters and exclamation points, not to mention the sentences directly after my intros tend to run on incoherently until my initial point is lost amidst a deluge of superfluousness, with words like "deluge" and "superfluousness".

Not to peel away the curtain and give you all a peek behind my questionable writing techniques (spoiler: I have none), but I do this simply to grab people's attention. When someone reads a non sequitur in large lettering, I believe it naturally garners a reaction. But at its core, it is style over substance. Sizzle of steak. Scintillation over... something. And that is kind of how I feel about this show. (Which I don't consider to be an insult - more on that later!)

Arrow is awfully pretty. And by that I mean there's awfully pretty people in it. I have it on good authority that there is fan fiction dedicated purely to Oliver's abs and Thea's lip mole (I hear they're dating). I feel guilty eating my bi-daily burrito while watching this show. I guess what I'm really trying to say is this cast could do an Old Navy commercial like THAT! But I suppose that's unfair, seeing as TV in general is dominated by the genetically gifted, especially the enterprising CW.

But it's not just that Starling City's motto should be "Welcome to Starling City... Unless You're an Uggo", it's the very basic nature of the show. Most of the plots and characters are rather simple and straightforward. Case in point: Noel very eloquently wrote all the dude's character motivations in ONE paragraph!

I haven't read the Green Arrow comics, or even know much about them, so these opinions are all based off the show itself. But I personally have found that Arrow couldn't care less about delving into serious issues as they relate to our current society, or establishing high-minded thematic undertones to reverberate throughout the story. Don't get me wrong, it's not devoid of introspection and rumination, but I get the feeling it would rather show Oliver doing chin-ups than thoughtfully examine vigilanteism, law and order, revenge and justice.

For all of Arrow's apparent and my god this is obvious parallels it shares with the recent Batman movie trilogy (the Glades of Starling City and the Slums of Gotham share zip codes), it has none of the idealogical and philosophical underpinnings which defined that representation of the Batman ethos. This show doesn't care to metaphorically debate the moralistic merits of pacifism or even showcase the elemental struggle of good vs. evil. No, Arrow is more concerned with blowing shit up, snapping bad guys necks and backs like dry twigs, providing ample shirtless-ness while current pop music amps up in the background, stunning fight choreography, and making nerds everywhere want to learn archery (I've been a slapping water in a bowl for weeks!). I think it seeks to entertain first and foremost.

AND THANK GOD FOR THAT!

I love that when the average bad guy comes off the We Suck at Aiming Inc. conveyor belt, Oliver doesn't think twice about putting an arrow in their chest if they get in his way. It's a refreshing change of pace when most superheroes tie themselves in knots over the loss of one precious human life. But not our boy, Ollie! He'll kill you and not lose a wink of sleep, but he'll also let you go if you throw down your weapon and admit your employers are super "weird". (Smart move, guy.)

I don't know about the rest of you, because I haven't been reading these reviews, but when I watch Arrow my mind goes into a blissful semi-slumber. There is next to know guessing of plotlines and twists, or analyzing why that character did that incredibly stupid thing (Thea!). I tend to just sit there and enjoy the ride. Which might be the reason I haven't felt compelled to write a comment until now.

BUT

Since I'm here, I WOULD like to say I despise Thea as a character and feel absolutely nothing towards Laurel. Thea has only two modes: bitch and judgmental & depressed and judgemental. If she were any more useless and annoying, she'd be Charlotte from Revenge... Sorry, Charlotte didn't deserve that. But at least I feel SOMETHING for Thea, whereas Laurel is just a big ol' blah. Individually she doesn't do anything for me, but I particularly don't care about her relationship with Oliver. There are NO feels. None of them. I was rolling my eyes when Oliver and Laurel "got" together and couldn't care less if they stay together. Which certainly doesn't help my ability to engage and lose myself in the fiction.

Although, I suppose Laurel is a victim of having to go up against one of my (now) favourite female characters on television, the incomparable Felicity Smoke. I don't know what the shippers are calling these two (Olicity?), but I am on board! It is incomprehensible to me that Oliver can so easily overlook her unbelievable hotness. If I were Oliver I'd drop Laurel like a sack of beautiful by traditional standards potatoes and sweet talk Felicity with my corny Arrow-voice off her (what I'm assuming are perfect) feet. Not to mention her AWESOME quotes.

Here are my top 5 Felicity quotes:

#5. "I may be blonde, but I'm not THAT blonde."

#4. "My only encounter with drugs was with a pot brownie my freshman year. By mistake! Which could have been fun, except I'm allergic to nuts."

#3. "The last time the vigilante paid your mom a visit you got shot and I got to play doctor with you. Oh - my brain thinks of the worst way to say things."

#2. Oliver: “Felicity, hold on to me tight.”
Felicity: “I imagined you saying that under different circumstances, very platonic circumstances.”

#1. "It feels really good having you inside me. And by you I mean your voice. And by inside me I mean my ear. I'm going to stop talking right now."

Oh, the FEELS! ALL of them! I love this woman!

I don't have much more to say, because usually when I start listing quotes I'm running out of steam, but I'll close by saying how much fun I have while watching Arrow. I'm sure there are some people who may have perceived this comment to be overly and possibly unfairly negatively critical of this show. But when I say Arrow is fun but simple I say it as a compliment. It knows what it is and doesn't try to be anything more. I love the action and the awesomely corny dramatic scenes. I'm basically laughing and cheering half the time. Is it weird I thought it was hilarious when Oliver pleaded with dead Tommy to "open (his) eyes"? ... I'm a monster, okay? I don't only watch television to be intellectually stimulated, but also to escape, and Starling City may not have the visceral darkness of Gotham, but it's a damn fine place to spend an hour every week.

Just make sure to pass the popcorn.
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"Is it weird I thought it was hilarious when Oliver pleaded with dead Tommy to "open (his) eyes"?"---NO
I'm glad I wasn't the only one--I read all these comments about people crying at these scenes and am glad I wasn't the only one who found humor in the scenes;-)

Laurel and Thea need to die. Felicity is awesome (smart, witty, thoughtful, kind, talented and gorgeous)!
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"Laurel and Thea need to die."

Have I told you lately that I love you?

(P.S. I'm not always a sociopathic TV watcher. There are many shows that have gotten my water works going as the result of a character dying, but for some reason I couldn't help but laugh at Tommy's demise. Maybe it's because I don't think Stephen Amell is the greatest actor. I don't know, but I was giggling up a storm.)
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((FF))
I've cried over characters that I care about and I just don't care enough about any of the characters in Arrow. I probably cried the hardest when George Mason (from the tv show 24) died and I didn't even like his character much until the episode in which he died (season 2 of 24 had outstanding writing~but I loved all the seasons). Arrow can be a fun show at times but I'm not emotionally invested in this show or maybe it's just the characters.

Amell is fairly one dimensional as an actor imo--maybe that is how his character is written, IDK. On the island he just has a stupid look on his face (probably supposed to look innocent or naive) and in "real time" he just seems stoic or unemotional (which I interpret as not emoting).
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Ditto.
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Haha! Care to elaborate?
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Jeeze Fringy - not a typo in the whole thing. Why aren't you writing for money as this great prose will soon lay by the wayside, forgotten - and so eloquent too. Methinks you like writing and are certainly capable. I knew there was a good reason why I like you. Perhaps you're really Dan Brown or Robert Ludlum in disguise and just toying with us mere mortals. But if that is the case, you're certainly civil about it...
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Haha! Dan Brown and Robert Ludlum are two of my favourite authors. Thank you so much for the compliments and words of encouragement (everyone on this site is so nice to me - I don't do we'll with praise!). I like you, too!

My life plan was always to coast through my twenties and then land a writing gig by pure serendipity before my 30th birthday. I've got to say, it's going really well. But I truly would love to write for a living.

Anyway, I checked my email the other day to read your PDF, but it wasn't in my inbox. I was all ready to ask if you sent it or not, then decided to check it again. Lo and behold, it was in the junk mail section (dirty rotten hotmail doesn't know quality when they see it!). All is in order and I plan on reading it tonight, so I hope to give you my thoughts on your work tomorrow.

Straight to the Fringe section!
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They're nice to you because of that civil thing I mentioned and how could anyone not like a Fringe Fanatic?!?
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Do we need to get a room?
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Well* - Grrrrr! Typos!
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(Missed one up there. Not that I don't do it all the time, just sayin'.)
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After re-reading, I counted two typos and one grammatical error.
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I wasn't sure about the steak one, and you'd already covered the probability of grammatical errors. Anyway, I found at least one in mine as soon as I checked...after hitting 'submit.' Perfection is a frigid mistress. Brr.
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Okay, you're better than me, what can I say ;-)
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My only problem with this episode was when Diggle seemingly dragged himself up onto the roof.
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He's a bad arse.
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That's how manly he is!
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or how uncomfortable his shoes are
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Pretty funny for a grump...
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uncomfortable shoes are no laughing matter :-)
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I think as much as his arc was a little iffy in the beginning, Colin Donnell does deserve credit for making Tommy pretty well rounded by the end. He knew to play him as betrayed and bitter and not full on evil, and it really showed this episode. Every one he depended on or trusted misled and/or outright lied to him, so he earned that chip he had about it. It was maybe planned all along for him to die, but I'm kinda sad that he's gone now because he had really made Tommy much more interesting than initially thought.

Also? Loved Thea's crack targeting skills. Nice nod to her comic roots. I see maybe "The Vigilante" getting changed to "The Hood" and I'm sure once Roy starts doing his own thing, the Green and Red designations may come along, too.

I hope Barrowman isn't dead. That speech he ripped through to Tommy was excellent in it's totally unhinged way. It was ferocious and Barrowman totally committed to it. It showed both how crazy Malcom had become but also his utter belief that he was justified in his actions.

All those Ollie workouts helped him escape. It was like sneaky foreshadowing.

I hope next year continues the direction of Ollie protecting his city and not just being The Punisher with a bow.
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Rule 101 of Superhero stuff--- if you don't see an actual funeral, anything can happen. Frankly, even seeing a funeral means nothing, especially to Frank Miller! Tommy could suddenly be gotten to by EMT's and revived with horrible scars that make him go dark-side. Ya never know...
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