In last night's Arrow, nearly every character made a huge mistake, but all those mistakes will add up to one hell of a great season next year. Let's talk about a finale that delivers a lot of action, and the promise of another crazy year.
The Arrow finale, "Unthinkable, "was quite a ride. Specifically, it was Space Mountain, because most of us did not see what was coming for much of the episode. That's impressive, considering we all knew how the substantive parts of the episode would go. I did not agree with almost any of the decisions made by the characters - but those were some entertaining errors.
As always, I make an exception for Dig and Lyla. They almost always do the right thing. When we open, Roy has just popped back to life, completely cured, and Slade's goons are attacking the clock tower. The Arrow team makes it out, but the supersoldiers are after them. And then Lyla comes in on a helicopter and blasts the entire tower to pieces. Okay, its official. Between this and The Losers we see that there is no way for a woman not to look attractive when she's carrying a bazooka. I'm gonna carry one instead of a purse from now on. I doubt I'd find one to match my outfits, but I'm willing to bet no one would point that out to me. Dig's little "my hero" smile when he looks at Lyla shows that he agrees with my conclusions.
When the team regroups, after various adventures, their group has expanded considerably. Roy's awake, and has Roymnesia - defined as forgetting all the bad things you did when you were superdrugged. Felicity makes her first bad choice of the episode and decides to tell him he was just unconscious the entire time, sending him back out into society an unwitting cop killer. That can't backfire. Sara's also back with the group, and she's brought Nyssa and Nyssa's team of assassins. Nobody is happy about this, especially when they learn that Sara will be leaving with Nyssa. Sara wants to make sure Laurel isn't any part of this - which Nyssa arranges by shooting a dart into Laurel's neck and letting her drop flat out onto cold concrete. Good one, Nyssa.
Ollie's condition for working with Nyssa is that Nyssa doesn't kill anyone. Guess what Nyssa does? Yep. To Isabel - who just can't get a good monologue in during this show. She's always interrupted mid-speech. I can't complain too much about that, though, because Ollie and his expanded team have the cure for Mirakuru and are practicing the best kind of medicine - medicine that you shoot and stab into people while they wildly try to fight you. If Grey's Anatomy were like this, I'd watch. Unfortunately, Slade is good at dodging syringe-tipped arrows. Even more unfortunately, one of his goons has kidnapped Laurel, after roughly knocking aside Quentin. I won't count that against Nyssa. As we've all seen, there is no safe radius for Laurel Lance. Put her wherever, she's going to get kidnapped.
And this is where the story splits into parts, as Ollie tries to attack the problem from multiple angles, most of them bad. Dig and Lyla, who are in charge of stopping the drone, go out to ARGUS, and break the devious super-criminals out of the lockdown so that they can storm Waller's control room. This, I believe, is also a mistake. Why would the criminals automatically support Dig and Lyla, especially if Waller can murder them? But it works, and it gets us just a bit more time with Deadshot, who, every time he's on screen, makes a case for having his own series. Love that deadpan banter.
The storming of the ARGUS Bastille does not go according to plan. Waller does not decide to call off the drone. Instead, she grabs two guns and points them at Lyla and Dig, which I will admit is a good move. Then she reminds Lyla that this is treason, and that Lyla is putting hundreds of thousands of lives at risk. Really? Hundreds of thousands? Isn't that exactly as many lives as you are certain you are going to kill with that drone? Do you even listen to the words coming out of your mouth, Waller? Because I do, and they're excruciating. I will thank you for giving me (and a very surprised Dig) the news that Lyla is pregnant, though. If it makes for more Dig and Lyla next season, I am all for it.
Ollie and Felicity head out to Ollie's abandoned house, and act out the scene that will become infamous for breaking the collective heart of Arrow's audience. Ollie tells Felicity that she needs to stay at the mansion. He comes close and says that Slade kidnapped Laurel because he wanted to kill the woman Ollie loved, but he got the wrong woman. Inching even closer, he whispers, "I love you. Do you understand?" Felicity tears up and says, "yes." Oh, Arrow. This was just cruel. It was cruel.
Elsewhere in the story, we see that Thea really did shoot Daddy-dearest. And he couldn't be happier about it. The glorious psycho was disappointed that Tommy failed to shoot him last season. As Thea did shoot him - in his Kevlar-covered chest - he concludes, "You are truly my daughter, and I could not be more proud." As for me, I could not be more pleased. Every moment of Thea's reaction was infused with a delectable brattiness - like a risotto infused with truffles. She makes begging a mad man to kill her quickly sound like a principessa telling her mother to skip the lecture and just write a check for the hotel room she trashed. And when she finds out Merlyn isn't going to kill her, she's even snottier. Then she gets a call from Roy and decides to leave the train station, and the company of the man who saved her life twice in half an hour, to go to the bad part of town and meet the boyfriend who choked her.
When she gets there she tells Roy they need to leave town, and "be whoever [they] want to be." He tells her (in his big mistake of the episode), that he doesn't know anything about the Arrow, but that he's "done," and that they need to "start over." He adds, "Baby this town rips the bones from your back. It's a death trap. It's a suicide rap. We gotta get out while we're young." Not really, but this is absolutely a Springsteen song. Rich girl runs from her overbearing dad to the poor boy and they need to get out of town! But first, he needs to do one more thing! She should just stay here, trust him, and pack them up. This can't go wrong. Even when Thea finds Roy's bow. After all, every Springsteen song I know ends happily.
Slade's soldiers are massing in a tunnel, getting out of town before the drone strike comes in (again, great thinking, Waller) but they are met by Ollie's crew, Nyssa's team, and Quentin (who has recovered from his hit by the goon). The good guys go cure-crazy, and shoot them all with cures. Again, I wish medical dramas were like this. It's a good fight. My favorite moment is when Nyssa saves Sara, and then Quentin saves Nyssa - because although he saves her, he gives her the "i hate you" eyes before continuing with the fight. Meanwhile, Slade's escaped, and he's got Felicity!
And that's not a problem. Because as soon as Ollie shows up he distracts Slade, and Felicity shoves a dart into Slade's neck. Laurel is also there, and Sara saves her, but as an audience we are distracted from that by our bitter tears. In a flashback, we see what when Ollie was saying, "I love you, do you understand" he was pressing a cure-dart into Felicity's hand. It was all a fake-out. You hurt me, Arrow. You cut me deep.
Slade and Ollie end up in a huge fight, both now and in the past. Back near the Island, Ollie and Slade fight on Slade's newly torpedoed freighter. In the present, they fight in Slade's lair. Both fights are bitter. The current Ollie has lost his mother, and the past Ollie has lost Sara, who gets sucked out into the water while Slade chuckles, "How many times are you going to watch her die." In the past, Ollie stabs Slade through the eye, seemingly killing him. That was a mistake. In the present, Ollie ties Slade up and knocks him out. That was also a mistake.
Yes, I even know it's a mistake when Slade wakes up in a "supermax" prison run by ARGUS on the Island. Ollie's made peace with Waller. It started with Ollie calling in to Waller's control room, while she was still having a stand-off with Dig and Lyla. He tells her that Slade is defeated and the army is cured. He also says, "And this plan was really stupid to begin with. You yourself saw that it wasn't working. I mean, come on. Bombing a whole city for fifty guys? Amanda, do you use your entire brain for figuring out which ladies around you are pregnant? There are tests for that at drug stores. Get it together." Anyway, Slade is still swearing revenge when Ollie leaves, and I don't think those threats are idle. But, I for one, can't wait to see Slade come back in successive seasons with more and more silver in his hair.
Sara is also making bad choices. She explains to Quentin that for the first time in her life she is "deciding her own fate." And her fate, seemingly, is to leave her family and her billionaire boyfriend and go back to a league of assassins - one of which tried to kill her mom. Okay, then. Again, it's a huge mistake, but I like it. Why? Because all season people have been saying that Sara was going to die. We all thought it. But she made it out alive. If this is what it takes to make that happen - fine.
Quentin hugs Sara goodbye, while Nyssa says, "I know the power of a father's love and I will die before I let anything happen to your daughter."
Quentin cheerfully replies, "Well, here's hoping!" And I laugh, and laugh, and laugh. Then Quentin collapses, supposedly of the injury he got fighting the supersoldier, but really of I'm-Content-With-My-Life-Syndrome. That thing takes out more fictional parents than lightning striking the bleachers at a peewee soccer game.
And Thea has her own terrible choice. Well, two of them. First, she's wearing those long leather pants that look like rubber britches for incontinent toddlers. Secondly, because her boyfriend secretly tried to save people, she is going off with her mass-murdering psychopath of a father to learn how not to be "weak." I could not be more happy about this. This is all I ever wanted for this show and for me. This is the tv-show equivalent of having grandchildren. Thank you, Arrow. I'm so proud to see what you've become.
And to top things off, Ollie finally gets off the island. In the final flashback he wakes up in a hotel room in Hong Kong. Waller's there, and she want to speak to him. Knowing Amanda, she probably wants him to murder her neighbors because they don't clean up after their dog or something. But it should be entertaining.
See you next year, you crazy, crazy kids.