The table has ben set by Arrow Season 2 Episode 22.
How will Arrow Season 2 come to an end?
Below, staff writers Kate Brooks, Nick McHatton, Carla Day, Hank Otero and Carissa Pavlica discuss Malcom's return, who Oliver loves and share their thoughts heading into this week's finale.
Gather around the Arrow Round Table now!
What did you think about Malcolm's return?
Kate: Underwhelming. I mean, his first scene was pretty awesome.. "I'm her father" - so I really enjoyed that. I thought Malcom came on REALLY strong to Thea, I mean creepily strong. I would have shot him too. With that said, I look forward to seeing what else he brings to the table, that is if Thea didn't kill him or hurt him too bad.
Nick: I loved it! Thea really needs some adult in her corner. Moira is gone, and she's still not willing to go back to Oliver at this point. No matter which side Malcolm ultimately chooses at least Thea having someone she can confide in gives her a sense of stability. We're not privy to exactly how much Malcolm knows about Thea, but if he does not know much about her, then he has the opportunity to listen to her and understand her from a different perspective.
Carla: Loved it! I love Malcolm's character and how John Barrowman encompasses the character. He's returned to save his daughter and that opens an entirely new avenue to explore. He lost his wife, Tommy, and now Moira too. I can't wait to see how he's able to bond with Thea. In the long run, he probably won't be good for her, but it's gonna be a fun ride!
Hank: I agree with Kate, I was a bit underwhelmed. I love John Barrowman though and I'm sure his presence in the finale will make up for his few scenes this season. There's just so much ground to cover, a story arc or two is bound to take a back seat.
Carissa: I'm in the "love it" group. I was never a Malcom fan, but everything he did made me emotional. I wondered if it was perhaps because Thea was so alone, but nope -- it was all Malcolm.
Laurel, Sara, Felicity... Some say Starling City is Oliver's love. What say you?
Kate: The shipper in me says Felicity but I feel as if it has always been Laurel. That doesn't mean it is Laurel right now or has been Laurel recently. I want to believe that Felicity is his light and keeps him as good as he can be. Either way, I think it'll come down to Felicity and Laurel in the finale. #teamolicity
Nick: I believe Oliver loves all three women, but when it comes down to it I think Sara is Oliver's first love. Oliver and Sara have a history the other two cannot match, and they share a bond and experience that unites them and brings them together; these emotions give them purpose, and gives them understanding in what drives them to do what they do. Slade, also, has the most experience with Sara and what Oliver does for her on the island.
Carla: This is a complicated question. If you're talking about who Slade believes is Oliver's love that's a different question than who really is Oliver's love. I'll give the best non-answer to the question that I can ... each of them has a piece of his heart. He loves Starling City no doubt and he's sacrificed to save it time and time again. The three women all share his heart as well. Laurel is his past, Sara is his present, and Felicity is his family.
Hank: I'm with Nick, he loves all three women just differently. However, I think though he loves Sara because of what they've been through together, he's been "in love" with Laurel from the start. She's his past sure, but I think Laurel is also his future. You can go all the way back to our earliest round tables and I've always thought #Olicity is more of a brother/sister relationship. Sorry #TeamOlicity... (ducks and runs for cover LOL). Love Felicity though you guys!
Carissa: I pretty much agree with Hank on this one. Oliver loves all of the women, but each differently. While I think there may come a time when he and Felicity have a moment, I don't think it will be a forever thing. If Laurel lives, she could be that woman. Sara is too broken and their love based on so much trauma that it could never be a bright light. Some people thought Slade meant to kill Starling, but I still think his goal is in the flesh.
Whose performance most impressed you?
Kate: Felicity! Her speech about Oliver needing to continue to fight and how he has always honored the dead. This was Emily Bett's most impressive scene to-date. Emily is good at the funny but has struggled with the dramatic in the past so her performance in his scene definitely impressed me the most.
Nick: This is a tie for me: Felicity and Malcolm. Felicity is really coming into her own, and she's able to bring Oliver out of his dark thoughts more so than Laurel can at this point; she's really invested in the team, and uses her skills to their advantage. Felicity's even willing to mow down Rochev with the van to save Dig. Malcolm, meanwhile, is mostly because I just love John Barrowman. The man can deliver on Malcolm. He did not have much to do in this episode, but he's done a few subtle changes to Malcolm. He's not quite as ruthless as before, and I think the discovery of being Thea's biological father is giving him a chance to reexamine himself and his choices. (Not that that means he'll be welcomed back by the city).
Carla: Felicity was all-around awesome. Blood's sacrifice was noble and unexpected. He truly had a good heart. Misguided, but good. And, Oliver really stepped up. Slade may be destroying the city to punish him, but Oliver has proven his value. The police even realized the Arrow helps the city. Oliver made the tough decisions with the most notable being calling out Waller and giving Roy the injection.
Hank: Felicity was this episode's MVP for sure. Not that Emily Bett Rickards ever fails to impress me. It's just that Felicity was given plenty of great material this week. Emily nailed every single line, she really moved me with her speech.
Carissa: Having never been a Malcolm fan and being turned so completely by John Barrowman's performance, even as brief as he was on screen, he gets the nod. Emily Bett Rickards came in a close second, but she's always there and making me smile as Felicity, so Malcolm wins.
What was the best development pre finale?
Kate: I'm not 100% sure on what you mean here but I'll go with what I think... The serum finally getting into the right hands and being tested on Roy. The best part about the serum was that it came from Blood. He made the ultimate sacrifice to help save the city. I really want to see how the serum works and if the cure will save Starling.
Nick: Like I mentioned on last week's round table: Blood. In the end, the man sticks to his roots and defies Slade to do one final act of good to save the city by handing over the cure. Perhaps being the catalyst to getting Team Arrow over the finish line against Slade's near unstoppable destruction.
Carla: Detective Lance is back! I only hope that doesn't mean he's going to die in the finale. Thea pulling a gun on her father was awesome. She showed her strength and determination in that moment. I don't think she shot him though. Either someone else fired or she shot someone behind him to protect her father.
Hank: Personally I just love every time S.T.A.R. Labs is mentioned, makes me excited for The Flash this fall! I was glad Caitlin and Cisco came through with the cure, they've now proven their worth in the larger Arrow/Flash universe. Blood turning against Slade last minute was necessary, but it seemed a bit out of character for me. I mean, this is a bad dude... he killed his mother for Pete's sake. All of a sudden he grows a conscience?
Carissa: For me it was Lance making detective again. Finally someone listened to him and put him in charge, acknowledging that he knew what he was talking about. That he can stand proud beside his daughters and fight now really feels right.
Final thoughts on what to expect from Arrow Season 2 Episode 23?
Kate: As grim as this is going to sound... Death. I expect much more sadness and loss. It isn't likely that Team Arrow will all make it out alive and I am preparing myself for the last death to be Sara. I also expect a war and some crazy intense action sequences. The final Slade and Oliver showdown has my anticipation level peaked.
Nick: Explosions! I really haven't a clue to be honest. So many variables are happening. I'm really just looking forward to the fight to take back the city and what Slade's final move will end up being.
Carla: I am so very very ... very excited to see Team Arrow, including Roy, work with the League of Assassins to save the city. EPIC! It's going to be amazing. And I hope that Oliver when given the choice to kill or cure Slade decides to hold on to vow against killing. I want to see Slade given the opportunity to redeem himself without the mirakuru.
Hank: Carla hit the nail on the head, that shot in the finale trailer of Team Arrow, Roy, The League of Assassins + Dark Archer is INSANE! I agree that Oliver should hold off killing Slade not only to stick to his vow, but so Deathstroke returns in the future. The guy is too amazing a villain to get killed off this early in the show's run. As I've mentioned many times before, I expect we'll lose Sara so Laurel can become the Canary. I'm hoping the scene is handled well and that it packs the emotional punch Tommy's death did last season.
Carissa: I'm going to expect the unexpected. I was so off in my predictions last year that I can only imagine any I attempt to make will make me look foolish. There will be action, emotion, sorrow and, I hope, at least some joy as at least some of Starling City is saved. That's going to have to do!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.