It's over! The unthinkable has definitely happened. With Arrow Season 2 Episode 23 comes our final round table discussion of the spring.
Below, writers Kate Brooks, Hank Otero, Carla Day, Nick McHatton and Carissa Pavlica ponder how well Arrow wrapped up and hope you join them in the discussion.
Oliver and Felicity working together to bring down Slade: Was it entirely planned or do you think Oliver ad-libbed a bit?
Kate: This is the part of the finale that I cannot stop thinking about... I am torn but in the end, I think it's a little bit of both - Felicity sort of knew but Oliver definitely intensified the situation. Her reaction was too pure and too shocked to know he was going to drop the love bomb. I think a part of her believed him until he handed her the vile. Really, all he had to say was that he look the wrong woman, he didn't need to add the I love you, but did, and it made that scene much more meaningful.
Either way, their scenes were great as the chemistry between Emily and Stephen just keeps getting better and better. I am glad that they didn't get together, as Emily Bett stated in an interview recently, they are not ready to be together - they don't know one another outside of the Arrow cave. Hopefully that is explored next season.
Hank: He definitely made some of it up as he went along. I'll admit the ILY took me by surprise and for a second there the Olicity fans must have been jumping for joy. I wondered why the heck Ollie took Felicity to the Queen mansion, of course the way everything played out made sense. I have no doubt he cares for Felicity, though she's probably much more taken with him at this point. Like Kate says perhaps the two will get even closer next season. Their relationship is still much more brother/sister to me, but what do I know? Haha
Carla: It didn't look like Felicity was in on it before they got to the mansion. She appeared confused and taken in by his declaration. The big clues were the "Do you understand?" and that he slipped her the cure at the mansion. If the plan was worked out entirely, she would have already had the cure (Why risk Slade seeing it?) and she would have understood what was going on.
Nick: No, I think Oliver figured it all out, and he he needed Felicity's reaction to really sell it so he had to make it seem real and play on her emotions; that being said, Oliver is the type of person that sticks to his word. While the ruse was a set up, I don't think the words are. I think he truly does love her, and the look on his face when he tells Felicity is telling for me.
Carissa: I'm torn, as well. I don't want to think Oliver would thrust Felicity into such a terrifying position without her consent. If that's the case, it's almost as if he expected the 'I love you' to pad the enormity of the request. Thankfully, it all worked out in the end. Since there are definitely feelings between them, I'll cut him a break on this one. It was a plan that worked out well.
Thea choosing to go away with Malcolm: Good idea?
Kate: I literally said when it was revealed she got in the car with Malcolm, "Thea, you are better than that!" I think it's a terrible idea but at the end of the day, Malcolm is all she has other than Oliver. It'll be interesting to see what Malcolm turns her into
Hank: Not so much, but I get it especially after Roy lied to her too. At least her psycho-dad's lies are out in the open. She knows what she's getting into with Malcolm and I don't think he'll twist her mind to make Thea evil. He's definitely going to manipulate her against Ollie & Roy though.
Carla: Good idea for Thea? No. Good idea for the series? Absolutely. I cannot wait to see those two together. With John Barrowman as a series regular in Arrow season 3, we should get lots of fun, crazy father-daughter action. He gets the second chance to be a father and she gets to become her own person. I don't think she'll be easily manipulated by him. She did shoot him after all.
Nick: I love the idea. Thea's in a dark place and she's heading out with a dark man. Thea's been looking for space, and she's sick of everyone lying to her. At least Malcolm offers her some answers and the space she's been craving, but I'm super excited to see if he's going to warp her at all. Or if she's going to be a positive influence on him.
Carissa: It's brilliant. She's only wanted the truth, pretty or ugly. Malcolm staying by her side during the battle meant a lot to someone who felt abandoned and lied to by everyone in her life. Part of her also figures that he raised Tommy and he was a good person, so all hope isn't lost. This finally makes Thea, as a character, pertinent.
Sara left, gave Laurel her jacket and Lance crumbled. What are your thoughts on the Laurel family drama?
Kate: I am so happy that Sara left and didn't die because it means she can come back. I feel as if the Black Canary torch has been passed onto Laurel through her jacket. As far as Quentin collapsing, this is the biggest cliffhanger for me in the finale. I was just starting to REALLY love Lance and I hope that he recovers. I am definitely into the Lance family drama.
Hank: The writers fooled me again! Just when you think you've figured out the direction the story's taking, the writers take the more unpredictable route. I'm really glad they didn't kill Sara off (not yet anyway). Our heroes just might need her help next season right? I don't think Laurel is anywhere near ready to become the Canary but this might be the start of her training with Oliver. Quentin Lance's internal injuries were a total shock. I watch Arrow with my siblings and I had just mentioned how much I like Lance this season, then boom... he falls over dying. I'm hoping Laurel reached help in time.
Carla: I was happy to see Sara and Laurel part as sisters without any grudges. The jacket was a nice offering, but I don't think that means Laurel will become the next Canary. Lance's words on the matter were how I feel about it. She'll find a place to help Team Arrow though. Lance has to make it out alive. He's the connection to the police department and he still doesn't know that Oliver's the Arrow. He's got to know that before he can die. (How does he NOT know?!)
Nick: I was not expecting Lance to crumble at the knees. It hit me so much harder than either of the sisters. I'm glad Sara and Laurel end on a happy note, and the baton might be passed in a realistic way; however, I'm way more interested in whether or not Lance is going to survive. I've come to love his character so much.
Carissa: Paul Blackthorne must be so pleased to know how taken we all are with his performance as Quentin Lance. Not one of us wants to see him harmed! We've lost too many parental units already, surely he's around to stay. As for Laurel and Sara, I think Laurel is on her way to assuming Canary status. Sara isn't cut out for heroics in the same fashion as Oliver or even Laurel. Laurel pushed her on the occasions they met. That was telling.
In the flashbacks, Oliver is heading off with Amanda Waller. What do you expect from that?
Kate: I expect to find out that Oliver hasn't spent 5 years on a hellish island like he has always claimed. I think Amanda is going to train him into the killer that he was and teach him how to become a vigilante. I think we are going to really learn where The Arrow really began.
Hank: That was probably the strangest twist of the finale and one that nobody can say they saw coming. Like Kate mentioned Oliver always claimed to have spent his time on Lian Yu, never has Hong Kong come up. Still the island is located in the North China Sea, so he'll be back there before long I'm sure. It always felt like Oliver and Amanda Waller knew each other well, now we'll find out all the details. I absolutely love the fact we will be spending some time in China next season, that will bring an entirely new vibe to the show. While I didn't expect it, the Hong Kong stuff will be our island flashbacks in Season 3. That's one way to switch things up right?
Carla: No idea, but I'm super-excited by the possibilities. I'm very glad that he's off the island. I saw some people comment that they were upset by the twist because he was supposed to have been on the island the whole time. I see this lie as no different from when he said he was alone on the island. It does make his decision to be "rescued" from the island after 5 years more of a mystery. Why did he return to Starling City when he did?
Nick: I'm really happy that Oliver is (maybe) off the island. I've felt with Slade the island ran its course for now. I'm super ready to continue to watch Oliver's journey and learn more about Waller and her intentions and backstory.
Carissa: More Waller (hopefully) means more Suicide Squad and more Deadshot, which I never imagined I'd want. That alone is reason to celebrate. A change of scenery away from the island is also welcome. Oliver's journey to assume a role as hero may be complete but his journey back home in flashbacks has just begun.
Give your overall impressions on the Arrow Season 2 finale.
Kate: I was thoroughly impressed with the stunt work, fights, and action sequences. The fight on the bridge between Slade's army and The League, Arrow, Red Arrow, and Canary was the best fight scene of the entire series. Let's not forget the flooded freighter fight too! I was really into it. My little brother had actually walked in and watched this scene and said, "what movie is this from?" He was surprised to find out it was a TV show.
Other than the action scenes, I really loved the emotional stuff between Oliver and Felicity as I believe he was being truthful. I think my most pure reaction of the finale was shock. I couldn't believe that all of Team Arrow made it out alive and that it ended on a somewhat happy note as compared to Tommy's death last year. Overall, I loved it and each episode this season the acting and chemistry between all of the characters got better and better. I cannot wait to see what unfolds next season.
Hank: I thought the Season 2 finale blew year one out of the water and that was an amazing finale, so that's saying something. While the first season stumbled here and there, I found the writers had a much clearer vision and endgame for this season. It certainly went off without a hitch. Everyone from the writers, to the cast and stunt coordinators to the FX people truly brought their A-game. This is no ordinary TV show, it's a movie each and every week. I have extremely high expectations for Season 3 and while it's going to be tough to top this season, I trust everyone involved with the show.
I'd like to give a quick shout out to my fellow Arrow round table fanatics and to everyone that's followed us and commented throughout the season. See you guys right back here in a few months, it's going to fly by trust me. Have a great summer!
Carla: Loved it. Oliver love declaration to Felicity in the mansion felt off to me right away.I figured out the twist before it was revealed, but that didn't take away from the hour. I was glad. The moment on the beach signaled that they do care about each other, but neither of them are ready.
The fights were better than any other ever on television and even most movies. The Oliver/Slade fights on the freighter and on the rooftop were brilliantly choreographed and edited as was the tunnel fights. The finale should definitely win all the stunt awards for the year.
Overall, the season finale didn't disappoint. The Slade chapter is over for now and Oliver didn't lose himself. Despite all that was lost, Oliver held his head high, "You helped me become a hero, Slade. Thank you."
Nick: I felt this finale was much stronger than last season's incredibly strong finale. Oliver finally found a way to overcome Slade without resorting to his previous tactics, and his conversation with Slade in his cell was so powerful. I loved the faux-Olicity fun that was had. More important, the emphasis on the core trio and how well that group dynamic is.
Carissa: This round table was really difficult because there wasn't a lot to really analyze. The finale really wrapped things up and set up the next chapter. It's exactly what a finale should do -- not tease and taunt, but satisfy and bring closure to the current season. It did that with incredible drama, action and emotional plays. I couldn't ask for more (maybe two hours!).
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.