Wednesday’s Arrow finale ended with Oliver (Stephen Amell) and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) getting something more elusive than anything else on the show: a happy ending. But what exactly do retired superheroes do?
“What I think is so interesting is that once you help people and have served justice for so long, is that it might become an addiction to a certain extent,” Bett Rickards tells TVGuide.com. “It’s one thing to go and be happy and sit on an island, but you want to still be doing important work. So I don’t know what that’s going to be for them. They’re going to have a balance of that and hopefully in their relationship as well.”
Shortly before running off together, Oliver and Felicity weren’t exactly on the best of terms. She was (very rightfully) pissed at him for marrying Nyssa and – more importantly – for his attempted suicide mission. But while Felicity is finally able to convince Oli to break free from the prison he’s built around himself and actually live his life, that doesn’t guarantee Olicity will succeed as a couple.
Who road off into the sunset and who didn’t make it out alive?
[Warning: Spoilers ahead for Wednesday’s Arrow season three finale, “My Name is Oliver Queen.”]
“How can the show go on?”
That’s the question executive producer Marc Guggenheim promised fans would be asking once the credits rolled on season three of Arrow — and he wasn’t kidding. Oliver (Stephen Amell) road off into the sunset with Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) after killing Ra’s al Ghul (Matt Nable), abandoning his superhero identity and leaving team Arrow scattered to the wind in Wednesday’s season finale.
Going into the finale, the series had already dismantled many of the things it depended upon. Sara (Caity Lotz) died and Roy (Colton Haynes) left the show after faking his own death to protect Oliver. But there was more to sacrifice in the finale.
“City’s under attack? Must be May.” (Quentin Lance)
It’s an Arrow season finale, which means the fate of Starling City hangs in the balance. Like the season it is concluding, “My Name is Oliver Queen” is an uneven episode with many thrilling and strong moments. Arrow makes very little effort trying to hide the fact that stopping Ra’s al Ghul from destroying Starling City is secondary to its other goals: bringing Oliver’s personal journey to a close and dealing with Olicity. There’s a lot to talk about, so let’s just dive in.
As Ra’s, Oliver, Nyssa, and the rest of the League are making their way to Starling City for the newlyweds’ mass murder themed honeymoon, the rest of Team Arrow regains consciousness in the dungeon. Malcolm reveals that one of Oliver’s associates used Oliver’s blood to manufacture a vaccine for the virus, and Malcolm administered it to all of them subcutaneously. He’s expecting a thank you for saving their lives, but is left very disappointed. Felicity points out one flaw in the plan: their still trapped in the cell.
The CW’s “Arrow” kicks off its season three finale with its titular hero (Stephen Amell) in a markedly unheroic place, married to Nyssa al Ghul (Katrina Law) and next in line to succeed her father Ra’s (Matt Nable) as the leader of the League of Assassins. Oliver seemingly left his team for dead in a cell in Nanda Parbat and set off for Starling City with Ra’s to unleash a deadly virus on the unsuspecting populace — so where does the series go from here? Variety spoke to showrunner Marc Guggenheim about the consequences of Oliver’s choices, how the finale ties into The CW’s newly announced “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” spinoff, and what we might see from season four.
As Ra’s al Ghul (Matt Nable) sets his sights on destroying Starling City in the Arrow finale, Oliver (Stephen Amell) faces the unenviable task of beating the man that nearly killed him. Will everyone come out of the Arrow finale alive? Spoiler alert: Nope! EW turned to executive producer Marc Guggenheim to get the scoop:
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What can you tell us about the season finale?
MARC GUGGENHEIM: It’s really the culmination of everything that we’ve been doing all year long. There’s obviously a fair amount of cliffhangers from the penultimate episode that need to be resolved. There are a lot of legitimate questions that people have, probably starting with, “Does Team Arrow survive?” This is a somewhat different finale than years past because it’s got a lot more character going on in it. There are plenty of pyrotechnics and two really huge sequences—one on a plane and another on top of a dam. It’s got the production value of years past, but there are a lot more character moments woven throughout here than we’ve typically done in a finale.
Marc Guggenheim says of the big episode: “We’ve never ended a season the way we’re ending this season, where literally you are going, ‘How can the show go on?’ ”
Is Arrow about to destroy everything it holds dear?
Wednesday’s season finale picks up after Oliver (Stephen Amell) left his friends to die in a cell in Ra’s al Ghul’s (Matt Nable) Nanda Parbat prison. Ra’s plans to release a toxin and destroy Starling City, and in order to stop him, Oliver has played along with the plan. Secretly, he’s been working with Merlyn (John Barrowman) to put a stop to it.
The season has already dismantled the Arrow lair and seen Sara (Caity Lotz) and Roy (Colton Haynes) exit the series. Though the CW series is coming back for season four, executive producer Marc Guggenheim says the episode has the feel of a series finale and that its conclusion will leave viewers asking, “How can the show go on?”
In a chat with The Hollywood Reporter, Guggenheim weighs in on the finale’s big events, The Flash’s (Grant Gustin) role in the episode, and how it ties into the upcoming spinoff DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.
There’s a party here in Nanda Parbat, excitement and a deadly virus are in the air! Yep, Oliver Queen Al Sah-Him is finally getting married, but there’s no verdict yet on if it will be the wedding of the century. However, Oliver and Nyssa don’t tie the knot until the end of the episode and there’s a ton of stuff to explore before we get there.
“This is Your Sword,” another strong installment of Arrow, focuses primarily on the scars Team Arrow incurred during their confrontation with Al Sah-Him last week. Some are definitely more scarred than others, and all of those wounds are readily apparent. One of the joys of the back half of Arrow’s third season has been seeing how far along Team Arrow has come since the first season, and tonight’s episode is definitely a reminder of how essential Arrow’s supporting cast is to the show. (Like, we need a reminder though.) As the episode unfolds, “This is Your Sword” reminds of us something Tatsu said to Oliver in “Uprising”: “To defeat a man like this Ra’s al Ghul, you must be willing not just to die, but to know what you have to sacrifice in order to beat him…It will be whatever you hold most precious.”
As Oliver Queen—ahem, Al Sah-him (Stephen Amell)—inches closer to becoming the next Ra’s al Ghul, Team Arrow will make one last ditch effort to save his soul before the season finale, which is aptly titled “My Name Is Oliver Queen.”
“We’ve always said the season is about identity, and Oliver trying to decide between being the Arrow and being Oliver Queen,” executive producer Marc Guggenheim tells EW. “That’s obviously very present, as the title suggests, in the finale. Oliver’s arc over the course of the last episodes of the season relates to this question of ‘am I Oliver, or am I the Arrow.’ [It’s] very focused on that threesome” of Oliver, Diggle (David Ramsey) and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards).
With Al Sah-him’s marriage to Nyssa (Katrina Law) on the horizon, and the subsequent potential destruction of Starling City to follow—wow, what a honeymoon!—Guggenheim teases that this year’s season-ender has the “same epic scope that we’ve established in season 1 and 2. It’s got some of the most emotional scenes that we’ve had in a season finale. We always say on Arrow that the season finale is time to go big or go home. I’m really optimistic [it] will feel every bit as big in terms of story and production value as our previous two season finales.”
But the team may find help from outside forces. “There’s going to be a big character returning for the finale that we haven’t announced yet,” Guggenheim says. EW can reveal that character is The Flash (Grant Gustin)—but even with the scarlet speedster on the case, Guggenheim cautions that fans should be very worried about their favorite heroes.
“We’re at the point in the season where, I think our fans know, it’s usually when the culling happens, so I think everyone knows that they’ve got reason to be afraid,” he says, noting that there won’t be a traditional cliffhanger leaving fans wondering about their favorite characters’ fates. “The season 3 finale of Arrow is very definitive. It really feels like the end, not just of season 3, but of the first three seasons.”
Though Guggenheim is cagey on what will happen in the finale, he does reveal what won’t happen. “The Arrow finale doesn’t relate to the spinoff at all,” the EP says of the planned project featuring Brandon Routh, Caity Lotz and many other familiar faces. “It’s pure Arrow.”
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.
Throughout the course of this season, Oliver has constantly found himself at odds with his team and has almost always been cast as a quasi antagonist. Even though Arrow casts him as the “bad guy” (in the wrong) in those intra-team squabbles, he has always remained the hero of the story—until tonight. Continuing Arrow’s current hot streak, “Al Sah-Him” sees this season-long idea become more literal as Oliver is turned into a certifiable villain who poses a threat not only to the remaining members of Team Arrow, but also to Starling City. He’s become his own worst nightmare. It’s very reminiscent of Harvey Dent’s line (delivered by Aaron Eckhart) in The Dark Knight: “You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become a villain.”
There’s plenty more to love about this episode. Most importantly, Diggle is the main protagonist in tonight’s episode. Plus, Nyssa is given some welcome character development, and we finally learn the purpose of those frustrating flashbacks.
Tonight’s episode kicks off with a montage that takes us through Oliver’s three week mental reprogramming (read: brainwashing), a process all new League of Assassins recruits must undergo. It involves sensory deprivation, some light starvation, and, according to the subtitles, sword clanging, i.e. a lot of sparring against Ra’s. To understand the extent of Oliver’s transformation, the sequence ends with Oliver hallucinating, due to a drug Ra’s gave him, Maseo capturing Diggle trying to infiltrate Nanda Parbat to free him, and Ra’s instructing Oliver to kill him, which he goes for without any hesitation. Yes, Oliver Queen is indeed only alive in the past. There only remains Darth Oliver Al Sah-Him.
Ever so proud of his heir’s progress, Ra’s takes Oliver on a stroll through “a place only the dead call home,” a.k.a. the ruins of Ra’s’ home village. Clearly, Ra’s has never listened to Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off,” because he instructs Oliver that under no circumstance should his sole remaining hater (challenger to his reign) be allowed to keep hating. She, Nyssa al Ghul, must be eliminated. Ra’s insists on this because he failed to end his challenge’s life, a man named Damien Darhk, who joined the League at the same time as Ra’s, and now Damien remains a thorn in Ra’s side as he leads a group called H.I.V.E.
Now that Arrow’s Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) has become the new Heir to the Demon, it raises the question of what this means for the previous owner of that title, Nyssa al Ghul (Katrina Law), who has set up shop in Starling City as she trains Laurel (Katie Cassidy) to fulfill her comic book destiny in becoming the Black Canary.
“Nyssa was the Heir to the Demon,” executive producer Marc Guggenheim says. “There’s a real question as to whether or not Nyssa poses a threat to Oliver’s ascension to Ra’s.”
Therefore, it won’t be long before Oliver—ahem, Al Sah-Him (or Wareeth al Ghul, if you’d like)—returns to Starling to track Nyssa down. But don’t expect those Oliver left behind to just stand by and watch. The team is “not necessarily all on the same page in terms of how involved they should be getting here,” Guggenheim says. “There’s an argument to be made that she’s not the nicest person ever. Part of the fun of episode 21 is seeing the very different perspectives that our characters have on this issue. They’re not all on the same page.”