Apologies, kids. It’s taken a me a little while to sit down and write about the season finale of Arrow‘s second season because it was a lot of sound and fury, but not much else. Don’t get me wrong–it was a solid hour. It just wasn’t the megapocalypse I felt like we’d been set up to expect. And most surprisingly–EVERYONE made it to the closing credits. It was sort of the nailbiter that wasn’t, and I’d like my nails back.
We pick up with The Undertaking 2 still in full swing as Slade and his men rage. Laurel is kidnapped, and Oliver has an existential crisis on how to deal with it that results in him telling Felicity he loves her in a moment of supreme misdirection that had me checking my clock for lost time.
Before that, the team, including a now-revived and de-Mirakuru’d Roy, bail out of the Canary hideaway just as the Goon Squad descends on them and a badass Lyla launches a grenade at them from a grenade launcher while standing on the side of a helicopter and Diggle is super proud of his lady.
Sara gives herself back to the League of Assassins in exchange for the help with Slade’s army, and Nyssa restrains her killer instinct as long as she can–her team agrees to attack the Army with the cure–but she shuts Isabel down, permanently, when the latter starts to rail about their cause. Diggle and Lyla also free their own league from holding to help out.
Oliver gets a buck up little camper talking-to from Felicity where she tells him to out think Slade, then he stashes her at Queen Manor (after the “I love you” admission). When he goes to meet Slade and Mwa Ha Ha that he doesn’t care about Laurel/Slade grabbed the wrong girl, Slade shows up with Laurel and Felicity, but it’s all a set up (Oliver baited Slade via his cameras in the Manor). Slade threatens both of the ladies while and he and Oliver taunt each other and then Slade’s distracted long enough that Felicity turns around on him and jabs him with the cure.
Laurel and Felicity get clear and Slade and Oliver throw down until the cure kicks in, but Oliver doesn’t kill him. And we flash back to the island when Sara was washed off the barge as Anatoly fired the missile from the sub, and Oliver shoved an arrow into Slade’s eye while he was trapped under an iron lighting rig, fully intending to kill him.
Back in the present, while the Big Boy Brawl is going on, Diggle and Lyla (and, eventually, a triumphant Oliver) talk Amanda off her trigger finger and Amanda outs Lyla’s pregnancy (Boooooo) as she chastises Lyla for her actions, but Diggle’s going to be a daddy (yayyyyyy!).
Separately, Thea’s shot into Malcolm in the closing moments of last week’s episode hit body armor so he pops back up still wanting to reconcile. Roy doesn’t take Oliver’s word for it that she got out of town OK so he calls her and she comes. They meet at his apartment, and he promises her that he’s better–nobody breaks it to him that he went way off the reservation–and they make plans to leave together. Of course, he’s got one last thing to do first. While he’s gone and she’s packing his things, she finds his arrow stash and that’s enough for her to bail. She writes him a goodbye forever letter and then climbs into a limo with Malcolm, off for quests unknown.
Sara takes her leave and has a sweet farewell with her family. There’s a cheeky reference to Laurel picking up the reins on the vigilante sidekick role and Quentin makes his feelings on that known. They don’t get too far away from Sara’s departing barge until Quentin collapses with nasty abdominal bruising from his attempt to defend Laurel at the precinct. He blacks out as Laurel screams for help. I’m guessing the net net there is that we’ll find out Sara got off the boat with her magical venom of something or other and Quentin was saved.
We close with Oliver sitting outside a locked cell that holds Slade and Slade says they can’t keep him and he’ll resume his vendetta. Oliver is sure he’s wrong and walks away while Slade yells after him. When Oliver opens the door we see it’s an ARGUS cell. Oliver closes the door, and climbs up above ground and we’re back on Lian Yu and Felicity and Diggle are waiting for him. They walk to a plane and Oliver says he’ll fly home. Diggle says fine with him, but Felicity asks how he could learn to fly on an island. He laughs and we get the first flashback to when he met Amanda, after he was washed off the barge and woke up in Hong Kong. So I’m guessing those will be our third season flashbacks.
Also in there, Diggle gives Felicity and Oliver a moment to sort out the I love you and they don’t really settle it except that it was a ruse and they got their man. The unsaid thing there, I think, is that Oliver really does love her and was genuine when he said the words, he just doesn’t love her the way that she’d prefer.
I was seriously surprised the Lance girls got out alive. I’ve said all season that I felt like they were spinning up Laurel for a wrap-up like Tommy so I’m glad she’s still around. I also thought Thea might die and we’d have Malcolm vs. Oliver somewhere in there. I knew Felicity was safe, and I was pretty sure Sara was, too.
As for Slade, I completely get, dramatically speaking, why he’s better off locked away for a rainy day, but with his flashbacks (in all likelihood) concluded, the only thing left to do with him is to break him out as a big bad in waiting, a la Malcolm. I hope Manu Bennett pops up in an another gig until then.
I am still curious what version of Starling City we will return to and whether we’ll have a time jump to post-rebuilding when we come back in the fall.
Thank you for reading this season. Happy hiatus!
All photos courtesy of Cate Cameron/The CW.