OMFG you guys! Oh my fucking god! That was amazing! Arrow wraps up the season in 35 amazing minutes, and then deals with the fallout!
Okay, so back to the start: Slade's men are just about to storm the Clocktower - Team Arrow's temporary HQ. Luckily the one-woman Cavalrly shows up to save the day in the form of Layla Michaels who torpedoes the building! Did I ever mention that I love Layla? Because I do. (And I love the adoring looks Dig gives her too. So adorable.)
While Team Arrow regroups at what's left of the Foundry (RIP Arrow cave, I really liked you) the other cavalry arrives: Nyssa Al Ghul and 6 of her best assassin pals are here to help and make this episode about 200% hotter (because it's the finale, just the regulars weren't cutting it). And to let Felicity bring the best line of the episode (again). She finished MIT and she ain't afraid of no demons.
The expanded team then sets off for Slade's base of operations (Queen Consolidated building) where a fight ends in Isabel's death (mid-monologue! this needs to be a new item on the drinking game) courtesy of Nyssa, in defiance of Oliver's no kill rule.
Meanwhile Slade goon #576 (and it feels like they were that many in spite of them repeatedly saying they were only about 40) kidnaps Laurel for Slade. So, after delievering a rousing speech to what's left of SCPD (which ranks somewhere between "Be brave!" and "Today we're cancelling the apocalypse!" on the Doomed Meter), Detective Lance meets with the Arrow to beg him to save Laurel (and remind him that killing the mirakuru!zombies might actually be the answer).
It's Felicity who manages to mobilize Oliver again (is this like... the 4th episode in a row?) and gives him the best idea on how to get close enough to Slade to deliver the cure. It involves setting her up as bait and one of the most heartbreaking scenes in this show. I believed that barely whispered "I love you" for a second there. Then I realized that something is off. This is TPTB deliberately playing with our hearts, but I'm kind of okay with it.
Aftwards the team (plus Det. Lance every step of the way!) takes on what's left of Slade's army who was trying to blow ARGUS blockade and get out of the city. At the same time Dig and Layla break into ARGUS to try and stop the drone Amanda Waller has fired at the city. They first break out Deadshot (and what appear to be some new members of the Suicide Squad) and try to storm the command room. That only ends in a Mexican standoff and the shocking news that Dig is going to be a father. For a second there I thought they might have gone for the ol secret!kid trope, but thankfully they're only doing that with Oliver.
Then we finally get to the part that we've been waiting for all season: the final showdown between Oliver and Slade. Felicity actually stabs Deathstroke in the neck with the cure after he has a her in a choke-hold and she and Laurel basically rescue themselves. The actual fight scene is impressive (as are all of them this episode, but by now I've come to expect that from Arrow) and paralleled by the showdown on the Amazo in the island flashbacks. It seems Oliver chose to kill Slade back then while he was pinned under falling metal beams and still threatening his family. I'm not sure how to feel about that. It was a bit underwhelming and considering the crushing weight of the debris I think delivering the cure might have a death sentence anyway. Just a slower, more painful one.
With all that going on, it's almost easy to forget that Thea shot Captain Barrowman at the end of last episode. Of course he's still wearing his kevlar from last season so he glleefuly gets back up and starts the "You truly are my daughter" spiel. I love Thea's eye-roll as she walks away leaving him mid-sentence. She then goes back to Roy (who can't remember what happened while he was under Slade's influence) and actually believes him when he doesn't know anything about the Arrow. Then she actually finds his bow and quiver and realized he was not entirely truthful. Yeah, no DUH. And then she decides to leave with Captain crazy-pants Barrowman, because of course she does. As I've said before. I am not opposed to Thea taking a few levels in bad-ass, but I really hate this plotline. Her boyfriend is a liar, but her crazy city-destroying biological father is somehow better? WTF, show?
One of my biggest pet peeves with season finales of all kinds is that while they do deliver the amazing earth-shattering events they usually end very soon after the climax, and season premieres usually start with some sort of time-jump or they continue with the whole episode right from where the cliffhanger left off and then just end. Which usually means the next episode is back to whatever the show does weekly with very little onscreen dealing with actual fallout. Arrow did something else entirely: ended the main plotline of the season in 35 minutes of non-stop action and then gave us 10 minutes of proper emotional wrap-up, as well as dealing with the stuff that happened. Not everything of course, but they addresses some of the immediate stuff: the relationship between Oliver and Slade, that conversation between Oliver and Felicity, the Canary situation.
First of all Sara goes back to the League with Nyssa, but this time by her own choice. As they're saying their goodbyes she gives Laurel her canary jacket. As I've said last time, I'm really okay with this. either Laurel temporarily doning the Canary costume or becoming Manhunter. Of course, as I also predicted last time, not everything can go well for the Lances, and the Detective has developed a sudden case of Contract Renegotiation. I really really hope they bring him back next season, it wouldn't be the same without him.
Oliver tells Slade that he's become a hero because he didn't kill him, but that's not really true, is it? Because heroes are not measured by whether they kill or not but by what they are willing to sacrifice for the greater good. And Oliver finally answered: everything. And Felicity's the person who helped him do that. I also kind of love that Slade is imprisoned on Lian Yu and Oliver actually tells him that.
Speaking of which - that really awkward conversation between Oliver and Felicity at the end. Ow, my heart. I ship it - hard, so that was heartbreaking. That after all this Oliver still can't get his head outa his ass about being with Felicity. That wistful look on his face. But then I get it - Oliver isn't quite there yet for a very serious relationship.
Anyway, season 3 promises a lot of amazing things. Like regular doses of Barrowman chewing up scenery! Little!Dig! More Suicide Squad! And most likely a Flash crossover ep, right around midseason. Hiatus is going to be hell.
(gif source: here)