The Arrow season 1 finale was the best and the worst

While most Arrow watchers are probably dealing with whatever the season two finale brought, I’m over here reeling about the season one end. And yet, I’m also feeling exceedingly grateful it didn’t quite go the way I was expecting.

Arrow Tommy final
Arrw 1.23: Sacrifice

First off: Tommy, NOOOOOOOOOOO! I’m really glad he got a hero moment in saving Laurel, though. And I probably wouldn’t have been too upset if all we saw was Laurel and Detective Lance outside CNRI after the fact, but watching Oliver surrounded by flames and rubble tearfully begging Tommy to open his eyes was without a doubt one of the most heartbreaking things I’ve seen on TV, and I watch a ton of television.

But I really liked this finale a lot, which is great considering how prepared I was to be annoyed. After the previous episode, it really looked like the whole finale was set up around conflict born from people making stupid decisions, and I got enough of that on the Once Upon a Time finale.

It looked like there was going to be a ton of drama over the police uncovering Felicity’s attempt to hack into Merlyn Global, and oh god relationship drama all over the place as Tommy sees Oliver hooking up with Laurel — because Oliver realized IF he can stop Malcolm, then he and Laurel can be together. Talk about counting your chicks before they’ve hatched. (And this was a hugely douchey move, since Oliver had just told Tommy to fix things with Laurel.)

Fortunately, the thing with Felicity turned into a catalyst for some teamwork with Lance to try to stop the earthquake device, and Tommy set aside his Oliver/Laurel issues to confront his father about his plan to destory the Glades. And that made me really happy. Because for as much as I would probably enjoy watching Colin Donnell play dark as Tommy joins forces with his father (or takes his place to avenge his death)…it’s kind of a tired story three Toby Maguire Spider-Man movies later. So from that perspective, I’m glad that’s not what happened. Even if it means Tommy has to die.

On a grander scale, this series is really impressing me. All the characters are compelling in their own way (and the finale gave me more fuel for my Roy/Jackson comparison, though Roy is by far the nobler character), and it’s exciting to watch. I wish we got a little more of the parkour that was presented in the pilot and didn’t really return until the final few episodes, but even without it, I found the fight scenes to be well choreographed.

But the thing that really stands out to me is the way Arrow handles its flashbacks. Between the present day and Oliver’s time on the island, we’re getting two distinct stories. They may have a common thread for better transition, but they’re their own stories, straight-forwardly told. No flashbacks within flashbacks here.

And the thing that really makes them work is the character growth for Ollie. He’s not the same person he was when The Queen’s Gambit wrecked, and being able to see the contrast between who he is now and who he was, and the steps that brought him to this point along the way, is truly satisfying. Also, I can’t quite figure out if they put Stephen Amell in a wig for the island scenes or if they filmed all the island scenes at once and then did the Starling City stuff. It’s probably a wig, but a not terrible one.

Either way, I’m stupid excited for season two. And I bet all the rest of you are psyched for season three, which I’ll probably catch mostly live once season two becomes available and I power through it at super speed.

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