‘Arrow’ 6×23 Review: Let’s Start A New Chapter

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Arrow is like the weather. One day it’s sunny skies and breezy, the next it’s either sweltering hot or storming like the apocalypse. You never really know what to expect. Though I blame that on the current (now past) showrunners. Their tenure has been marred with inconsistency and frustration that there’s actually a collective sigh of relief that they’re handing (forcibly or not) the torch over to someone new that can try and get Arrow back on track.

It’s hard to believe that there was actually a point during this season where I believed that this season had promise. Reuniting Oliver and Felicity. Focusing on family. A promising big bad in Cayden James. But somewhere around midseason, it all went downhill.

Even with its highs of the season — Olicity’s wedding, OTA back together solo, the Oliver/William storyline, Diggle as interim GA, etc. — this season couldn’t be saved from the inconsistencies that plagued it. Season 6, while I’ll always know it as the season that Oliver and Felicity got married, will also be known as the season where they made Curtis, Rene, and Dinah look like total jackasses and, even more laughable, attempted to get the audience to sympathize with them. It was also when they made Quentin look like a complete and total moron as he seemed to forget that a murderer that looked like his daughter wasn’t actually his daughter. Oh, and that time where Arrow has Oliver and Diggle fight for no damn reason. And not to mention, this was the season with the worst Big Bad in Arrow history and DCTV history, to be honest. And that includes Vandal Savage and Non. What a joke.

There’s a reason that Arrow is headed in a new direction for season 7, which from the sound of it won’t be its last. So at least Beth Schwartz will have a couple of seasons to turn this show around. And pardon me, but a random sports example just popped in my head, and I have to write it. Beth inheriting this Arrow series is kind of like how NFL coach Matt Nagy is inheriting the Chicago Bears. The talent’s there. All of the pieces needed to be a success. It could’ve done better last season, but it was handcuffed most of the season. It’s just it needs a fresh, new direction. It needs someone to lead it in the right way. So, yes, I’m referring to Marc and Wendy as John Fox in that regard, and that might be the greatest thing I’ve ever noticed.

Arrow’s season 6 finale title, “Life Sentence,” pretty much covers it. It covers the season finale. It covers this season of Arrow. It covers my fate regarding this show so long as Oliver, Felicity, and Diggle remain a part of it. I’m stuck for life. Or the next couple of years, whichever comes first.

Arrow’s season 6 finale was underwhelming, to say the least. It wasn’t thrilling. It wasn’t exciting. It didn’t have a moment that gave us hope for next season (probably because Marc and Wendy already knew they were leaving and didn’t bother.) It fell short and underwhelming. And if my faves hadn’t been in it, I probably would’ve fallen asleep like I did during “The Dragon.”

Aside from a few really nice emotional moments, this finale was downright boring. Being forced to watch Oliver apologize to everyone and their mother, especially people that didn’t deserve it. Being forced to listen to Diaz whine like a little bitch because he’s a terrible excuse for a villain. Being forced to watch Quentin Lance die after being forced to be an idiot all season. Being forced to watch Black Siren get a chance to say goodbye, but not Sara Lance his actual daughter. Being forced to watch Oliver Queen, a good f***ing man, get cuffed and carried away to prison while terrible people like Rene and Curtis got off scott-free.

But let’s take a step back and focus on the good moments of the episode. Because they were there. They were few and far between, but they were there.

Though Oliver and Quentin’s final scene together was really beautiful and emotional beyond belief. It even made me forget how much of an idiot Quentin was this season, in regards to Black Siren. Watching Oliver and Quentin, it reminded me of the real Quentin Lance. It reminded me of this father-son relationship that has developed between the two. Mortal enemies turned family over these past six years. Pretty emotional stuff.

Quentin’s death, while I knew it was coming, most definitely hit all of the emotional spots. From his conversation to Oliver, right down to Sara coming back, to the reaction of the group. It hurt like hell. Although, I’m forever pissed that Sara never got a chance to say goodbye to her father, but Black Siren, who isn’t his daughter, did? When are you going to stop hurting Sara Lance, Arrowverse? This is ridiculous. You don’t deserve her.

I’d like to say, F**k you, Arrow, for that scene with Rene telling his daughter goodbye. Because not only did that mess me up on an emotional level, but I actually felt emotions other than hatred toward the guy in that moment. And that’s just not right. Watching as Rene talked to his daughter for what he believed was the final time, telling her that he loved her, that he was proud, and that he’d see her later, broke me. It was so brilliantly acted by Rick Gonzalez. I felt that. And it hurt like hell. So good job, man. I love Rick. I just don’t like Rene.

And perhaps the least surprising thing — next to Quentin’s death — Oliver turning himself over to the FBI in exchange for help in defeating Diaz (help he really didn’t need) and immunity for his family and friends. It’s really no surprise that he did it, given the selfless man that he is. Even back in season 1, Oliver was always willing to take the heat for someone else. It’s always been his nature in this show. Because he believes he deserves it. And because he cares. That much.

Which led to his conversation with Felicity after the fact. Not only did Felicity read his “goodbye tour” loud and clear (although she assumed he was just stepping down), but we got an emotional scene between the two as the still-newlyweds (because it’s only been a few months) were faced with a future without each other for, well, life? Obviously that won’t happen, but it was the idea. Watching Oliver be Oliver and lay his life down to protect his wife and son never ceases to be powerful. Watching Oliver always try to protect everyone but himself continues to be frustrating. Watching Oliver and Felicity always having to say goodbye…you’d think I’d be used to it by now.

Let’s break this down further:

Once A Hero, Always A Hero

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Oliver Queen left this season the same way he entered it: As a hero. While Green Arrow gets a lot of credit for being the hero that has guarded Star City for the past six years, it’s the man under the hood that doesn’t get nearly enough credit for all of his heroics both in the hood and out of it.

Oliver is the most disrespected hero in this DCTV universe. Because he’s the dark one or the one that started it all, it’s caused a lot of so-called DCTV “fans” to tear him to shreds and prop up their own. Or characters on these other shows are even guilty of it. But if anyone took the time to actually watch Oliver Queen, they’d see that he’s one of the most selfless heroes and one of the most selfless people.

From the moment Oliver walked into Agent Watson’s office at the end of the penultimate episode, we all knew it was coming. After he admitted to her that he was the Green Arrow, we all knew it was coming. He was going away to prison for, well, life. So watching as he made the rounds, so to speak, making amends and saying his goodbyes to the people in his life, I couldn’t help but collectively groan and smile. Because what else had I expected from Oliver? Because who else would’ve thrown themselves in the fire like that? Because what else is Oliver Queen than the person that will always put himself second?

Let’s not pretend like Oliver’s the only one that’s done anything to warrant being locked up. Everyone on that team has. But Oliver, being the self-sacrificial and righteous man he is, decided to give himself up so that everyone else could live their lives. Typical Oliver Queen, always concerned about others before himself. Some things will never change.

Oliver is so good and so predictable with this. He’ll always find a way to blame himself for things gone wrong. He’ll always convince himself that this is what he deserves. He’ll always convince himself that this is what’s right. And maybe that’s because he’s trying to cope with the situation. Or maybe that’s because he actually believes it.

“You’re a really good father”

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Can we forget about Quentin in regards to Black Siren, who isn’t actually his daughter, for a moment and focus on the foundation of Oliver’s statement:

“You’re a really good father.”
“So you are.”
“I had a really good example.”
“I’m not talking about my dad.”

Quentin has been a good father to Oliver. He’s been the kind of man, the kind of role model, the kind of hero that Oliver has looked up to for years. He became an important part of his life. He became family. Through all the ups and downs, the arrests, the break-ins, the squabbles, Quentin was the man that inspired Oliver the way a father should inspire a son.

This scene in itself was certainly one of the more emotional moments of the hour. As Oliver prepares to turn himself in to the FBI, to do the right thing, just as Quentin taught him. As Quentin prepares to go into a surgery that he might not make it through. As six seasons of this show and years before came to a close. It was the end of one chapter. An important one. And it reminded us that it’s not about the blood that runs through your veins. It’s about the people you choose to surround yourself with. And Oliver, having decided to surround himself with Quentin, and Quentin having decided to surround himself with Oliver, that speaks volumes.

“She’s not your daughter”

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From one side of the spectrum to the other. I’m sorry, but Black Siren gets to say goodbye to Quentin, but Sara (his actual daughter) doesn’t? What kind of bullshit is this?

Here’s the thing, I’ve always loved Quentin and his relationship with his daughters. It’s one of the more long standing and beautiful dynamics on the show, and I’ve enjoyed watching it. But the way this whole Quentin/Black Siren storyline played out was beyond laughable. And it’s not because Quentin felt “drawn” to her because she looked like Laurel. It was in how he actually believed she was his actual daughter.

Basically, I had a huge problem with Arrow making Quentin Lance look like a damn moron for most of this season. They turned his character into a laughing stock. How we were always on moron watch waiting for the next way he was going to mess something up.

I would’ve had no problem in Quentin seeing Black Siren, seeing that maybe there’s some humanity within her, and attempting to access it and Laurel Lance of Earth-2. But instead, he tried to turn her into his Laurel. He even got to the point where he called her “my daughter,” which was ridiculous. That murderer isn’t his daughter. She’s just someone that wears her face.

But you do know who is you daughter? Sara Lance.

Sara Lance, who has gone through so much hardship in her life. Sara Lance, who continues to fight to be the best version of herself. Sara Lance, who didn’t get to say goodbye to her sister. Sara Lance, who deserved to get to say goodbye to her father.Most of the time it felt like Quentin cared more about his one daughter’s doppleganger than he actually cared about his other, real daughter. I know it’s logistics and she’s on Legends of Tomorrow, blah, blah, blah, but it’s the intent that counts. Mention Sara. Mention talking to her. Mention her in general. She’s your daughter. Not Black Siren.

Oliver’s Legacy (aka What’s Next?)

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As every season finale begs the question: What now? What happens now? What happens now that Oliver Queen is locked up in a supermax? What happens now that Diaz is still not dead? (For the love of God, if I have to deal with Diaz as a villain again next season, we’re going to have some serious problems.)

Obviously Oliver isn’t going to remain imprisoned forever. That’s what the long hiatus is for. It gives time for, well, time to pass and for things to have happened off camera. In this instance, it’s actually quite handy. So Felicity, I mean the team, no I mean Felicity, can find a way to break Oliver out of there .

And when they do set him free, what happens next? Oliver’s superhero identity has been outed. He’s come out to the world. How does he live a normal life after he’s done being the Green Arrow? How do he, Felicity, and William live a normal life after it all? Well, maybe they’re just not meant to live a normal life. Ivy Towns are great — I miss it dearly — but perhaps it’s just not for them. Though I hope I’m wrong.

“You put together a team of heroes,” Dinah told Oliver.

And it’s true. Ever since Oliver went from a one-man crusade to a team crusade, he’s put together a team of heroes, dating back to the good ol’ days of OTA to the current team. He’s inspired people to be heroes, to fight, and to want to be their best selves. When you talk about a legacy, you talk about the seeds you’re planting and what you’re leaving behind. Oliver’s legacy is this team. This team of people, this idea of wanting to do right by the people. Team Arrow. That’s Oliver’s legacy.

In Oliver’s absence, I expect the team to band together and keep fighting the scum on the streets of their city, particularly Diaz, who should be easy to catch and convict now. I have my doubts if Felicity and William will actually head out of town per Oliver’s protective custody plans. Interestingly, if this does happen, it would be a nice parallel to the beginning of season 4, where Oliver and Felicity were away from the team and the others were keeping it up in their absence. And, of course Diggle will be filling in as the Green Arrow, we can assume? Keep the folks at home guessing if Oliver really is the Green Arrow? Or seeing that he’s inspired others to keep his legacy going.

So who’s the new villain? I’m asking not because I want to or need to know right now, but because I need confirmation that you’re done with Diaz. Because I cannot handle that.

P.S.: I really mean it. If I have to deal with Diaz for two seasons straight, I’m going the hell off. Don’t embarrass yourselves any further, please.

Other Thoughts

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  • Team Arrow and the FBI taking over the corrupt police station? I can dig it.
  • Diaz has a third base of operations? You’re giving him way too much credit. He’s not smart enough for that.
  • Thank you Watson for reminding us that a mask or glasses can’t hide an identity realistically.
  • All Diaz knows how to do is pout. Lord.
  • Again, how is Diaz scary? Me waking up at 5am every morning is scarier.
  • TWO GREEN ARROWS? LOOK AT OLIVER. “I should’ve done this from the beginning.” “Id like to apologize.” GROWTH
  • Diggle apologizing for his OOC behavior. Says it’d be diminished if more than one GA. Diggle says “it wasn’t about the costume.” THEN WHY DID THE SHOWRUNNERS MAKE IT ABOUT THAT?
  • “We also have costume parties in Russia. They’re fun.” OMG ANATOLY. SHADE.
  • Felicity hacking the shit out of everything and being a motherf***king Queen. MOOD.
  • Diaz is terrible at everything. Yelling. Speaking. Threatening. Talking in general. Good god.
  • Seriously, how was Black Siren not killed this asshole yet?
  • I love how the writers credit Diaz with these elaborate “traps” when it’s not even realistic that he can tie his own shoes without help.
  • Oh, f**k you, Arrow. Having Rene call his daughter and telling her he loves her and how she gives his life meaning because he thinks he’s gonna die. F**k you, Arrow, for making me care.
  • Why is Oliver such a damn good guy? Complimenting Rene. Having him apologize. He’s a better man than all the people that give him shit.
  • “From what Oliver told me, she’s not your daughter.” And a criminal that has what’s coming for her. Watson is my queen right now.
  • Quentin blaming Oliver for Laurel’s death. F**k you, Arrow.
  • Oliver is saying his goodbyes, making amends. F**k you, Arrow.
  • Quentin snitching to Diaz. God, this show has made him so stupid! He’s going to be stupid right up to the end.
  • “It takes a big person to not take vengeance for someone they love.” Um, Oliver, I think you’re forgetting something very important here…
  • “You’ve been doing the Oliver Farewell Tour all around here.” YOU CANNOT LIE TO WIFEY. SHE KNOWS ALL.
  • Quentin just took a bullet for a stranger that looks like his daughter. Remember that when he dies.
  • Diaz is so f**king stupid. That cannot be said enough.
  • Black Canary and Black Siren working together to save Quentin? If this wasn’t a stupid storyline I might actually really like it.
  • “I need a chopper.” Diaz whining like the bitch he is.
  • Slow motion isn’t enough to convince us that this is a good fight or a believable one. Oliver could’ve and would’ve downed him with one punch.
  • F**king Black Siren fucking ruining everything. Oliver had him. She blew him away. Bitch saved his life. He’s still alive and is gonna kill someone now. Hopefully Black Siren after that.
  • What is this “deal” Oliver made with Watson? No more Green Arrow? Or prison? Or out of town? What?
  • “I had to look at the way I was doing things. It wasn’t working…there’s a penance for that.”
  • “You’re a really good father.: “So you are.” “I had a really good example.” “I’m not talking about me dad.” “Thanks Oliver. For everything.” DEAD DEAD DEAD.
  • Sara walks through the doors and I just broke down entirely.
  • Oliver got immunity for everyone and in exchange he goes to prison. We all knew this was coming.
  • I knew Quentin was gonna die and that still hurt like hell.
  • Sara broke down in Felicity’s arms and I just collapsed.
  • “I wanted to save you and William more.” HOLD ME.
  • “I had to find a way to protect everybody.”
  • Felicity crying hurts me in my soul. Screw this show for doing that to her. Again.
  • Oliver and William. Ouch. It hurts!
  • “I am the Green Arrow.” LOOKING RIGHT INTO THE CAMERA. DAYUM.
  • Oh for the love of God, don’t tell me we have to deal with Diaz AGAIN next season?
  • Thank God it’s over.

Arrow returns Mondays this fall at 9/8c on the CW.


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