After eight seasons, The CW’s Arrow ended on Tuesday night by staying true to its origins with surprising returns, new beginnings, and a funeral for a friend.
I don’t think anyone expected eight years ago that a new live-action series based on a relatively unknown DC hero would change the television landscape, but here we are. Eight years after its debut in the fall of 2012, Arrow is closing up shop, leaving a sprawling legacy of shows in its wake (affectionately called the Arrowverse). The series concluded with a finale episode accompanied by a behind-the-scenes look at one of the longest-running superhero shows in recent history.
The finale itself wrapped up multiple loose ends, some that began in the very first season, and introduced new storytelling possibilities at the same time. Following the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths, several previously deceased characters reappeared unharmed to mourn the loss of Stephen Amell‘s Oliver Queen, who heroically gave up his life to save his friends and rebirth the universe. Nonetheless, there were more than a couple of happy endings for the rest of Team Arrow, including a bright green Easter egg that blew DC fans’ minds.
Let’s take a look at the top five highlights of Arrow‘s series finale.
Thea and Roy Get Their Happy Ending
Oliver’s younger sister, Thea (Willa Holland), had a rough start in the show. She began as a spoiled brat with a drug addiction that Oliver would have to consistently keep an eye on. However, Thea eventually got it together and became a hero in her own right, adopting the moniker Speedy and fighting alongside her brother. Roy Harper (Colton Haynes) was the bad boy with a heart of gold from the wrong side of town, so, of course, Roy and Thea were destined to be star-crossed lovers. Roy also eventually became the vigilante Arsenal to fight alongside Oliver and the rest of his team.
Roy and Thea did have a lot in common, though. They both died and were resurrected by the mysterious Lazarus Pits, complete with an uncontrollable-at-first bloodlust. Both would overcome their dark urges, but they would become estranged following Roy’s interaction with the pits. So, it came as a nice surprise that when Roy and Thea reunited before Oliver’s funeral that sparks would fly again, leading Roy to propose and Thea to accept — since Oliver’s death proves life is short and all.
Laurel Doesn’t Need to Be Fixed
There’s a long and twisted story behind the Laurel Lances played by the phenomenally talented actress, Katie Cassidy. Original Earth-1 Laurel was Oliver’s former girlfriend who became a prosecutor trying to hunt down Oliver’s vigilante alter ego. She would eventually come to find out Oliver’s secret and then take up the mantle of Black Canary following her sister’s death. Earth-1 Laurel would be tragically killed in action by the nefarious Damien Darhk, but Cassidy would return to Arrow in the form of Earth-2’s Laurel, a villain known as Black Siren. Following the death of Quentin Lance (Earth-1 Laurel’s father), who had befriended Black Siren, Earth-2 Laurel joined the side of good.
Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne) was one of the deaths that were undone following the events of Crisis, so Quentin and Laurel resumed their father/daughter-like bond. The most touching scene that doesn’t center around Oliver’s death is the conversation between Quentin and Laurel at the police station.
Laurel doesn’t understand why Oliver brought back Quentin, Moira Queen (Susanna Thompson), and Tommy Merlyn (Colin Donnell), but didn’t bring back Earth-1 Laurel. She’s worried about it being her fault, since she is now on Earth-1 and wonders why Oliver didn’t “fix this.” Quentin quietly tells Laurel that there is nothing about her that needed to be fixed, giving her a hug at the same time. Earth-2 Laurel was always looking to earn Oliver’s respect, and, in the end, she finally got it.
The Dead and the Living Return to Pay Their Respects
Oliver Queen sacrificed himself at the end of Crisis in order to bring back not only all of the people who had been wiped out of existence by the Anti-Monitor and his anti-matter wave, but to resurrect the people he cared about. In the first scene of the finale, we go back in time to when Deathstroke is about to kill Oliver’s mother, Moira. Only on this Earth, Oliver is able to get out of his restraints and save her. During the funeral scene, we learn that Tommy Merlin was married to the Laurel Lance of his Earth, with our Laurel being sympathetic to his situation. Oliver’s half-sister, Emiko (Sea Shimooka), makes an appearance at his funeral (apparently she’s not evil anymore), meeting Thea for the first time.
Other Arrowverse characters returning to the show include Sara Lance (Caity Lotz), Nyssa al Ghul (Katrina Law), Lyla Michaels (Audrey Marie Anderson), Anatoly Knyazev (David Nykl), Curtis Holt (Echo Kellum), Rory Regan (Joe Dinicol), and Mia Smoke/Queen (Kat McNamara). Even Flash (Grant Gustin) and Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) showed up to support Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards).
It’s worth mentioning that the time-traveling Sara is the one who brought Mia back from the future so she would be able to attend her father’s funeral. This just briefly touches on the timeline set forth in the “Green Arrow and the Canaries” backdoor pilot episode. News looks favorable that it will get picked up as a spin-off, with sources noting that it is the second-highest rated episode of the season.
John Gets the Surprise of His Life
John Diggle (David Ramsey) was always Oliver’s moral compass. Early in the show, Oliver was determined to not only save his city, but to punish evil by death. John would eventually begin to mellow Oliver out and get him out of killing all the bad guys all the time. It took a while, but we later see that John is married to ARGOS agent Lyla Michaels and the two have a child together, first a girl named Sara (named after Sara Lance after her temporary death), which was later switched to a boy named Connor (following Flash’s meddling with the timeline).
During one of the previous crossovers from a few years ago, it’s mentioned that John “doesn’t have his ring” on this Earth, leading to widespread speculation that John Diggle would eventually become the John Stewart version of the superhero Green Lantern. Following Oliver’s funeral, we see John and Lyla pack up their things to start their lives over in Metropolis. Lyla drives the kids away, and as John goes to get into the other van, he sees something meteorite-like flying through the sky. It crash-lands in a field next to John, knocking him off of his feet.
When John gets to the crater, there’s a small container that he picks up. Upon opening it, a bright green light shines across his face, indicating that it is likely a Green Lantern power ring. With the Superman & Lois television show already ordered to series, we wouldn’t be surprised if John’s story continued there.
Olicity for Life (And in Death)
In the comic books, Oliver Queen (aka Green Arrow) and Dinah Lance (Black Canary) are one of DC’s most popular power couples. So, you could imagine everyone’s surprise that neither Black Canary ended up being the love of Oliver’s life on Arrow. Instead, it would be Rickards’ Felicity Smoak, who was previously a relatively minor character in the comic books. However, the actress’ charm, screen presence, and chemistry with Amell turned a guest-star stint into a seven-year series regular. Fans of the show were torn between “Olicity” and wanting Oliver to indeed end up with Laurel.
Following the birth of their daughter, Felicity and Mia went into hiding as Oliver dealt with the Crisis. However, upon learning of Oliver’s death, Felicity returns to the fold for one last mission and to be with Team Arrow to say goodbye. The final scene of the show flashes back to the previous scene of the Monitor and Felicity about to step through a portal in the year 2040. After exiting the portal, Felicity finds herself in an afterlife modeled after Oliver’s first memory of her. It’s here that she is finally reunited with Oliver for eternity.
The legacy of Arrow is one that is hard to put into concrete terms. The show literally spawned an entire superhero universe across one network. It redefined how superhero shows are made, using quality actors, movie-level fight scenes and state-of-the art cinematography. Arrow is responsible for single-handedly bringing dozens of superheroes and villains to life for almost a decade, jumpstarting and reviving careers in the process. There would be no Flash, no Supergirl, and no Batwoman if there was no Arrow. It inspired a legion of fans all over the world that kept the show running for eight years. A large part of what made the show so successful was its dedicated cast, particularly Amell, who seems like a genuinely good person who is passionate about his work. This may be the end of Oliver Queen, but we have a feeling we’ll be seeing some of these characters again very soon.