Arrow Season 3 Finale Review: My Name is Oliver Queen

The Arrow season 3 finale shows us the final battle between Green Arrow and Ra's al Ghul. Here's Mike's review.

This Arrow review contains spoilers.

“My Name is Oliver Queen” was a fitting Arrow season three finale. Don’t read that in a surprised tone of voice because you know just as well as I do that the showrunners know what they’re doing at this point. There was a lot that had to get done, and the cynic in me sometimes wonders how this show can ever surprise me again.

Well, it did surprise me. Pleasantly. And with a minimum of heartbreak.

I’m just going to get my only real complaints out of the way up front, because this was a solid finale:

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If you read my review of last night’s The Flash you might have noticed that I complained a little bit about there being too much interconnectivity with these shows. While tonight’s Flash guest star moment was plenty cool, it did illustrate some of the problems with all of this. I just don’t buy that he wouldn’t stick around, especially with an entire city in danger.

That’s more an issue with how the timelines of both of these shows have been playing out, though. I feel that could have been solved easily with some explanation ahead of time, especially since we knew that nobody was really going to croak at the end of last week’s episode. It’s not the biggest deal in the world, but I do hope these shows don’t get too bogged down in the crossover stuff next season.

I also feel that they may have rushed the whole Damian Darhk thing. Considering how little we’ve dealt with HIVE and everything else, that kind of diversion/set-up wasn’t necessarily the most well-spent time of the episode. I’m still all in for the future, but I’m not sure there was quite enough story over the last few episodes, and this felt like a little bit of filler.

Anyway, why the hell should I complain when we just had an episode that opened with a ninja fight on a cargo plane? That’s not the kind of thing you see every day. Funny enough, that was the biggest pure action piece of the entire episode, and it got it out of the way early.

Instead, “My Name is Oliver Queen” built itself on tension instead huge action pieces. Starling City has already been destroyed and raided/invaded, so it would have been completely redundant to do it again. Arrow season three, to its credit, has really been more about intrigue and character than huge brawls, stunts, and explosions, especially in its second half. In that regard, this finale was perfectly in keeping with everything that has come before.

The focus on, not an army, but rather individuals acting as bio-weapons and the difficulty in detecting them made the fact that this is one hell of a team of superheroes working to keep the city safe feel a little ironic. What good is all that firepower when you can’t face your enemy at the city gates and take them on? We’ve already seen the Atom fly to the rescue and punch through planes, so there would have been no point in doing that here.

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I’m sorry to see Matt Nable as Ra’s al Ghul go. On the other hand, I’m just as happy to see Malcolm Merlyn take on the mantle of Ra’s. A long time ago I even suspected that Merlyn was already Ra’s, so it’s nice to see him actually ascend (descend?) to the job here. And make no mistake, I’m pretty damn sure that Nable/Ra’s is as dead as they come. There’s a body, he was willingly embracing death, it was a great moment. There’s no dramatic need to undo this.

What’s more, I think it proves that the League is here to stay in some form or another. Nyssa’s resentment towards Ra’s/Merlyn is entirely too delicious to ignore for long, and Merlyn is such a master manipulator I’d like to see if he can win her over and get her to work in the overall League’s best interests. Or it might just be nice to watch her kick his ass. I’m happy with either.

As for that ending, well…we all know Oliver will be back. The fact that he’s “happy” just means that the showrunners can’t wait to take something (someone) he loves away from him. The question is, what’s going to be bad enough to make him put the hood on again? Perhaps it will be his friends asking for his help when Diggle goes digging into the mysteries of HIVE and finds more about Damian Darhk. As long as they don’t kill off Felicity, we’re cool.

Oliver told Ra’s at the beginning of the episode he was dreaming of “rebirth.” Well, he got it, certainly not in the way that Ra’s expected, but not exactly in the way I was expecting, either. The show spent a lot of time putting things back together that maybe didn’t need to be over the course of the year, but I didn’t think that would end up including Oliver’s soul, too. That’s nice.

On the whole, I believe this season was just as good as season two. It was more uneven from episode to episode, but without actually going back and looking, I’m willing to be that I gave more episodes high ratings (4 stars plus) in season three than I did across the entirety of season two. 

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Meanwhile…On an Island

Oliver really lets Shrieve have it, doesn’t he? And I guess this rules out any chance of seeing Shrieve as the string puller of the season 4 flashbacks or the big baddie of the present.

I remain, on the whole, unsatisfied with this year’s flashback sequences, although they certanly picked things up at the end. 

Speaking of things in the flashbacks…

DC Universe Watchtower

– Holy moley, are next year’s flashbacks going to take place in Coast City? Because if this is how they’re going to introduce Hal Jordan to this world, I may lose my mind.

Then again, it’s just as likely that Oliver’s ship gets blown off course. 

– I don’t know if there’s any significance to the cargo ship being named “Triton’s Daughter.” None of them are named Mera, for example. One is Alana, which I guess recalls Adam Strange love interest, Alanna Strange, but I’m reaching.

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– Finally…the Atom is going to shrink! Maybe. However, the Ray Palmer in the comics has been known for getting trapped in his subatomic state and discovering worlds that way, so perhaps this accident is the first step on that kind of journey. Don’t worry, he’ll be back in time for Legends of Tomorrow.

– Damian Darhk is about as minor as a DC supervillain comes, at least when we’re talking about a guy who will be the big bad of an entire season. He’s only appeared a handful of times, notably as the villain of an obscure run on Titans around the turn of the 21st Century. Very little with him and HIVE this time, but there’s more to come.

– They’ve just introduced John Diggle in the Green Arrow comics, so I don’t think he’s hiding some other kind of superheroic identity that they’re going to spring on us for Arrow season 4. On the other hand, if anybody wants to speculate on any kinds of minor superheroes that are just begging for Diggle to take over, speculate away down in the comments.

– Is Nelson Plaza in Starling City a reference to classic DC Comics Silver Age writer E. Nelson Bridwell? I’d like to think so.

– I am totally on board with Thea becoming Speedy, which is, of course, the name of Green Arrow’s original sidekick from the comics. I hope she makes some changes to Arsenal’s old gear, though. It’s a cool costume, but it doesn’t quite suit her in its current form.

And finally, before I sign off, I’d like to thank every single one of you who comes to Den of Geek to read my reviews every week and takes the time to comment. Thanks to all of you Leaguers who show up to help spot DC Comics references (and correct my mistakes).

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This wouldn’t be half as much fun without you. 

I’ll be writing lots more about Arrow, The Flash, and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and superheroes in general all summer long, so please stick around. I think we can pass the time until Arrow season 4!

Rating:

4 out of 5