This Arrow review contains spoilers.
Arrow Season 6 Episode 16 Review
It’s sad to see Thea Queen go, but tonight Arrow did right by her and Roy. Seeing the two not only reunited but heading off alive and on another great adventure is a welcome send-off for two beloved characters. Even better, the pair got to see some serious action on their way out, taking on what’s left of the League of Assassins, the titular Thanatos Guild. And their mission is to find the remaining Lazarus pits with Nyssa Al’Ghul, so they can always tag back in again.
The actual mechanics of the plot – a puzzle box that only Thea can solve, a struggle for control over what’s left of the League – were less important than getting to see Thea shine once again and watching her character getting a shot at happiness in the form of Roy and a sense of purpose. Thea has always done best when she’s working to make the world a better place, one way or another, and ridding the world of the remaining Lazarus pits, which robbed her of her agency and traumatized her, is a fitting quest, even if it takes Speedy away from us. And of course the chemistry between irl friends Willa Holland and Colton Haynes has always been electric, and no other love interest has come close to the place that Roy has occupied in Thea’s heart. They’re the kind of pairing where two equals make each other better people, and indeed more interesting characters, when they’re together.
Thea’s story was front and center in this episode, as it deserved to be. The rest of the episode was filled out with other imposing women, with the return of Nyssa, and the introduction of Athena and a brief glimpse of the mysterious Tigressa. At one point Oliver commanded Athena and the Guild to stand down, and it honestly felt weirdly intrusive for him to be the one barking orders. The grown-ups are talking now Ollie, so please wait for your orders from Thea.
Thea wasn’t shy about what she wanted, either, changing her mind and feeling drawn back in to her father’s legacy. She was right to be surprised as how nonjudgmental Oliver was at her going away party, given how meddlesome he tried to make himself as soon as he disliked her plan. Easy, Ollie, you’ve got enough people mad at you right now.
We got to see Nyssa looking fantastic in street clothes when she and Thea went to a lesbian bar (though of course no one calls it that). That’s where they met Tigressa, an intriguing new character who seems to have history with Nyssa. Perhaps an old flame, in the days before (or even between) Sara? Either way, it’s fun to see the League of Assassins be turned over to women, especially considering how much it would piss off Ra’s.
I hope we meet Tigressa again, and even money says Athena will be back. Some of the best material in this episode were the fight scenes dominated by these women, from Nyssa and Athena to start things off, and Thea and Athena squaring off over the map. Felicity also played a vital role, though her preoccupation with Nyssa’s marriage jokes kept her too occupied to really feel like she was part of the main action. Seeing all of these women playing off of each other was a reminder of how rare it still is on Arrow, and rarer still as the show sends one woman packing after another, whether to the grave, a new show, or an offscreen occupation.
Nyssa got a rare chance at humor with her dry jokes about being Oliver’s wife. Unfortunately, Felicity’s reaction will only fuel those who already dislike the character, or how she’s written as of late. Does she have to be such a whiny stick in the mud? Why was she trying to outsmart Nyssa? You got the man, Felicity. Give it a rest.
Thea was right about which direction the advice flows in the Queen family, and not a moment too soon. No one ever thought Oliver was giving up the hood (except for maybe Diggle) and after ignoring Oliver’s lack of retirement for far too long, they’re finally picking it back up. One wonders just how many of his friends and teammates Oliver can isolate before he considers that he’s part of the problem.
New Team Arrow had a smaller role, chasing down police corruption while the Queens and OTA worked on their League of Assassins problem. Rene is starting physical therapy soon, but in the meantime, Curtis is the doting stand-in dad for daughter Zoe. It’s good to see Curtis a bit more fulfilled and getting back in the saddle, though it’s probably only a matter of time before Nick is killed, turns out to be crooked, or finds out the truth about how they met. I’m glad Dinah and Curtis are staying on the police corruption case, because Oliver and Quentin are far too busy right now to bother.
Curtis is clearly still feeling the impact of the team split in a way that no one else is. The beating heart of the show, he misses the people more than most, though it’s hard to imagine how he and Felicity are still business partners. Didn’t she already spend all their money without telling him? I would ask if she’s ever going to get brought up on fraud charges, but we all know she’s never going to answer for the many laws she breaks while hacking and conducting illegal surveillance, so I won’t hold my breath.
As a tribute to a fan-favorite character who has been there since the beginning, this was a fitting send-off, and a welcome break from the NTA/OTA melodrama. It’s a sign of how far Speedy has come that the bratty, drug-addicted, rich girl of the pilot is but a faint memory compared to the strong, hyper-competent woman who has anchored Oliver’s world, even when everything else has fallen apart. While it’s a strong exit for her, it realistically means one less support for Oliver, in a season where he is losing his people, one after another. Judging by Oliver’s realization that he won’t be giving up the hood to Diggle, he’s going to lose even more loved ones before the season is through.