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Fans have been wondering how Arrow would handle the pending exit of Emily Bett Rickards' Felicity, as well as how the penultimate season might set up next year’s shortened, final run of episodes. Well, we have our answers.
Spoilers ahead for “You Have Saved This City,” the season finale of The CW’s Arrow, which aired Monday, May 13, 2019.
“It does feel like the end of an era.” -- Diggle
As fans have suspected all along, Felicity’s exit is tied to the pending birth of baby Mia and the need to go into hiding to protect her from the Ninth Circle. So the season ends with Oliver and Felicity heading off into hiding — at the same house where we know (thanks to those flash-forwards) Felicity will raise Mia for the next two decades. The two get to enjoy some quiet time together, bonding with baby Mia and accepting this new normal of a quiet life off the grid.
… and then the Monitor shows up. The multiversal being Oliver and the cast of Arrowverse heroes met during last season’s big crossover comes to collect his debt from Oliver’s secret bargain. We finally get to see the other side of that conversation, and Oliver pledged to do whatever the multiverse required to save Barry and Kara, two heroes he knows the world will need if our reality has any chance of surviving the impending Crisis on Infinite Earths (the next crossover, which is already announced for the fall).
He tells Oliver his death is predetermined, and the Monitor has witnessed the Green Arrow fall over and over. There’s nothing he can do to change his fate, though he can go and help the Monitor try to prevent the inevitable. He can’t save himself, but he might have a shot at saving the universe. Oliver bids farewell to Felicity and Mia, and disappears with the Monitor. Where they’re going? We still don’t know, though this is obviously some heavy lifting set up for the Crisis crossover next season.
It also begs the question of what, exactly, fans can expect from the shortened, final season of Arrow. We already know Rickards won’t be back as a series regular (since, timeline-wise, she’s in hiding raising baby Mia). Will we presumably follow Oliver as he goes off with the Monitor to start working to avert the Crisis? Or might the action follow the heroes left behind, defending Star City in his absence? Or perhaps a bit of both?
As for what else we might be able to glean about the Crisis, the final shot of Future Felicity offers a major hint about Oliver’s fate, and how it fits into the crossover. We see Oliver’s tombstone, noting he dies in 2019. But, after saving Future Star City and the Glades, Future Felicity summons the Monitor to, presumably, take her to Oliver. So Oliver is apparently still alive, somewhere, out in the multiverse. The Monitor makes it clear there’s no return from where they’re going — so perhaps does Oliver take Barry’s place presumed dead and somewhat lost in the multiverse (the comic event that wrote Barry Allen out of the DC Comics universe for more than two decades). Is this a specific place where Felicity can join him? If she’s waited all this time to finish her mission and to be reunited, does that mean Oliver survives this eventual confrontation — but is forever separated from the world and reality he knew?
So many questions, so few answers. But it looks like the shortened next season of Arrow should provide some answers.
As for the actual plot of the episode, it fell back on some of the old tropes that are really becoming worn the longer this show runs. Team Arrow saves the city from a super-weapon, again, and we get a quick and tidy resolution to Oliver’s face-off with his half-sister Emiko. After a heart-to-heart during their fight about breaking the cycle of violence, Emiko has a change of heart, only to be betrayed by the Ninth Circle and killed in the confrontation.
This season really suffered from a bad guy problem — bouncing from Diaz to the Longbow Hunters to Dante, and finally to Emiko along the way — with none of them really threatening or interesting enough to match some of the A-list villains this show has featured over the years.
The face-offs did present an opportunity to match the action up with the future team of heroes in the flash-forwards, as the next generation of vigilantes accept the mantle as Star City’s new heroes while the old guard slides back into the shadows. It’s a sweet sentiment, mirroring Oliver and Felicity’s semi-retirement against the future story of their adult children literally taking up the cause to save the city once again. That said, it all feels a bit rushed and a bit too tidy. The season, and these stories, end simply because the season is over. Oh, and they very quickly establish this Mark of 4 we’ve heard about, because you have to close that loop. There doesn’t feel like any urgent resolution to the action —instead it's just a case of things simply happening and coming to a head, quickly, and the heroes get a bit of time to say goodbye.
Hey, Bronze Tiger is kicking around, helping out the heroes. Could he be a recurring ally next season? Curtis also shows up to help out the team in their moment of need, noting he’s happy and having a great time in D.C. Roy also hits the road, looking to make amends for his murder (a story point that was weirdly left behind with bigger fish to fry).
Up next: A long summer, which fans will likely spend theorizing over what the heck is going to happen when the Crisis arrives.