The last episode of Arrow before Crisis on Infinite Earths took the final season’s greatest hits tour back to where it all began — Lian Yu. We got a new superhero, one hero lost an arm, and a whole lot of ghosts came back.
Spoilers ahead for Arrow’s “Purgatory,” which aired Tuesday, December 3, 2019, on The CW.
It’s only fitting for the story to bring Oliver and his team back to where his journey began more than a decade ago. Lyla, working with the Monitor, arranged for Oliver and his team to be transported to the island to complete another mysterious message for the Monitor. Oliver, Laurel and Diggle have spent most of the season acquiring tech and components for a mystery weapon, and this week they finally put the thing together. But it had to happen on Lian Yu because the island was tapping into some mysterious energies — energies that apparently have the power to bring several of Oliver’s old ghosts back for one more battle royale.
Season 1 flashback baddie Fyers and his team are back causing trouble, setting traps and shooting down a supply plane carrying Dinah, Rene and Roy. This flack back ripple also brought Oliver’s old mentor Yao Fei back to lend a hand and impart a few more life lessons about the power of patience. This ghost army basically just serves as a plot device to simply have someone for all these heroes to fight, and to that end, it works. They believe the mystery device will make the ghosts disappear, William finishes it, and they quickly realize Lyla is the only person capable of turning it on.
When she does, she’s clearly changed — and immediately steps into a freshly opened portal and vanishes. She doesn’t stay gone very long, though, as she reappears at episode’s end to inform Oliver she is now a Harbinger for the Crisis. As comic fans are likely well aware, Harbinger is a superhero alter ego for Lyla, and she even gets a new costume that’s a more practical take on the comic look. She played a role in the comic Crisis recruiting heroes to battle the cataclysm, and it seems that will hold true here. So yeah — Lyla’s a superhero now.
As for the rest of the team, the plane crash did cause one critical casualty: Roy’s arm. It’s pinned under a piece of debris, and with no way to move it and ghost troops closing in, he decides to let Connor amputate his arm to free his body. So, Roy now has one arm — but he does note Diggle is planning to set him up with the best doctors ARGUS can buy, so perhaps he’ll be sporting a robot arm in the future? Of course, comic fans are well aware he's had a robotic arm at points in the comics, so this could just be the latest step on that path.
This Roy development begs a few questions, especially as we still don’t know what role if any he might play in the future-set Green Arrow and the Canaries spinoff. Does this injury mean he likely won’t show up as a future hero (or even that future Green Arrow in the spinoff title, if it doesn’t end us being Mia?) if that backdoor pilot goes to series for next season? It also seems to mean Roy will be sidelined for Crisis while he recovers, it’d stand to reason. Really curious to see the longterm effects of that tragic injury. This also makes it very, very clear that the future the kids came from has to have been massively changed by their trip to the past (since, you know, their Future Roy had both his arms).
With the Crisis expected to suck most of the air out of the room, this episode also gave us a few more quiet moments between Oliver and his future children. He gets a sweet moment of forgiveness with William, while Mia finally realizes she’s channeling her anger over losing Oliver at him, so they at least try and spend what could be their last few moments together in a happier state. Oliver also asks Diggle to make sure the kids head back to 2040 as soon as possible, and we know by the fact that the backdoor pilot (which will mark Arrow’s penultimate episode before the finale after Crisis concludes) is set in 2040, he apparently succeeds in that. Though Mia at least looks to be present for Crisis, so their exit might come during or after the event.
The episode ends with the skies turning red and Crisis beginning, as the team looks to pack up and get off Lian Yu just in time for the crossover action to ramp up.
Up next: Crisis kicks off Sunday night. Be there, and cross your fingers that our world is one that survives.