Arrow season finale recap: The Final Countdown

In which there's a whole lot of destruction and a death that no one saw coming
Ep. | Aired May 15, 2013

AB FAB Oliver's abs tell me so much about his internal struggles. I wonder if they have their own IMDB page at this point...

The CW

At the Queen Mansion, Moira decides to hold a press conference. Apparently, Oliver's chat about doing the right thing actually got through to her. She tells reporters that she has "failed this city" (way to steal Arrow's line, Moira!), and admits to her role in The Undertaking. She tells the press that the architect behind The Undertaking is Malcolm and offers proof that he's killed dozens in pursuit of his madness. She includes her husband and Frank (though, to be fair, her husband committed suicide and she was the one who put a target on Frank's back. But, whatever, technicalities, right?).

Why is every scene with Thea always so absurd? Before Moira is hauled away by the police, Thea angrily confronts her about The Undertaking. She just doesn't understand how her mother could want to destroy a place where her boyfriend (of what, two weeks?) lives. ANY OTHER PLACE MOM, BUT NOT WHERE ROY LIVES! Okay, so maybe that's not exactly what she meant, but still, her reaction was ridiculous. I know she's a lovesick teenager and all, but come on!

Malcolm shows a still-in-shock Tommy his Dark Archer suit, but he's interrupted by the arrival of a handful of cops. (Again, why wouldn't you send an entire task force to deal with a man who is planning to destroy a portion of a city??!). Malcolm easily kills the police officers, while Tommy begs him to stop. With no other option, Tommy picks up a gun and aims at his dad. Here, I was convinced that Tommy was going to kill Malcolm, and later, in despair, embrace the Dark Archer suit, but once again, I was completely wrong. Malcolm knocks Tommy out.

At the hideaway, Oliver asks Diggle to deactivate the device, while he goes after Malcolm. Diggle, however, refuses to let Oliver go alone. Felicity says she'll deal with the device but Oliver orders her to leave the Glades. He doesn't want to put her at risk, but she insists on helping. They end up compromising. Oliver asks Lance to go after the device and tells him that Felicity will walk him through the process.

Meanwhile, everyone is trying to get out of the Glades. Well, everyone except Roy, who hears about the chaos happening outside his door on the news. Late to the party much?

Flashback to the Island: The island is destroyed after the missile hits, but Oliver and Slade make it out okay. Unfortunately, so does Fyers, who takes Shado hostage. Oliver uses a newly discovered bow and arrow to take aim at Fyers. Shado gives him the go ahead to shoot, and he does. Turns out all of those water slapping lessons were pretty effective. Oliver doesn't miss.

In Starling City, Oliver and Diggle arrive at Malcolm's office where they see Tommy. Tommy admits that Oliver was right about his father. He asks Oliver if he plans to kill Malcolm, but Oliver doesn't give him a straight answer. Meanwhile, Diggle discovers a false wall. He and Oliver step inside and find Malcolm waiting for them. He says he wants Oliver and Diggle to watch their city die. They, however, would rather watch Malcolm die. They try to fight him, but he's too quick. Malcolm ends up stabbing Diggle in the shoulder.

Meanwhile, Lance locates the device and realizes he has only seven minutes to disarm it.

Cut to the Glades where Roy spots some hoodlums who are up to no good. Naturally, Arrow 2.0 has to get involved. He takes out a few of the men, when the leader of the pack pulls a gun on him. Before the man can do any harm though, Thea knocks him from behind with a glass bottle. It's pretty bad ass, but don't worry, she'll go back to being annoying really soon.

Meanwhile, Felicity and Lance inadvertently trigger an anti-tampering alarm that speeds up the detonation of the device. Now, they've only got two minutes to go before the Glades goes under. While Felicity tries to figure out a solution, a panicked Lance calls Laurel and tells her he's not going to make it and then begs her to leave her office in the Glades immediately. Leave it to Laurel to ignore her father's dying wish.

And now for the most ridiculous moment of the night... Roy and Thea are on their way out of the Glades, when she starts yelling at him for texting and driving. "You do know how dangerous it is to text and drive right?! It can wait!" Look, I agree. No one should text and drive, but was this scene really necessary? Shouldn't she be yelling about the impending earthquake instead? Whatever. Their escape is stopped short when Roy spots a man trapped between two vehicles. The man needs help getting out, and Roy obviously has to play hero again. He decides to stay and help the man while Thea drives off to safety. Does she make it? Does he? Do they reunite? Do I care? I might have if this scene wasn't so contrived.

Okay, now back to the real action: Arrow and the Dark Archer go head-to-head on the roof of Malcolm's office. Once again, it seems like the Dark Archer has the upper hand. He's seconds away from snapping Oliver's neck, when Oliver suddenly spots a stray arrow and pushes it right through Malcolm's chest.

Meanwhile, Lance manages to disarm the device. So, all is well, right? Not exactly. A dying Malcolm tells Oliver that there's another device. A back-up plan if you will. And it's too late for anyone to stop it. Oliver and a very injured Diggle watch from the roof as half the city is leveled.

We see Laurel get knocked down inside CNRI. (Did anyone else hope think she wasn't going to make it?). She's stranded underneath the rubble and begging for help. Oliver rushes to her rescue, but he's not the one who saves her. Tommy gets there first and pulls her to safety. He promises he's right behind her, but when she turns around the building collapses.

Oliver goes inside and finds Tommy, who knows he's not going to make it. He asks Oliver if he killed Malcolm, and Oliver tells him he didn't. Before he dies, Tommy apologizes to Oliver for being a bad friend.

As Tommy slips away, Oliver loses it. He thinks he should have been the one to die. But wait a minute, back-up, did Tommy really just die?!

Writers, you win. All season we've been led to believe that Tommy would go to the dark side in the finale, but instead, this episode proved to be his redemption. Not only is this a great twist, but it's a bold move. The show didn't need another do-gooder, and leaving the episode with Tommy suddenly stepping into the Dark Archer suit would have been both predictable and underwhelming — and this finale was better than that. Much better than that. Here's to closing out the season right.

Now, time for your comments. What did you think of this episode? Were you as shocked as I was about Tommy's death? Will the writers find a way to bring Tommy back (I personally hope not. It would ruin the greatness of this twist)? Where does this leave Oliver?

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