Arrow FINALE: Welcome the new Ra's al Ghul!
Previously on Arrow: Oliver has had trouble with his whole dual identity thing, Oliver was outed as the Arrow thus kinda negating the whole dual identity thing, Thea was killed and then dropped in the Lazarus Pit thus kinda negating the whole killed thing, Oliver became Al Sah-Him a.k.a. the new Ra’s, Ra’s ordered him to release the Alpha/Omega virus on Starling City, and Team Arrow was locked in a cell with the virus.
Ra’s, Oliver, and Nyssa travel with some League minions to release the Alpha/Omega on Starling City. The plane hits some turbulence, though, and Ra’s intones that something is wrong. Very astute.
In the virus-filled cell, everyone suddenly wakes up, coughing, but very much alive. Turns out Malcolm’s turning Oliver in was to force Ra’s to give him a final task to prove himself, which Oliver then completed, “killing” the team and reinforcing Ra’s trust in him. Ray wants to know why they aren’t dead, though, and Malcolm exposits that they’d extracted a vaccination from the antibodies in Oliver’s blood, so Malcolm had inoculated all of them. Felicity wants to know what exactly they do now, because they’re still chained up in a dungeon, but Malcolm has an answer for that too. The answer is red, yellow, and very speedy.
Flash breaks Tatsu free first and has the guards tied up in seconds. He vibrates the team out of their cell – Felicity calls him “Barry,” much to the chagrin of everyone, since Malcolm Merlyn the supervillain is there – and they go collect their weapons. Felicity asks Flash to come back to Starling with them, but he has business with Harribard, so he declines. On the way out, Tatsu finds them but tells Laurel that she only returned because Oliver asked; with her husband dead now, she wants to return to her life of solitude.
Island time. Oliver, despite the laser sights on his chest, tackles Shrieve, and he and Maseo fight off the soldiers that swarm in.
The virus-carrying plane is on fire, because the engines have been tampered with. Ra’s immediately suggests Nyssa damaged the plane (when? She’s been under lock and key), but Oliver is done with the charade. He stands, draws his sword, and growls at Ra’s that his name is Oliver Queen. Nyssa takes on the League minions effectively while Oliver faces off against Ra’s. He takes Oliver down, and then Nyssa too, and he takes the virus and a parachute and leaps from the plane, telling Oliver that his city will perish.
Apparently there was only one damn parachute on the entire plane, so Oliver and Nyssa head to the cockpit to try and get the plane under control. The best they can do, though, is a pseudo-controlled crash landing.
Island time. It’s three days after the outbreak, and Oliver, Tatsu, and Maseo collect three small urns with, I guess, a third of Akio’s ashes each. Oliver walks back into the pharmacy, where Shrieve is still tied up with an arrow in his leg. It’s torture time!
The team makes it back to Palmer Tech. Malcolm starts giving orders: John is supposed to assess their weaponry, Laurel to go to Quentin to prepare the police, Ray to try and find a way to neutralize the airborne virus, Felicity to find the League. None of them move, however, because they don’t exactly want to listen to Malcolm, but John suggests they do what he says, for now—but Malcolm’s leadership isn’t strictly necessary, because Nyssa and Oliver arrive next. John punches Oliver, because he’s angry, and everyone else clears out so Oliver and Felicity and John can talk.
Oliver tells them Malcolm has had the necessary intel and that’s how he knew he had to be inside the League to destroy it. It wasn’t about trust, he claims; it was about doing what had to be done. Felicity wants to know how he thought he was going to repair his relationships after, and Oliver admits that he didn’t think he’d be able to; in fact, he never expected to survive the plane crash he orchestrated to kill Ra’s and destroy the virus.
Felicity isn’t impressed, and John doesn’t think there’s a relationship left to repair. And yet, there are bigger problems. They still have to stop the virus.
Island time. Oliver has tortured Shrieve, a lot. Tatsu is not impressed with his efforts, but Shrieve is still alive…until Maseo shoots him in the head, ending Oliver’s torture spree.
The team is having no luck tracking down Ra’s because, as Felicity points out, he’s old school and they’re not. Felicity starts running through anything out of the ordinary in Starling – down traffic lights, broken computers, and the like – and something jumps out at Malcolm: the entire top floor of the Essex Hotel is closed. Felicity finds internal emails indicating the floor was closed for Damien Darhk, and Nyssa exposits to everyone that Damien is Ra’s’ biggest enemy; Ra’s is waiting to use the virus because he wants to kill Damien with it. Oliver thinks that if they capture Damien, they can trade him to Ra’s for the virus.
The team slowly sweeps through the hotel, taking out roof guards, stairway guards, and lobby elevator guards. Oliver breaks in through the penthouse window and takes out another guard, drawing on Damien, who seems remarkably unconcerned with the entire ordeal. Because the man is not Damien at all. According to the henchman, Damien left the city already, but before he can say more, he takes a League arrow to the chest. And Ra’s tells Oliver that the Alpha/Omega is already primed in four vessels of death that the team could never find in time. If only they knew somebody very fast…oh, right, sorry, Flash is very busy talking to Harribard.
Laurel comes to talk to Quentin. She tells him what’s going on, but he doesn’t want to play along. She quickly deduces that he’s drinking again. He tries to tell her that it’s her fault he’s off the wagon, and she refuses to take it, saying that he can blame her for lying and even for Sara, but not for his own drinking. He insists it’s under control, and Laurel claims there’s no such thing as “under control” for alcoholics. She challenges him to make both his daughters proud by doing the right thing to save the city.
At Palmer Tech, Oliver tells Ray and Felicity what Ra’s said about the four containment devices. Ray has built a way to neutralize the virus if they actually find it, and Oliver muses that they also need a way to spread vaccine if they can’t find it. Felicity, meanwhile, is doing some sort of comic book science scan for a mystery viral RNA emission.
Island time. Maseo is leaving because he blames himself for Akio’s death and thinks he’s weak. Tatsu points out that weak is leaving his wife right now, but awash in manpain, Maseo doesn’t listen.
Felicity brings Oliver coffee while her scan runs, and he admits that sometimes he dreams that he listened to her when she told him not to go face Ra’s and they escape. Oliver says he can’t defeat Ra’s, and Felicity agrees that Oliver can’t, and the Arrow can’t, but Oliver isn’t those people anymore. He’s something else. “Fight to live,” she tells him, and the scan beeps.
Quentin has taken Laurel’s words to heart, and he takes down the locations Felicity gives him and heads out to order his police into position. Oliver takes one site, Laurel and Nyssa the second, Malcolm the third, and John the fourth. They don’t know what they’re looking for, of course, and Felicity’s suggestion of people in League uniforms isn’t exactly helpful.
Oliver isn’t alone, though. The man is League, and he claims that he has no weapons or virus; he’s been sent to summon Oliver to Ra’s. Oliver isn’t sure why on earth he would go to Ra’s when the city is in danger, but the minion claims that they all know that while Ra’s lives, Starling City isn’t safe, and Oliver will have to face him in direct combat again.
At John’s location, he spots a sweaty dude with a briefcase, who immediately takes off running. John pursues, but the man bests him and takes his gun…at least briefly, because two arrows in the back take care of that real quick. And no, it’s not Arsenal: her name is Speedy. John opens the briefcase, but it’s empty. John demands of the man the location of the virus, but you probably already suspect the answer. And as blood drips from the man’s mouth, John realizes it too: the briefcase-carrier is patient zero. Well, zero-point-one, I guess. Zero-points-two through four are still missing.
Oliver comes to face Ra’s at Starling City Dam. Ra’s’ plan is complete: if Oliver kills him, he ascends to Ra’s; if he dies, Starling falls.
John’s site is filled with panic now, and people run and scream and apparently get immediately sick. Felicity recaps for the rest of the team what’s going on and exposits that blood from the victims causes the virus to go airborne. Um, viruses don’t work that way, but okay, we’re already in full-on comic book science land here, so whatever. Laurel realizes that Nyssa isn’t vaccinated, but she seems unconcerned; she’s going to undo what Ra’s did no matter what.
Oliver draws his sword – the same one that defeated him once – against Ra’s, and they fight.
Merlyn takes down carrier zero-point-two and goes ahead and breaks his neck – no blood exposure there. Ray has replicated the vaccine, meanwhile, and is working to get his nanites airborne to disseminate it over a large radius.
Laurel and Nyssa find zero-point-three before he can cut himself and successfully knock him out.
Ra’s and Oliver continue to fight while the police watch from scopes below. Apparently the police chief has determined they caused the bioattack and ordered snipers to take them out. How on earth would the chief know that? Ra’s meanwhile brings Oliver to his knees again and slices the sword right out of his hand.
Quentin calls Felicity to warn her that the police snipers are going to take out Oliver on the dam, because they aren’t listening to him. Felicity tries to dispatch Atom to help Oliver, but Ray is still working on the nanites; he tells Felicity that if he leaves, they’re dooming thousands to infection. Felicity pleads with him to save Oliver but to no avail: Ray knows that Oliver would never choose to save himself over thousands of innocents.
Ra’s has his blade at Oliver’s throat, and he intones that when he dies, thousands of men will mourn his passing. But Oliver’s not beaten: he rises swiftly, catches Ra’s sword with his hand, and impales him. Then he murmurs the words of the League: “Forgive and have mercy on him. Protect him from the punishment of the grave and the torment of the fire.” As he bleeds, Ra’s removes his ring and gives it to Oliver, then collapses. And then the snipers fire, and Oliver takes a bullet in the chest and topples off the dam, only to be caught by Atom – not Ray, though, it’s Felicity in the suit.
I’m…very sure that the team only took down three of the virus carriers, but they’re back at Palmer Tech. Are we supposed to believe that the virus-less League minion who summoned Oliver to the dam was giving off the fourth signal, and it was thus a decoy? I don’t get that there was no fourth carrier. Anyway, Nyssa patches up Oliver’s hand. She’s a little angry that she didn’t kill Ra’s, and she also points out to Oliver that the sniper’s bullet would’ve killed him if he hadn’t been wearing League armor.
Oliver rises, and he tells the team that they won because they were a team, even though his instinct has been to go it alone. He says that the city has enough heroes, and he doesn’t need to be Arrow anymore. He tells Felicity that he wants to be with her and wants her to come with him into hiding, because Starling has protection.
John doesn’t forgive so easily, though, and he leaves, though Oliver follows. John tells him he deserves to be happy, but he’s not a hero. Oliver swears that John has been a rock for three years, and he can carry on. John at least says he’ll think about it, and he’ll even consider concealing his identity.
Island time. Oliver sees Tatsu off to a monastery in Japan, but Oliver doesn’t think he can go home, because he’s dark now, his torture of Shrieve proves it. They hug, and they both go off to be alone, Tatsu to Japan and Oliver sneaking aboard a ship from Coast City.
Thea lets Malcolm into the loft to see Oliver, and Malcolm tells her he’s leaving Starling too. She’s not disappointed, but he swears that whatever she needs, he’ll be there for her. She doesn’t think she’ll need anything, but she does thank him for teaching her to be strong. She hugs Oliver, who’s on his way out, and Oliver passes the Ra’s ring to Malcolm. Oliver swears he’ll never forgive Malcolm for what he’s done, but whether they’re enemies now? That depends on Malcolm.
Ray sighs as he looks at Felicity’s file, which says “resigned.” He’s working on some new tech, though: “This will be miniaturization test number one,” he says. He presses a button on the suit – he’s not wearing it – and it goes dark. Resigned, he fiddles with something—and there’s a blast of light, and the top floor of Palmer Tech goes up in flames.
In Nanda Parbat, the new Ra’s al Ghul takes control of his League of Assassins. Malcolm Merlyn tells Nyssa that when Ra’s tortured and released him, it technically fit the prophecy of surviving Ra’s blade. Nyssa says she’ll never forgive him for killing Sara. Until then, says Malcolm, kneel before Ra’s al Ghul. And this time, Nyssa does.
Oliver and Felicity drive along the coast, and, he tells Felicity, he’s happy.