I Am Oliver Queen for Now
Arrow’s “My Name Is Oliver Queen” showcases more heroes than a Justice League reunion and feels like a series finale rather than a season-ender. Writers sewed up a three-season arc in which Oliver Queen moved from vigilante to the Arrow to “someone else,” leaving the future open for the birth of Green Arrow. Oliver is not alone in his transformation. The episode overflows with references to rebirth and includes dual identities for nearly every character, even Diggle whose disappearance into a golden elevator foreshadows a new identity.
The episode kicks off with an appearance by the wonderful Barry Allen. He gleefully zips through Nanda Parbat as the Flash, marveling at hot tubs and dungeons before freeing Oliver’s team and a few hangers on from their chains. Oliver locked them in a dungeon and unleashed a supposed vial of the Alpha Omega virus at the end of last week’s episode in an effort to win Ra’s al Ghul’s trust. He left Malcolm Merlyn to conveniently, if implausibly, save Dig, Felicity, Laurel, and Ray from the virus through a fantastic scientific breakthrough called “cutaneous inoculation” and then demands a thank you that never comes. The crew returns to Starling City, their mode of transportation unclear, in time to meet up with Oliver and Nyssa. The newly married couple survives a plane crash that goes awry. Ra’s escapes with the virus, hell bent on destroying Starling City for reasons that remain sketchy.
Diggle and Felicity balk at Oliver’s confession that he planned a sacrificial death, the third in recent memory, via plane crash. Felicity quickly overcomes her anger and delivers Oliver coffee along with the best pep talk of the season – “don’t fight to die, fight to live” – while Diggle delivers a well-aimed and much-deserved punch to the jaw. Dig has not forgiven Oliver’s choice to put Lyla in danger and the tension between these two brothers-in-arms promises to resurface.
The action heats up when Oliver’s plan to trade Damien Darhk with Ra’s for the virus fails. Ra’s weaponizes the blood of his minions with the virus and releases them on the city. This threat launches Ray into action. Miraculously, the dashing genius devises a plan to neutralize the virus and inoculate thousands in a New York minute. Naturally, he benefits from Felicity’s tip to use his nano-technology to get the job done. Thea arrives in a pinch to save Dig, fully embracing her new identity as Red Arrow Speedy. The rebirths continue when Ray pushes the wrong button on his ATOM suit and sets off an explosion that will surely lead to an Arrow/Flash spin off. My only request is that said explosion does not harm a hair on his head or mar his charming vulnerability. Against all odds, Ray Palmer has won my heart and Legends of Tomorrow space on my DVR.
Oliver Queen, who won the heart of millions long ago, liberates himself from Ra’s al Ghul’s clutches by making a deal with the devil. He sheds his identity as Al-Sahim and passes the mantle to Malcolm Merlyn who quickly finds rebirth as Ra’s al Ghul. Such an easy transition hardly seems fair since Malcolm’s manipulations wins him this prize without having to endure all of the sword play Ra’s subjected Oliver to, not to mention the endless history lessons about league rules and codes of honor. No one, including Oliver and Thea, has forgiven Malcolm for instigating Sara’s death, but each of them, like the audience, is powerless in the face of John Barrowman’s charisma. I am ashamed to say that I don’t want Malcolm to leave Arrow anytime soon. His hostile and supremely gratifying interactions with Felicity alone are enough reason to keep him on the canvas. I am, however, happy to see the original Ra’s go. His endless prophesizing wore thin as did my patience for rephrasing to avoid turning “Ra’s” into a possessive. Let’s hope next year’s villain is Damien Darhk, a name easily made possessive, though I could do without that spelling.
Oliver and Felicity will soon have to start counting, Castle and Beckett style, the number of times they have saved one another literally and symbolically. This time Felicity gets in on the superhero action by borrowing Ray’s suit and flying across town to rescue her true love from the prospect of a watery grave. Perhaps the vision of Felicity carrying Oliver to safety balances out the less empowering choice to quit her job at a company she presumably now owns to ride into the sunset with Oliver. Hey, my Olicity heart has been satiated, so that’s the logic I’m going with.
One suspects that Felicity and Oliver will both roll back into town at the first sign of crisis or at the end of the summer hiatus, whichever comes first. Meanwhile, we can bask in the glow of a satisfying finale. Oliver chooses life and happiness. He will not die alone and unloved. Instead, he will glide down the coastline with his lady by his side and the promise of a new identity on the horizon.
It’s going to be a long summer.
Another great article! I have enjoyed reading your recaps and look forward to more of them next season. I am glad they made Oliver the true hero again while also showing him that his Team is just as valuable and important to the protection of Starling City as he is. I’m glad they had Felicity make up with Oliver rather quickly. The last thing we needed was more romantic angst thrown into this show since we know there will be more next season. I am happy that they didn’t have Diggle just forgive Oliver so easily. The dynamic between the two of them is one of my favorite parts of the show and even though it pains me to see them at odds with one another, I appreciate the character driven stuff.
A few questions for you…
Who do you think Diggle will become? Will it be someone from the comics or something completely new that is just created for the show? How do you see the birth of Green Arrow coming about?
Great comments and questions!
The season certainly ended on a high note. I agree with you that the Oliver and Felicity drama went on long enough. I look forward to seeing how they navigate crime-fighting as a couple. I am not a comic book expert, but I have watched a lot of the Justice League! I suppose the logical identity for Dig would be Green Lantern, though there are a lot of obstacles to that theory, starting with the fact that he is not Hal Jordan. Plus, Arrow initially did not want to operate in a world with super powers. They might have moved away from that since incorporating the Flash here and there. Green Lantern might not be “cool” enough for Dig. What are your ideas?
As far as Green Arrow goes I think Oliver is nearly there. He has the green outfit from the League of Assassins and he hasn’t really abandoned the Arrow identity no matter what happened in the finale. What do you think about his upcoming transformation? Do you have any insights from the comics that you can share?
The Diggle becoming Green Lantern theory is not that far fetched. Hal Jordan was ONE Green Lantern but there were others in the comics. One Green Lantern was a black man by the name of John Stewart. The could easily say that John Diggle’s middle name was Stewart, making him John Stewart Diggle and it would work. Personally, I don’t think they will go that route because Green Lantern is a main hero, not someone else’s sidekick. I’ve heard theories where he could become Guardian. I think that theory makes a lot of sense since Guardian has no super powers, was trained in hand to hand combat and has close dealings with Green Arrow, Speedy and Roy Harper in the comics.
As far as Arrow is concerned, Stephen Amell said in an interview after the season finale that the Arrow persona is dead. There is no going back. The show runners have said the same thing. That is why it has me confused on how they are going to transition to Green Arrow. We all know Green Arrow does exist based off of The Flash episode where they read a future newspaper article from 2024 which mentioned Green Arrow.
Thanks for filling me in on Green Lantern. It sounds like that is a possibility for Dig. I love your idea, however, about Guardian. John has been set up from day one as Oliver’s guardian, whether as his body guard or as his protector in the field after he joined Oliver’s team. I think you are on to something here. I will start doing some research about that character. Very cool.
The Arrow persona cannot be completely gone, right? Oliver has to come back as the Arrow or an Arrow-like figure in some way. The Green Arrow is a real hero, right? Neither the vigilante nor the Arrow were straight heroes, both were compromised from the beginning. Maybe what Amell means is that those days are over and the next incarnation will be the real hero?
See that is where I am having a hard time figuring out where they are going with Oliver and his transition to Green Arrow. I agree that the persona can’t truly be gone but both Stephen and all the writers are saying otherwise. I do think you are right about Green Arrow being a straight hero where as Arrow was more of the vigilante persona. I’m just confused. How long of a time jump do you foresee them implementing between seasons?
Sorry for the delay! We were at Denver Comic Con. It was pretty awesome. We saw Manu Bennett’s panel. He shared some great Arrow stories.
I don’t think the time jump will be longer than the summer, probably just a few months. It would make sense for a genuine crisis to occur in order to bring Oliver back into the hero game. I am not sure how the Team can operate without Felicity’s tech for long.
No need to apologize. I figured you would reply when you had time. Yeah without Felicity’s tech I don’t know how well the rest are faring. I’m thinking a threat will be made on Oliver from Damien Darhk which will cause him to come back home. Also I was theorizing about whether Darhk and Vandal Savage (Legends of Tomorrow) are connected or if Savage’s connection is going to be with someone on the Flash. I really like discussing the show with you. I have a twitter account….TVD_Phoenix24 where I discuss my fav shows. You can follow if you want, if you have an account.
Thanks Andy. I will follow you on Twitter. I will have to read up on Darhk and Savage and see what I can find out. I am quite excited about Legends.
Such a terrible season of television. S3 Oliver was dumber than dirt and borderline sociopathic, and nothing about the Ra’s/Malcolm/LOA plot made any sense whatsoever.
The season was a tad uneven and I don’t think the Ra’s story line worked as well as it could have. I am hoping for a better one this time around with Damien Darhk as the big bad.