Tuesday, January 28, 2020

REVIEW: 'Arrow' - The Team Says Goodbye to Oliver While Embracing Their Own Heroic and Loving Destinies in 'Fadeout'

The CW's Arrow - Episode 8.10 "Fadeout"

After eight seasons, and the launch of countless superheroes, the series wraps up the story of the Green Arrow.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the series finale of The CW's Arrow.

"Fadeout" was written by Marc Guggenheim & Beth Schwartz and directed by James Bamford

Arrow launched an entire universe. It's a show that came to define a broadcast network. Back in 2012, it was the sole superhero show on The CW. It quickly established a huge world of superheroes telling diverse and entertaining stories. Now, some of these shows are notably better than others. They address a number of the same themes as well. However, they were all an extension of what was first possible on this series. The drama started in a very grounded reality. And now, metahumans, aliens and time travel define the lives of the heroes. It's crazy and insane. The eighth and final season was essentially a buildup to the massive "Crisis on Infinite Earths." Oliver Queen was destined to die during that crossover event. He did. He then became something new entirely. He sacrificed himself in order to save the world for his friends and family. He saved all of humanity. Sure, the world that was created was different. However, the narrative states that it is better too. His friends and family have a future now. Oliver's story has come to an end. That is tragic and unfortunate. It was a profound sacrifice that he was willing to make. And now, all of Star City is trying to lead by his example. The vigilantes in the bunker note that the city has essentially eliminated all crime. That will last for at least two decades. At that point, a new generation of heroes will have to arrive in order to follow Oliver's example of heroism. That is the potential basis for the next spinoff in this world - Green Arrow and the Canaries. That potential series was teased in the penultimate episode. It made good use of Katherine McNamara, Katie Cassidy and Juliana Harkavy. It would be a lot of fun while also carrying on the spirit of Arrow more so than the other series in this elaborate universe. These characters all have futures that are worth living though. Oliver's story was the predominate focus of this show. He was the central figure who put everything into motion. He was the hero who had to protect his city. He had a team by his side. He accepted their help. He formed strong relationships as a result. He could have only succeeded with the support of his friends. And now, this finale honors that spirit by bringing back so many of them. Some are constrained to brief cameos. But it's surprising just how rewarding this episode is as a celebration of everything that happened throughout the run of the show. It brings characters back to life. They are people Oliver wanted to save especially now that he plays a role in the creation of Earth-Prime. And so, Moira and Tommy are saved. Laurel isn't. And yet, her Earth-2 doppelganger gets the reassuring message from Mayor Lance that she is perfect and doesn't need to change at all. That is such a rewarding moment. In fact, so much of this finale is earned in such a wholesome and winning way. Sure, the flashbacks highlight just how murderous and lethal Oliver was in the first season. It's also just an elaborate excuse to show off the stunt coordination of this show one more time. It's so completely engaging too. Plus, it shows just how far Oliver actually came in his emotional journey. His story ended with him becoming a better man as Diggle notes in his eulogy. He sacrificed himself for his friends. They can have lives full of opportunities. Diggle and Dinah will continue to be of service in communities stricken by crime - even if it's in different ways than they have planned. Rene will become the next mayor of Star City. Thea and Roy have gotten engaged. Mia will return to 2040 having experienced this opportunity to say goodbye to her father and remembering everything he taught her in their brief time together. Of course, it's a little awkward how William has to be kidnapped yet again just in order to strengthen the resolve of a character who needs that clarity right now. It's a reassuring moment for Mia more than anyone else. But that never overshadows what this finale is trying to accomplish. It concludes with Oliver and Felicity living happily ever after in the afterlife. They can reunite at the place where they first saw each other. Sure, it's a story that Oliver hasn't exactly told Felicity. However, he is grateful to spend all this time with her now. It's an active choice they both make because of their strong connection. As heroes, they have struggled and gone through dire circumstances. Their family and friends will continue to deal with that burden. But there is an uplifting sight at the end of the journey as well. That makes this an empowering tale no matter how tumultuous the journey was getting to this point.