All season long, Arrow has steadily dismantled its core characters and story conventions to allow Oliver to ascend to the throne of Ra’s al Ghul, and tonight’s Season 3 finale “My Name is Oliver Queen” took things way, way further. Not only is the Arrow officially no more, but several others fell, and two characters may never return to Starling City. You know, until Season 4.

You’re warned of all the spoilers from tonight’s Season 3 finale “My Name is Oliver Queen” from here on out, but producer Marc Guggenheim wasn’t kidding around with assertions that tonight’s Arrow closer could well function as a series finale. Oliver survived his latest bout with Ra’s al Ghul at least, though the disgraced vigilante took the opportunity of so many other heroes around him to retire from the life … with Felicity in tow, no less. The two were last seen driving up the coast, just as Oliver earlier described to Felicity of his recurring dream, before Oliver finally admitted that he’d felt happiness for the first time in years.

And speaking of coasts, we couldn’t help but notice Oliver’s Season 3 flashbacks closing on the younger vigilante boarding a boat for Coast City, the same locale last night’s Flash mentioned a Ferris Air test pilot disappearing over. We’re probably reading too much into that, right? We’ll rewind.

As predicted, it was Barry who came to the Nanda Parbat rescue of the gassed Team Arrow, though Malcolm revealed that he and Oliver had stealthily inoculated the group against the Alpha-Omega virus some time earlier. Following up on his favor to Oliver, Barry largely served to round up any remaining League thugs and free the team from their dungeon hold, before racing back to Central City for his overdue conversation with Harrison Wells. Probably not the most effective crossover  they could have staged.

Meanwhile in the air, a sabotaged plane gave away Oliver’s allegiance once and for all, as he and Nyssa turned against Ra’s and the League members aboard, hoping to crash the aircraft and take the virus with it. Ol’ Ra’s wasn’t about to fall for that however, absconding with the virus and the plane’s sole parachute (really?), leaving Oliver and his daughter to a risky crash landing outside of Starling City.

The similarly-returned Team Arrow were none-too-happy to see their former leader however, Diggle even taking a swing at the man before Felicity realized that Oliver had intended to crash the plane all along, and never thought he’d have to explain his deception to either. All nerves frayed, the team set about tracking Ra’s to uncover where he might infect Starling City, before their investigation took a surprising turn: one Damien Darhk was found to be present in Starling City, and Ra’s had intended to kill two birds with one stone.

The team positioned itself outside Darhk’s hotel, taking out swarms (ahem) of armed guards, before Oliver confronted the mysterious figure in the penthouse. A smarmy Christopher Heyerdahl greeted him instead, revealing that Damien had long-since cleared out in anticipation of Ra’s, though the man was quickly silenced by another League-r’s arrow.

All hope seemed lost, until Ra’s himself phoned and revealed that the Alpha-Omega would be spread through Starling by four different sources throughout the city. A little techno-wizardry from Felicity pinpointed the locations, only for each team to discover at the sites that Ra’s men weren’t carrying the virus, but rather incubating it themselves, and slitting their own throats in public to spread the infection. Panic quickly broke out, but hey, look who speedily dropped in to help out! No, not that speedster.

It all culminated in Oliver accepting another duel with Ra’s over a dam, though as Ra’s noted, killing him would only trigger Oliver’s ascension all the same. The two resumed their epic swordfight from the mountaintop, as Quentin Lance and his men watched from a distance, Quentin uncertain he’d be able to stop his snipers from pulling the trigger.

As luck would have it (or love, stemming from Felicity’s yearly pep talk), Oliver fought to live and caught Ra’s blade, turning it against the so-called Demon’s head, and finally returning the mortal blow. Oliver’s victory was short-lived, as Quentin’s man pulled the trigger on Oliver and sent him tumbling to the water below. Only Ray’s timely intervention stopped Oliver from … say, that’s not Ray. That’s not Ray at all!

Yes, Felicity donned the Atom gear herself, as Ray had been too busy developing a containment for the virus to fly in and save Oliver from Quentin’s men. If anything about the hour kept constant, Oliver and Felicity seem to have become a permanent attachment, the former even leaving behind his dual identities to craft a new one with her.

Of course, Starling City would be no worse for wear in Oliver’s eyes, now that his crusade had cultivated so many other heroes, including his own sister, affectionately (and officially) christened “Speedy.” Only Diggle remained uncertain about Oliver leaving the life behind, and frosty though things remain between the pair, Oliver imparted some helpful advice, should Diggle decided to pick up the mantle.

Oh, and as for that pesky Ra’s al Ghul thing? No worries, they got someone to fill the position.

Yep, everything seemed honky-dorey in Arrow-town for once, leaving a dejected Ray to get back to work on his “miniaturization” project, in which everything was going completely fi -

Oh. Well, that’s probably gonna be fine. Happy Arrow Season 4, everybody!

AND ANOTHER THING…

  • This week in flashback, Oliver managed to turn the tables on General Shrieve, torturing the ever-loving hell out of the man in grief over Akio’s fate. Tatsu was appropriately horrified, though Maseo finished the General off and left the scene behind, no longer believing himself worthy in his wife’s eyes. Oliver too felt a little dour over the experience, and opted to remain alone, rather than return to Starling City.
  • Also, Quentin’s apparently drinking again. So … there’s that.
  • Nyssa’s fine too, though understandably cross with Malcolm / New Ra’s.
  • And with that, Arrow Season 3 draws to a close. Mileage may vary, but I’m of a mind that “My Name is Oliver Queen” weakly capped off a season that wasn’t without strengths, but tremendously lacked focus. Season 4 has plenty to do at its outset, but hopefully Damien Darhk offers a much more tangible menace than Ra’s al Ghul and his complicated scheming.

Well, did “My Name is Oliver Queen” satisfyingly close out Arrow Season 3? What did you make of that big ending, or the Season 4 setup? Stay tuned for more on Arrow‘s latest twists, and word on Season 4 from cast and crew to come!

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