‘Arrow’ Season Finale Review: “Sacrifice”
‘Arrow’ lets loose its last episode with its twenty-third and final outing of the season “Sacrifice,” as Oliver desperately tries to thwart Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman)'s plans to destroy the Glades, while Tommy decides between his friend and his father amid Tommy's memories of fighting Edward Fyers.
Previous ‘Arrow’ episode “Darkness on the Edge of Town” saw Oliver investigating both Malcolm Merlyn and his mother’s involvement in the Undertaking, while Thea and Roy (Colton Haynes) attempted to get close to the vigilante, and Edward Fyers revealed his past island plans. So, what does the twenty-third episode of ‘Arrow’ bring? Does the finale hit the same bulls-eye as the first 22 installments?
Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Arrow’s first season finale, “Sacrifice!”
Oliver remembers his father’s sacrifice, before a blast of water brings him back to present incarceration in Malcolm’s warehouse. Malcolm does his best to justify his actions to Oliver, though Oliver insists the loss of Malcolm’s wife doesn’t excuse his actions killing Robert, or destroying the Glades. After Malcolm leaves, Oliver struggles to get free and takes down the guards with the help of Diggle (who shows up in the nick of time), while back in the past Oliver helplessly watches Fyers’ missile launched toward a Ferris aircraft.
On her way to Merlyn Industries, Felicity finds herself picked up by Detective Lance and questioned about her involvement with the vigilante. Before he gets any further, Lance fields a call from the vigilante to warn him of Malcolm’s intention to destroy the glades. Lance releases Felicity, as she points out the Hood’s propensity to save people.
Back at Verdant, Tommy drunkenly confronts Oliver about his tryst with Laurel, but Oliver presses that Tommy should focus on Malcolm’s intent to destroy the city in his mother’s name. Tommy takes a failed swing, expressing his wish that Oliver had died on the island, as we see that Oliver just barely managed to reprogram Fyers’ missile to avoid the Ferris aircraft, instead plummeting to hit Fyers’ camp.
Back in the present Lance tells his superior of Malcolm’s plan, despite the implicit help of the vigilante, while Moira packs up Walter’s possessions. Oliver appears and reveals that Robert killed himself on the lifeboat for Oliver’s survival, and begs his mother to help stop the undertaking. Downstairs, Oliver finds Laurel concerned about his flight from her apartment, to which Oliver explains that all will be revealed soon, and she should stay out of the Glades.
Tommy confronts Malcolm about Oliver’s talk about the undertaking, to which Malcolm plays the desperate voicemail left the night of his wife’s death, and confirms Oliver’s accusation. Meanwhile, Oliver informs Felicity and Diggle that Malcolm has moved up his attack to that night, Felicity revealing the undertaking’s location is along a Glades subway fault line, when all are interrupted by a news report. From the mansion, Moira stages a press conference announcing Malcolm’s plans to destroy the Glades, to which Thea flees while police arrest Moira.
Malcolm and Tommy watch the broadcast as well, which leads to Malcolm taking down the police arriving to arrest him and knocking out an incredulous Tommy as well. Meanwhile, Oliver retrieves a spare bow and tasks Felicity with helping Detective Lance stop the Unidac device, reluctantly accepting Diggle’s help in pursuit of Malcolm Merlyn.
Roy Harper watches as Glades residents flee the neighborhood in a panic, while Detective Lance breaks into an abandoned subway line in search of the device. Meanwhile, Oliver and Diggle arrive at Merlyn’s office to find Tommy barely conscious, as Malcolm hides behind his secret wall. Diggle reveals the lair to find Malcolm waiting for Oliver, while back in the past Oliver surveys Fyers’ burned-out camp. Slade (Manu Bennett) reveals himself to have survived, as Fyers holds Shado hostage, but Oliver hones his aim enough to shoot Fyers’ with an arrow and finally kill him.
Back in the present, Oliver and Diggle engage Malcolm, with Diggle taking a knife to the shoulder. The battle spills out onto the roof of the building, while Felicity remotely directs Detective Lance to disarm the Unidac earthquake device. Meanwhile, Roy attempts to prevent a murder in the chaos of the Glades’ evacuation, before Thea arrives in her attempt to save Roy himself.
Thinking he’d failed to disarm the device, Lance calls Laurel to say his goodbyes, while Thea and Roy share a tender moment before he rushes off to liberate Glades citizens from an overturned bus. Meanwhile, Oliver summons the strength to break free of Malcolm’s grip and stabs himself with an arrow to impale his enemy, thanking a still-conscious Malcolm for reminding him what he fights for. Lance finally disables the device, but Malcolm reveals that he prepared for redundancy, and set up a second device.
The Glades earthquake begins, pinning Laurel beneath a beam at the CNRI, though Tommy quickly arrives and declares his love, struggling to lift the concrete wall off of her. Freed, Laurel rushes outside to find her father, but the building collapses before Tommy can escape.
Oliver rides to the scene and rushes into the building to find Tommy impaled on a piece of rebar, caring only for Laurel’s safety. Tommy apologizes for his earlier anger, learning of his father’s survival, before slipping off. Oliver wishes it had been him that died, begging Tommy to return to life, while outside Laurel and Malcolm observe the continued destruction of the Glades.
Wow. Right in the feels, eh? We had previously heard talk of series star Stephen Amell clarifying for fans that last week's "Darkness on the Edge of Town' wasn't the finale, and "Sacrifice" gave good cause for the misunderstanding. Not only did tonight's finale expertly deliver on the promise inherent from 'Arrow's pilot, but deftly cut through lingering doubts that the CW series could fail to deliver an emotional, and action-packed climax.
Given comic book rules and logic, we'd be hard pressed to place too much stock in Tommy's apparent death, but that didn't prevent both Colin Donnell and Stephen Amell from delivering a rivetingly emotional final goodbye. The same should be said of the final scenes between Roy and Thea (Willa Holland), as well as Laurel (Katie Cassidy) and Detective Lance (Paul Blackthorne), who both delivered stunningly powerful performances in their respective goodbyes.
Not all of our questions from the season bore answers, including any real setup for 'Arrow's second season, but tonight's conclusion "Sacrifice" more than delivered on the series' exceptional potential, past and present alike. Fall seems far too great a distance before we learn where Oliver Queen will take aim next.
What say you? Did you feel that ‘Arrow’ hit the mark with its first season finale? What did you like about tonight's "Sacrifice?” Join us next season for more all-new ‘Arrow’ recaps of season 2 on The CW!