Since 2012, Arrow has always been billed as the more serious series in the Arrowverse. Flights of silliness are typically reserved for crossovers, and the season finales are typically even more somber than the usual episodes.
But not this season’s finale. Arrow’s penultimate season closer goes a completely different, absolutely bonkers, route.
Let’s talk about family
This season of Arrow began with Oliver Queen behind bars and Team Arrow scattered as a new Green Arrow started gallivanting around town. Eventually, the new archer was revealed to be Oliver’s half-sister, Emiko — his father Robert kept her a secret from the Queen family, and she eventually fell in with a terrorist organization called the Ninth Circle. Emiko knew that Robert’s ship the Queen’s Gambit would be bombed, but her anger caused her to keep the secret to herself. Eventually, it turned out that she was leading the Ninth Circle and using their resources to destroy the city and undermine Team Arrow’s alliance with the cops after Oliver was released from jail.
Our season seven finale, “You Have Saved This City,” isn’t really interested in the sibling rivalry between Oliver and Emiko; she gets killed halfway through the episode by a member of the Ninth Circle. With the day saved yet again, the episode spends the rest of its time delivering emotional payoff after payoff as Oliver and a pregnant Felicity go into hiding away from the Ninth Circle. We see the original Team Arrow trinity of Oliver, Felicity, and Diggle stand inside their lair one last time together before shutting the lights off for good. You’d be easily forgiven for thinking that this was the series finale instead, especially when Diggle talks about how future heroes will carry on Oliver’s legacy.
With Felicity and Oliver now in their new home, it becomes clear that something is going to go bad after Mia is born. As the two parents consider making their family whole by reacquiring custody of Oliver’s other son William, the pair find their harmony shaken up when the Monitor shows up.
The chief antagonist of last year’s “Elseworlds” crossover has arrived to finally collect on the deal Oliver struck with him back then: To save Barry and Kara from dying, it’s time for Oliver to help prevent a multiversal crisis. Despite Felicity’s insistence for him to stay and the knowledge that he will die during this event, Oliver goes to fulfill his bargain.
Meanwhile, in the future
In a first, this season of Arrow has featured flashforwards, showing us the state of Star City in 2040. (Spoiler alert: It ain’t great.) In the future, an adult Mia has suddenly found herself entangled in the city’s war against vigilantes alongside her half-brother William and an older Felicity. Just like her dad, Mia uses her archery skills to save Star City from becoming a fascist regime. The older members of Team Arrow opt to retire and go into hiding while the kids — Mia and William, plus Wild Dog’s daughter Zoe and Diggle’s adopted son Connor Hawke — will protect the city as the new Team Arrow.
What does retirement mean for Felicity, a hacker and vigilante for decades? After a tearful goodbye to her kids at Oliver’s grave, she goes on a journey of her own that puts her in the path of the Monitor. “Where I’m taking you,” he warns, “there is no return.” To Felicity, that doesn’t matter, and the Monitor reunites her with her Oliver the afterlife. Though Stephen Amell could always show up during the final season, this is the definitive end to Felicity’s story, as Emily Bett Rickards won’t be back in October.
Well, now what?
Arrow’s final season will be 10 episodes long, and there’s still plenty of story left for it to really cover. All that’s really known thus far is that the flash forwards will return, so we’ll definitely see more of Future Team Arrow come into their own. They’ll likely take after their predecessors and get caught up in some wild nonsense — before he takes Oliver, the Monitor vaguely intones that the world will need Mia at some point. For those who’ve been watching The Flash this season, recall that Nora West-Allen name drops that a Green Arrow exists in 2049, and it’s likely we’ll see Mia take the name officially at some point in the season.
But that’s all about the future, what about the present day? That’s a little trickier to figure out. There’s always the possibility that Team Arrow — now including Spartan, Wild Dog, Black Canary, and possibly Bronze Tiger — will take on the Ninth Circle all on their own. Even though a returning Arsenal said he’d leave town to try and find himself again, there’s always the possibility that he’ll turn up again. No one really leaves Star City, after all.
The most interesting possibilities for the Arrow’s final season naturally come from Oliver. Is he going to be hopping around the multiverse and recruiting heroes for the Crisis? What can an archer with a proficiency in salmon ladders do to save all realities?
Arrow has always prided itself on avoiding cosmic shenanigans unless it can be helped. When the show returns for the last time this fall, it has a fresh start to bring an end to its corner of the Arrowverse.
Justin is a Kansas City, Missouri, freelance writer and is on Twitter often, @GigawattConduit. He also is an avid lover of M&M McFlurries from McDonald’s, and accepts that he has an addiction to them.