Final episode brings back everyone for Oliver's funeral, reveals how "Crisis on Infinite Earths" changed Star City and what happens next for Team Arrow.
As final episodes go, "Fadeout" had a lot of heavy lifting to do. It not only had to wrap up eight seasons of "Arrow," it had to deal with the aftermath of "Crisis on Infinite Earths" and help set the stage for the Arrowverse moving forward.
In almost every way, it was a satisfying ending. It brought back familiar faces from throughout Oliver's many years as a vigilante -- including the ones were clamoring for most -- and it offered a tantalizing tease to one of fandom's favorite theories which is already causing an uproar and demand for another spinoff series.
Like the comic book universe it's based on, superhero stories never really end. And even as "Arrow" ends, his legacy continues across the CW in multiple existing and future series. And at the rate things are going, we could be looking at Arrowverse series until Mia's future-set "Green Arrow and the Canaries" is in the present day (that's 2040 to you and me).
But before we get to any of that, it was time to say goodbye to Oliver Queen and this universe of heroes he created, both literally and figuratively. Like all of the other Arrowverse shows, it looks like Oliver tweaked his beloved Star City a little more than most, with those changes revealed throughout the hour.
"He Saved This City"
For almost a decade, Oliver tried to save his city, but it took the god-like powers of the Spectre for him to really affect change. Apparently, he eradicated crime overnight. Now, how exactly he did that we don't know. But as we saw in that backdoor pilot for Mia's spinoff last week, his change holds steady for 20 years.
Mind control? Mass exodus of criminals? Mood-altering atmosphere? Maybe it's best not to think so much about how he did it but just appreciate that he effectively killed Team Arrow with one fell swoop of his god-like hands.
He also brought back several of the people he'd lost over the years, including his mother Moira, best friend Tommy Merlyn and even former police chief Quentin Lance. Not to worry, though, all of their villainous traits and pasts appear to have also been erased. This is a kinder, happier world.
The only one who didn't come back was Oliver's Laurel Lance, which left the Laurel who survived the "Crisis" more than a little confused and frustrated. She spent the bulk of the hour drinking and didn't really come to terms with not being overwritten by her Earth-Prime counterpart's resurrection when that Laurel's dad told her she was perfect the way she was
It is an interesting question, though. Was it out of guilt that this Laurel was still alive, having survived the death of her world, that Oliver didn't bring his Laurel back? He could have at least merged their memories. Or just have two of them running around. It's kind of a weird omission, because it's not like this is Laurel having changed through her experiences; this is an entirely different person.
The strangest plotline of the entire episode was the random kidnapping of William, because of course. Connecting it to flashbacks back to 2012 when Oliver was killing his way through the list, we discovered that John Byrne (why did they use that name, comic fans wonder) was the first name on the list he did not kill, due to Diggle's urging.
Unfortunately, he did not save Byrne, as the guy apparently got out of prison eight years later and immediately sought revenge on the now-dead Oliver Queen by kidnapping William. That left Mia (brought back for the funeral) to have a similar showdown with Byrne and, like her father, not kill the guy. And that was kind of it.
Weird that we would see a case of rehabilitation not working at all, of seeming evidence that maybe Oliver was right to kill these people if they're just going to come out years later and hurt people all over again. What we were supposed to get out of this is that Mia can be the same hero her father was.
What we also get is that maybe this way doesn't work at all and that classic supehero criticism that their villains just keep circling back around hurting new people holds some validity. Odd case to make in a series finale about the impact of Oliver's legacy and his importance as a hero.
It worked, though, in giving Mia some much-needed confidence as she headed back to 2040 and an uncertain future (because it's uncertain if her spinoff will get picked up to series).
There were reunions everywhere throughout this episode, with so many familiar faces returning to bid Oliver farewell. One of the biggest ones featured Roy Harper finally apologizing to Thea for the craziness of their entire relationship to this point and then abruptly proposing to her. Spoiler (not that one), she says yes.
But the big return that fans were waiting for, and totally knew was coming, was the return of Felicity to the fold. Of course she was going to come back. And in doing so, she got to echo Oliver's shock and awe at seeing a full-grown Mia walking around and even wearing a Green Arrow outfit.
We also got to see Talia and Nyssa al Ghul, as well as Rory, Emiko (who finally meets Thea and Moira) and many more. And because this is the Arrow-verse we also saw Barry Allen and Kara Danvers dropping by to say goodbye to Oliver and offer their condolences to Felicity.
But it is neither of these heroes who gives the touching eulogy that wrapped the episode. That honor went to Oliver's brother, John Diggle, who proved in this moment (as if we needed further proof) that he absolutely could lead a series on his own. He has the gravitas, the incredible physique -- did you see him on the salmon ladder? -- and the range to pull it off.
Will he get the chance?
The Road Ahead
As Diggle spoke of Oliver's impact and influence, we got glimpses of what's ahead for the key players of Arrow in its most recent seasons. We already know that Star City remains in good hands and crime free for years to come, but now we already know that Rene is totally going to become mayor, so his dream will come true.
But as he'll likely hang up his Wild Dog costume for good, Dinah decided that she needed to leave to find somewhere that still needs someone to fight for justice. And she's not the only one who left Star City.
After eight years by Oliver's side, and with his family intact thanks to his brother, John Diggle packed it in and decided to head for Metropolis. Does he ever make it there?
That's a huge unknown as a UFO crashes close enough to his moving truck to slam him into it. When Diggle approaches the crash site, he finds a box with a glowing green something inside of it. This is an obvious nod to the long-standing fan theory that John Diggle is destined to become a Green Lantern (effectively the John Stewart version).
Could there be another spinoff coming? Could The CW ever handle the budget necessary to pull off a Green Lantern show, or could Diggle find himself heading over to HBO Max for their take. That would be a great nod to the influence of the Arrowverse in the growing roster of DC shows, as well as a fun connection between universes (if the GL series is on a different one).
If nothing else, Diggle could become a GL of Earth-Prime and then be available for an inter-dimensional crossover with the "Green Lantern" series down the road. Or maybe the "Legends" could use a Lantern? The possibilities are endless.
And in the end, that's the best way "Arrow" could have ended, with a glimpse of the infinite possibilities that exist because of its influence and legacy on the superhero landscape, both in-world and on television. Oliver may be gone, but the Arrowverse lives on.
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