All the sacrifice. All the lies. Everything comes to a boil in the season finale. No one goes unscathed. Not even the city that Oliver has worked so hard to save.
Threatened by Moira outing his plan to the public, Malcolm kicks into high gear and sets the “Undertaking” in motion. Team Arrow assembles with two objectives. One: stop the Glades from crumbling to the ground. Two: Stop Malcolm. Cop Daddy sacrifices his career. Moira sacrifices her freedom. Tommy sacrifices his life. Malcolm sacrifices his anonymity. In the end, Malcolm’s plan comes out on top since he had not one, but two devices. His act of defiance and contempt for the Glades brings down half of the city.
All the actions set in motion with this episode are going to lead to some real soul searching. Oliver is going to have to reconcile his effort with the outcome. Everything he did and sacrificed to be the Arrow for the past year seems for not, on the surface. The true reconciliation he will have to face is that because of him and his team, they were still able to save half of the Glades from crumbling and probably more than that since Moira came to her senses and held the press conference to warn the people of the Glades to get out. Knowing his brooding nature, he will still blame himself for the loss of life. He will still probably push away Laurel again out of guilt for not saving Tommy. My hope for him is that he will look to what good he has done and still can do both as the Arrow and as Oliver Queen. He still has a lot of money and influence he can put to good use to make up for his mother’s digressions. He still saved more people than he put down in his search for justice as the Arrow. His redemption is far from over, but it is going to be up to him how he pursues it.
Poor Tommy. Broken hearted from his lost relationship with Laurel. Broken hearted at the realization that his dad is a supervillain. Broken hearted from that rebar poking out from his chest after rescuing Laurel. What? Too soon? Anyway, he found his sense in the end and realized Oliver was not the real bad guy. Too bad it had to come at the cost of his own life.
The biggest question we will still have to ask in the second season is whether Malcolm is actually dead. Sure we saw him skewered on the rooftop as Oliver fought him. But the joy of comic books is that the big bad never truly dies. Oliver did have to prove that his own body was worth sacrificing to take him down and that his own family is the fuel that keeps him fighting. It was Malcolm’s own downfall to provide the fuel as he was putting Oliver down. Bad guys never learn. You don’t stoke the fire with gasoline unless you want it to blow up in your face. nighty night dark archer. For now.
All in all, this was not the wrapped in a bow ending I was expecting. We have answers to our questions that prodded at us all season but are left with the feeling that there is still work to be done. They may have thwarted the ultimate plan, but part of Malcolm’s “Undertaking” did come to fruition. Everyone lost something of themselves in this episode. But there was also a lot of redemption being handed around. We will just have to see if that is enough to keep people moving forward or if they will choose to let their failures mark the end of their achievements.