Arrow S03E23: My Name Is Oliver Queen Review/Recap
Director(s): John Behring
Writer(s): Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg, Marc Guggenheim, Jake Coburn
Be Warned; Major Spoilers!
Plot: The League of Assassins, led by Ra’s al Ghul, descends one last time on Starling City in an attempt to wipe it off the map, as Oliver and the now larger Team Arrow push back to save their city from a third terrorist attack.
Review: My Name Is Oliver Queen is, suffice to say, an average season finale to a rather mediocre season, and its primary function is to set up future events, characters, and teams; it’s pretty much Avengers: Age of Ultron up until the end, and then the episode ends like a series finale rather than a season finale.
As the League descends on Starling City with the Alpha-Omega bioweapon, the urgency of the plan to save his city has Oliver sabotaging the plane used by the League, resulting in both a failed kamikaze attempt and Oliver’s betrayal finally being made known to Ra’s. The rest of the episode has Barry showing up to save the others in Nanda Parbat, the H.I.V.E. teaser, the setting up of the possible series finale group and villain, and the reformed ‘Team Arrow’ attempting to stop the League of Assassins.
The episode does a few things right, even with the Hong Kong flashbacks that have proven to be both useless filler and inane, as it shows yet another element that played a part in what would contribute to Oliver’s modus operandi, his descent into becoming a ‘monster’, along with Maseo’s descent into the clutches of the League following Akio’s death.
But in every other way, the episode seals how the third season has an identity crisis and a lack of definite direction. The first season was essentially Oliver’s first year as The Vigilante, both in saving his city and finding a footing while doing so as a vigilante. The second season dealt with the fallout of the actions of a younger Oliver that has Manu Bennett’s Slade Wilson descending on his family and city with fury and vengeance, and has come to be known as the best season in Arrow’s lifespan. And, the third season? Who knows, really.
It could be Oliver’s continued search of an identity in the wake of his ‘love’ for Felicity. Maybe it was his identity crisis in the face of Ra’s’ misguided search for an heir, and the struggle to pick either being The Arrow or the next Ra’s al Ghul. Or, it might be Team Arrow’s dysfunctional inability to operate without their leader. Perhaps it’s really all about satiating the Olicity fandom. Again, who knows; the season has been scattershot in its approach to the narrative despite the near flawless execution when it comes to working with The Flash in setting up what will become an expansive DCTV universe i.e. Legends of Tomorrow.