I was wrong. Oh, how I hate to admit that. It’s a horrible fate having to say it, let alone watch it there, staring back at me, in print. But, it’s true. This week’s episode, “Sacrifice,” proved me wrong. Last week, BOTH my predictions involving the fates of Malcolm and Tommy Merlyn were inaccurate. There, that’s a better word; much more forgiving.
The Season Finale of Arrow begins with a flashback. Oliver is with his father on the life raft after their ship went down five years previous. Robert Queen tells his son he needs to right his wrongs and survive. Then, Robert blows his own brains out. Now, if that’s not a lasting memory of your father, I don’t know what is. Oliver wakes up from his dream / nightmare, only to find he’s being hung by his wrists, dangling from a pipe high above. Last week, he was knocked unconscious by Malcolm at episode’s end. Shirt off, of course, and just been dowsed with water to create that glistened effect, Oliver is confronted by Malcolm. Malcolm says to Oliver, “You don’t know, in your heart, what you are fighting for, willing to sacrifice for, but I do.” Malcolm leaves Oliver dangling, and as all villains do, never off’s our hero when he has the chance. Oliver, seizing the opportunity to show off his muscles, pulls his body up the chain until he reaches the top. He then drops himself, his body as a sacrifice to his release, as his weight breaks the pipe and he’s freed. Oliver breaks a few necks with relative ease before Diggle comes in, gun blazing, following Oliver with the tracking device in his boot. How awesome is that?
Oliver, with his voice disguised as the vigilante, calls Detective Lance, informing him of Malcolm’s plan to level the Glades with an earthquake generator. Detective Lance then goes to his Lieutenant and reveals what he knows about Malcolm Merlyn. When asked how he got the information, Lance uses his badge as the sacrifice, as he opens up to the whole department that he and the Hood have been chatting for months. Lance is changing, becoming a Commissioner Gordon type character from Batman comics and movies.Lance gets suspended believing so deeply in what the Hood is trying to accomplish, even if it’s outside the law.
Next, Oliver walks up from his secret hideout under his bar, Verdent, where Tommy is waiting, a little tipsy. Tommy confronts Oliver about what he saw in Laurel’s bedroom window (Oliver and her doing more than holding hands). Oliver counters by revealing Malcolm’s plan for the Glades, something Tommy scoffs at. Yet, when Tommy lets Oliver’s ridiculous idea slip to his father, Malcolm corroborates it. Malcolm then plays Tommy’s mother’s voice mail the last one she made the night she was murdered in the Glades. Malcolm starts to unravel and it’s so enjoyable to watch. “They deserve to die. The way she died,” he screams. Malcolm has grown on me. His usually calm demeanor hides an explosive ball of anger just dying to come out and play.
We switch to Moira, who decides to become the sacrifice. Going on local television, Oliver’s mother admits her part in the undertaking, tells everyone that there is a doomsday device ready to level the Glades and that its harbinger, and perpetrator of numerous murders, is Malcolm. In a terrific fit of rage, Malcolm smashes his table as he watches the proceedings on TV. Moira is arrested for her involvement, but not before Thea, her daughter, tells her she’s in love with Roy (perhaps a future Robin-like character), he lives in the Glades and is going after him.
Through Felicity’s deduction by dissecting the symbol in Oliver’s father’s black book (an image of the old subway line dissecting) our heroes uncover where the doomsday device is harbored. Diggle and Oliver will go after Malcolm, while Felicity helps Detective Lance go through the underground tunnels to find the earthquake-maker, under the exact spot Malcolm’s wife was murdered.
Oliver and Diggle confront Malcolm at his office, where Malcolm’s already manhandled Starling City’s finest. In a fantastic fight, Green Arrow and Diggle fight Malcolm, now dressed as Black Arrow. Diggle gets stabbed (don’t worry, only a flesh wound), and Green Arrow must confront Black Arrow high above Merlyn Global. But Green Arrow has learned from their last confrontation. While Black Arrow can still stop an arrow by catching it, he can’t stop it from exploding. But Black Arrow is still more of a match for his Green counterpart and puts him in a choke hold. Oliver again flashes back to his father on the life raft and uses it as motivation; he has now found what he is fighting for. Green Arrow picks up an arrow from the ground, and stabs it through Malcolm’s chest. Just before Malcolm dies (or does he, we only see him close his eyes), he tells Oliver that one thing he’s learned in business is redundancy. There are two doomsday devices; a fail safe way to secure his revenge on the Glades.
The device works. While Detective Lance and Felicity disarm the one earthquake-maker, a second goes off, flattening the Glade’s East Side. With mass chaos and hysteria, Oliver jumps on his motorbike and rides to save Laurel, whose office is falling apart due to the quake. Yet coming to her rescue is not Oliver, but Tommy, who performs the noble sacrifice. Tommy gets Laurel to safety, seconds before the building collapses with him inside. In a surprisingly touching scene, Oliver tries to save Tommy, but who can save a man with an iron rod sticking out of his chest? Oliver watches his best friend die.
“Sacrifice” was a great episode. It was high-paced, with every meaningful story-line converging and in part, resolving. There are apparently no loose ends going into Season 2 with regards to the Merlyns, unless Malcolm is not really dead. That would be interesting if he came back, trying to avenge both his wife and now Tommy.
The Arrow story-line can now go in a multitude of directions, with 70 plus years of comics to draw from. Plus, Laurel could pull away from Oliver, as she looked oddly shocked that Tommy still loved her while he was picking up a large chunk of concrete to secure her safety. His noble sacrifice could be too much guilt for Laurel to overcome when it comes to Oliver. But, I’ve learned my lesson at least for the first season of Arrow: keep my predictions to myself.