The Arrow season finale, "Sacrifice," has left me reeling with emotions. With the Undertaking set to wipe out the Glades, it was a heart-pounding hour watching to see whether their plan would be stopped or not. With a catastrophe looming, it wasn't the fight scenes or the adrenaline that powered the epic conclusion, rather it was the strength of the characters involved.
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Malcolm vs. Oliver
After capturing the Hood in the last episode, Malcolm hung Oliver from a chain to prevent him from interfering in the Undertaking. Surprisingly, Malcolm seemed to have genuine feelings of sorrow over killing Robert and hurting Oliver. At the same time, he didn't have even an inkling of doubt or remorse about his plan to destroy the Glades.
Malcolm was convinced that Oliver was not a real threat to him because unlike him, Oliver didn't have a concrete reason for his actions. Malcolm was driven by revenge for his wife's death with a clear direction, while Oliver lacked focus.
After Malcolm left, Oliver freed himself and Diggle showed up to cover him as well.
Tommy Learns the Truth
After watching Oliver kiss Laurel, Tommy didn't hide, instead he approached Oliver with disgust over his best friend's betrayal. Oliver apologized, but his love for Laurel and the crisis at hand superseded his concern for Tommy's feelings.
Oliver told Tommy about Malcolm's dark side, as well as, that of his own father. Instead of giving any credence to the threat to the Glades, Tommy dismissed them. His anger towards Oliver in that moment was too strong to listen.Tommy told his best friend, "I wish you would have died on that island."
After leaving Oliver, Tommy went to see his father and mentioned Oliver's absurd theory that Malcolm was going to level the Glades. Instead of denying it, his father admitted it to a shocked Tommy.
Malcolm shared the voice mail recording of his wife's death and his belief that the residents of the Glades were not worthy. They all needed to pay for her death. When Tommy questioned him, Malcolm shouted angrily, "They deserve to die. All of them. The way she died."
They then saw Moira's press conference on television and Malcolm exploded. The police entered his place and with Tommy there, he sliced them dead with a sword. Tommy responded by pointing a gun at his father, but he couldn't pull the trigger. Malcolm attacked his own son and then took off.
Detective Lance Comes Around
After bringing in Felicity for questioning for her hacking job for information, the Hood contacted Detective Lance to warn him about Malcolm's attack. When Lance took the information to his supervisor, he was suspended.
Felicity provided Lance with an important new perspective on the Hood. She told him, "You know I used to think the vigilante was a criminal too, but it seems to me whoever he is he's willing to sacrifice an awful lot to help the people of this city. Kinda makes him a hero, doesn't it?"
It was those words that not only led to Lance reporting the call to his superior, but also to agreeing to help stop the device when asked.
Moira Sees the Light
After years of going along with Malcolm, Oliver tried to convince his mother to do the right thing. He revealed that Robert sacrificed himself in order for Oliver to live. And, that she couldn't let thousands die just to protect her family.
When he turned to leave, she asked where he was going, he responded, "Someone in this family needs to put an end to this, no matter the cost." Moira seemed to take that to heart, because she called a press conference. She exposed the Undertaking, outed Malcolm's killings, and warned those in the Glades to evacuate.
Instead of being meek and acting out of fear, Moira found her inner strength to take responsibility for her role in the crimes, while warning about the upcoming catastrophe. After her statement, the police took her into custody. Thea was distraught over her mother's revelations and ran off to save Roy in the Glades.
Oliver and Laurel
After waking up alone, Laurel showed up at the Queen mansion to find out what happened. Oliver assured her that he loved her. She said that he had changed on the island, but he replied that it wasn't that he changed. Rather, he finally became the man that she always saw within him.
It was a touching and loving moment of honesty between the two. It was gorgeously filmed in the foyer with the sun shining through the windows. With all the tension throughout the rest of the finale, that was a nice moment of serenity and peace.
Roy's a Hero
When Roy left his home, he protected an innocent man who was being attacked in an alley. When one of them pulled a gun on Roy, Thea knocked him out with a bottle. They got in a truck and started to escape.
When they came across a bus of people who needed help, Roy couldn't leave them behind. He had to stay and make sure they got to safety. Thea didn't want to go without him, but he convinced her to leave.
Saving the Glades
Felicity figured out where the device was located and that put the team into rescue mode. Oliver had to go after Malcolm and he wanted Diggle to go deactivate the device. When Oliver acknowledged that it was a suicide mission to go after Malcolm, Diggle insisted on going with him. As partners, he couldn't let Oliver go alone.
Felicity volunteered to go deactivate the device, but Oliver had a better idea. He called Lance and told him about the device and even outed Felicity's involvement by saying she would walk him through it.
Lance found the device and after tripping a fail-safe, he was able to turn it off with Felicity's help. They both were relieved ... at least momentarily.
The Hood vs. The Dark Archer
A final face-off between Oliver and Malcolm was inevitable, though the final result was uncertain. Oliver may have believed he would be defeated, but he had a chance with Diggle by his side.
The Dark Archer was waiting in his lair for the Hood to arrive and the fight began. Malcolm threw a knife at Diggle taking him out of the fight and ran to the roof. Oliver followed and the epic battle between the two hooded men began.
Malcolm got a stranglehold on Oliver and almost killed him, but Oliver grabbed an arrow on the ground and stabbed him with it. Then, Oliver told him, "Thank you for teaching me what I'm fighting for, but my father taught me how."
As Malcolm was dying on the rooftop, he said, "If I learned anything in business, it was redundancy." And, just as Oliver realized there was a second device, it went off. Felicity told Oliver that the damage was isolated to the east side and he took off after Laurel.
Sacrifice for Love
With the device counting down, Lance called Laurel and begged her to get out of the Glades. Lance apologized for his isolation and said a loving goodbye to his daughter. They shared a tearful goodbye. She said she would leave, but it was too late. When the second device went off and she got trapped under rubble.
Tommy showed up at the law office and declared his love for her. He was able to pull the beam off of her and she ran out. An explosion further destroyed the building with Tommy inside. Laurel tried to go back into the building, but was held back by her father.
Oliver showed up and went after Tommy. Oliver reassured his friend that Laurel got out safely. As he died, Tommy apologized and wanted to know if Oliver killed his father. Oliver lied when he said he didn't kill Malcolm. Tommy thanked him and died.
Thoughts on Tommy's Death
Tommy's death was tragic and one of the saddest of the season. Even though he was a party boy at the beginning, he was always an honorable man. He loved Laurel with all his heart. As heartbroken as I am that Tommy won't be around for Arrow season 2, his death was good for the story.
Tommy was too good-hearted to join Oliver and he never would have followed in his father's footsteps. With Oliver and Laurel back together, there wasn't a place for Tommy to fit into this world.
His death will be another reason for Oliver to fight to save the city. It could also compel Laurel into action. The show won't be the same without the laughter and friendship that Tommy provided, but his death is better than seeing him turn towards the dark.
Fingers crossed that Colin Donnell signs on with a new network show for the fall or something on cable, because he is too talented to be missing from the TV screen each week.
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(Image courtesy of the CW.)