Arrow Finale Recap: Who Made a Grave Sacrifice?

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Arrow Season Finale Recap Tommy DiesWarning: The following contains spoilers from the Season 1 finale of The CW’s Arrow.

“Sacrifice” was the title and theme of Arrow‘s Season 1 finale, and at the end of an hour that was basically Twitter-proof — any number of tweets of despair, anxiety and the always trusty “Oh nooooo!” could have applied to multiple characters thrust into danger in the final moments — one key player was not able to walk away.

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“You don’t know in your heart what you’re fighting for, what you’re willing to sacrifice. And I do.” So Malcolm Merlyn aka Dark Archer taunted his captive rival, Oliver Queen aka the Hood/vigilante. But this is Oliver Queen we’re talking about, so once the coast is clear, he nimbly extricates himself from his chains and subdues multiple guards, getting an assist along the way from an arriving Diggle.

Meanwhile, Detective Lance corrals Felicity, having become privy to her pattern of Hood-related hacking — but their face-off is interrupted by said vigilante, who calls to tip off the cop about The Undertaking. Lance is skeptical — after all, has anyone since Lex Luthor sought to manmake an earthquake in the name of wrecking real estate? — yet nonetheless loops in his boss, even at the peril of his career.

Oliver brings Tommy up to speed on Malcolm’s machinations, explaining, “Our fathers were not the men we thought they were.” He also suggests that Tommy has “always known, deep down” the type of man his dad is. But Tommy isn’t hearing it, hissing back, “I wish you’d have died on that island.”

Speaking of the island, a brief pause to update: In flashback we see that Fyers did fire (fyer?) off a missile, but Oliver, Shado and Slade were able to fend off the armed forces and reroute the rocket, blowing their captor’s camp. Later, Fyers resurfaces with Shado at gunpoint, but Oliver pulls back on Yao Fei’s found bow and drops the villain — thereby sacrificing his freedom for her.

Back in Starling City, Oliver confronts his mom, demanding, “No more lies.” Moira explains, “Everything I’ve done was to protect you and your sister,” that she holds Malcolm responsible for Robert’s death. Ollie then clues her in on Robert’s noble sacrifice on the raft, “so that I could live.” When Malcolm calls Moira to say he’s fast-tracking The Undertaking, Oliver races off — “Somebody in this family needs to put an end to this, no matter the cost” — but not before stopping an inordinate amount of time to deliver to Laurel a fine but strangely romantically lit  speech about how the island “scraped away” everything that he wasn’t to reveal the man she always saw…? Oh, and P.S. “Stay out of The Glades tonight!”

Malcolm confesses his litany of misdeeds to Tommy, Unfinished Businessplaying the voicemail a dying Rebecca left as his justification. “This city can’t be saved because people there don’t want it to be saved,” he roars. “They deserved to die! All of them! The way she died!”

While Moria holds a press conference to confess her role in The Undertaking and alert the Gladians (Gladiators?) to git outta dodge, Felicity helps Lance track down and deactivate the device. Yay! Alas, after a rousing rooftop fight — during which the Dark Archer taunted Oliver, “Your mother and sister will be joining you in death,” only to wind up on the business end of an arrow — the bleeding baddie laughs to his foe, “If I learned anything as a businessman, it’s redundancy.” And boom, a second device begin cratering the left side of the Glades… where CNRI is located.

Over in the rumbled jungle, Roy uses some nifty skills to fend off a group of thugs, his bacon ultimately saved by Thea and her “wicked aim” with a beer bottle. Roy then detours their drive out of town to selflessly save some fellow citizens, but not before grabbing a swell smooch from his No. 1 girl. “You better haul ass outta here,” she urges the one-day Speedy.

We then turn to the final set piece, after a sobbing Felicity alerts Oliver to the dire sitch in Laurel’s nabe. And sure ’nuff, Laurel has been pinned by a felled slab of concrete, but Tommy shows to pull her free, explaining of his presence, “I love you.” But just as Laurel escapes the building, it implodes with Tommy inside. Oliver runs in through another entrance to save his friend, but that simply will not be happening.

“I am my father,” Tommy frets with his final breaths. “No, you’re not,” Oliver counters. Tommy asks, “Did you kill him?” “No.” (Which may be the truth.) “Thank you,” Tommy says, and as he fades away, Oliver breaks down, bellowing, “It shoulda been me! Open your eyes!!”

What did you think of the Arrow finale? Did the scope of the episode and the drama blow you away? On a scale of 1 to 10, how much did Tommy’s death shock you?

Want scoop on Arrow, or for any other show? Email insideline@tvline.com and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.




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Comments (162)

  • Was it really necessary to kill Tommy. :( :( :(
    Watch them bring Malcom back. He will somehow have survived that.

    Comment by Rue – May 16, 2013 08:50 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Ok first so sad about Tommy he was a good if not soft,confused, sheltered guy. It is true however that he would have spilled Ollies secret in a heart beat. Laurel complete waste of time. It was over between her and Ollie leave it that way. Now Felicty just love her and she is much prettier and not whiney. Conclusion perfect canary.

    Comment by sonya – May 16, 2013 08:55 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • For me, the most memorable part of the episode was that “It Can Wait” campaign scene (the totally unnecessary don’t-text-while-driving one). It reminded me of the Lowes ads with the Hart of Dixie actresses in character, but instead of being a cute thing during the ad break, it was in one of the most tense parts of the episode with fire and brimstone and people dying. It was so ham-fisted and BIZARRE.

    Comment by Dana – May 16, 2013 09:35 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Gonna miss you, Tommy! In the end he proved that he had grown beyond the selfish party boy at the beginning of the season to become a selfless man. Very tragic end to the Ollie/Tommy bromance.

    Comment by Nicole – May 16, 2013 10:48 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Don’t put the spoiler in the title of your article next time…

    Comment by Lev – May 16, 2013 11:32 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I hope Tommy is not dead and he will be back in season 2 .

    Comment by Kumar – May 16, 2013 11:54 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • They confirmed he’s dead and he already has a job on Broadway for the summer.

      Comment by brb123 – May 16, 2013 03:54 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Reblogged this on thehiltonburnellfiles and commented:
    Hate to see that Tommy died though. Finale was f*cking intense.

    Comment by Justin Burnell – May 16, 2013 01:11 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • They confirmed Malcolm is dead too :( I thought they’d leave one Merlyn alive, guess not.

    At least they also confirmed Slade would be the real Deathstroke on Arrow. He would make a great villain.

    Comment by brb123 – May 16, 2013 03:51 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Curious what reporting/interview you saw where they confirmed Malcolm is 100% dead. I have yet to see one like that.

      Comment by Matt Webb Mitovich – May 16, 2013 04:03 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • This one for example
        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/16/arrow-finale-season-2-plans_n_3287672.html

        And this one too
        http://insidetv.ew.com/2013/05/16/arrow-season-finale-post-mortem/

        Maybe you could interview them as well and get some scoops from season 2? :)

        Comment by brb123 – May 18, 2013 04:18 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Hmmm, not convinced. The first one only says that Oliver believes he killed Malcolm, the second one says, “it certainly looks that way.” And a third interview out there says “We have a moment in mind for the Season 2 premiere that should give you an answer to that question” — which strongly suggests, to me, a moment hinting he’s ALIVE. (How could “a moment” confirm a death?) So….

          Comment by Matt Webb Mitovich – May 18, 2013 04:35 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
          • I’d like him to be alive, because he would be even more crazy and deadlier after losing his son, but the moment could be a reporter giving a brief about Moira’s trial and mentioning the deceased Malcolm Merlyn, or Diggle and Oliver discussing this and mentioning his death.

            Comment by brb123 – May 18, 2013 01:50 PM PDT  
  • I’m not quite sure why most people keep referring to Laurel as a damsel in distress. She is strong, she is independent, ,and she is not just eye candy. Yes, she has been saved a few times by Oliver, but so has Diggle and Det. Lance and Slade. She’s a lawyer who helps people, and when her methods don’t work, FIRST, then she calls Oliver. I don’t see her as the damsel in distress because she’s never in distress and she doesn’t spend her time standing around waiting to be rescued or waiting for Tommy or Oliver to make the first move. In order to be considered strong does she have beat up Oliver and Diggle with one hand tied behind her back? Does she need to recite the Feminine Mystique in every conversation? What exactly does she need to do to be considered a strong woman? She supports herself, she has an important and time-consuming job, she stands up for herself, and she doesn’t rely on her male relationships to define her. That seems pretty strong to me.

    Comment by S. – May 16, 2013 04:14 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I agree. If there’s one thing the show taught us is that Laurel CAN defend herself. I think she’s more capable of becoming a superhero than Tommy was because she already has some training, so I will find her becoming the Black Canary believable.

      Comment by brb123 – May 18, 2013 04:19 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Someone else brought this up, but I’m kinda liking the idea of Thea (Speedy) and Roy (Red Arrow) training together on their own and becoming two new vigilantes (superheroes) that eventually join up with Green Arrow. It would give a new twist to the Green Arrow storylines and I think the storylines could be really interesting and new.

    Comment by Chuck – May 18, 2013 10:10 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I think it’ll be interesting too. Especially if Oliver has no idea and if we see him trying to reach them and find out who the other vigilantes are.

      Comment by brb123 – May 18, 2013 01:59 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • i love the show, but was gravely disappointed in the finale. it was basically take out batman and gotham city, put in arrow and starling city, and blam.

    did anyone else not like the straight ripoff of Batman Begins?

    Comment by Lev "360" Fishman – May 20, 2013 04:22 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Arrow comics had Merlyn attempting to blow up Starling City decades ago. They have every right to use it as source material for this show.

      Re Batmen Begins, I don’t care which comics “stole” from which. They are all based on similar ideas.

      Comment by Mi – May 21, 2013 07:17 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Should have been Laurel that died. Tommy was too good a person..Why is it that most story lines revolve around love triangles any way? I prefer Oliver with that detective woman…

    Comment by midiama – May 21, 2013 07:34 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I don’t understand how Oliver Queen is not dead after piercing an arrow through his chest where his heart was to penetrate Dark Arrow’s heart in the finale. Can somebody be kind enough to answer my question please? I can’t seem to find an answer to this on Google. I AM FREAKING CONFUSED. Cheers.

    Comment by KL – August 4, 2013 09:17 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • my favourite character is felicity and i’d love to see her with oliver than laurel. she is cute .

    Comment by linda – August 8, 2013 06:42 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

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