Arrow Boss: 'Unconventional' Finale Packs 'Emotional Wallops,' Plus a Big DC Comics Tease for Season 7

Arrow Spoilers

Arrow is putting a bull’s-eye on your heart with its Season 6 finale.

Twenty-four hours ahead of the CW series’ season ender (airing tonight at 9/8c), Marc Guggenheim hopped on the phone with TVLine to tee up his final finale as showrunner, turning over the reins as he and Wendy Mericle are for Season 7 to the recently promoted Beth Schwartz.

Having barely dodged Ricardo Diaz’s attacks on friends and family, the time is now for the freshly reconstituted Team Arrow —maybe with an assist from “Evil” Laurel? — to once and for all take on the man who has seized control of Star City. And yet that awaited final showdown won’t be the episode’s emotional peak.

“This is a very unconventional finale — at least, it’s very different from the five that preceded it,” Guggenheim said. “By my count, there are four big surprises-slash-developments in the finale, which I want to say is the most we’ve ever had in a single finale.”

“Life Sentence,” as the episode is titled, is also “unconventionally structured. It has a much longer resolution to it than our past finales have had,” Guggenheim added. “Usually the climax is in Act 5; in this one it happens in Act 4.” What’s more, “We achieve an emotional denouement that is, I want to sa,y pretty rare for a finale for us. Usually our finales are very bombastic and visceral and with a lot of fireworks — and there are plenty of fireworks here; James Bamford directed the episode! — but by the end of it you feel emotionally spent. I feel like it’s the most emotionally affecting of the series finales we’ve had on the show.”

That is of course saying something, though Guggenheim still holds the phone call between Oliver and Moira in Season 5’s finale as the gold standard. “That’s hard to top,” he said. “That was a wonderful moment between two great actors, but it was a flashback, whereas with this finale, this the emotional wallops just keep on coming.

“People who have seen the finale have described it as being very exhausting, because it’s so emotionally engaging,” he noted. “And I’m excited about that.”

In addition to doing a number on your heart rate, Arrow‘s finale will drop a new name — that of the Longbow Hunters, the criminal gang founded by Ricardo Diaz’s comic-book counterpart, Richard Dragon, in DC lore — thus setting the stage for what’s ahead in Season 7.

“I will say that the reference to the Longbow Hunters is us planting a flag, much the same way we referenced Damien Darhk in the Season 3 finale,” Guggenheim allowed. “We would be [not nice people] to name-drop the Longbow Hunters and not see them in Season 7.”

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

GET MORE: Finales, Previews