Thoughts after ARROW’s final Episode, “Fadeout”

The show that launched a superhero franchise has come to an end

I became a fan of the DC Comics character Green Arrow in early 2001, when writer/director Kevin Smith took over writing duties on the comic book with a new first issue. The character of Oliver Queen had lain dormant since 1995, when he was killed off while saving Metropolis from ecoterrorists.

Green Arrow was an underutilized character for a long time, a second-rate Batman with bows and arrows. His death unfortunately had little effect on the DC Comics universe overall. His illegitimate son, Connor Hawke, took over the role, befriended the new Flash and Green Lantern and even became a member of Grant Morrison’s JLA team. Oliver Queen probably wouldn’t have been a part of that team if he was around.

But when Kevin Smith brought Ollie back, the liberal lion of the comic world seemed relevant again. At the very least, attaching one of the biggest names in Geekdom to the character was going to get comics readers to take notice. It helped that Smith’s run on Green Arrow was a lot of fun, and it led to Oliver Queen being an important part of the DC Comics universe.

Without Kevin Smith’s run on Green Arrow, I doubt the CW’s ARROW ever gets considered, let alone made.

So, thank you, Kevin Smith, for setting off a chain of events that ended up giving us 8 seasons – 170 episodes – of a show dedicated to Oliver Queen. Without ARROW, we wouldn’t have THE FLASH or LEGENDS OF TOMORROW or SUPERGIRL. We would never have seen a live action CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS. And I wouldn’t be so pumped about an upcoming Superman and Lois Lane television show.

I have to admit, I wasn’t all that high on ARROW when it debuted in 2011. When the show started, it felt like a retread of 2005’s BATMAN BEGINS. I was afraid the idea that Oliver Queen was a knockoff Bruce Wayne was going to continue. But as the first season continued, it started to find its own voice and Oliver became his own kind of hero. By the end of the first season, Stephen Amell had become Oliver Queen in my mind.

Every season, it seems, the ARROWVERSE grew and television audiences were introduced to all manner of DC Comics characters – many of which I never thought I would see on TV. Over on THE FLASH, we have Killer Frost, Vibe, Elongated Man and Firestorm. SUPERGIRL gave us the Martian Manhunter and the Legion of Superheroes. Even John Constantine got a second chance after his failed NBC series. The success of ARROW – which has a lot to do with how great Amell was in the lead role – has led to a renaissance for the TV superhero.

It’s not going anywhere, either. The CW is clearly committed to continuing this new universe it created in 2011.

After the end of SEASON 7, when it was clear Oliver Queen wasn’t going to survive the eighth and final season, I was concerned that no one on the show was going to get a happy ending. The flash forwards to 2040 showed a bleak existence for Oliver’s closest companions. No one seemed happy and I dreaded the shortened eighth season out of fear that it would be too depressing.

Thankfully, the universe-altering Crisis crossover changed a lot of that, and it put our characters in a better position to have some happiness. And even though the final episode, which aired this week, was a memorial for Oliver Queen, there was a lot of hope in that final hour. Oliver’s restructuring of the universe during Crisis brought back the friends and family he lost – including Quentin Lance, Moira Queen and Tommy Merlyn – and ensured that Star City was free from crime. The safe city streets allowed his team to move on from his mission and find their own way in the new multiverse.

Of course, despite dying during the Crisis, Oliver manages to get his happy ending, in the way that made sense given the Crisis storyline. Oliver and Felicity get to spend eternity together in a pocket dimension – much like the Earth-2 Superman and Lois from the comic book maxiseries. Since Oliver was the first hero of this Earth, it makes sense he would get a similar sendoff.

While the potential SPINOFF – Green Arrow & the Canaries – previewed in the previous episode didn’t really do anything for me, there was something in the final episode that I really want to see followed up on. As Oliver’s brother-in-arms John Diggle readied to move his family to Metropolis, he gets blown back by an object falling from the sky, an object that turns out to be a Green Lantern ring!

Diggle being a Green Lantern – basically the John Stewart of this Earth – has been TEASED a couple of times over the years, and it looks like the Arrow team gave in to some fan service for the finale. Given that Diggle now has a Green Lantern ring and his moving to Metropolis – the home city of Superman, who happens to be featured in a new upcoming CW show – I’m really hoping we get to see David Ramsey in a GL costume sometime soon. At the very least, we need a Green Lantern for whatever crossover they decide to do next!

I am eternally grateful to the 170 episodes of ARROW – not to mention the hundreds of episodes of the other ARROWVERSE shows. I can’t wait to see what the future of the universe brings.