Previously on Arrow: Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) is dead! After defeating The Anti-Monitor (LaMonica Garrett) and restarting the universe during the Crisis on Infinite Earths, the world was remade—without the Green Arrow. As the world mourns its fallen hero, what’s next for the remainder of Team Arrow? Arrow S8E10, “Fadeout,” is the series finale for The CW’s flagship superhero show, and the episode charts a new path forward for Star City and its protectors, while saying goodbye to the man who started it all.
A Minor Variation
The episode opens with one final Oliver Queen voiceover, this time recapping his career, his death rebooting the universe, and the friends he made along the way. Following the title card, we flashback to 2014, and the scene of Moira Queen (Susanna Thompson)’s death in season 2. Just as Deathstroke (Manu Bennett) is about to stab her, though, Oliver breaks free of his bonds and saves his mother’s life.
We then learn, through documentary confessionals, that Moira Queen is still alive in the post-Crisis universe. Moira says Oliver’s fellow superheroes told her Oliver is the reason everything changed. In separate confessionals, Dinah Drake (Juliana Harkavy) says she and the rest of Team Arrow are still trying to process Oliver’s death, while Rene Ramirez (Rick Gonzalez) remarks on the scope of the legacy Oliver has left behind.
We then learn that the interviews are part of the “Emerald Archer” documentary, which viewers first glimpsed during the show’s seventh season. The final person to be interviewed is John Diggle (David Ramsey), who says he’s glad Oliver wasn’t alone in his mission. Filming stops, and Rene appears. He and Diggle walk away from the camera crew, and as they talk about the timeline changes Rene says that crime in Star City has disappeared since the Crisis. Oliver has literally saved the city.
Back at the bunker, the assembled Team Arrow—Diggle, Dinah, Rene, Roy Harper (Colton Haynes), and Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy Rodgers)—toasts to Oliver’s memory with vodka. Everyone hates it, except for Laurel, who says she plans to get drunk on it. We learn that Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne) is alive again, and the mayor of Star City. He’s planning to endorse Rene for mayor, and he’s promoted Dinah to chief of police. Despite things going well, Diggle says he still doesn’t think things are over.
We flashback again, this time to 2012, shortly after Oliver’s return from Lian Yu, a time when he and Diggle were the only ones aware of Oliver’s mission. Oliver returns to the bunker and scratches a name off his list. Diggle tries to convince Oliver that he needs backup, but Oliver won’t hear it. The next name on his list is John Byrne, a human trafficker. Diggle asks when this will be over, and Oliver says his mission is never over.
Next we flashback again, this time to the life raft following the wreck of the Queen’s Gambit. Oliver watches his father (Jamey Sheridan) kill the other man in the raft, and then turn the gun on himself. As he fires, Mia Queen (Katherine McNamara) awakens in 2040. She turns with a start to see Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) in her room. Sara tells her she’s there to take Mia to her father’s funeral.
Only The Good Die Young
Back in the present, Diggle uses the salmon ladder in the bunker for the first time, and says it’s not that hard. Dinah asks Laurel if she’s doing okay, and Laurel says she’s fine in a way that clearly means she’s not fine. Roy fetches Dinah so he can give her a tattoo, which Dinah says Oliver called “the mark of four.” Roy tells her that he’s worried about seeing Thea again at Oliver’s funeral, and that he wants to get back together with her if he can. Meanwhile, Diggle tells Rene he’s not sure if Oliver’s wife, Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards), is going to come to the funeral, saying she hasn’t been able to get out of bed since she heard the news of Oliver’s death.
Back in 2012, Diggle and Oliver are still arguing about whether or not Oliver needs backup. Diggle points out that Byrne’s guards are former military, but Oliver says he can handle it. Diggle says he thinks Oliver doesn’t him there because he might stop Oliver from killing people. Oliver counters that killing Byrne is justice, but Diggle asks what the cost of that justice is.
In 2020, Dinah finds Mia in the bunker using the computer. After a brief explanation of how she got there, Mia tells Dinah that something bad happens in the future, and that she feels like she’s already failing at being the Green Arrow. As she talks, we see William Clayton (Ben Lewis)’s abduction from the end of last week’s episode. Dinah assures Mia that Oliver would be proud of her. Just then a keyword notification dings on the computer: present-day William Clayton (Jack Moore) has been kidnapped from his home in Central City.
Soon, the bunker is swarming with people, including Curtis Holt (Echo Kellum), Thea Queen (Willa Holland), Lyla Michaels (Audrey Marie Anderson), and even Rory Regan, otherwise known as Ragman (Joe Dinicol). Roy tries to apologize to Thea, who mocks his bad timing. Felicity arrives, and there’s hugs all around as she reunites with her friends. Getting to business, she says she planted a tracker in William, but that it’s gone dark since the kidnapping. She and Curtis are able to come with a list of locations where William might be, though, and the team decides to split up and search.
A Matter of Trust
Shortly, at Van Wayne Industries, Roy and Thea don’t find William. Roy confesses to Thea that his death and resurrection changed his perspective on things, and that he wants to spend the rest of his life with Thea. He asks her to marry him.
Elsewhere, Ragman and Wild Dog enter a darkened facility. Rory says he’s suited up again in order to honor Oliver, and he tells Rene that, of all of them, Rene is the most like Oliver.
At another location, Diggle and Lyla don’t find anything either. Lyla seems frantic, and tells her husband that Oliver put their family back together by bringing both Sarah and John Jr. into the new timeline. She’s worried they won’t be able to do the same for Oliver’s family.
Still elsewhere, Mia, suited up as Green Arrow, lands on a rooftop and finds someone hauling young William across it. She nocks an arrow and tells him to let William go, and asks who the man holding her brother is. The man says she’s wearing his hood, so she should know.
We flashback again to an extended fight scene, as Oliver infiltrates John Byrne’s factory headquarters, fighting his way through at least two dozen henchmen on the way. He’s eventually overwhelmed by a large group of men, who beat on him relentlessly before he’s able to fire a grappling arrow and repel away. On an adjacent rooftop he finds John Byrne and holds an arrow to him.
Back in the present, we learn that Byrne is the one who’s kidnapped William, and that Oliver took him to prison instead of killing him. Byrne says it would’ve been better to kill him, and begs Mia to kill him. She refuses, saying she’d rather take him back to prison.
Back at the bunker, Mia is showing William her bow. Across the room, Felicity just looks at her, and Sara asks if she wants to meet her. Felicity says she’s not sure if she wants to, since Mia is also at home as a baby, waiting for her. She says she doesn’t want to rush seeing her daughter grow up. Meanwhile, Dinah brings Mia over to a computer to see news footage of her as the new Green Arrow saving William. Dinah reiterates that Oliver would be proud of her.
In 2012, Oliver has returned to the bunker post his encounter with Byrne. He gives Diggle some workout tips, and tells him he didn’t kill Byrne. A lot of people on his list deserve to die, Oliver says, but not all of them. He calls Byrne “proof of concept” that one day he’ll be able to trust Diggle.
Just The Way You Are
At Queen Manor in the present, Thea is looking at photos of her brother when Roy enters. She hasn’t responded to his proposal yet, but she says her brother’s death has shown her that life is short. She makes Roy to promise not to freak out and abandon her again, which he does, and she says yes, she’ll marry him. The two kiss and embrace.
Meanwhile, at the Star City Police Department, Laurel arrives looking for Quentin (who himself was looking for Dinah, but she seems to have ghosted him). They step into Dinah’s office, and we learn that Tommy Merlyn (Colin Donnell) has also been resurrected in the new timeline. Laurel wonders why the original Laurel wasn’t brought back (the current Laurel is from Earth-2, remember, and a former villain). She says Oliver’s death fixed everything else, and Quentin says there’s nothing about her that needs to be fixed.
Back at the bunker, Rene and Dinah arrive to find a reflective Diggle. He says he’s accepted that the mission is over, and that accepting that means also accepting Oliver is really gone. He says he hopes Oliver is still out there somewhere as the “something else” he became during the Crisis. Diggle tells them that he and Lyla are moving to Metropolis, as Lyla was offered a promotion at A.R.G.U.S. Dinah says she’s headed there as well, turning down her promotion to protect a Star City with no crime. Rene laments them leaving town, but Diggle says he’ll make a great mayor. As the three of them leave the bunker, Dinah turns off the lights, and we see the bunker for the last time.
That night, a candlelight vigil is being held on the waterfront. Quentin makes a speech about how his attitude about Oliver Queen changed over time. He says Oliver Queen was a good man and an honorable person, and the fact that he didn’t start out that way makes him even more honorable. With that Quentin unveils a statue of the Green Arrow (the same statue we saw last week in 2040).
I’ve Loved These Days
The next day, in the back yard of Queen Manor, it’s time for Oliver’s funeral. Standing near Robert Queen’s grave, Thea asks Moira why Oliver didn’t bring their father back. Moira says she thinks Oliver couldn’t change the things that had changed him. Just then Emiko Adachi (Sea Shimooka), the illegitimate daughter of Robert Queen, approaches them and introduces herself (she’s alive again in this new timeline as well). Moira tells Emiko she’s welcome with their family any time.
Elsewhere, Tommy Merlyn and Laurel talk about being alive again and from another Earth, respectively. Tommy tells her that the Laurel of this Earth was his wife, and that seeing another Laurel is strange, but also kind of nice. Meanwhile, Talia (Lexa Doig) and Nyssa Al Ghul (Katrina Law) are also in attendance. Talia tells Nyssa she’s sorry for the loss of her husband, but Nyssa dismisses her marriage to Oliver as a plot by their father to torment her. Sara approaches and thanks them both for coming. Nyssa introduces Sara to Talia as her beloved.
Finally, Mia introduces herself to Felicity, who is absolutely wrecked. Felicity confesses how strange this is, and Mia says that’s how Oliver reacted as well. She tells her mother that Oliver trained her and taught her how to be a hero, and they hug. Just then Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) arrives and hugs Felicity. He tells her he was with Oliver at the end, and that he’s been torturing himself that he could’ve done more. Felicity says she’s sure he did everything he could. Kara Danvers (Melissa Benoist) also arrives to offer her condolences to Felicity.
With no body to bury, the gathered group is burying a casket full of mementos. No one knows quite what to say, and Felicity says Diggle should be the one to say something. He talks about how Oliver always spoke about becoming someone else—something else—and at first he thought that meant becoming the Green Arrow. Now Diggle knows that meant becoming a better man. He says Oliver brought all of them with him on his journey, and that he changed all of their lives as well. He was Oliver’s brother, Diggle says, and Oliver was his.
As Diggle continues his eulogy in voiceover, we see scenes of what’s next for the characters after the funeral. Mia returns to 2040; Rene sets up his campaign headquarters; and Dinah rides her motorcycle down Oliver Queen Memorial Drive, presumably to a fate that awaits her when she wakes up in 2040 the next day.
As for Diggle, he and Lyla pack up the kids, and Lyla takes them and heads for Metropolis while Diggle stays behind to finish packing their moving truck. That night, he sees something on fire falling out of the sky. It lands directly in front of Diggle, knocking him back into the van. He staggers to his feet and approaches the crater where the object struck. Bending down, he pulls a small box from the rubble and opens it, a bright green light shining out onto his face.
In 2040, we see the scene from the end of last season, of Mar Novu, aka The Monitor (Garrett) retrieving Felicity for her reunion with Oliver. Novu opens a portal, and they walk through it. After everything goes white, Felicity finds herself back in Oliver’s office at Queen Consolidated. She finds the red pen she was playing with the day she met Oliver, and as she looks at a photo of Oliver and his father, he appears in the doorway. He says he’s glad she could finally make it, and the two kiss and embrace.
Felicity says she didn’t think paradise would be Oliver’s old office, and he tells her this is where he first saw her, though she tries to correct that that was actually in her office several floors down. We see a memory of Oliver, long-haired and freshly back from Lian Yu, sitting outside the office and seeing Felicity poking around in there, noting about a photo of Oliver that he’s cute and also dead. Oliver tells Felicity it’s a long story, but that they have all the time in the world for him to tell it. The camera pulls out to show the exterior of the Queen Consolidated building, and of Star City as a whole.
I have to admit I was really curious what they were going to do for the Arrow series finale given that the lead character is dead, and I think they did a nice job with this episode. They paid tribute to just about everything that’s come before, while introducing new elements related to the post-Crisis timeline and the changes Oliver made.
Is Oliver Queen still out there as The Spectre? Are there any other previously deceased characters that Oliver brought back to life? And will we ever get to see John Diggle use that shiny new Green Lantern ring he found? Arrow may be over, but the shared television universe which the show ushered in is still going strong, so who knows. Maybe we’ll see some of our old friends pop up again elsewhere on The CW.