Title: Arrow: “Fadeout” Review
Release Date: January 28th, 2020
Network: The CW
Genre: Superhero, Drama, Action
The more I reflect on Crisis on Infinite Earths, the more I become disappointed in it. While still enjoyable, it never kicked into that next gear and it didn’t fully manage to give Oliver Queen his swan song. Hearing Stephen Amell voice his frustrations to Smallville’s Michael Rosenbaum about his character’s death and the crossovers, in general, added more fuel to that disappointment. Thankfully, “Fadeout” managed to rectify all of that in spades and that’s why it worked so well as a series finale.
One concern I had going into the finale was that the Arrowverse writers would yet again un-do the death of Oliver Queen. Instead, they double-downed on it and used Amell in the show’s signature flashback format. In the present day, and even 2040, Oliver Queen has been memorialized as the hero of the world. His friends and family gush about his achievements and how great of a person he was. Then, we take a trip back to a time when Oliver Queen was isolated and just straight-up merciless.
Is that season 1 version of Oliver completely badass? Most definitely and you can bet we will talk about that action scene in a little bit. But, that season 1 Oliver is not a “good guy”. He’s not supposed to be. It has always been characters like Diggle, Quentin, and Felicity who helped bring the “human” part of the Oliver character back. That’s why this was such an amazing creative call because it actually showed us Oliver’s growth as a character over the past 8 seasons.
All the dead characters being brought back may be a problem for some. Tommy, Quentin, Emiko, and Moira coming back from the dead are just a few of the changes to this new timeline. I get it if you are one of those people who disliked this. And if Oliver himself wasn’t the person to fix his timeline, I would probably be right there with you. But, I enjoyed that Oliver had the chance for a do-over. It didn’t cheapen any of their deaths, at least for me.
It may be nitpicking a bit but Moira’s explanation of why Oliver only resurrected some people didn’t make much sense. She basically suggested that Oliver could only bring back people who didn’t directly impact his development as a person or his journey. However, the new-ly alive Tommy Merlyn is the FIRST major character we see to directly impact him as a person. His death kinda puts him on the path to become something other than the Hood. Also, why did Oliver not bring back Barry’s parents? They were alive in Barry’s original timeline and he still became The Flash. And they most likely didn’t have an influence on Oliver Queen at all. As I said, it is a small negative in an otherwise excellent series finale. Still, they probably could have explained it a little better.
If you took one thing out of this review, let it be this. The action scenes for Arrow will forever be vastly underrated. That’s due to the sole reason of the series airing on The CW. Right or wrong, that’s not worth talking about now. But, there is a stigma that goes along with the network. Something along the lines of Daredevil had incredible action scenes that would make your jaw drop, sure. But, I don’t think Arrow is that far behind with some of the scenes they’ve managed to bring to life.
Rather than making thoughtful remarks on the episode’s big action piece, I just made inaudible noises that included “brutal”, “awesome”, and “damn” until the scene was — unfortunately — over. Let’s put it this way. The Green Arrow didn’t have any huge fight scenes in Crisis. “Fadeout” set out to correct that issue before the final curtain came around.
Shockingly, there’s a lot of other storylines to get into. Mia’s continued development as the new Green Arrow after last week’s backdoor pilot. Roy and Thea getting back together. Roy having a cool robotic arm. Laurel hating herself because she believes it’s her fault that Earth-1 Laurel didn’t come back like the others. Dinah, Ragman, and Rene even got some extra developments. We know that Dinah and Laurel are heading over to the Green Arrow and the Canaries series but it’ll be very interesting to see if the Arrowverse ever brings any of the Arrow characters back on other shows.
In terms of performances, OG Team Arrow absolutely crushed it. Stephen Amell, David Ramsey, and Emily Bett Rickards all delivered outstanding performances that were genuinely emotional. It was hard not to tear up, especially during Diggle’s final speech and at the end with that really cheesy ending. But, even the cheesy way to close out the series felt earned due to those stand-out performances and the previous 40+ minutes of well-executed closure.
I cannot believe I managed to make it this far in the review without talking about that Green Lantern tease. For seasons, many Arrow fans have asked the people over at The CW, DC Comics, Arrow, and maybe even those executives’ family members to give us a Green Lantern in the Arrowverse using Diggle as the man of willpower. Well, we finally got it. I don’t know how far it’ll go. People are already speculating about possibilities and David Ramsey appearing in other DCTV projects as John Diggle/Green Lantern.
I’m not going to do any of that. You can all go back through my track record in these Arrowverse reviews. Any time I predict or theorize about something, the opposite happens. So, here’s the “expert” analysis on the Green Lantern tease. It was fantastic, not only as a final mindblowing tease before the credits rolled but also as one last thank you to the fans for watching each week.
Verdict: After a somewhat disappointing end to Crisis on Infinite Earths, Arrow had to wrap up its series and give a true ending to the Oliver Queen character. It succeeded in just about every way. “Fadeout” gave fans emotional and funny moments along with some epic action and teases of what’s next for the Arrow characters. This show had a lot of ups and downs — I still can’t bring myself to watch season 4 again — but thankfully, this series went out on the brightest of notes with a remarkable finale.
- Green Lantern!!!
- OG Team Arrow (Stephen Amell, Emily Bett Rickards, and David Ramsey) delivered fantastic performances
- All the characters who returned
- Roy's awesome new robotic arm
- Every second of that action scene in the flashbacks
- Moira's explanation of how Oliver brought people back made no sense
- Bringing certain characters back may have diminished their initial deaths for some fans
- I'm still a little confused about Laurel and Mia's timeline in Green Arrow and the Canaries but I'm sure the new series will figure all that out when it eventually airs