Oliver Queen, You Have Saved This City

By Dylan Haslam

Since its original debut on October 10th, 2012, on the CW network to its finale on January 28th, 2020, Arrow has become a pop-culture icon. It was the first of what would later become an expanded universe of shows. From the Flash to Super Girl, the Legends of Tomorrow to Batwoman, Arrow is responsible for starting such a fantastic line of television programming. I have been a fan of Arrow since the first day that it aired and was fortunate enough to meet Stephen Amell, who plays Oliver Queen. It has been an absolute honour to watch this show progress the way it did, and I could not have been happier with the finale. In this article, I will outline some of my favorite moments in the show, and I will also review the finale. This article is also dedicated to Stephen Amell, who, despite all the things his character had to become to save his city, became a role model for many in the process.

Throughout eight years of television, it’s quite hard to pick out exactly which moments were the absolute best within the show. However, there are a few that come to mind. First, I’d have to talk about the time that Oliver Queen came back from the island for the very first time. It’s been five years since his family has seen him, and even though he was back, he wasn’t the same person that left 5 years ago. He is now officially a man of purpose rather than a man who lived for his own merit. While this is the basic premise of the show, it is noteworthy in terms of pop culture moments that this is the defining moment where Oliver’s life officially changed. Another notable moment for me on my Arrow journey would have to be the time that Deathstroke came back into Oliver’s life. We’re not explicitly talking about the time where Deathstroke killed Oliver’s mother. Instead, we’re talking about the final showdown where a bloodthirsty, vengeful Deathstroke was ready to make his final stand against a grief-stricken Green Arrow in an all-out battle for the city that Oliver came back to save. Manu Bennett, along with Ammel’s portrayal of Oliver Queen, made for a fantastic fan experience. Some other moments came within the later seasons, such as the appearance of Deadshot and Roy Harper taking on more of a Red Arrow persona. We got an absolutely fantastic portrayal of the Dark Archer himself, Malcolm Merlyn, who was played by John Barrowman. We got to see a really nice adaptation of the League of Shadows. They did an excellent job of staying true to the comics well, also adding a few more liberal elements that really added to the television experience. The most notable moment for me in the entire series would have to be an episode entitled “The Climb.” This episode brought together characters from some of my favourite comic books in what would have to be, in my opinion, the most notable battle in the entire series. We see Oliver on top of a mountain greeted by none other than Ra’s al Ghul. Oliver is determined to slay the head of the demon. Upon Oliver’s selection of two swords and the removal of shirts in a ceremonial fashion, the two begin to fight for the fate of Star City. In this scene, Amell does his own stunts and choreography, and it really shows the amount of depth and passion he has for his character. As well, it shows the amount of growth that he did since the beginning of taking this on this role. Here we can see that Amell really settled into the mantle of the Green Arrow and is ready to show us everything he’s learned within his years on the set and throughout his acting career. Though Oliver doesn’t win the battle, it is an absolutely amazing cinematic scene displaying not only the strength of this season’s villain but also the persistence and perseverance of our hero in question, Oliver Queen. Much like that of the well-known hallway scene within Netflix’s Daredevil, this scene will forever, in my opinion, remain the CW’s best cinematic scene. 

Now in terms of the finale of the show, which aired January 28th, 2020, it was nice to have all the questions and unanswered ideas brought to a proper conclusion. For starters, we got to see an actual progression in the relationship between Thea Queen and her now-fiance, Roy Harper. We see people readjusting to their life after the crisis on infinite Earth’s event, which by all means redefines the entire DC Universe as presented on the CW. Other notable moments in the finale would have to be the way in which Felicity was able to meet her now-older daughter, Mia, from the future. This is probably the most DC thing to happen in the finale. We got to see Melissa Benoist take on the role of Supergirl as well as Grant Gustin take on the part of the Flash at Oliver Queen’s funeral. All heroes present looked sad as they knew that this was the proper ending for the best hero. At the funeral, we also got to see Laurel Lance, Sara Lance, Quentin Lance, Felicity, Tommy Merlyn, Thea Queen, Moira Queen, John Diggle, and other well-known classic Arrow characters all present. While it was sad to see Oliver Queen die in the finale, I, for one, can say that as a fan of Arrow, I was on the verge of tears. It is quite sad to see a character that you’ve grown to care about cease to exist. However, sadness for Oliver Queen quickly turned into a hopeful glimmer of the future when we saw David Ramsey’s John Diggle stand up and deliver the eulogy to end all eulogies. After the unveiling of the new Statue dedicated to the late Oliver Queen, John Diggle delivered the following statement: 

“The Oliver that I met years ago is not the one that we say goodbye to today. Oliver always told me that to save his city, he had to become someone else; he had to become something else. I always thought that meant becoming the Green Arrow. Today I realized that meant becoming a better man, the best man he knew how to be. And he took all of us with him on that journey. He changed everything. Oliver brought heroes into the world; he inspired heroes, he inspired all of us here. I was his brother, and Oliver Queen was mine. Of course, life will go on, it always does. But how? What twists and turns it will take, I can’t say. I don’t know what the future holds, except to say expect the unexpected. Oliver may be gone, but his mission endures. The mission lives on here. Oliver lives on in the people he inspired. So we’ll take that mission to the rest of the world, maybe even beyond that. Because if the past eight years have shown us anything, it’s that this universe is far bigger than any of us could have dared imagine. Even if it is a little less bright… without him in it.” 

It was truly an honour to be part of this 8-year journey, and I have no regrets along the way. If there’s anything this show has taught us and anything that we can take from the amazing eulogy given by John Diggle, it is that people come and go in our lives. This applies to heroes as well. Just because heroes die in the line of duty and cease to exist in our world, they are never truly gone. Rest in peace, Oliver Queen, and may Stephen Amell have a smooth transition into other projects that he may be working on.