TV Review: Grading the 'Arrow' and 'The Flash' Season Finales

Arrow | Ra’s was defeated, Oliver declared his love for Felicity and formally resigned as the Arrow and Malcolm took his place as “heir to the demon”. The only question left afterwards was…is the show over? No seriously, is the show over? Oliver literally riding off into the sunset with Felicity marked the end of an era as he withdrew from his position as a vigilante so he could enjoy his life. That means he'll no longer head up Team Arrow, not that he was ever that big of a leader. So much of the season closer felt like a dreamy wrap-up to an extensive lead-up of dire anvils.

All of the high stakes warnings and big drama leveled out with a body count of two. One, the big bad and the other, a good guy turned quasi-bad. It was anti-climatic to say the least. The only storyline left dangling was whether he and Diggle would reconcile. The end of their friendship was one of the more contrived arcs of the season. It’s hard to fathom Diggle staying this mad over Oliver’s actions. If there had to be drama between them, it needed to be more plausible than what was offered.  

The aspect that made the finale particularly shocking was how rather upbeat and positive it all was for a show that prides itself on a steady diet of doom and gloom. It wasn’t that a much needed break wasn’t welcomed. The problem is that it was rushed and out of left field, a surefire hint it might all be too good to be true. On the other hand, Oliver seems so played out as a character; it seems a natural step forward. There is nowhere else for him to go and his limited skills don’t beg for a lot of future intrigue.

He’s not super in any capacity and he's only grown more marginalized throughout the season. He’s not an especially skilled archer (Malcolm is equally as good), he’s certainly no genius (Felicity and Ray have that covered), he’s not that impressive of a hand-to-hand combatant (Diggle and most anyone else can handle themselves as his opponent), he’s no longer mega wealthy (Ray again), he's not a standout or respected leader (Team Arrow went behind his back numerous times this season) and the list goes on. It seems he’s fulfilled a circle of life on the series. He's an average man again.  

Season Finale Grade: B-, a lot of tied up loose ends and a break from the entire city needing to be saved from a mass pandemonium, gave this season finale a fresher feel than its previous counterparts. The major problem is that having left things on such a positive closing note, there's not much reason to come back and see it all disrupted.

Side Notes/Burning questions: Is Oliver going to get an annulment? In case there’s any doubt that Ray survived the blast at Palmer Enterprises, he is getting his own spin-off. Why a character as awesome as Ray Palmer will apparently have to share said spin-off with an equally emphasized ensemble is befuddling, to say the least. How is Oliver going to make ends meet? Will Thea be footing his bills with the funds from the always vacant Verdant? If there is one other wish for the next season of “Arrow”, besides the constant desire that the flashbacks of woe are foregone, it would be that Verdant was abandoned as a hot spot for the series.
The Flash | Barry proved to be the most reluctant time traveler of all time, as it took every character on the series to convince him to go back in time to save his mother’s life. In the wake of the season finale, it’s hard not feel angry at Barry or downright outraged by his actions. His lack of enthusiasm when it came to saving his mom was palatable throughout the entire episode and when he finally came face to face with doing it, he all too readily accepted the hush of his future self to stay inside a closet and let his mom be murdered. What kind of hero doesn’t do everything in his power to save his mom and what kind of future hero only goes back in time to preserve his own life, apparently The Flash.

File this next plot conundrum under the burning question segment of the episode: since Eddie killed himself and there is no longer an Eobard Thawne, Eobard could have never traveled back in time to kill Barry’s mother, therefore his dad would have never gone to prison, he’d have never gone to live with Joe and ultimately never became The Flash. Therefore the last minute twist accomplished everything Barry had gone back in time and chosen not to do. It’s a monster sized plot hole that will definitely need an explanation.  

Season Finale Grade: C+, as wonderful as the season's been leading up to it; the moral downfall of Barry and the massive last-minute plot hole, drew the finale down a wormhole that will be hard to crawl out of. It'll be interesting to see how they handle it all, next season.

Side Notes/Burning Questions: How can Barry find redemption after this? Is Eddie the only true hero of the season? Barry and Joe’s goodbye plucked all the right heartstrings, as Jesse L. Martin delivered yet another standout performance as the torn up Joe. Unlike Barry, Joe and Eddie are the only ones who acted selflessly throughout the episode. Joe willingly gave up his paternal relationship with Barry so he could save his mom and Eddie gave his life to save the world from Eobard Thawne. Barry’s actions made him come across highly unworthy of their sacrifices.