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On January 28, CW's Arrow ended its eight-season run with “Fadeout”. Arrow not only had a successful show all on its own, but also helped launch The CW’s “Arrowverse” that has now expanded to The Flash, Black Lightning, Supergirl, DC's Legends of Tomorrow, and Batwoman - shows that all still remain on air and have been renewed for new seasons for the network’s upcoming TV line-up.
At Newsarama we wanted to celebrate the show’s conclusion with a list of our favorite episodes throughout the years.
“The Thanatos Guild” - Season 6, Episode 162 of 12
“The Thanatos Guild” marked the end of Thea Queen’s journey, a character that had been a major player on the show since the “Pilot." Fan favorite, Nyssa Al Ghul returns to warn Thea that the League of Assassins have put a target on her head to look for a mysterious box her father, Malcolm Merlyn (The Dark Archer), left behind before his death. After seasons of soul searching, at the end of the episode Thea finally finds her purpose as a hero as she teams up with Nyssa to destroy all of the Lazarus Pits.
The episode not only showcases the growth of Thea’s character but also her relationship with her brother Oliver Queen. He maturely lets Thea go on her own journey, even though it will be a dangerous one, but he trusts her enough as a team leader to know she’ll be able to protect herself with the skills he and Malcolm have taught her over the years.
9. “Deathstroke” – Season 2, Episode 183 of 12
Slade Wilson (Deathstroke) has been one of the Arrowverse’s most menacing villains to date, and episodes like the eponymous “Deathstroke” are a contributing factor to why he earns this title.
Slade kidnaps Thea Queen, which leads Team Arrow scrambling to find her. But before they can rescue her, Slade informs Thea that Oliver is keeping a secret, which begins her distrust for her family and the tension between the Queens leading to Thea finding out her father is Malcolm Merlyn at the end of the season.
But Slade is not done dropping truth bombs as he encounters Laurel Lance and tells her that Oliver Queen is the Arrow. “Deathstroke” showed that Slade didn’t need to use his fists to destroy Oliver, and because of their friendship on the island he knew exactly which people to target to truly hurt him.
8. “The Return” – Season 3, Episode 144 of 12
Speaking of Slade Wilson – Deathstroke makes his “return” in Season 3 as Thea and Oliver are sent to Lian Yu by Malcolm’s request. Oliver continues to train Thea as he shows her the place that led him to become The Vigilante. Lian Yu not only brings up old memories, but Oliver must also fully face his demons as Deathstroke escapes his A.R.G.U.S. prison.
Luckily, this time, Oliver isn’t alone in the fight. This gives Thea and Oliver the chance to go up against the person who brought both of them trauma. In the mix of the action, Oliver reveals that Thea was the person who killed Sara, under the control of Malcolm – cementing Malcolm as an even more menacing big bad and saddling Thea with further trust issues.
7. “Invasion!” – Season 5, Episode 85 of 12
It’s hard enough to balance a crossover among four different shows (Arrow, Supergirl, The Flash and DC's Legends of Tomorrow), but “Invasion!” does this and more as it succeeds in telling a moving 100th episode. In the mix of battle between the heroes of the Arrowverse and the Dominators, Team Arrow (Ray Palmer, Sara Lance, John Diggle, Thea Queen, and of course Oliver Queen) are sent into a hallucination where Oliver never went onto the Queen’s Gambit.
There are a few positives that spin out of this reality, like Oliver’s parents still being alive and Laurel preparing to get married to Oliver. As the team interacts with this false world, they realize this isn’t their reality and their old memories start to seep through.
Even though in this reality the team have regained what they’ve lost they also see how they’re struggles have made them into the people they are today. It’s an episode that not only highlights Oliver’s journey, but also his teammates that have grown to become their own heroes.
6. “Starling City” – Season 8, Episode 16 of 12
This is another episode that warps reality – the season premiere of Arrow’s last season, “Starling City.” In Season 7 Oliver makes a promise to the Monitor to follow his direction forcing him to leave Star City and everything he knows to save Supergirl and The Flash from their demise. The first stop on his journey is Earth 2.
This is the first episode that shows the true repercussions of “Crisis on Infinite Earths”, when Oliver does everything in his power to save the earth but ultimately fails. The episode also has fun showing a very different reality where Adrian Chase (Arrow Season 5’s big bad, Prometheus) returns as the city’s Hood, partnering up with Black Siren/Laurel Lance. This alt-universe also takes a deep dive into its comic book mythos as it finally has Tommy Merlyn don his father’s Dark Archer costume.
5. “Green Arrow” – Season 4, Episode 17 of 12
Following a devastating battle with Ra’s Al Ghul, Oliver quits his life as a vigilante and moves with Felicity to the suburbs. This episode uses the strength of its supporting characters to hold the fort as vigilantes, while Oliver enjoys his normal life with his girlfriend. But paradise doesn’t last long when Laurel and Thea request for Oliver’s help.
The Season 4 premiere dedicates itself to being a bit more comic book accurate as Starling City is officially renamed Star City and Oliver Queen dons a new name and costume, officially becoming the Green Arrow. On top of this, the episode ends with one of the series’ biggest cliffhangers and mysteries – who will end up in the grave by the end of the season?
4. “League of Assassins” – Season 2, Episode 58 of 12
To many fans, Season 2 is remembered to be the best season of Arrow. This is not just because of the introduction of Deathstroke, but also the return of Sara Lance.
Sara’s death was a concrete plot point for the first season of the show, and Season 2 threw us for a curve ball when they revealed the show’s new mysterious vigilante, the Canary, was actually Sara Lance who also survived the Gambit and become a member of the League of Assassins.
“League of the Assassins” deals with the repercussions of her return as her father, Quintin Lance, finds out that his daughter is alive and sees first hand, the trauma she’s gone through to survive.
3. “Lian Yu” – Season 5, Episode 239 of 12
Oliver returns to Lian Yu to where it all began and recruits the unlikely allies of Slade Wilson, Nyssa Al Ghul, and Malcolm Merlyn in his fight against Adrian Chase. “Lian Yu” marks the death of a long time big bad turned anti-hero, Malcolm Merlyn, as he makes the ultimate sacrifice to save his daughter, Thea.
The episode ends on a literal bang with Oliver and his son, William, drifting away on a boat while the rest of Team Arrow remain on the island as Adrian Chase sets off a series of bombs – to have Oliver question his family and friends’ survival. It’s one of the series’ most action-packed finales that beautifully parallels Oliver’s original adventures on the island.
2. “Seeing Red” – Season 2, Episode 2010 of 12
If the kidnapping of Thea Queen and the personal attacks against Oliver Queen didn’t convince you why Slade Wilson is a threatening villain, then “Seeing Red” will.
Roy is “seeing red” when under the control of the same drug Slade is using, Mirakuru. It gives him super strength but also some anger issues that has him targeting Thea. Proceeding the events with Roy - Thea, Oliver, and Moira ride in a limo together heading back home where they are in a full-blown argument as Thea tells her family that she’s tired of their lies.
A car then suddenly crashes into them. It’s Slade! He has the Queens all tied up and he kills Moira in front of Thea and Oliver – a traumatic event that leads Thea into her father’s arms in the season finale to go on her own hero journey.
1. “The Climb” – Season 3, Episode 911 of 12
It’s Oliver Queen Vs. Ra’s Al Ghul as they enter a fight to the death. This was a jaw dropping mid-season finale where Ra’s Al Ghul wins this traditional fight as he stabs Oliver Queen in the chest and throws him down a mountain. This cliffhanger left fans to question if/how Oliver Queen would survive, and having to wait several weeks during the winter hiatus to get the answers they were looking for.
This was a pure water cooler moment that had DC fans of both TV and comic books talking the next day – and that connection reminds us of the power of TV and comic books!
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