Arrow: Sacrifice Review -

Arrow Review

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  • Episode: Sacrifice (Season 1, Episode 23, Season Finale)
  • Starring: Stephen Amell, David Ramsey, Katie Cassidy
  • Written By: Greg Berlanti
  • Directed By: David Barrett
  • Studio: Warner Bros.
  • Network: The CW
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Arrow: Sacrifice Review

The First Season Finale

By Tim Janson     May 17, 2013


Well damn, did I call that wrong or what!  After predicting the death of Malcolm Merlyn and Tommy taking up the Dark Arrow mantle in revenge, the writers pulled out something totally unexpected in the Arrow season finale that provided some finality to certain plots while setting up next season.

Oliver begins the episode as Malcolm’s captive after being soundly defeated by him last week. With Diggle’s help Oliver escapes in a classic comic book example of the villain mistakenly gloating but leaving the hero alive.  Oliver returns home to confront his mother about Merlyn’s plan to destroy The Glades with a device that can create an earthquake and he also reveals that his father Robert shot himself in order to save Oliver.

In the face of this shock and her own guilt over Merlyn’s plan, Moira Queen calls a press conference to reveal the plan to the world while also confessing her part in the plot.  While she is taken into custody, the authorities rush to evacuate The Glades and Thea heads into the middle of the disaster area to find Roy Harper.

While Felicity and Detective Lance work to locate and disarm the device, Oliver and Diggle head towards a showdown with Merlyn as Oliver admits that he cannot defeat Merlyn single-handedly.  In flashbacks to the island, Oliver, Slade Wilson, and Shado have to stop Fyers before he can use his missiles to take out a commercial aircraft.

What I loved most about the finale was that instead of the two-dimensional, “hero rising to the occasion” to defeat his arch foe, Oliver instead realizes that Merlyn is just the better man at this point.  Merlyn even taunts Oliver by telling him that he doesn’t have a cause that he believes in as strongly.  This is quite an important point for a superhero show.  This tells us that our hero is flawed and is human and does need help.  This more than any other scene in the season galvanizes Oliver, Diggle, and Felicity in their cause.  Of course, in the end Oliver essentially did take down Merlyn on his own with a risky move that took his enemy by surprise but also threatened Oliver’s own safety. 

Another great scene this week was with Detective Lance who had to admit to his superiors that he has been working with The Hood even though it might cost him his job.  For the first time, Lance fully embraces the fact that The Hood is a true hero and not just a vigilante.  And I have to admit that Thea…wasn’t annoying for the first time in a long time.  Her scenes with Roy were emotional and you see his progression towards hero status.

I would have liked to have seen the Island plotline wrapped up completely but it looks like this will carry over for at least a short time into season two.  In the end, I think the writers got it right by not killing Malcolm Merlyn, and setting him up as a continuing arch villain.  As usual, there were some things that came off too simplistic.  Diggle may have located down Oliver through a tracking device in his boot but how did Diggle get through a stronghold of armed guards with such ease?  Ok, I’ll overlook this one in light of a finale that featured some of the strongest performances of the season.


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Iridan 5/17/2013 5:12:08 AM

B? Not for me. I'd give it an A


The fact that one of the devices did go off and half the Glades was leveled was off the charts. Great episode. I can't wait for next season.

fenngibbon 5/17/2013 5:58:27 AM

 Maybe there just weren't that many guards.  

And the interesting thing about Malcolm is that he's evil, but it's a "the road to hell is paved with good intentions"/"crazy with grief" evil.  That's why he didn't kill Oliver; other than the people in the Glades (who he genuinely hates), he's only killing when people become a threat to his plans.

tjanson 5/17/2013 8:02:53 AM

 my bad...I forgot to change the grade on my template.  Grade should be an A-.  i will get it changed

Kensai331 5/17/2013 8:06:16 AM

 I ended up enjoying this show waaay more than I originally expected! The only problem I have is the way the CW stretches the season out. This show premiered in October for christ's sake! A mid-season break I can understand, but all of those two and three week gaps between episodes really threw off the continuity. 

monkeyfoot 5/17/2013 8:14:04 AM

Just as I thought of Smallville as Bizarro World I always categorize Arrow as Dark Night Lite This episode still fits in that but the big budget effects of it were very good. It was an epic end that I enjoyed.

Keeping with copying the style of the Nolan movies, I imagine a demolished Glades means lots of corrupt people and crimes will now be running rampant similar tothe end of Batman Begins and he must continue being the Vigilante. And if he's not going to name himself Arrow or Green Arrow I really wish the press would. I don't like "Vigilante."

A plot thing I want answers to is how and where Merlyn got such extraordinary physical skills and why did he choose to use a bow as well. His abilties seem to border on superhuman. I hope we find out because I don't think he's dead.

Actually he can't be dead. He's the Face of Boe. He will live until the end of the universe!

Chopsaki 5/17/2013 11:27:55 AM

Pretty great finale they did a solid job of making the scope feel epic. I like how they weren't able to save they day. Sometimes people learn more through failures then successes so it will be interesting to see what lessons Oliver learns going forward in season 2.

tiredjay 5/17/2013 12:12:01 PM

They've got a five year plan for the island story, and they've only covered a year of him being on it.

jd25u 5/17/2013 12:24:23 PM

This was an A-/B at worse episode for me; although my theories of what would happen were completely blown out the water.  I didn't forsee Tommy's death ... that one took me completely by surprise.  And I thought that Malcolm did die .... or did he live??  If so, that was not what I expected either.  I thought that he would die, and Tommy would inherit the role of "Black Arrow", or the like, and mortal enemy of Green Arrow (though he had no martial arts training to speak of, so not sure how they would have handled that anyway).  If Malcolm is still alive, I'm pretty sure we haven't seen the last of him.  I really thought that by having both archers still on the loose, and at war with each other, that would finally lead to Green Arrow getting his name by the public/police ... in order to differentiate between the two archers .... now, I'm not sure if it will ever happen ..... Grrrrrr.

I agree with Chopsaki .... the scope had just the right feel of epicness, and the sense of imminent danger to almost all of our main characters, was very much felt in this episode.  I literally thought almost every main character (besides Oliver) would die at certain points in the episode ... including Thea (too bad).

Hailstorm 5/17/2013 1:46:54 PM

 In the previous episode, Diggle had gotten a security guard cover in Merlyn's building so that Oliver could get Felicity in to hack the database. Perhaps he used those credentials to get in to get to Oliver.

tjanson 5/17/2013 6:24:50 PM


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