Arrow: “Schism” Season 4 Finale Review

Photo Credit:The company's industry-relevant revenue, however, has fallen in recent years. In 2013, Amedisys consolidated, sold or closed 76 of its home health and hospice centers. Moreover, in 2014, Amedisys agreed to pay $150.0 million to the federal government for violations of the False Claims Act, the result of a 2010 federal lawsuit brought against the company by whistleblowers alleging that Amedisys billed Medicare for ineligible patients and service between 2008 and 2010. Nonetheless, 2015 had the company's industry-specific revenue rebound, rising an estimated 6.2%. This trend is expected to accelerate in 2016, as IBISWorld expects the company's revenue to rise an estimated 15.7% to $1.5 billion.

Arrow finished one of its best seasons with a finale that truly resembled its title. The first half was spent rushing around to put pieces in place. But once there, this was every bit as good an end as “Sacrifice” or “Unthinkable.” If only the whole thing had the energy once Oliver and Darhk took to the streets.

That said, most of the dramatic heft of the end of the season was dealt with in the previous two episodes, which were both flat-out outstanding. So the slow but then sort of rushed build to the final confrontation was just sort of awkward. But then, a lot of the awkwardness here was thanks to time. Two hours to save the world, but 45 minutes to save Star City, then it suddenly became 27 minutes, then the city was saved, but still an hour left to save the world. It was a mess that kept throwing stakes at us only to forcibly top them moments later. It’s hard not to wish this episode aired back-to-back with last week’s, just to maintain the momentum and keep the stakes going no matter what.

The first half of the episode also had the unsavory task of wrapping up the season’s putrid flashback storyline. Much like in the present, magical people used the totem to fight other people, but in this case, both forces ended up dead, leaving Oliver to explain himself away to the other escaped prisoners.

Back in the present, “Schism” picks up some steam when Oliver takes to the streets without his hood to rally the average citizens of Star City. This was a powerful moment that helped solidify Oliver’s season long quest to become the city’s savior more than just at night in a mask. He resumes his post as Green Arrow for one last bought with Darhk. It’s a dramatic sight seeing Star City cheer on Green Arrow in a fight, which got only heavier once they joined the fight in a charge against Darhk and his Ghosts. The epic brawl was a great moment for the series, showing a city unified against one force.

As for Oliver killing Darhk, I think he justified it. Darhk literally nuked a town, killing tens of thousands. He also brutally murdered Laurel. Rules are rules and all, but I like that Oliver is a hero willing to break his own rules when necessary. He doesn’t fall into the trap of, say, Batman, who lets the Joker kill over and over again in Gotham so he can retain his own honor (though this is the tragic flaw that makes Bruce Wayne so goddamn compelling). Arrow has maybe too closely mirrored a Batman series over the years, so this change in attitude helped push that notion away. Justifiably so, too.

The team’s meeting after Darhk’s defeat was a bit of hogwash though. Diggle, Thea, and Lance all leave the team for the foreseeable future. Right, there’s no way any of them are going to be back in the Arrow Cave right in the season five premiere. I don’t buy it for a second. At least Diggle’s and Lance’s reasons felt justified. Thea’s was a load of crap.

But perhaps the biggest thing that ended the season was Oliver being sworn in as mayor of Star City. This reward for our hero was entirely necessary. After defeating Darhk and saving the world, Oliver deserves the victory he set out for way back in the second episode of the season.

So while the second half of “Schism” achieved the grand scale of past Arrow finales, the first half was a total mess. But, in a season finale, it’s definitely the second half that matters anyway, and it was full of great moments. There was great action and season long arcs fulfilled. The episode didn’t need to be much more than that. Finale Grade: B+/Season Grade: B+

Some Other Notes:

  • As a whole, season four was a vast improvement over season three, which got sucked into some melodrama that just never really worked. With a lighter tone and a delightfully goofy villain who was present right from the start, Arrow was always exciting this year, even when things seemed routine in the middle there. But from Laurel’s death onward, the show absolutely killed it. The end of the season, with this finale’s flaws included, was pretty masterfully executed. That said, after four seasons, I’m not sure Arrow has much left to say or do. With the flashbacks ending next season, and three other superhero shows on the CW in the fall, maybe it’s time for Arrow to end. Five seasons is enough for this superhero series that has already eliminated a healthy amount of its starting players. That way, the show can end gracefully and Oliver can still of course cameo on all the other series until Stephen Amell’s contract runs out.
  • I’m really going to miss Neal McDonaugh next year. Darhk was one of this show’s best villains.
  • I loved Lance’s role in this whole finale. From skipping town to keep Donna safe to returning to defend the city he’s been fighting for long before Oliver put on the hood, “Schism” was full of top-notch moments for Detective Lance.
  • Amanda Waller’s reappearance in the final moments of the flashback storyline was a nice touch. It sounds like Oliver is ready to fulfill the promise he made to his father. But there’s still another year, so I’m legitimately interested in where season five takes the flashbacks.
  • Stephen Amell has essentially confirmed that The Flash‘s terrible time travel twist will not affect Arrow next season. Rejoice.
  • Thanks for following us all year through another season of Arrow! I’ll be back in the fall to take on season five.

By Matt Dougherty

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *