By Chancellor Agard
December 03, 2019 at 11:30 PM EST
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Well, the end has arrived-ish: At the end of tonight’s Arrow, the skies over Lian Yu turned red, indicating that the titular Crisis of the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover has begun (The same thing happened on The Flash tonight, too). Before that moment arrives, though, Arrow has to move a few more pieces into place.

Last week’s great time loop episode saw Oliver finally accept that he couldn’t fight his fate in “Crisis.” “Purgatory,” which is directed by James Bamford and written by Rebecca Bellotto and Rebecca Rosenberg, asks the follow-up question: Now what? The obvious answer is that Oliver needs to act on that acceptance and start getting ready to say goodbye to everyone. He’s not ready for that, and luckily for him, there are enough distractions to delay those tough conversations.

Picking up where “Reset” left off, “Purgatory” opens with Oliver and the rest of Team Arrow back on Lian Yu. The Monitor has summoned them there because they need to build a weapon for “Crisis” using the materials they’ve collected over the season: the dwarf star particles, the plutonium, and Dr. Wong. Due to an unexplained surge of energy (we never receive more information than that), the island is greener than ever after Adrian Chase blew it up in the season 5 finale, and everyone who died on the island in season 1 has been resurrected, including Edward Fyers, Faux-Deathstroke, and Yao Fei. The Monitor needs them to harness said energy for the weapon.

In a surprising twist, the finished weapon, which William builds, isn’t really a weapon; it’s a means for evolution. Everyone assumes that the orb William builds, which looks like a piece of Eden from Assassin’s Creed, is for Oliver, but it’s actually for Lyla. When Lyla touches it, she wipes out all of the ghosts and then steps into a newly created breach. The next time we see her, she’s transformed into Harbinger, a pivotal character from the Crisis on Infinite Earths comic. What’s great about this episode is that it doesn’t really make a big deal about this at all, or really anything else going on plot-wise. Like I said, the script doesn’t bother explaining what this “energy” is. The episode is far more interested in what’s going on for Oliver, Diggle, and Mia emotionally as we head toward the crisis.

As I mentioned above, Oliver has accepted his fate but he’s still not ready to say goodbye to his loved ones. When he realizes Fyers have returned, he throws himself headfirst at the problem, avoiding chatting with kids, specifically Mia, who does not take the news of his “Crisis” fate well. Avoidance has been Oliver’s go-to move throughout the show’s entire run, and while it may not be the most emotionally engaging thing here, it’s easy to understand why he does it: He just met his kids and he’s not ready to say bye either.

Thankfully, the script also has both Laurel and Yao Fei point out how stupid he’s being. Of the characters who could do this, Laurel and Yao Fei are the best choices because of their specific relationship with Oliver. Both of them view him as Ollie first and the Green Arrow second for different reasons. Yao Fei trained Oliver and taught him to survive when he first landed on the island, and Earth-2 Laurel is, well, Earth-2 Laurel and has no problem calling people out on their nonsense. (That being said, OG Laurel was also one of the few people who didn’t care about Oliver’s leadership position on the team and still stood up to him). By the end of the episode, Oliver comes around and has those conversations, knowing full well that even if he does die, he’ll survive because his spirit will live on in his children.

But Oliver isn’t the only one avoiding what needs to be said or done. Mia falls back on her old ways and goes back to blaming Oliver for being a hero first and a father second. Of course, she’s really just afraid to say bye to him since they just met. Thankfully, William is there to talk some sense into her. He brings up the time Felicity had him watch Oliver out in the field in season 6 (one of the show’s best moments) and how that taught him not to let the fear of Oliver’s death stop him from enjoying the time they have with him (I love it when the show mines its history like this). Cut to the end of the episode: Mia tells her dad that she’s actually proud of the fact that he’s a hero, and he says that he has made peace with Lian Yu and his past because, without it, he wouldn’t be who he is today.

Meanwhile, Diggle is also struggling. Of course, he’s mad that Lyla’s been lying to him, but the biggest thing weighing on him is his sense of powerlessness because he feels as though he can’t protect the ones he loves. This is a guy who killed his own brother to protect his wife and pre-Flashpoint daughter. There’s nothing he won’t do for his family and those he fights with. So it makes sense that he’s having a hard time accepting the fact that there’s nothing he can do to save Lyla and Oliver, both of whom have accepted their fates, from Crisis. By the end of the episode, he faces his fear and supports his wife before her transformation into Harbinger (after resisting the Monitor’s plan earlier in the episode) and tells Oliver how he’s been feeling.

It makes sense for the last episode of “Crisis” to dig into how Oliver, Mia, and Diggle were feeling about having to say goodbye and what’s to come, but it didn’t feel as pressing as it should’ve and didn’t pack the same emotional punch that the recent run of episodes have. Perhaps that’s because we still have three more episodes left in the season and some crossover episodes, too. Yes, the end is near, but it doesn’t feel that near. That being said, it’s impossible not to be moved when you see Oliver share a moment with Rene and Dinah, and especially with Diggle.

Wall of Weird:

  • Bamford deserves some props for the action set pieces in tonight’s episode, which were great as usual.
  • Why was William so determined to get rid of the hozen?
  • I love that Roy thinks Lian Yu is beautiful and has never let go of his red hoodie.
  • Here’s my hot take for the final season: Emily Bett Rickards’ departure may have been the best thing to happen. I love Felicity. She’s my favorite character on the show after Thea. However, I think not having Felicity in the mix this season actually allowed the show to break out of its patterns and do new and interesting things. That being said, I’m glad Rickards is back for the series finale because I’ve missed her energy.
  • Oliver asks Diggle to send the kids back to 2040 before the Crisis begins and to tell Felicity to make sure their children grow up together.

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Episode Recaps

Billionaire Oliver Queen — under the vigilante persona of Arrow — tries to right the wrongs of his family and fight the ills of society.
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  • 8
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  • 10/10/12
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