TV Recaps

'Arrow' Midseason Finale Recap: "Year's End"


Another episode of “Arrow” has come and gone on The CW. The teasers for this one promised the shocking revelation of the Dark Archer. Who was behind the hood? The only thing I wanted from the midseason finale, “Year’s End” (btw, since when is 9 half of 23?), was for the Dark Archer to be anyone other than Malcolm Merlyn.

Needless to say, Malcolm was revealed to be the Dark Archer and the show disappointed once again. Aside from my mom, was anyone truly shocked by this? The fact that nearly every TV reporter interviewed John Barrowman this week was a pretty big clue. Another one was that weird dinner party scene where he suggested the guy in the hood should go by Green Arrow. Oliver thought that was lame, but I’m sure his disdain is no match for mine at this point. Then there was the scene where Malcolm told Moira that the guy in the hood had the right idea, but he was going to take care of the list his way…his way, as in shooting them with arrows.


I’m not impressed. I’m not even in the neighborhood of impressed. I would have been more impressed if Tommy had actually been the Dark Archer, true to the comics (that I don’t read). That would have been a cool twist, if all along he’d been plotting and planning. Granted, it wouldn’t have made any sense and it would have ruined Tommy’s whole nice guy thing that I am enjoying very much, but at least it would have been a surprise. It’s so frustrating that I see so much potential in this show and it continually drops the ball.


What else happened in the episode? Oliver realized his family had stopped celebrating Christmas and decided to revive the tradition. It was a nice gesture and Moira and Walter were on board, but Thea was not. Oliver caught Thea getting naked with her boyfriend and he was not amused. Neither was Thea when he kicked the boy out and Thea reminded him that a lot had changed while he was gone. The two made up by the end of the episode, which was a nice moment.

Walter and Felicity continued to play detective and Moira had to tell Walter to stop because she was part of the bad guy group. Things were strained between them, but they made up by the end too or they did until Malcolm had someone kidnap Walter. Moira knew about it and supposedly it’s to keep him safe, but anytime someone gets a needle in the neck, that doesn’t exactly scream ‘safe’ to me.

Laurel was still having trouble letting Tommy in and Detective Lance was okay with that. He was actually really funny tonight in his ‘dad’ scenes and one of the few moments that the show was enjoyable. But Laurel realized she needed to let go of Oliver and let go of that part of herself that withdrew emotionally while he was on the island. So now she’s going to give Tommy a real chance…except I thought she was already doing that?


After a few weeks without them, the island flashbacks returned tonight. Those remain enjoyable. Yao Fei and Deathstroke faced off again and Oliver was too weak to do anything as Deathstroke won and then carried the island archer off. Yikes…In present time, Oliver went hand to hand or arrow to arrow (see what I did there?) with Dark Archer and got his ass handed to him. But Dark Archer mentioned the list and the man behind the list, which got Oliver to realize that his dad was not the one who made the list after all.


That was the episode in a (boring, predictable) nutshell. Once again, I need to sound like a broken record and say that I really, really want to love this show and I just can’t because the writing is a mess. Please do better next year…

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Mandy Treccia
Mandy Treccia has served as TVSource Magazine’s Executive Editor since 2016, formerly as Editorial Director from 2012-2016. She is an avid TV watcher and card carrying fan girl prone to sudden bursts of emotion, ranging from extreme excitement to blind rage during her favorite shows and has on more than once occasion considered having a paper bag on hand to get her through some tough TV moments. Her taste in TV tends to rival that of a thirteen-year-old girl, but she’s okay with that.

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