‘Arrow’ Midseason Finale Review: Ghosts of Oliver’s Past… and Present

Cate Cameron/The CW

The Arrow midseason finale promised a lot of twists and turns and while some things were more surprising the others, the episode mostly delivered. It was an entertaining hour that was packed with characters and stories and it ended with several intriguing setups for the rest of the season…and for a certain potential spinoff.

Three Ghosts” picked up where the last episode left off. Oliver was dying after being injected with a mystery serum and Felicity and Dig had brought Barry to the Arrow Cave to save him. After taking a few seconds to process everything, Barry jumped into action and quickly narrowed down the cause of Oliver’s symptoms until he figured out how to save him: with rat poison.

He was right, but Oliver wasn’t exactly grateful when he woke up because he was too busy ranting about his identity being exposed. On the one hand, I can see where he’s coming from. It is his secret and he should be the one who decides who learns the truth. But on the other: dude, he saved your life and your friends could have left you to die. Just be grateful and trust that Barry respects the vigilante (and Felicity) too much to broadcast it.

Moira made a random appearance in the episode to call Oliver home and remind the audience that no one wants to party with the Queen family anymore before sending Oliver to check on Thea, who had locked herself in her room. It turns out that Roy was in there with the arrow still jammed in his leg. Oliver pulled it out (because apparently Thea and Sin never considered that…?) and told them once again not to mess with the vigilante, but they weren’t going to listen.

Then the ghost hallucinations started. First up was Shado, which confirmed what I suspected and that she had died before Oliver left the island. The flashback provided us with the how when Ivo told Oliver to choose between Shado and Sara and Oliver couldn’t do it until the last second when he protected Sara so Ivo shot Shado. I have to admit that I was surprised that she died so fast (in year island year two), but I never really liked her so I don’t mind that she’s gone. Plus her ghost was telling Oliver to give up. Not exactly supportive in his time of need.

Next, Slade paid Oliver a visit at the cave and proceeded to kick his ass. Of course it wasn’t really happening so it was mainly just Oliver breaking things, but Slade seemed pretty mad about something. Maybe I watch too much TV, but I knew the serum hadn’t killed Slade and I didn’t really believe he died on the island at all so the big reveal that he’s the one working with Brother Blood wasn’t a huge ‘OMFG’ moment for me. I did like his speech about making Oliver pay because I can see why he blames Oliver for what happened to Shado and to him…except we still need to have some of those pieces filled in as to how he got off the island and to Starling City.

But there was one final ghost and it was the one I waited impatiently the entire episode to see: TOMMY! I suspected he would be back the second I heard the episode title and then it was confirmed by a promo, but seeing him again was so great. He reminded Oliver that he was a hero and that he wasn’t to blame for his death. Tommy urged his friend to keep fighting and it was awesome, but also really terrible and sad because it made me depressed all over again that they killed him. It was so nice to see Colin Donnell again though.

Anyway, Roy had been caught by Brother Blood and injected with the serum so he was bleeding from his eyes and seemed to be dead, but thanks to Tommy, Oliver found the strength to get up and save him. Brother Blood got away (and he was wearing his mask so Oliver doesn’t know who he is). Oliver revived Roy (mostly by yelling at him, but whatever, it worked). The next time we saw Roy, he was back in Thea’s room at the mansion and he chose to keep the truth to himself. But now that it seems like Roy will have superhuman strength, this definitely changes the dynamics. And did he see Oliver’s face? I’m guessing he didn’t or if he did, he won’t remember right away.

Before we get back to Barry, there’s one more thing worth mentioning about Brother Blood: he seems to be dating Laurel or at least courting her. He sent her flowers (which Laurel lied to Thea and said they were from her father) and then they were Christmas shopping together. I’m glad Laurel is being brought into the fold and I hope this means that she will actually get to be part of the story once Brother Blood’s true colors are revealed.

For most of the episode, Barry was hanging in the Arrow Cave helping Felicity. He also realized that she wasn’t interested in him because she was too wrapped up in Oliver. He understood though (Felicity even quipped that maybe he wanted to date Oliver). Barry made a suggestion that Oliver should start wearing a mask and left one as his parting gift before heading back to Central City. Unfortunately, he was late again, but it didn’t matter. The reactor being turned on ended up affecting him…as it crashed like lightning into his lab and knocked him unconscious.

I have to assume that given the ratings of the last episode that The CW is already penciling a spot in for The Flash next season. I understand why they decided to go with a full blown pilot instead of a backdoor pilot in episode 20, but at the same time, how can they just leave us hanging like that? Sure, the producers have said we’ll be checking in with Barry through Felicity, but it’s so not the same thing. If the point of all of this was to make sure the audience was dying for the Flash series, mission accomplished, show. Mission accomplished.

So there you have it. Barry is transitioning into The Flash. Laurel is starting to date the bad guy. Roy has superhuman strength and may or may not know that Oliver is the vigilante. Slade didn’t die on the island and he’s using his blood to make an army of super soldiers – or trying to – and his ultimate goal is to completely ruin Oliver’s life and then stab him in the eye with an arrow (thanks for the imagery). And now the show is on hiatus until January…

What did you guys think? Was the midseason finale everything you hoped it would be? Were you disappointed that we were teased with the Flash and then left hanging? Do you think Roy could go the villain route? Were you as happy to see Tommy as I was? Hit the comments and share your thoughts with us!

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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1 Comment

  1. I thought it was a really solid episode, one of the better ones this season, as some before left me rather disappointed, but this one didn’t fail to deliver for me. For one it was great to see Tommy again, i liked how he told him he wasn’t a murderer and told him to fight.

    As you know i totally predicted Shado’s death, but it was interesting to see how they chose to play it out. Also predicted Slade coming back to present day, but I didn’t think they would make him a bad guy straight away, so yeah that did surprise me as I half expected Isabel Rochev, but it makes sense that it is Slade seeing how they are using his blood to manufacture the serum.

    I had a rethink and with all the fangirling that Barry was doing i predicted he would give him the mask, i had originally thought it was Sara, but i changed my mind on that one yesterday. But most of all I am glad to see Laurel back in full swing again, I think we will definitely see her story arc continue in early 2014, as I think we have waited long enough to see the transition made. Especially since Roy Harper hero story arc seems to be a lot shorter than Laurel’s and less depressing. It is interesting that they always make her some sort of love interest, but that is what they think of first when writing for women.

    I only wonder what the time gap will be when episode 2.10 airs on 15 January, i mean will there be a 4 week real time difference in the episodes, just like they did for the season 1 finale and season 2 premiere.

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