Arrow, CW’s long-running Green Arrow series, is in the seventh episode of its final season, “Purgatory.” After last week’s episode saw Oliver (Stephen Amell) and Laurel (Katie Cassidy-Rodgers) discover the truth regarding The Monitor’s intentions and learn that Oliver needs to stop fighting the inevitability of his fate. Once Lyla (Audrey Marie Anderson) informed Oliver that his final mission was approaching, Oliver and Laurel found themselves alongside Mia (Katherine McNamara), William (Ben Lewis), Connor (Joseph David-Jones) and Diggle (David Ramsey) on the island of Lian Yu.
In “Purgatory,” Oliver, Laurel, and Lyla alert the team to the situation regarding the Monitor and the roles that they have to play in the upcoming Crisis. Lyla explains that the entire aim of the previous episodes was to build a weapon for the Monitor, which can only be completed by using the specific energies found on Lian Yu. Oliver also explains to William and Mia about how Crisis is the cause of his demise and that he has come to terms with the fact that he cannot escape his fate. Naturally, Mia feels anger towards Oliver for not putting up more of a fight against the inevitability of her father’s death, which is only natural for someone who grew up without him.
Meanwhile, Dinah (Juliana Harkavy) Rene (Rick Gonzalez), and Roy (Colton Haynes) are en route to Lian Yu carrying hazardous materials for the Monitor’s weapon when they are suddenly shot down from the sky. The culprits behind this strike? – Edward Fyers (Sebastian Dunn) and Billy Wintergreen, Oliver’s first ever enemies in the Arrowverse timeline. Once again, the Arrow writers take a seemingly supernatural/sci-fi twist and work it perfectly into the plot of Arrow, by having the focus of this plot detail being emotionally driven for Oliver. In this case, Oliver has to deal with the literal ghosts of his past before taking on the biggest task of his life.
It is later revealed that not only have Oliver’s enemies returned to the Island but so have his allies in the form of his original mentor Yao Fei (Byron Mann). Yao Fei is such an important character in the Arrowverse mythos, having taught Oliver archery in the first place and putting him on the path to becoming the hero we all know and love. More importantly, his presence in this episode continues to show that there are no cut-offs when it comes to learning something new, as Yao teaches Oliver that his death in Crisis does not mean his legacy will not live on in Mia and William, his allies and all those he has touched in the past eleven years.
Purgatory has a deeply melancholic feeling attached to it in the sense that this is quite possibly a finale in its own way. We see Oliver say goodbye to friends, have another incredible heart-to-heart with his son William and finally lay to rest some of his long-term doubts. Returning to Lian Yu for one final time before Crisis was such a clever idea that allows the show to bookmark its beginning and end. From here on out, nothing will quite be the same again.
Speaking of nothing staying the same again, Roy finds himself in the most peril throughout the episode having crash-landed with his arm trapped by some of the debris. It’s here we see Diggle struggle with the inevitability of the Crisis and how both his best friend and wife seem to have so willingly accepted their fates. Diggle doesn’t want Roy to lose his arm and briefly tries every single solution that would allow Roy to escape relatively unharmed, despite the risks it would take. It’s here that Diggle understands that hard choices need to be made, with Roy actively choosing to be amputated – leading to that classic Roy Harper storyline from the comics. This revelation, alongside Oliver’s insistence, that William is raised alongside Mia this time, is another interesting hint towards the future of Star City being different to the one we’ve grown to know. Will the spin-off feature a completely different Star City in 2040?
Much like the finale for Season 7 earlier this year, ‘Purgatory’ has the overwhelming sense of finality to it. While this is not the final time we’ll see some of these characters, nor Oliver, there are conversations that are extremely well written and acted as though they intend to be their last. In particular, Stephen Amell acting with Ben Lewis’ William is once again a fantastic highlight of the season – both being able to have the chance to show their love towards each other. We also get to see that with Mia too, who finally understands the weight that Oliver goes through in a deeply emotional ending which should make any long-time viewer of the show tear up.
Much like The Flash has been slowly introducing the character of Pariah in their Pre-Crisis episodes, it is revealed that the weapon that the Monitor has created is, in fact, Lyla herself. By the end of the episode, Lyla is transformed completely into the Harbinger – delivering her multiversal warning of impending doom.
Overall, “Purgatory” is a fantastic episode of Arrow which rounds off Oliver’s journey by returning where it started, on Lian Yu, before diving headfirst into the impending Crisis.
“The Crisis has begun…”
Oliver’s story will continue in ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths’ which begins with Supergirl on December 8th at 8 PM CT/9 PM ET, on The CW.
Arrow will return in the fourth part of the Crisis event in 2020.