Schism is the New Arrow: Arrow Season 4 Finale Review
Season 4 ended the way it began: Oliver and Felicity alone, together.
Well, not together, together.
But John Diggle has re-enlisted in the Army, presumably as penance for killing his brother Andy in, as Lyla described it, "the fog of war."
Thea, who rebounded from the Lazarus Pit to the Speedy costume, is off to find herself (and we hope Roy Harper, since we know he'll be back for several episodes in season 5).
Captain Lance, although cleared by SCPD internal affairs, opts to be the one who rides off into the sunset in the finale this time, with the lovely Donna Smoak. Felicity entrusted her mother's safety to him in an end-of-the-world scenario.
Black Canary is dead and, while more than one person in this episode wondered what Laurel would've done in a particular situation, I doubt they really did. Canonizing her as a role model makes little sense if you've watched the show since season 1. However, Oliver visiting her grave was a nice parallel to them visiting Tommy's grave together in the season 2 premiere, after the Uprising took Tommy's life and started Oliver on his hero's journey.
Genesis, the Uprising 2.0.
Speaking of which, where is Malcolm Merlyn? Last we saw him, he was in the lair, working with Team Arrow to stop the nuclear missiles he enabled Damian Darhk to obtain in the first place.
(John Barrowman just tweeted that he doesn't know yet whether he'll be a regular in season 5. I'll take mass murderer and unapologetic sociopath Merlyn all day, every day over the prospect of a Barrowman-free Arrow.)
I don't care what other reviewers say: I kinda liked this episode. I watched it again to be sure.
Sure, there were a lot of unexplained elements, same as last week. Also, some overly-predictable dialog and scenarios. As Captain Lance said, "The city is under attack. It must be May."
But in the midst of all that were some pretty great fight scenes - follow Arrow stunt coordinator James Bamford on Twitter to get photos and breakdowns of their stunts - including a season 2 finale callback, with the evil army rushing the good guys head-on.
Some truly character-worthy moments, too, including something we've waited 4 seasons to see:
Oliver Queen, hopeful giver of hope, mayor of Star City, bonafide hero Green Arrow.
He's not all the way there yet. Felicity articulated it perfectly, as she usually does. "Schism" applies not to the disbanded Team Arrow but to Oliver himself.
Season 5 holds great promise. Bratva flashbacks in Russia? (This year's flashbacks were so snooze-worthy, until Amanda Waller appeared on-screen, I'd forgotten she'd sent Oliver back to Lian Yu in the first place!) An intriguing new story line for John Diggle. (Does a war injury bring him back to Star City, and Team Arrow?) Curtis Holt on his own hero's journey as Mr. Terrific, giving Felicity competition for sentence fragments and innuendos.
An Oliver/Felicity reconciliation/engagement, based on this hope they talked all hour about. (That couple is so bad at being broken up, it's hilarious.)
A new "Big Bad," although Neal McDonough and his freaky blue eyes will be missed.
Wouldn't it be a crazy twist if Oliver had a female nemesis next time?
Wouldn't it be a crazy twist if the season 5 Team Arrow turned out to be Oliver, Felicity, Curtis, Lyla Diggle, and Malcolm Merlyn?
Arrow season 5 begins in fall 2016.