‘Arrow’ Season Finale Recap: Who Made the Ultimate Sacrifice?

 Credit: Diyah Pera/The CW


With the city crumbling and going down in flames, the most moral character dying a hero’s death, and Oliver failing in the most important mission of his life, the first season of Arrow ended with a bang… and a heartbreaking whimper.

That’s right, while everyone and their mother had a theory on who the big death on the Arrow finale was going to be – from Thea, to Det. Lance, to Laurel, to Moira, to Malcolm – no one predicted that the pure-hearted, noble, all-around good guy Tommy Merlyn would be the one to die in “Sacrifice.” And the last line spoken of the season foreshadows a very dark Season 2 ahead: as Oliver watched Tommy take his last breath, he pleaded, with tears streaming down his face, “Open your eyes, Tommy… open your eyes.”

Alas, Tommy’s eye’s won’t open ever again on Arrow, and we all must come to terms with the fact that Colin Donnell will not be gracing our TV screens each week anymore. Excuse me, I think I have something in my eye… Nope, just tears. Lots and lots of tears.

Tommy’s death, the destruction of The Glades, and so many other major events occurred that made the finale feel more like a cinematic full-length feature film instead of just a single episode of television. The epic tone and dark endings for all characters call for a different kind of recap. So instead of my usual Arrow recap, I will focus on what each of the characters sacrificed… because as the name of the finale suggests, everyone made a sacrifice in one way or another. Some even had deadly consequences.

Tommy made the ultimate sacrifice: his life. He knew that Laurel would not have left CNRI even after being warned about the upcoming earthquake, so he rushed into the crumbling building to free her from the rubble, while confessing his love for her despite the fact that she was back together with Oliver. She made it safely out, but Tommy got caught as the building collapsed. Oliver made it in time to have one final conversation with him before he bled out thanks to the giant piece of metal sticking through his chest.

Det. Lance
Det. Lance sacrificed his job to alert the police about The Undertaking, revealing that he has been in contact with the vigilante for months. He even told his boss that he helped/was helped by the vigilante in numerous cases, accidentally revealing he hasn’t been working as hard as he could to bring the vigilante in. He knows it’s worth it to reveal all this to his colleagues if it means saving all the people in The Glades. But all he got was a suspension from his job.

Lance also sacrificed his own personal safety – and his personal feelings and opinions by working with Felicity and the vigilante – by venturing down into the subway tracks to dismantle the Markov device. If only Malcolm hadn’t been so devious as to have a second device programmed too, then Det. Lance would have successfully saved Starling City.

Moira sacrificed her freedom and her children’s respect by holding a press conference to reveal to all of Starling City what Malcolm was planning and that she was complicit in The Undertaking to save her family. Thea couldn’t even look at her after her confession, since her mother just admitted to attempting to kill her boyfriend who lives in The Glades.

Oliver sacrificed his mother’s ignorant bliss by revealing to her that Robert actually survived the Queen’s Gambit shipwreck, only to take his own life via bullet to the head days later in the life raft so Oliver would have enough food to survive, make it home, and right all his wrongs. It was this confession that propelled Moira to realize that she couldn’t let Robert’s death be in vain, so she held the press conference to try and give everyone in The Glades advance warning to evacuate.

Oliver also sacrificed his friendship with Tommy to tell him the horrible truth about Malcolm’s plans, in order to open his eyes and try to get him back on the good side. When Tommy was dying, though, Oliver spared him the truth that he killed Malcolm so he could die a little happier.

Oliver also maybe, probably sacrificed his relationship with Laurel, since he warned her about staying out of The Glades before Moira held her press conference. She’s going to wonder how he knew something was going down in the first place, and something tells me he won’t want to let her in on the Arrow secret. That means more lies, and not a happy ending for Laurel/Oliver. Also, he sacrificed his own health and well being by stabbing Malcolm through his own chest with an arrow! Talk about an archer shish kabob!

Malcolm sacrificed his son’s innocence by playing Tommy the voicemail his mother left as she was dying. While Malcolm hoped that would convince Tommy that The Undertaking was the right thing to do, it backfired and Tommy ended up pulling a gun on Malcolm. Malcolm just knocked Tommy out, but he lost his son’s respect.

Roy sacrificed his own safety to help those who needed it in The Glades. Taking out muggers, saving people trapped in a bus… turns out, he didn’t need to meet the vigilante face to face in order to become a better person. He had it in him all along!

Thea sacrificed her own safety to find Roy and make sure he was safe during The Undertaking. She even took out his would-be shooter with a broken bottle over the head! Go Speedy!

The best quotes from “Sacrifice”: 

Diggle: I take back every joke I made about you sticking a tracking device in your boot.

Det. Lance: Please, take a seat.
Felicity: You know, I think I’ll stand… [Lance slams the door, Felicity promptly sits]
Det. Lance: You’re not exactly a hardened criminal, are you?
Felicity: No, I’m not any kind of criminal.
Det. Lance: Well, then what do you call computer hacking?
Felicity: A hobby? That I do not engage in.

Tommy, to Oliver: I wish you would have died on that island.

Tommy, to Malcolm: He said you wanted to nuke The Glades or something. It’s funny, scotch doesn’t make it sound any more believable. Maybe after your jihad we could grab some steaks!

Oliver: I’m out of bows.
Diggle: I’ve got my gun.

 Slade: I should have figured you couldn’t save the day without making a mess. 

Thea: I went to your house!
Roy: Yeah, I figured I would run for my life along with everyone else.

Malcolm: If I learned anything as a successful businessman, it’s redundancy.

Oliver: It should have been me! Open your eyes, Tommy. Open your eyes.

And there you have it, folks! Season 1 of Arrow is officially done. See you in the fall!

Follow Sydney on Twitter: @SydneyBucksbaum

‘Arrow’ Recap: The Truth Led to Make-Ups, Break-Ups, and Showdowns
‘Arrow’ Recap: The Undertaking Has Begun!
‘Arrow’ Recap: Oliver Makes a Mistake and Diggle Pays the Price

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