After what has felt like a longer season than it has been given the creative struggles witnessed over the course of the year, we’ve finally arrived at the season four finale of Arrow. It’s called Schism, and the episode itself displays many schisms, but most notable is the one between the episode and coherent and smart writing.
It’s a problem that the show has had for almost its entire run since Christmas, but this finale feels like a drag from beginning to end. Very little about it is unpredictable, events transpiring pretty much as you might expect, but that story isn’t even told in a manner that makes it seem interesting. As the episode progresses and the stakes raise – which, in actuality, lowers them since they become so astronomically high that it is difficult to expect much else than a victory for the team. Whether that truly happens, you’ll need to watch the episode to discover – I became bored with how underwhelming everything was. This isn’t akin to the impactful season finales of the first two seasons; it’s a continuation of the drearily terrible third season finale.
The episode suffers a lot from selective memory, choosing to explore certain avenues when pertinent to the plot – such as Diggle’s conscience over killing his brother, or the team remembering Laurel at various points – but forgetting things that were established in previous episodes and even from scene to scene in this one alone. There’s one moment in the finale that directly contradicts a scene placed twenty minutes prior. As a result, it’s hard to really care about anything that happens because of how easily the show changes its mind over certain elements to fit the current scene.
Schism truly does feel like the episode to cap off the problematic story arcs told by Arrow this season. Is it satisfying? Not especially. But it’s a conclusion. That isn’t a good thing for the show, and based on this finale – and this season – I’m left wondering whether or not things can ever pick back up to the standard displayed in the first two seasons.
Some teaser quotes:
1. “Now you know how it feels.”
2. “Wait. I thought he was the cynic.”
3. “That guy gave me inspiration.”
4. “You must think I’m a monster.”
5. “It’s not your call, Oliver.”
Tune in and watch the season finale, Schism, on Wednesday 1st June at 8pm on Sky 1. Then, check back to the site after the episode for our review and the podcast!