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S01.E09: Year's End

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Oliver discovers that after he and his father went missing, Moira and Thea stopped celebrating Christmas. Determined to make up for lost time and restore a sense of normalcy to the Queen household, Oliver decides to throw the family a Christmas party. Meanwhile, Tommy asks Laurel to spend Christmas with him but she points out that Christmas was also her sister’s Sara’s birthday and she needs to be with her father. Tommy suggests changing things up might be the best way for everyone to heal but Laurel isn’t sure her father is ready for that.

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Oooh, the Dark Archer Arrives episode! Complete with STIRRING MUSIC.


And Laurel.


But first, other things:


1. This episode was blocked/written after the initial, positive viewer response to Felicity. Its the first episode where she has more screentime than Laurel does, remarkable given that EBR is not even credited for this episode.  


2. Right after the shock of having a Dark Archer the show gives us something worse. Much worse. You all know what I'm talking about: yes, Oliver and Diggle are working out - with their shirts on. Oh, show.  Have you so soon forgotten your main purpose? Your main theme?  I weep. But not too much because, ooooooh, arms.


Also to be fair I think this is supposed to be a Wintry Episode, so I guess it's slightly too cold to be completely shirtless. I shall consider it

a foreshadowing of the moment in the Russia episode where everyone is in Big Hats because, well, Russia. 


3. Awwwww. Oliver Forgot Christmas.  SNIFFLE.


4. This is really not one of Yao Fei's kinder moments, is it? Days without food and water? I still can't believe nobody offered poor Oliver a nice soda before torturing him, but that was a couple of episodes ago so I won't dwell on it here.


5. Oooh, Walter's all Pro Vigilante. That's nice.  And later he's Pro Christmas. Even nicer.


6.  "How bout Green Arrow?"  "Lame."  How bout my head? IN PAIN FROM THE HEADSMACKING ON THAT ONE.


7. This is a minor and I have no doubt unintentional thing, but did anyone else notice that Moira specifically arranged to have Oliver sit by a beautiful, dark haired woman who was not Laurel at that dinner? Just me then? Ok, carry on. (Especially since I don't think we ever see her again.)


8.  I love how someone comes to announce HEY DEATH and Oliver gets a phone call JUST THEN and he's like IT'S MY CONTRACTOR and even the beautiful extra lady doesn't call him on this.


9. All that said, that dinner, with all of the HIDDEN SECRETS and WEIGHTED CONVERSATIONS and CONSTANT CELL PHONE INTERRUPTIONS was a lot more fun and tense than the previous episode's dinner.


10. I love how weirdly obsessed Oliver is with how much he hates the "Hood" nickname. He complains about it at dinner, it's the the second thing out of his mouth when he finally calls Lance - "It's not a good nickname!"  Seriously, Oliver, is now the moment?  And honestly, you're the guy who thinks "Green Arrow" is lame, so maybe you shouldn't be jumping on Lance's choice of nicknames there.


11. Hi Shane!  You're vaguely annoying.

 Fortunately, bye Shane!


12.  For someone who likes to be alone and not share anything, Oliver's really insistent on having parties, isn't he?  


13.  Moira's thinking about Christmas cookies and needing to watch her weight in that scene. Or maybe murdering someone. It's honestly kinda difficult to tell.


14.  "What would you do in my position?" Fyers, I already explained this. I would have offered Oliver a soda.  And maybe a snack. And then turned him in for lots of cash. Granted, if I'd done that, no show and no intense moments with the Salmon Ladder, so perhaps your method has its advantages.


15.  Not sure why Nelson Ravish didn't just take the $70 million and head to a nice retreat in South America.  Many people on this show just never think of practical solutions to their problems, do they?


16. Aww. The, "Felicity, you're remarkable," scene. Complete with Aww Emotional Music.  A scene that continues to suggest that Lance aside, the Starling City cops really, really suck, and that really, Malcolm's Sagittarius company needs to work on its security/discretion.  (Seriously, this took Oliver and Felicity all of five minutes to figure out. Nor did they really have to go to the lengths Oliver was threatening to go to figure this out. How bad are the cops? Luckily Felicity did actually remarkable research after this and will again later so I will forgive the writers this scene.


This isn't Oliver/Felicity's first scene, of course,

but this is probably the test run for the relationship: All of the elements are here: Oliver handing over an arrow, with the camera moving into the arrow and their hands; the "you're remarkable," the music at the end of the scene, the way Oliver is walking out, then turns back to change to Happy Hanukkah. Later, Laurel will walk off - and not turn away. And the Oliver/Laurel scene musically only gets the continuation of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," (which was already playing during Walter/Moira's scene).


17.  "Merry Christmas, sir. How are you?"  "Proficient with firearms."


18. Yay for exploding arrows that let the Hood escape an...explosion!  Though I have to say the setup for that explosion, if ever so SLIGHTLY over the top, was pretty cool.


19.  Martha Stewart's Elf. I now have a vision of a little elf in a green hood shooting Martha Stewart with arrows. Forgive me.


20. Walter steps again as an MVP - and reminds us that he lost a best friend to murder.  


21. I love the loving and totally and completely dysfunctional relationship between Moira and Walter here. "Let's just get through the party! And then, I'll tell you stuff. Well, actually, I'll let you get kidnapped, but let us not quibble about definitions here!"



Seriously, what is it with Oliver throwing parties for people that don't WANT a party? 


23. "You bailed on your party."  

Get used to this. And what is it with Oliver bailing on his own parties?  He does this almost every time he has one!


24. "Thousands of people will die, and you'll feel nothing."  "That's not true. I'll feel a sense of accomplishment." What I like about Malcolm Merlyn is the ongoing optimism and making sure that he always gets something out of every disaster. It's very inspiring.



And now, sigh, Laurel.


Ok. On a happy note, Laurel does not appear in this episode until 21 minutes in, after, probably not incidentally, Felicity has already had two scenes, and after all of the main cast members plus Malcolm and Walter except Tommy have had major scenes.  And also on a happy note, Laurel displays about her first intelligent moment as a lawyer so far on this show when she realizes that the current killer isn't the Hood.  Also I really like her red pants if not the sweater she's wearing with them.  And then it's all downhill from there.


Number of times Laurel fails as a human being in this episode, four: 1, saying that it's "totally different" when the Hood is all monster and killer like because "he was protecting me."  First, Laurel, how the )(&*&%$^^*&((&* do you know that the other vigilante doesn't believe that he's protecting people (especially since as it turns out he DOES believe that he's protecting people).  But second, killing is totes ok when it's to protect you, but not OTHERS that the vigilante might be protecting given that you TOLD US that the vigilante is trying to help the city? AUUGH.

 (In contrast, in next year's similar scene with Felicity, she apologizes for putting Oliver in a position where he was forced to kill. Laurel's like, yay, it's me, so TOTES OK.) 

 2, Sending Tommy, HER DATE, off to go get drinks so she can tell Oliver how his death like KILLED HER and everything and it was very sad, 3, bringing this up at a Christmas party, 4, hinting that her ongoing feelings for Oliver are why she can't move forward with Tommy. Laurel, let us remember that YOU ran off from OLIVER after your kiss.


Number of characters making negative comments about the Laurel/Oliver relationship, three: 1. Quentin, calling Oliver self-centered and noting that he's not good for Laurel (true); 2, Tommy, noting that the whole thing is "weird,"; 3, Oliver, saying he's happy that Tommy/Laurel are together.


The only pro-Oliver/Laurel moments in this episode: Laurel recognizes that the Hood isn't this particular killer (since Quentin has already figured that out, it doesn't mean that much), and Laurel noting that she's ready to live again now that Oliver is back.


Number of times Laurel fails as an lawyer: It doesn't come up this episode. 


I argued earlier that, far from not realizing that Laurel was a problem, the show did recognize it, early on, and began marginalizing Laurel and removing her from the main plot.  This episode is a classic case: we're only nine episodes in, but already, Laurel has less screentime than Felicity, Thea and Moira do; she has less of an emotional connection to Oliver than Thea and even, arguably, Walter does (this was actually a nice stepfather/stepson episode for the two of them.). Her only involvement with the main plot is to comment on it from a distance while watching television.  She's almost entirely passive in the entire episode: even her one "movement," heading to the Queen's party, happens because of Tommy - strikingly, Oliver didn't invite Laurel to the party. Probably because he figured Tommy would, and if Tommy didn't, things would be awkward, but it's another level of distance between Laurel and the rest of the show,

leading to the disconnect so many of us ended up chatting about in season two. 

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Malcolm may be batshit crazy, but you can't say he isn't entertaining.  I did laugh at how quickly, Felicity figured out who made the arrows, when they were bought and where they were sent.  Way to cover your tracks Merlyn.


The Starling City police really do suck at their jobs.  Just find me one of the archers, I don't care which one.


Poor Shane, unfortunately for you, Oliver knows all your tricks because he no doubt used the same ones back in the day.


Diggle saved the day…Again!


If I worked at Queen Consolidated, I may consider taking the stairs.  Bad things just seem to happen in or near their elevator.  Poor Walter.

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This is one of my favourite episodes.  It's something about how it's spread out among the characters, and how it advances the year's story.  It's got Walter and Lady Macbeth Moira, evil Malcolm! Felicity solving mysteries and Oliver seems to be finally over Laurel. 


About the only parts I didn't like were the island scenes.  I know there is brutality in the world but I don't like to watch it.  Although SA did a great job of showing Oliver in pain post-torture.  And we did find out that the Chinese operated the island as a prison

maybe that's who built the underground cells

.  Why does Yao Fe pull up his hood as he goes into the fight?  Everyone knows who he is.


The theme is – the dangerousness of those you think you've  handled.


Wow, Adam Hunt has come down in the world into that low rent hotel room.  And he looks pretty cheesy too.


One of my favourites scenes is when Oliver kicks Shane out of Thea's bedroom.  He still thinks she's 12.  Or maybe he knows too much about teenage boys in girls' bedrooms. Either way, who needs Robert or Walter when you've got a brother like Oliver?


Why is the police commissioner wearing his uniform to a dinner party?  Low self-esteem?  He doesn't seem very competent.  Can he be killed off now?


I didn't realize that it was Diggle who said that they need an arrow to identify the archer.  Way to call Felicity into the episode, Diggle.


Oliver wants to throw the Christmas party. It's all about getting back to pre-island.  Is that why Oliver is wearing the dorkiest clothes this episode?  Too bad it's always about the secrets, before and now.


The drawing of the Arrow is in the background as Quentin goes to phone him.


Felicity is looking at the names from the list when Oliver goes to her about the arrow.  I wonder what she would have found if she'd had more time.


"Merry Christmas, sir. How are you?  Proficient with firearms."  I never fail to love that line.

Tommy is sweet, and way too good for Laurel.  No Dinah in the photograph?

I guess she hadn't been cast yet.


Gorgeous decked halls at Queen Manor. The set decoration crew must have had fun. I want Moira's necklace.


I like seeing Moira in this episode.  She's really between two hard places, desperate to keep Walter and her family safe, desperate to keep Walter who she sees as her salvation.


Laurel and Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne apparently show in the same stores – I saw that red dress the night of the election.


Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas is a good choice for Moira/Walter and Oliver/Laurel/Tommy. Please be over Laurel, Oliver.


I wonder what excuse Malcolm Merlyn gave for not showing up at the party.  And why do both he and Oliver store their arrows propped up like a pointy-topped fence?

I love Merlyn when he's being totally crazy and without remorse.


Oliver leaves Merlyn with two arrows sticking out of his back.  How do they explain those wounds from a motorcycle accident?


One of the likable things about Thea is that she knows and acknowledges when she's being a bitch.  Unlike, you know, a certain other person.

Edited by statsgirl
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Oh this episode has one of my favorite lines, "Felicity this is the IT department, not the ladies room." Cue Oliver smiles for Felicity. It was one of the first times that I remember thinking okay these two are cute and she lightens him up.  If I'm remembering correctly this is also the first time we see playful Oliver. Before this he's normally just reacting to her babbles.


I laughed re-watching this when Oliver tells Moira, Walter and Thea that he'll take care of everything and they don't have to do anything when I think about how much work the staff would have to put in to hang all those decorations last minute. Ah, the blindness of being a billionaire. Oliver to the staff, "Okay everyone were going to have a party can you start decorating this huge mansion with all the decorations? Great! Man, parties are hard work."


I'm not sure if I'm filling in a plot hole in my mind or if this is what the writers intended but I thought the black arrows were so easy to trace back to that warehouse was because Malcolm was trying to kill the vigilante in his trap?


I also love that Felicity calls Walter to make sure Oliver is alright after his "motorcycle" accident. It's a nice little scene that you only hear her voice but it really hints at what type of person she is.


I think this is also the start of (could be wrong but first time I noticed it) Arrow using street names to honor people associated with DC comics. Quentin tells the Arrow he is going to leave the black arrow in a heating vent at the corner of Adams and O'Neil. Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams are the writer and artist responsible for reinventing Batman away from the campy 60's version in the 1970's.

Edited by Orion
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I'm not sure if I'm filling in a plot hole in my mind or if this is what the writers intended but I thought the black arrows were so easy to trace back to that warehouse was because Malcolm was trying to kill the vigilante in his trap?

I think you're right. I remember wondering how Merlyn found out Oliver was there as soon as he got there, or whether the bomb was on timer just in case someone came.  It being a trap set for the vigilante makes a lot of sense, and it explains why Merlyn would be killing Adam Hunt so much later in the timeline.


Oliver and Felicity are so much fun after all the Oliver/Laurel angst that permeated every scene of theirs.

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I just watched this again and I really hope we're done with "shocking death" as the mid-season finale "twist". This was such a well executed episode all around. From bringing back Adam Hunt, to introducing Malcolm as the Dark Archer, to Oliver realizing the book was so much bigger than he thought, and being brought down vicously for the first time he came back. Everything clicked wonderfully.

Then there's Oliver and Lance working together for the first time and Lance looking for justice outside of the law because he realizes the law is sometimes crooked too. A really great moment for his character.

Oh, and Walter was such a mensch, Thea and Quentin were salty as I like them. how are you, sir? -Proficient with fireamrs. -We rob banks and smoke crack together. She's got guts joking about it since she knows Oliver knows she's at least dabbled in drugs. Plus in a few episodes she'll add knocking over a dress shop.

Why is the IT department so dark? That can't be good for Felicity's eyes.

Edited by bijoux
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• Oh no it’s the return of the flashbacks! It was a nice break while it lasted. 

• Killing the hostages in Oliver’s name to call him out was pretty chilling! That’s a type of smart ruthlessness TV shows rarely allow their bad guys! Go Arrow :) 

• So am I right to assume Tommy’s dad/John Barrowman is the author of the list? That he was the one to send the killer after Oliver. 


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15 hours ago, Wayward Son said:

• Oh no it’s the return of the flashbacks! It was a nice break while it lasted. 

• Killing the hostages in Oliver’s name to call him out was pretty chilling! That’s a type of smart ruthlessness TV shows rarely allow their bad guys! Go Arrow :) 

• So am I right to assume Tommy’s dad/John Barrowman is the author of the list? That he was the one to send the killer after Oliver. 


Just wait until you to the middle of season with the one mostly Flashback episode. Lol

Honestly the only thing I remember from the first season of Arrow as Barrowman's character. I've only watched the first season once when it aired. 

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109 (Year’s End) – Oliver Queen’s voiceover intro:
Oliver (voiceover): "My name is Oliver Queen. For five years I was stranded on an island with only one goal... survive. Now I will fulfill my father's dying wish... to use a list of names he left me, to bring down those who are poisoning my city. To do this, I must become someone else. I must become something else."

109 (Year's End) – During a political dinner party at the Queen Mansion, Malcolm Merlyn suggests “Green Arrow” as a code name for the vigilante:
Police Commissioner: “The thing that people forget is that Robin Hood was a criminal.”
Male Dinner Guest: “And stealing from the rich to give to the poor is really the job of the Democrats.”
(Everyone laughs.)
Malcolm: “All joking aside, Commissioner, crime is down for the first time in five years.”
Police Commissioner: “That’s because of the changes my department has implemented.”
Walter: “Or perhaps it’s because the vigilante’s activities have had a chilling effect on the city’s criminals.”
Malcolm: "What are your thoughts, Oliver?"
Oliver: "I think the vigilante needs a better code name than ‘The Hood’ or ‘The Hood Guy.’"
(Everyone laughs.)
Malcom: "I agree. How about ‘Green Arrow’?"
Oliver: "Lame."
(Walter’s cell phone chimes.)
Walter: “Forgive me. It’s the office. Excuse me.” (Leaves)

109 (Year's End) – Felicity reports to Walter on more results from her investigation of the notebook:
Walter (on phone): “I'm in the middle of a dinner party, Ms. Smoak, so I hope this is of some importance.”
Felicity (on phone): “I guess that depends on how you define important. See, most people would consider finding a list of names written in subsonic ultraviolet invisible ink important.” 
Walter: “But then I already know that, now, don't I?”
Felicity: “Did you know seven of the names on the list are guys the Vigilante's had in his crosshairs? That is, if bows had crosshairs. Which they don't.”
Walter: “Well, it is a rather long list, Felicity, so I would expect there to be some overlap.” 
Felicity: “Like Doug Miller.” 
Walter: “Head of Applied Sciences at Queen Consolidated. What of him?”
Felicity: “Mr. Miller may end up getting an arrow in his stocking, because he's on the list. So, important or not?”

109 (Year's End) - Oliver gives another lame excuse to get Felicity's IT help, and we find out that Felicity is Jewish:
Oliver: "Hey."
Felicity (gasps): "Don't you knock?"
Oliver: "Felicity, this is the I.T. department. It's not the ladies room."
Felicity: "Right. What can I do for you?"
Oliver: "My buddy Steve is really into archery. Apparently it's all the rage now."
Felicity: "I don't know why. It looks utterly ridiculous to me."
Oliver: "Mm-hmm. Anyway, it's Steve's birthday next weekend, and I wanted to buy him some arrows. The thing is, he gets these special custom-made arrows, and I have no idea where he gets them. I was hoping you could find out where this came from. (Hands her the arrow) Careful."
Felicity: "Yeah. The shaft's composite is patented. And that patent is registered to a company called Sagittarius. That's Latin for The Archer."
Oliver: "Really? Could you find out where and when this was purchased?" 
Felicity: "According to Sagittarius company records, that particular arrow was part of a bundle shipment. 200 units. (Scribbles on note) Sent to this address."
Oliver: "Felicity, you're remarkable."
Felicity: "Thank you for remarking on it."
Oliver: "And Merry Christmas."
Felicity: "I'm Jewish."
Oliver: "Happy Hanukkah."

Edited by tv echo
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