WARNING: The following feature contains SPOILERS for the Arrow season 7 finale.
In many ways, the Arrow season 7 ending, "You Have Saved This City," felt more like a series finale than a mere season finale. This was due partly to the way it set up the departure of actress Emily Bett Rickards, who has played Felicity Smoak since season 1 and built what was meant to be a one-off role into one of the key players of the Arrowverse. It also felt like a series finale in how it gave the core cast a chance to take a final bow of sorts, while leaving surprisingly little set-up for the upcoming (and shorter) Arrow season 8.
The penultimate episode of Arrow season 7 ended with stunning dual cliffhangers. In the modern day, the Ninth Circle, led by Oliver Queen's treacherous half-sister Emiko, enacted a plan to release a deadly weapon on Star City. Over the course of the episode, not only had Emiko neatly framed Felicity Smoak as a terrorist but she also revealed to the police how a confused Roy Harper had beaten two security guards to death - a crime Team Arrow tried to pin on Emiko. The episode ended with Emiko having killed six police officers in an assault on SCPD HQ while dressed as Green Arrow, as Oliver Queen and the rest of Team Arrow were trapped between a police helicopter and a small squadron of angry cops out for blood.
The situation was equally tense in the flashforward storyline set in Star City 2040. After having their plans to blow up Star City thwarted by the city's vigilantes, the sinister mega-corporation Galaxy One unveiled Zeta - an army of robotic soldiers empowered by the all-knowing artificial-intelligence called Archer. With the Canary Network decimated and the rest of Star City's vigilantes run ragged as Zeta was unleashed, they had no warning when a team of Galaxy One security personnel swarmed the last Canary nest, as William Clayton was arrested while trying to hack Galaxy One's computers while posing as a potential investor. There was no apparent avenue of escape for either team as the episode ended. Here's what happened in "You Have Saved This City" and what little we know about Arrow season 8.
Emiko Is Killed - But The Ninth Circle Is Still Out There
Once they were free of the police barricade (thanks to a well-placed smoke arrow), Team Arrow's first priority became hunting down Emiko and stopping her from releasing the stolen Cygnus X-1 - a bacterial weapon that could eat through anything. Thankfully, though the police had turned against them, the cavalry arrived in the form of Black Siren and Curtis Holt. With their help, Team Arrow was able to stop most of the drones that threatened to release the virus on a small crowd. Unfortunately, one drone managed to spray several civilians, who died instantly, and Team Arrow took the blame for the bacteria's release, despite one of the civilians in the crowd, Ben "Bronze Tiger" Turner, trying to reassure people that Team Arrow weren't the bad guys.
With the former Suicide Squad member recruited to their cause, Oliver Queen and his allies began trying to figure out where else Emiko might plan to release the remaining bacteria. The bad news is they detected several possible sites. The good news is they were all wired to release from a signal broadcasting from the penthouse floor of the Palmer Technologies building, which had once housed Robert Queen's office. As the rest of the team went to block the signal or neutralize the Ninth Circle teams setting up drones around the city, Oliver Queen went to face his half-sister alone.
Emiko attacked Oliver as he offered her a chance to make peace and move beyond what their father had been together. Oliver was able to pin Emiko in the ensuing fight, but he released her rather than kill her and offered her the knife she had been trying to use against him, saying that if she were going to kill him that she should just get it over with. Before Emiko got the chance, they were both attacked by a squad of Ninth Circle agents led by a woman named Beatrice, who said the rest of the Ninth Circle leadership had grown weary of indulging Emiko's grudge and that she was being cut out of the family. Emiko was fatally wounded in the resulting battle and she apologized to Oliver with her dying breath, warning him that the Ninth Circle knew that his wife was pregnant and that they wouldn't rest the last of the Queen family was dead.
Team Arrow Parts Ways In Season 7's Finale - And Oliver Queen Retires
Luckily for the sake of Team Arrow, Sergeant Bingsley (a career cop who had never liked the idea of vigilantes being licensed by the city) survived Emiko's assault on SCPD HQ and was able to vouch for Team Arrow being framed. With their names cleared, Black Siren made plans to return home to Earth-2, but not before getting a proper thank you for all that she had done from Oliver. Curtis Holt confirmed his intention to return to his new job in Washington D.C. but also announced his intention to propose to his longtime boyfriend, SCPD Officer Nick Anastas. Bronze Tiger was offered a place on the team, but he turned it down, saying he wanted to focus on spending time with his son, Connor, now that he had earned his parole.
Once Curtis, Bronze Tiger and Black Siren left, Roy Harper announced his intention to leave Star City for a while and try and think of a way to atone for the two innocent men that he'd murdered by accident before he reunited with Thea Queen. Oliver and Felicity also announced their plans to leave the city for a time, saying that they trusted Rene, Dinah and Digg to protect Star City while they were away. This led to Oliver discussing the idea of the four pillars of heroism - Courage, Compassion, Selflessness and - Loyalty - and his creation of the Mark of Four as a secret symbol for the inner circle of Star City's heroes, which Dinah had described in the flashforwards of 2040.
Oliver and Felicity retire to a small house in a community that Digg assured them was made up of ex-government agents who needed a place to lie low, effectively making the whole neighborhood one giant safe house. He promised that he and Lyla would do what they could to end the threat of the Ninth Circle so they could return to Star City one day. We then see several months pass in rapid succession, with Oliver and Felicity enjoying their time alone together until the birth of their daughter, Mia, and an all too brief time as they both revel in the joys of parenthood.
Oliver's Children Save Star City In 2040
Things are very different a little ways down the road. In 2040, William Clayton and Rene Ramirez are rescued from Galaxy One's office by Rene's daughter Zoe, who is able to short out the Zeta soldier escorting them to be tortured. Meanwhile, the stand-off with the Zeta soldiers in the Canary nest ends suddenly when Mia Smoak decides to fight back and proves capable of holding her own with the robot assassins. This is later revealed to be because of a backdoor that Felicity Smoak programmed into the original Archer program that prevented it from detecting anyone with a combination of her and Oliver Queen's DNA.
Learning this, William theorizes that they might be able to use Mia's DNA confusing the Archer system as an opening to introduce a virus into the system. The plan works, but only forces Archer to reboot itself rather than shutting down forever. This leaves the team with only four minutes to enact Plan B, which involves triggering a self-destruct inside the wall between Star City and the Glades, which was constructed to act as a giant server for the Archer program. Between Mia's combat skills and William's hacking the self-destruct to give Mia a window of escape, the two children of Oliver Queen are able to end Galaxy One's surveillance stranglehold on Star City.
Oliver Queen Died In 2019
Though they've won a great victory, the war is not over and the elder heroes of Star City elect to take the blame for the destruction of the wall and go into hiding, entrusting the future of Star City to the next generation of heroes. Before she leaves, however, Felicity asks for her children to meet her at Oliver Queen's grave so that they can honor Star City's first hero together. It is here that we learn that Oliver died in 2019 and has a tombstone to one side of his father, Robert Queen. Emiko, given the name Emiko Adachi Queen, is buried on Robert Queen's other side. Felicity cryptically says that this will be the last time they will all be together and that she needs to go on a journey of her own.
How Arrow Season 7's Ending Sets Up Crisis on Infinite Earths
The scenes in modern-day Star City end abruptly with the Monitor - the cosmic being who first appeared in Elseworlds - materializing in Oliver Queen's living room and simply nodding when Oliver asks "Now?" When Felicity demands an explanation, Oliver explains the bargain that he made with the Monitor to save the lives of Supergirl and The Flash; In exchange for being given the means to save them, Oliver agreed to help the Monitor do "whatever the Multiverse requires to survive the crisis that is looming." The Monitor then confirms that Oliver is fated to die in the coming crisis, but that his death might "prevent the deaths of countless more," including Felicity and Mia, whose life the Monitor says is important to the future of Earth.
The Monitor allows Oliver enough time to look at Mia one last time and say his goodbyes to Felicity. Oliver asks Felicity to do whatever she can to make sure both Mia and William are kept safe. Felicity agrees, but says that someday she will find Oliver again before they share one final kiss.
The flashforward sequences end with Felicity walking through a path in the woods near Queen Manor and meeting the Monitor. The Monitor asks if Felicity is truly ready, because there is no returning from where he is taking her. Felicity confirms that she is ready, saying that she has waited a very long time to see him again. She twists her wedding ring nervously as the Monitor opens a breach, and the two step into it, traveling to some unknown destination, where Oliver Queen is presumably waiting for her as well.
Sadly, Arrow season 8 is unlikely to touch upon this point, but it is heartening to think that Felicity and Oliver got their happy ending on some other plane of existence.