'Arrow' Recap: Who Made the Ultimate 'Sacrifice'?

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"Sacrifice" -- John Barrowman as Malcolm Merlyn and Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen

The "Arrow" season finale "Sacrifice" was full of dramatic explosions, in both action and emotion. Tommy finally learned the truth about his father, Moira finally had an attack of conscience, and all of our heroes came together for the final battle.

Arrow breaks free

With hunky Oliver shirtless and in chains, Malcolm tries to win his enemy over to his side. Oliver's not interested in jumping on The Undertaking bandwagon, but that doesn't deter the elder Merlyn. He feels he's won this fight, and no other dude in a hood is going to defeat him. He says Oliver always loses because he doesn't really know what he's fighting for.

Once Merlyn leaves, Oliver uses his super strength and some bone-jarring momentum to break free of his chains. He takes out two guards, but luckily Diggle arrives just in time to save him from a gun-toting third. Digg lets him know that Felicity has found out how to disable the device -- if they can find it.

Felicity set free

Unfortunately, Felicity is a bit busy at the moment. Detective Lance has picked her up to interrogate her about her hacking activities and connection to The Hood. She's saved when Arrow calls the detective to let him know about Malcolm's plan to blow up The Glades.

Lance isn't sure whether to believe him but knows he can't bother with Felicity now. He lets her go but not before she tells him that "whoever he is." Maybe the vigilante is a hero, after all. He tries selling that idea to his boss but gets suspended for his trouble.

Tommy learns the painful truth

A drunk Tommy confronts Oliver at the nightclub about Laurel, but his best friend is a bit busy. Oliver tells Tommy about Malcolm's plan to murder several thousand people and says that Tommy's always known his father was bad news. Tommy takes a swing at him, but that only lands him on the ground next to his shattered pride.

A still-drunk Tommy heads back to the office and rants to his father about Laurel, but Dad is a bit too busy, as well -- until Tommy mentions Oliver's accusations, and Malcolm admits they're true. In an emotionally powerful scene, Malcolm plays the final voicemail from his wife for his horrified son.

Tommy questions if killing all these people will somehow make up for his mother's loss, and Malcolm's rage-filled affirmation shows how terrifyingly single-minded he is about his vengeance. Tommy decides to pull a gun on him and try to stop him, but he ends up face down on the floor once again.

Lying by omission

Oliver tries to reason with his mother once again, to get her to divulge the location of the device. She still stubbornly refuses, but when Malcolm calls to let her know that he's moved the detonation time up, she passes that on to her son.

Oliver runs into Laurel on his way out. She wants to know if he's getting scared again. He tells her he realizes he's become the person she always saw in him... and that he loves her. But he still can't tell her what he's up to when he leaves.

Hero in training

Once he's gone, Moira finally realizes what she's done. She calls a press conference and confesses about The Undertaking, then calls for an evacuation of The Glades. Widespread panic and looting begin. Thea throws herself into it to try and rescue Roy, who she finds trying to play hero against some thugs in an alley. She lands the final blow with a bottle, but her rescue attempt ultimately fails. Roy won't leave without helping some trapped people, but he wants her to get to safety. They kiss passionately, and she takes off in the car, leaving him.

Back in the lair, our hero trio finally figures out that the device will be underground along a geological fault line -- and symbolically at the location Merlyn's wife was killed. Diggle insists on accompanying Oliver to take down Malcolm and any remote trigger he may have on him. That leaves Felicity to deactivate the device. Oliver wants to keep her safe, so he enlists Lance to find the device, and Felicity will remotely talk him through disabling it.

Good vs. evil

Oliver finds Tommy semi-conscious in Malcolm's office. Tommy apologizes and says Oliver was right about his father. He asks if Oliver is going to kill him, but his friend doesn't really answer. Diggle discovers a secret panel in the wall, and he and Arrow head behind it to confront the Dark Archer. The fight is fast and hard, and Diggle, unfortunately, ends up with a blade in his shoulder.

Oliver has to take off after Malcolm himself, and once again, the brutal battle ends up with him in a deadly headlock. He's about to lose the fight when he grabs an arrow from the ground and stabs himself in the chest. The point pierces through and goes into Malcolm. A final punch leaves him immobilized on the ground.

The backup plan

Felicity talks Lance through deactivating the device, but when he does, a fail-safe triggers; there's only two minutes left until detonation. Lance calls his daughter, tells her how much he loves her, and begs her to leave her office and get to safety. He thinks he's done for, but Felicity's worked out the override. He disables the device just in time.

Oliver lets Malcolm know that his plan has failed, but with his last breath, the evil mastermind shares an important part of planning: redundancy. It's too late to do anything, and Oliver watches, horrified, as an entire chunk of the city begins collapsing in on itself.

Sacrifice

Felicity waits nervously in the lair, the seismic disturbances shaking the room around her. When she tells Oliver that the east side of the city was hit hardest, he realizes that's where Laurel is. Inexplicably hanging around to try and save some files, Laurel gets caught in her collapsing building, trapped by a fallen beam. But it's not Arrow who saves her this time, it's Tommy. He tells her he loves her, then pushes her to safety before getting buried with falling debris.

Detective Lance arrives in time to see his daughter safe and prevent her from running back inside. Oliver arrives and tries to free Tommy, but he's been impaled by a steel rod. The two exchange their final words of friendship. Oliver says he didn't kill Malcolm, which may be a lie, but it seems to give Tommy peace before he dies. Oliver is devastated at losing his friend and declares that he should have been the one to die.

Past victories

This week's flashback gives us Oliver breaking free of his bonds, releasing Slade and Shado, and the three of them thwarting Fyers's plans. The missile is diverted from its target, and the entire camp is destroyed. Slade and Oliver find each other, but that crafty Fyers is still alive, once again holding Shado hostage. Oliver discovers his inner marksman and uses a bow he found in the camp to shoot an arrow through Fyers's neck. In his past on the island, Oliver unfortunately did much better saving the day. But he lost a friend then, too.

More from this contributor:

'Arrow' Recap: Oliver and Felicity Land in Trouble When They Try to Prevent The Undertaking

'Arrow' Recap: Malcolm Sets Plans in Motion for 'The Undertaking'

'Arrow' Recap: Oliver, Laurel, and Tommy Fight Off a 'Home Invasion'

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