Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Ghosts Loom in Purgatory

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With Crisis looming on the horizon, Oliver and company return to Lian Yu to finish this journey where it began. The island is as welcoming as ever to the heroes, living up to its name of Purgatory with formally dead occupants roaming around. People back from the dead? Just another Tuesday in the Arrowverse.

But before the ghosts make themselves known Lyla reveals why they’re on Lian Yu. They need to build a weapon out of the materials Oliver’s been collecting and the island is a key part of it. Diggle, who didn’t get to be part of the Monitor’s alternate reality lesson last week is confused why Oliver is suddenly playing along. Oliver reassures everyone the Monitor is on their side, but it’s going to take more than to convince Dig. He confronts Lyla on her deception. She explains the Monitor saved her life in Afghanistan and showed her a future where her family doesn’t survive Crisis. Since then she’s been working with him. Oliver has his own confrontation to handle, telling William and Mia he’s fated to die in the upcoming Crisis.

Lian Yu- come for the tropical weather, stay for the near-death experiences.

Meanwhile, Roy, Rene, and Dinah are inbound when their plane is blown out of the sky. The team splits up to rescue their crashed teammates and retrieve the plutonium. Mia opts to stay with her brother, instead of jumping at the chance to join her father in the field. Diggle, Lyla, and Conner have the strange kind of family bonding one can only have when you’re a family of spies and one of you is from the future. They come across Dinah and Rene the latter of whom has a seriously injured leg. While Lyla takes him back for treatment, the others continue their search for Roy.

Oliver and Laurel have their own heart to heart, Laurel offering the advice that Oliver shouldn’t leave this island with more regrets than he already has. They find the plutonium but also come across Edward Fyers and Billy Wintergreen, aka Ghosts from Oliver’s early days on the island. While Oliver and Laurel secure the plutonium, Fyers and Wintergreen escape. Oliver goes after them, while Laurel takes the plutonium back to their base. While tracking Fyers and his men, Oliver runs into another ghost, Yao Fei. He and Yao Fei find Fyers’ previous camp but the only waiting for them is a pair of net traps.

Elsewhere on the island, Diggle and company find Roy with his arm pinned under a plane part. The part is too heavy to move and between leaking fuel and Fyers men closing in the team doesn’t have many options to get Roy out safely. Their best chance is amputating his arm. Diggle is firmly against the idea, until, out of time Roy makes the call to cut his arm. Conner does the deed and the team retreat back to their base.

While trapped Oliver admits despite making peace with his death, he has doubts about leaving his kids. Yao Fei advises Oliver to now make the same mistake he did with Shado and spend the time he has left with them. Yao Fei frees them using light reflected through a lens.

At their base, Diggle apologises to Roy. He feels responsible because he’s the one who brought Roy back. Roy, however, would rather be with the team than alone. To be a hero is to experience sacrifice and for Roy, this was his.

Oliver returns to the team and they gear up, giving William the time he needs to complete the weapon while they face Fyers. Once the weapon is finished William realizes it has a DNA sequence and needs a specific person to touch to activate. At first, they believe it’s Oliver, but after it doesn’t activate for him, they realize it’s Lyla. She activates the weapon, making the formerly dead disappear. She says she knows what she has to do and steps into a portal (to go collect the heroes for the crossover).

After the fighting is done Oliver makes his round of goodbye speeches, saving the most heartfelt ones for Diggle and his kids. As he’s talking with Mia, the sky’s turn red and Lyla, in her crossover outfit appears as Harbinger. Crisis is here.

Red Skies rarely mean good things.

Meanwhile, in Central City, Nash Wells unlocks a mystical door and is sucked into an all-consuming light.


Plot-wise, ‘Purgatory’ can’t stand up to episodes like Starling City and Reset, but emotionally there’s a lot heavy lifting done. The specifics of the plot didn’t matter much and it shows. The episode didn’t try to explain why several dead people were suddenly very not dead beyond a line about strange energy being behind it. The plot needed some enemies and a way to bring Yao Fei back and that’s what it delivered.

The weight of the episode came from the goodbyes Oliver needed to give, especially the ones he wasn’t ready. The ones with his kids. Maybe he was being a little of classic stubborn Oliver by throwing himself into the mission instead, allowing Mia to keep him at arm’s length, but Laurel and Yao Fei both called him out on it. He thought he was protecting himself and them but delaying that conversation, but really he was just robbing them of time they don’t have.

Purgatory was about giving these characters their final moments of closure. The calm before the storm. Oliver needed to say goodbye. Diggle needed to accept he may not save Oliver and he can be okay with that. Mia needed to accept that, for Oliver being a dad means being more than a dad. With the end so near this episode gave us those moments we needed before saying goodbye.

Some Stray Shots

  • The Nash Wells scene also appeared at end of the episodes for the other Arrowverse shows, so whatever happens to him in that light (turning to Pariah) is probably important.
  • So many hugs all around. Is really isn’t the same Oliver who had to be threatened with speed hugs from Barry Allen.
  • Oliver doesn’t even flinch anymore seeing someone who’s supposed to be dead.
  • The Red skies are here. It’s finally time for Crisis.
Images courtesy of the CW

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