It was announced this March that the eighth season of Arrow will be the its final with a ten-episode run. The announcement surprised many fans and critics, but ultimately appeared to be the right move. The CW series has been on the air for seven years and revolutionized superhero TV as a whole, making the specific genre more popular and successful. Counting the web series, Arrow’s success has fostered over five equally successful spin-offs. The series of shows have been aptly named the Arrowverse or the Berlanti-verse after Greg Berlanti, the ambitious executive producer who started it all. With this success Arrow’s legacy is destined to live on. It’s simply too influential to be forgotten.
Stephen Amell described Arrow’s final season as a “love letter” to the fans, and judging from last night’s episode, it definitely lives up to the description. The “Starling City” episode follows Oliver Queen (Amell) as he visits another Earth’s Starling City to retrieve materials for the Monitor (LaMonica Garret). What ensues is a beautiful homage to season one. Iconic scenes from the season are recreated here and there in a way that’s equally nostalgic to relive and exciting to see what’s different. Asides from the regular cast, we’re treated to season one faces we haven’t seen in a while, namely Tommy (Colin Donnell), Moira (Susanna Thompson), and Malcolm (John Barrowman).
As a bonus treat, we get to see Adrian Chase (Josh Segarra) in a new light. In fact, all the characters subvert ourexpectations, really highlighting the casts’ versatility. Even Oliver manages to be a bit more quippy and light-hearted without losing his focus and intensity. As always, John Diggle (David Ramsey) remains the strong and dependent companion we all need.
Maintaining season seven’s flashbacks, we also get to see New Team Arrow face off even bigger threats than before. Now that they’ve known each other for some time now, they work more as a functioning machine instead of four talented people butting heads without a clue on how to save the city. Mia (Kat McNamara) is clearly walking in her father’s footsteps with her own unique flare as the lead archer and William (Ben Lewis) seems to be taking after his stepmother as the maskless tech guru everybody would die without. Connor (Joseph David-Jones) and Zoe (Andrea Sixtos) are more their own characters, but are still reminiscent of their parents at times. They’re still not a perfect team, though. This episode sees them losing a few fights and debating the structure of the team.
With these elements, the episode turns into beautiful poetic justice. Written by showrunner Beth Schwartz, the dialogue nods to lines we’ve heard before, proving to be just as relevant and impactful in a new context. It also summarizes the character development we’ve gotten over the years. Oliver says, “We’re only as good as the people we have in our lives.” That’s right. The same Oliver we’ve seen struggle with guilt, responsibility, and happiness is at his best. Despite all the awful things that have happened to him and his loved ones, Oliver is the inspirational and brave hero he was destined to become.
This doesn’t take away from the gravity of the situation at all though. The crisis is coming, and Team Arrow has to do everything in their power to prepare and save as many lives as they can. Director James Bamford’s deft and cut-throat stunts show that our heroes can readily handle themselves against the average Starling City foes, thorough hand-to-hand combat, bow-to-bow combat, or in quick and easy take downs. But, how will Team Arrow combat the end of the universe? I’m imagining Diggle shooting at the Anti-Monitor and Oliver poking him with some arrows. I know they’re bound to play a central role in the upcoming Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover, but I can’t help but wonder how they’re going to fare with such a cosmic threat even at their best.
The next episode “Welcome to Hong Kong” is set to air next Tuesday, October 22, on The CW at 9pm and the big Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover starts Tuesday, December 10.
I’m tuning in for both. Are you? If you’ve seen the season premier, what did you think of it? Let me know in the comments down below!
Nothing but love.