This review is based off the season premiere.
At this point, what else can I say about Arrow?
When it first debuted back in 2012, DC fans everywhere wondered if it would measure up to Smallville, especially since this new guy named Stephen Amell had been placed under the hood instead of Justin Hartley. But what followed were years of incredible adventures that changed superhero television forever – and for the better.
I mean, not only did this new take on Oliver Queen amaze us all with a more rough-and-tumble style, but the series gave birth to what’s now known as the “Arrowverse,” which is also populated by The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl, Batwoman and Black Lightning (yes, I’m counting that one). This unique vision has brought the DC Comics universe to life like no TV show – or movies, for that matter – have done before. It’s had a profound impact on people the world over, including myself, as I’ve been known to cosplay as the Green Arrow on occasion.
Well, now that the end is in sight, I and those who’ve stuck around must ready ourselves for the inevitable. Every TV show must wrap up at some point, and I guess it’s better that Arrow do so while it’s still going strong. And as luck would have it, we’re being treated to something that’s simultaneously new and a “greatest hits” compilation of sorts.
As you may have heard, most installments making up the ten episodes comprising the eighth and final season will revisit earlier years in a sense. The upcoming opener, “Starling City,” is a nod to season 1. In fact, I’d go as far to say it’s like watching the pilot and season finale all wrapped in one; you’ll see some familiar beats revisited but in ways that won’t make you think “been there, done that.” Once you tune in, you’ll fully understand the delicate balance that Beth Schwartz and company achieved.
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Now, it’s important to stress that I’m not at liberty to divulge certain plot points, though you won’t have to strain yourself too hard to figure out how Ollie’s able to find himself in parallel situations on a show where the concept of the multiverse has already been established. Just rest assured that, despite whatever intentional disorientation you may experience in the opening minutes, the Oliver Queen you’re watching is the same man you’ve come to know and love during the previous seven seasons. It’ll all make sense in context in very short order, just trust me on that.
Along the way, we’ll reunite with familiar favorites such as John Diggle (David Ramsey) and Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy Rodgers), while others like Moira Queen (Susanna Thompson), Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman), Tommy Merlyn (Colin Donnell) and Adrian Chase (Josh Segarra) are utilized much differently than they were in the past. Some twists you’ll see coming, some you won’t.
If the premiere is any indicator of what’s to come, we’re in for the Arrow we’ve grown used to, only with a bit of a science fiction twist. With the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover looming, this series in particular will play a major part in serving as prologue. Believe me, you won’t want to miss the closing moments of this bad boy.
Something else that amazes me is how this show hasn’t lost its touch when it comes to fight choreography. I wanted to take a moment to discuss this element, as it’s always been a highlight in my eyes. James Bamford, Stephen Amell and the rest of the stunt team never cease to bring their A-game. And when an episode such as this boasts Bamford’s name as director, you know you’re in for something truly special.
When it comes to the flash forward segments, however, I remain highly indifferent regarding those. The unfolding storyline taking place in 2040 had its ups and downs during season 7, ultimately feeling disconnected from what was going down in 2018-19 and superfluous in the end. Right now, there’s still no apparent connection to what’s going on in the present and future, but I’m willing to give the B-plot a chance.
The reason I’m willing to do that is because I really want to see why John Diggle Jr. (Charlie Barnett) becomes the Deathstroke of tomorrow. Really, what causes the son of a hero to choose the path of the villain? To me, at least, that’s where the majority of the intrigue comes from, even if launching a spinoff starring Katherine McNamara’s Mia Smoak is the end goal.
So, if you’ve hung around for this long, you owe it to yourself to invest time in ten more episodes of Arrow. There’s no way in hell I’m ducking out without seeing how it ends, and I can’t help thanking Stephen Amell, Marc Guggenheim and the rest of the talented cast and crew for what’s been accomplished. We’re about to bear witness to a live action adaptation of “Crisis on Infinite Earths” for crying out loud, so let’s give credit where credit is due.
Even with the sci-fi twist applied, Arrow is still the Arrow you've come to know and love after all these years. If anything, it's already proving to be a fitting end to an incredible journey.