At this point of the season, I’m no longer questioning if Arrow is back, but is it better than the first 2 seasons. In many ways it is, but I don’t think it will ever capture that special feeling those first 2 season had. But if they were to, episodes like this one is helping that cause.
I think this is my favourite episode of the season. I’m struggling to make a list of things I didn’t like about this episode and so far all I can find is the lack of Rene and Dinah, which I know their absence will most likely be cleared up next week. This is what I need from a second to last episode in a season that has been building so well for so long.
I really like how this episode started with the team celebrating Oliver’s birthday and their victory over Chase. It’s not often that we see the villain appear to be defeated prior to the end of the season so it was nice to see the what comes next for the team. Arrow has always been the darker show of the CW superhero line up, however it is always great when they have some light hearted moments with the team. This was one of those and I think it plays as a really nice contrast to the darker moment in this episode.
This episode shared a couple of parallels that Supergirl had in it’s episode this week, however I felt that many of them were executed better by the Arrow writers. The re-introduction of Malcolm felt really natural as well as the return of Nyssa and Slade in the back end of the episode. A quick note on Slade, there was a lot of speculation as to whether it would be Manu Bennett onscreen or just his voice, and I am so glad that we are actually seeing Bennett rather than a voice over a Deathstroke costume. Another parallel was Malcolm’s speech about being human, which I thought hit a lot more emotional compared to the still really well delivered speech from Cat Grant.
While on the point of returns, we got a few more characters back into the fold. I have already mentioned Malcolm, Nyssa and Slade, but we also got Black Siren Laurel, Evelyn Sharp and Talia al Ghul in the present day story and preseason 1 Laurel and Yao in the flash backs. I thought all these returns were great because not only did they add into the story being told, but they are a great tip of the hat to the ups and downs of this series in it’s 5 seasons.
Expanding on the flash backs, I really loved them this week. They were short and sweet but meaningful. Once this season is finished I want to go back and watch season 1 again with the context of knowing everything Oliver has been through in his 5 years away.
This episode did one thing specifically that I wanted it to nail and it did, and that is setting up for the finale. While I think the other 2 shows did a really good job setting up their finales this week, Arrow just blew it out of the water. We are in for a character showdown. And not only that, it is happening when this show all begun, Lian Yu.
Overall, I loved this episode. I’ve loved this season. If they nail the finale next week, I’m putting this season up there with some of the best seasons I have seen of any show in recent times. And if this episode is anything to go off, next week looks like a blast.