ARROW REVIEW: “STAR CITY 2040”
BY JUSTIN CARTER
There’s a moment in “Star City 2040” that truly helps the future storyline reach its full potential. It’s not when we see Roy and Dinah suited up and kicking ass as in the old days, and it’s not when we see William and Mia take after their parents by faking identities to do some corporate espionage (something that helped cement Oliver and Felicity’s relationship). No, it comes shortly after the opening montage, where a now adult Mia, trained by Nyssa al Ghul — because who else is worthy of training Oliver’s daughter — picks up a bow and fires her first arrow.
“Star City 2040” is an episode this season of Arrow has needed for some time. It doesn’t really give any answers to the big questions surrounding the future: nothing about how Oliver dies, the inciting incident that leads to vigilantes being outlawed, and so on. Instead, it’s an isolated story focused primarily on bringing about a new incarnation of Team Arrow, helping Mia complete her emotional arc, and more importantly, reunite the Queen family by finally allowing the kids to rescue Felicity and truly continue the family business.
More than anything, it helps fill in some blanks in regards to the characters, or at least most of them. Given what we know Rene has been through in the present day, it feels as though he’s a bit too oblivious to what was going to be done to the rest of Star City even though he’s directly responsible for it. It doesn’t take away from his emotional journey, but it’s worth noting. The others, though, all make sense. The season has basically spent both present and future time establishing his Zoe follows in Dinah’s footsteps. It’s nice to see Roy back in his old Arsenal costume and still have some anger issues thanks to the Mirakuru drug even decades later. Similarly, it makes total sense that Connor Hawke would follow in the footsteps of his parents and become a government agent, especially when John Diggle is your father.
Even though the Star City 2040 storyline has been doing well this season and gained a new spark of life once it revealed Mia’s parentage, it’s felt like there was something missing: neither she nor William ever really fired an arrow or used it in action. As such, it’s a triumphant moment when we see Mia finally get to let loose in a moment she’s been waiting literal years for, and the way the camera spins as she chokes out that guard makes it clear that she’s every bit Oliver’s kid. She’s just as moody and hot tempered as he was in the early seasons, and the interplay between her and Connor is reminiscent of Oliver and Diggle without it hitting all the same notes.
Do I wish “Star City 2040” gave more information on how things went to hell beyond a vague implication that Felicity’s security program is where it started? After seeing this episode, I’m not so sure; worldbuilding on Arrow has always been hit and miss. When it lands, it really hits well, as we saw in season two. Other times, you get flashbacks that don’t really go anywhere for long stretches of time, as in season four. The worldbuilding here takes a back seat to some fun character work; because we know how hard Team Arrow is fighting for a safe future for their kids in the present, there’s a weight that comes with seeing the Team Arrow kids with their old predecessors. It’s a shame that the show is ending so soon now that we’ve got a new generation of heroes to spend time with, but hey, maybe there’ll be a spinoff for us to watch them in not long after the show’s end.