ARROW REVIEW: “YOU HAVE SAVED THIS CITY”
BY JUSTIN CARTER
To quote one Doctor Stephen Strange: “We’re in the Endgame now.”
No matter how this penultimate finale of Arrow shook out, regardless of whether it would rise to the occasion or go completely to hell, there was always going to be an extra sense of weight to proceedings once we learned there would only be one more season to come. Even before the episode gets into its final moments — which, yeah, we’re definitely going to talk about — there’s a comfortable sense that if production of the show fell apart during the summer, this would’ve served as a fitting series finale in most respects.
When all is said and done, it’s perhaps fitting that the show’s penultimate season be one that attempts to look inward more so than ones before it. The Ninth Circle and everything about them never really mattered; it was always going to come down to Oliver trying to do what he does best and reconcile with (another) sudden upheaval to his family life. The best villains on this show have mixed the personal with the professional, like Merlyn, Slade, and Prometheus. Emiko is not in that high tier, despite Sea Shimooka’s best efforts. (I’m willing to put her in the Damien Darhk category of “fun performance elevates an otherwise weak baddie.”) The biggest failing of the season is that it really wasn’t interested in delving into her mind for long, and her death at the hands of a Circle assassin feels hollow as a result. Laurel and Turner may advocate for a potential redemption, but the show had her flip flop between tragic madness and full on psychopath too much without any real consistency.
On that note, consistency is what keeps this episode from true greatness. While I definitely would rank the first 3/5 of the episode as among the most thrilling moments of the show, there are some moments that don’t entirely hold up to scrutiny. It doesn’t make a lick of sense as to how Curtis, Laurel, and Turner just show up in the very short time it took for things to go south between last week’s episode and this one. And the short war with the SCPD wraps up a bit too neatly after the shaky alliance between them seemed prime for complete collapse here.
Still, the core of this episode is very strong (thanks in no small part to the actors giving their all here), so much so that it’s hard not to feel something when Oliver, Felicity, and Diggle stand together in the Bunker one last time after everyone says their goodbyes. I don’t doubt that the tears and words spoken between the three of them were real between their actors. How one feels about the final moments of the episode will depend on personal taste, but I found Felicity’s exit to be fairly effective and was surprised that it got to me as much as it did. What is this show when one (potentially two!) of this trio are gone? I suppose we’ll find out in October.
As for the tie-in to Crisis on Infinite Earths? I’ll admit to believing that we wouldn’t really get any hard answers until said crossover in December, but it’s perhaps for the best that the show use this to wrap up the story of its two romantic leads. There’s still a lot of questions between now and December in regards to how Oliver dies later this year, but this does a good job of answering the important questions surrounding the event.
I’ve always left seasons of Arrow curious as to what the future holds for this series, but now I’m even more so. Despite this next season being its last, it’s got a hell of a clean slate with Oliver and Felicity gone, plus the Team Arrow kids in 2040 now given the chance to come into their own as the heroes of Star City. “You Have Saved This City” is busy as all hell, but it soars more than it stumbles and closes out the season in the most emotionally satisfying manner possible.
- While the world building in the episode is generally solid across the board, that shoe-in of the Mark of Four could’ve been done better. Similarly, the show is perhaps trying too hard to make Turner and Diggle bros in time for Connor to join the Diggle family.
- I can’t dock points off this episode for no salmon ladder, even though I would be totally justified in doing so.
- The visual of Team Arrow jumping off the roof and all swinging away to safety at the start was very cool.
- So what happens during this final season? Is Oliver just going to be hopping from universe to universe for 10 episodes?
- In case you missed last week’s news, Batwoman has been given a series order, the brief promo they showed this episode was from last week.
- My overall order for favorite seasons would go: 2, 5, 1, 7, 4,, 6, 3. This season has been uneven, but only really towards the end, otherwise has been largely solid.
- See you all one last time in 5 months!