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ARROW “Present Tense” Review: A Character Piece Spotlights New Blood

By on November 6, 2019

Arrow — “Present Tense” -Pictured: Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen/Green Arrow — Photo: Jack Rowand/The CW

Arrow “Future Tense” Review: A Character Piece Spotlights the show’s New Blood


By Justin Carter


Hats off to Arrow for concluding in such a bizarre and audacious way last week that this week’s episode ends up being the best of the season thus far, and one of the best in the whole series. 

Picking up immediately after last week, the two eras of Team Arrow have to figure out how to adjust to their very new, very weird situation. Future Team Arrow gets put into a position where they have to lie to their parents because just a few minutes ago, their JJ had murdered Zoe, an event exacerbated by Grant Wilson, Slade’s other son, showing up in Star City with the 2019 Deathstroke gang. It’s more or less a typical episode of Arrow, with all the lies and action scenes that come with it, but with the big difference being the addition of new blood in the form of Future Team Arrow. 

At first glance, a trio of hot, emotionally conflicted 20-somethings with various forms of daddy issues is right in the CW’s wheelhouse, and that certainly seemed to be the bulk of FTA’s story up until now. The new actors work very well with the work they’re given here, and the show’s willingness to mix the different pairings of Old and Future Team Arrow members helps keep otherwise old and well worn conversations lively. The first 10 minutes in particular are interesting to see play out for the Queen family, and it’s fun to see Oliver try and handle the situation as best he could with a kid he somewhat knows and one he doesn’t know at all. 

“Present Tense” isn’t a particularly ambitious episode of the show, but a character piece that takes advantage of being a final season. Maybe it’s a bit too earnest in how everyone basically says “there’s no fate but what we make” and resolve to change their futures, but the episode itself is so solid and engaging that it earns the right to do that. 

Additional Notes 

  • “We will make Star City great again.” C’mon, Arrowverse, you did it perfectly with Grodd in Legends, you didn’t need to do it again. 

  • The Monitor wants Laurel to betray Oliver, which she likely will….not. 

  • The Monitor: “You know who I am?” Laurel: “No human would wear something that ridiculous.” 

  • There’s plenty of callbacks to season four, from Curtis showing up (with a beard!) to William taking somewhat center stage and calling out Felicity having a lax view on laws. 

  • Speaking of: Felicity and Quentin are both primed to turn up later this season. 

  • William’s actor, Ben Lewis, is said to be the reason for that scene of him coming out to Oliver, so kudos to him for that. 

  • See you in two weeks for our trip to Russia!

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