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ARROW Review: “Reset” Offers Time Loop Lessons in Catharsis

By on November 28, 2019

Arrow — “Reset” Pictured (L-R): Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen/Green Arrow and Paul Blackthorne as Quentin Lance — Photo: Colin Bentley/The CW

 

Arrow “Reset’ Review

 

By Justin Carter

 

The Arrowverse is no stranger to the “time loop” episode. 

Legends of Tomorrow did a fantastic episode during its third season focused on then-newcomer Zari, and Nora went through the same thing on Flash last season, but with decidedly grimmer stakes. Both times had a different hook to them: Legends’ episode was about showcasing what Zari, a Legend from the future rather than the past or present, could offer to the team; Flash’s episode taught Nora what Barry took several seasons to learn: go to your team, and they’ll help you. 

Arrow’s hook to their time loop episode is a rather simple, but still effective one: use a fairly recent dead character to teach two of its characters about letting go and closure. It’s a surprisingly sweet for this show, where such moments tend to stab characters with tragedy more than more than allowing them bask in the glow of an emotional win. (Just look at how last season ended with Mia being born and then minutes later, Oliver’s whisked off to a cosmic war.) However, “Reset” feels like a fine balance of both, thanks to the return of Quentin Lance. 

Would anyone be able to nail this hour as efficiently as Paul Blackthorne? Even when the episode is just twisting itself so Quentin can die in some new, tragic way, his presence is welcome because of how easily he’s willing to roll with his former nemesis and a former evil version of his daughter telling him his death keeps restarting the day. As is the case with the cameos that have sprinkled this season, there’s a real weight to Paul Blackthorne’s return here. He is fully relishing in what’s sure to be his last appearance in this universe and getting a send off that actually feels earned. 

“Reset” doesn’t hit the same emotional high as when Future Team Arrow was jumped into 2019, but that’s not entirely a bad thing. It’s an episode at its core about catharsis, from Quentin’s return to the Monitor letting Oliver meet his grown up kids or learning his fetch quests actually had a point. And with its final beat having landed, that Oliver has to quit looking for a cheat or loophole and just accept that he’ll die at the end of all this, the show goes to the last place it truly can: Lian Yu. 

Additional Notes

  • This episode was directed by David Ramsey, making him the second cast member to direct an episode, following Katie Cassidy. 
  • Bless that poor overworked waitress. 
  • Laurel’s best line was arguably when she and Lyla had a face off: “By the way, I rock the short hair way better than you.”
  • Credit for referencing Edge of Tomorrow rather than Groundhog Day like the Legends did during their time loop episode. 

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