Not Quite Hitting All The Targets
Tripwire’s editor-in-chief Joel Meadows takes a look at the eighth and final season of CW’s Arrow, available now on Blu Ray and DVD…
Stars: Stephen Amell, David Ramsey, Katie Cassidy, Rick Gonzalez, Juliana Harkavy, Katherine McNamara, Echo Kellum, Joseph David-Jones
Executive Producers: Marc Guggenheim, Beth Schwartz
Warner Bros/ CW
Eight years ago, the idea of a primetime superhero show seemed fairly outlandish. Now thanks to series like Arrow and the shows it spawned like The Flash, DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow, Black Lightning and Batwoman, that has become the backbone of television. So we come to the eighth and final season of Arrow, a short season at only 10 episodes, and how does it all wrap up?
It opens with Starling City, an episode that jumps forward to 2040 and we witness Oliver and Felicity’s daughter Mia in action against criminal gang the Deathstrokes.
The second episode, Welcome To Hong Kong, sees Oliver Queen, John, Laurel Lance and Tatsu head to Hong Kong to find a figure who will play an important part in The Monitor’s Plan.
The third episode, Leap of Faith, has Oliver reunite with Thea who find themselves searching through a familiar maze of catacombs while the fourth one, Present Tense, we see the current Team Arrow battling a new Deathstroke while the future version of Team Arrow are forced to come up with ways to stop JJ.
Episode five, Prochnost, has Oliver and co return to Russia on a mission to try and gather materials to stop the Monitor, reuniting him with his Russian gangster comrades.
Episode Six, Reset, has Oliver forced to deal with a life or death situation after being double-crossed by Lyla while Laurel gets an opportunity to make amends. It uses the conceit of Oliver being stuck in a timeloop reasonably cleverly although this obviously isn’t a new concept for a TV show or film. The seventh episode, Purgatory has Oliver go back to Lian Yu where he attempts to avoid the coming Crisis until he gets assistance from an old friend.
Episode Eight is Crisis On Infinite Earths Part Four where we see the origins of the Monitor and The Anti-Monitor and Oliver Queen reveals that he has become something else.
The penultimate episode, Green Arrow and the Canaries, sees us jump forward to the year 2040 and Mia Queen takes on the mantle of Green Arrow once again with the reappearance of Laurel Lance and Dinah.
Fadeout is the tenth and final episode of Arrow, wrapping up all of the loose ends and offering clues as to what Star City will be like without Oliver Queen including showing that Mia is likely to take on his mantle as the city’s hero.
When Arrow began in 2012, it felt fresh and bold. But eight seasons on, it got more and more formulaic. So how is its final season? It isn’t bad but it offers no concessions to people who haven’t watched every episode of the show and so it just feels like it’s repeating itself over and over again. The show has returned to the island of Lian Yiu on several other occasions, the place where Green Arrow was born and so having it crop up here albeit for a more surreal reason just feels lazy. The introduction of Oliver and Felicity’s daughter Mia as a grown-up Green Arrow is a nifty touch but jumping back and forth between now and the future makes the plot very hard to follow for viewers. The Crossover, Crisis On Infinite Earths, begins quite strongly but then it falls to pieces under its clumsy plotting.
Some shows just don’t know when to end and eight seasons into Arrow, this definitely falls into this category. Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen/ Green Arrow grimaces his way through the final season and it is definitely feels like this is time for the show to conclude.
There is still life in the CW superhero shows as Stargirl has proven but Arrow has run out of steam now and it makes sense to wrap things up now. Arrow season eight is a decent endcap to the adventures of Oliver Queen and Green Arrow and co but it does showcase the limitations of a long-running superhero TV series.
Arrow season eight is available now on Blu Ray and DVD from Warner Home Entertainment.