Continuing this four parter CW’s DC TV Crossover Event, Arrow takes some of its characters to an alternated timeline while the B-group are still trying to figure out what to do with the aliens.
Coming off an amazing episode of Supergirl and a highly paced episode of The Flash, the third installment sure felt a lot more emotional and less plot moving forwarding that its preceding hour, but it was earned. Apparently, showrunners enjoy celebrating TV shows’ 100th episode with a big the-gang-gets-back-together-episode so naturally this would hardly be too focused on the Dominators.
It did work greatly, however. I don’t know about you guys, but during its first two seasons, I was a super Arrow fan so I felt like all the more charged and emotionally beats were talking to me. Pardon for any fanboying I might do in advance, but this episode was full on returns and hugs between characters that are no longer alive.
Arrow-as a Perfect Illusion
So, in Tuesday’s The Flash, the Dominators came to Earth seemingly in peace, proceeded to kidnap the president, temporarily mind control some of our heroes, and then kidnapped Oliver Queen, Thea Queen, Sara Lance, Ray Palmer, and John Diggle via a more scenic route: straight up cartoon abduction.
All five of them have their clothes changed (yikes) and put in a shared illusion where Oliver never went on the boat trip aboard the Queens Gambit that changed all of their lives. He is now preparing to marry Laurel Lance (thank the heavens for Katie Cassidy) the next day, both of them seemingly in love, and waiting for Sara to arrive at their mansion.
Thea gives Oliver a wedding gift: an arrow shaped rock that was a reference to season one/the pilot. Their parents walk in on the scene and goddamn it if it isn’t nice to see them again – well, Oliver’s mother at least, Moira Queen, greatly played by Susanna Thompson. Moira was always a wild card within the show, from her mayoral campaign to her gut wrenching (literally and figuratively) fridging back in Season 2 by Deathstroke, so yeah, it was pretty sweet seeing her back.
Actually, the whole episode was sort of focused on this sweetness. It’s all of these characters we have learned to like/love in five years living in this perfect AU where things actually seem happy, a sentiment and feeling that is rarely had in this dark and gritty show where bad things happen all the time. Both the Dominators and the Writers had the same idea – distract us with bittersweetness.
The Queen family have a seemingly normal and happy conversation and I’m pretty sure that, saved by any flashback scenes, this was the first time this happens within the show – Robert died in the pilot, Moira in late season 2, and Thea has barely been given any happy moments (oh, how she has suffered…).
The focus shifted to Laurel welcoming Sara to the mansion and, holy mother of god, those two H U G. That felt like I was the one stabbed by a katana instead of Moira. Actually, that was my entire mindset during any scenes involving the sisters: overwhelming joy.
It’s just SO GOOD to see that: the two have also gone through so much from Sara being initially considered dead to later being alive to then being killed off and resurrected by Laurel who eventually then was murdered by Marc Guggenheim Damian Darhk. It’s even more poignant when you know how Sara is in the time traveling show and she is dealing with the concept of not bringing Laurel back.
Oh, also, I should add that at this point both Sara and Oliver are sort of seeing superimposed images of their actual reality. This comes and goes throughout the episode for all the five characters who were on the spaceship as they see scenes from earlier episodes (a nice touch because seeing all those season one/two shots was incredibly nostalgic) which works sort of as them remembering that something is wrong.
Oliver and his dad are at a late night stroll through the city, arguing about Oliver taking over Queen Consolidated, namedropping Walter Steele, when Oliver glances a Smoak Technologies building. Now, while this is not something from the actual timeline, I remember something on this sorts happening in an episode of Legends of Tomorrow when they go to Star City in 2046.
(Sadly, my attention and time were not given in its entirety to the first season of that show because of my hatred towards Captain Cold and his alter ego/superhero identity Mr. One Liner. Nonetheless, this building has DRAMATIC! SIGNIFICANCE! FOR! REASONS!)
A mugger tries to rob the duo and an already confused Oliver tries to act all Arrow-y when the actual Arrow/The Hood comes from the sky, knocks the bandit off, and superhero-exits away in about ten seconds. From a meta perspective, yeah, I guess it was pretty cool to have Oliver being saved by the Arrow/Hood.
After a brief scene between Det. Quentin Lance and Oliver discussing the Hood, we go straight through the rehearsal dinner. Laurel and Sara are walking with the arms laced (oHGOd), talking about Oliver’s confused look and Sara’s preference for girls when they meet Ray Palmer. Both Ray and Sara experience some visions, but end up shaking them off.
Oliver decides to skip his own rehearsal dinner and goes to where his Arrow cave is currently located. There, he finds Felicity and the Hood who, ta da!, ends up being John Diggle who starts choking Oliver (damn it if David Ramsey can’t look threatening with all the muscles and that hoarse voice). Not a minute later though and Oliver and John are talking more calmly about things Ollie knows before John ending up sending Queen away for his own good.
Thea and Moira share a beautiful scene (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) when the former start having visions of her own – specifically, the occasion of Moira’s brutal and graphic death in front of her children. Three years later and it’s still not easy watching it. In any case, hugs and more hugs for Mother and Daughter who had a difficult relationship.
“I have never been happier and I love you, Mom” – Thea Queen.
After this emotionally charged scene, we go to, guess, yet another emotionally charged scene! Sara is with Laurel in her wedding dress when Oliver barges in. One funny line and exit from Sara and we, people who enjoy Lauriver over Olicity, get our hearts shattered by Oliver professing his love for Laurel, telling her they should just elope because, even though he knows something is *up* with time itself, he can’t be humanly separated from her again.
One poorly timed interruption by Diggle later, and the two men are bonding over their knowledge that things are not right. Deathstroke comes in for a cameo with the excuse of the Dominators using tactics to keep the people in their vision – emotions and violence work, apparently. The masked man charges Oliver and John with a sword and the duo is somehow useless. It all comes to Sara, who Deus Ex Machina the place, fights, and stabs Deathstroke with his own sword. I personally love Sara’s Coming-and-going-for-the-plot’s-necessities-of-LoT Assassin Skills ™.
Now, as the trio of sentient heroes converse, Diggle has the epiphany that because of the Smoak Technologies building being so damn weird, it MUST BE the exit to their hallucination. Now, for the sake of cleanliness on this recap, I’m not going to drop names of TV shows that have done worse, but this was one the weirdest, most terrible, god awful, pulled out of an ass, forced, actually belief non-suspending contrivances I have experienced, but sure, I’ll just roll with it.
The wedding now is taking place and see all of the guests. Thea and Malcolm Merlyn are playing that game called Keeping Up With Characters Whose Actors Weren’t Able to Make It To The Reunion ™ and talk about how they can’t believe Tommy is a doctor in Chicago now (because, you know, Colin Donnel is working at Chicago Med currently and I JUST got this meta joke as I was writing this paragraph).
Malcolm drops a “Your father must be very proud of you” to Thea out of her entrepreneur spirit which is a bit tongue in cheek given Malcolm IS Thea’s real father but I don’t think either of them know it at this point in time.
Ray and Sara take a sidebar to get Ray on board with the hallucination concept while Oliver shares a beautiful moment with her parents (Moira: “This is your life now” / Oliver: “No, it isn’t”). Stephen Amell brought his big acting game on last night. He was in perfect form for the situation.
When finally goes to talk to Thea, Sara has already broken the ceiling glass for her and Thea wants to stay. Highly relatable of her, really. I don’t judge Thea at all. She has gone through so much (addiction, heartbreak, almost dead, brought back, killing hunger, and the list goes on) that she just wants to stay in this bubble of perfection where her parents are still alive and it’s all very poignant as Oliver and she say goodbye.
The four who will go home exit the house when they meet five adversaries/foils tailored to their own story: Malcolm Merlyn/Dark Archer, Deathstoke, Damian Darhk, Random Army Guys #1 and #2, and Random Guy I Don’t Know. Thea comes arrives, pulling a 180 not two minutes after arguing that she wanted to stay because she apparently realized this was all a lie and she couldn’t lose Oliver.
So now we got everyone paired up and the fighting starts: Thea is battling Malcolm, Oliver with Deathstroke, Damian with Sara, Army Guys with Diggle and Rando with Ray. Suddenly, all of them are incredibly skillful fighters because it’s a third act set piece on a crossover when normally they are not as good (e.g Sara losing a fight to Damian earlier this season of Legends and, you know, both Oliver and Diggle needing Sara to kill Deathstroke earlier this episode) meaning all of them win their fights in a minute. Snark aside, pretty good sequence and overall comradery aka they somehow help each other.
After the violence approach went wrong, the Dominators send a wild Laurel Lance to appeal to both Sara’s and Oliver’s feelings and, oh boy, did that scene fucked me up. Like, for real, what a low blow. It served me as a BRUTAL reminder of why killing Laurel was such a terrible idea.
“You’ll always deserve better” – Oliver (and/or Myself) to Laurel.
However, it doesn’t work and the group goes on to Smoak Technologies to exit (ugh) their AU. There, Oliver sees holograms of Moira, Felicity, Tommy, Badly CGI’d Roy Harper’s Face Into Someone’s Body, Laurel, and Robert while voice overs appeal for him to stay using dialogue from previous seasons. He doesn’t fail and walks the portal.
Now out of the AU, they realize they are in space, at the Dominators’ mothership. They get into a pod (with convenient five seats) and try to scape, get briefly shook up by other Dominators before being rescued by the Waverider (the Legend’s spaceship). Ray eventually concludes that the Doms’ big weapon is complete and the mothership is on a straight descent to Earth.
Not so elaborate heist
While all of this was happening, the B-Team (Felicity, Renee/Wild Dog, Curtis/Mr. Terrific, Rory/Ragman, and Cisco) was trying to hack into some Dominator technology but it explodes because they don’t have a Necessary Piece of Technology ™. So, one google research later and they found a place that has that piece installed to a cyborg woman (what even was that) and they need to steal it.
The Flash and Supergirl join the others (she even makes her best impression of the MCU’s Spiderman, filled with a superhero landing and a “Hey, everyone”) on the quest to retrieve the item of extreme necessity. Renee got some shoehorned hatred of metahumans arguing that when the Flash started appearing, other metahumans started popping out of nowhere and now that Supergirl is here, aliens are doing the same. Huh, what? Did anybody bother to explain to him that the Aliens arrived first and THEN Supergirl was called in to HELP? Well, no. And apparently no one is going to. Also, in like 10 minutes, after the Flash and Supergirl save his life, he has a 180/Change-Of-Heart.
One successful mission later, they realize that the Dominators’ language shares commonalities with Gematria. Somehow, they translated the flow of information and got coordinates for the people who were abducted to the mothership. The group sends those to the Waverider which resulted in the group’s aforementioned rescue.
- Evelyn Sharpe was inexplicably absent from the crossover in-verse. Marc Guggenheim gave a veil thin excuse saying that viewers could get distracted by her presence given how last episode ended on the cliffhanger that she was a traitor, but it’s much more distracting for me how she wasn’t even given a throwaway line when she is one the new recruits. Renee got some sort of episode arc and Curtis had this discussion about the divine/god with Rory, but Evelyn got nada.
- Emotionally, this episode worked wonders. It hit all the right notes for long time Arrow fans who aren’t Laurel haters. It was packed with tenderness, moments of affection between families, a whole lot of crying, “I love you”s, and sad goodbyes. I guess that’s what 100 episodes mean, right? It’s a celebration of a show itself. A show that has gone through its golden time, fell off the wagon, and it seemingly getting back on track. I really liked it to be honest. Arrow did a very good job on making us remember why we like this show even if it used nostalgia to get us there.
- That being said, I’m really disappointed by the short amount of screen time given to Supergirl. I fully expect tomorrow’s episode of Legends to integrate her more to the story.
- In addition, I’d really like if someone from Team Arrow talked to Amaya (Vixen) about her granddaughter Mari who appeared on Arrow once. I know that it’s not so good when it comes to timeline purposes, but for fanservice, it works great. Come on, give me that. Jax and Wally didn’t even get to meet on Flash and probably won’t, so we deserve it.
- It’s uncanny how Supergirl is getting casual sexism in the Arrowverse. From Mick’s “I’m not gonna call you Supergirl. I’m calling you Skirt” from yesterday to Renee’s cringeworthy and ironic “I don’t do apologies, sweetheart”, I’m really glad she lives in a more progressive Earth-38. I mean, the Arrowverse (Earth-1) has Sara Lance constantly getting some sort of vitriol because she is a woman. However, Sara usually gets to prove people wrong and the commentary on sexism on LoT is quite good actually. Mick’s however was plainly gratuitous and stupid – when he finally calls Supergirl “Supergirl”, it’s in the context of “Oh, we’re in danger. Do something, Supergirl”. 10/10 could do without.