Arrow: 7.22 You Have Saved This City
Arrow season seven has generally been a return to form for the show. The prison arc rejuvenated Oliver's story, culminating in the epic The Slabside Redemption and the emergence of 'evil sister' Emiko Queen and The Ninth Circle late in the game and dramatic dystopian flashforwards gave the show some real energy in its penultimate year. The announcement that the shortened season eight will be Arrow's last has given the events that followed in its second half a sense of bittersweet finality and indeed it seemed as if the story of Oliver Queen and Felicity Smoak was done by the end of You Have Saved The City.
It was a shame then that in wrapping up the three key storylines of season eight - the deputising of vigilantes by Star City PD, the war with Emiko Queen and the future war against Galaxy One - all felt rather rushed and at times lacklustre.
Last week's episode saw team Arrow about to be arrested by Star City PD and while it started off well with our heroes forced to go on the run, it all seemed quickly wrapped up the moment that Sergeant Bingsley recovered and led the police to help them in them in their fight with The Ninth Circle. This wasn't quite the catastrophic event teased in the future storyline. In fact, after a brilliant build up, Emiko never really amounted to much. The showdown in Palmer Tech, the building that was Queen Consolidated back in season one, was a nice full circle touch but the battle was somewhat bland. Disappointing again after the initial terrorist attack that saw a deadly contagion killing innocent people in a drone attack and having team Arrow framed for it.
It was good to have Laurel Lance back for the finale, and in the Black Canary outfit too, but as suspected her redemption back in Earth 2 was completely glossed over after the exciting set up back in Lost Canary. Curtis popping in and working with Felicity gave us what we loved about him, without the unnecessary Mr Terrific guise. The team up with Ben Turner / Bronze Tiger only added to the big finale showdown; though the idea of having John Diggle adopt his son seemed to fall by the wayside.
And that's what made the final showdown in the present all the more disappointing. With Green Arrow, Spartan, Wild Dog, Bronze Tiger, two Black Canaries and Arsenal together, they was the opportunity for some real magic but The Ninth Circle ended up largely relegated to a bunch of hooded, defeatable goons. Emiko being betrayed by Virgil (his accent was still annoying) and Beatrice (a character that had never appeared in the show before) should have been shocking or a big moment of redemption for her. Instead she was killed off with relative ease and The Ninth Circle faded away, teasing future storylines while also not amounting to much.
The future storyline at least had a bit more momentum as William, Mia, Zoe and Connor led Arrow: The Next Generation to defeat Galaxy One. And yet, it all came down to Mia blowing up a wall. There was something lacking about the climax the season had been building to for a while.
But where You Have Saved This City excelled was in living up to the legacy of Oliver Queen and the people that followed him. Felicity and Oliver left Star City with a new team to watch over their home, people who had come together through him. The cheesy four pillars talk aside, it truly felt like the end of the journey begun in season one. Mia in the future taking up her father's bow and Arrow to save the city was another symbolic reflection on the legacy Oliver had left behind. Whatever season eight holds, it truly felt like this finale gave Arrow some closure, even if it wasn't perfectly executed.
With Oliver and Felicity retreating to the rutral home seen in Star City 2040, came the realisation that the future glimpsed was real. That certainly added a bittersweet feel to the show, knowing all the suffering Oliver's kids would experience, not to mention the likes of Dinah and Roy. But it also gave us an emotional epilogue that saw Oliver and Felicity experience a glimpse of a happy home life, complete with the birth of Mia. Taking place about six months into the future, the return of The Monitor to take Oliver, set up this year's big confirmed crossover event - Crisis on Infinite Earths. Like The Flash and Supergirl finales, the return of The Monitor raises the stakes and none more so than for Oliver Queen who was forced to leave Felicity and Mia for good in an emotional final sequence. With his death 'confirmed' in 2019 and a reunion with Felicity over two decades later, it leaves the show in a strange new territory.
What dies the future hold for Arrow? Will it move away from Star City and see Oliver and The Monitor travel to multiple Earths in the lead up to the big five-episode crossover (with the Legends of Tomorrow and Batwoman in tow)? The final ten episodes hold exciting possibilities and with this finale wrapping up the show (even if in a little lacklustre manner), I can't wait to see how Oliver Queen's story ends.