"Arrow" Season 8: Our Thoughts Heading Into "Crisis" Finale [REVIEW]

It's the final episodes of the final season of Arrow. As we face the antepenultimate episode when "Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part Four" airs on January 14, 2020, it's time to take stock of the season so far. Basically it has been a long, satisfying, goodbye to Arrow. Each episode, with few exceptions, has been a walk down memory lane of a previous setting and tying up loose ends with various characters– even in travels through the multiverse. And that's where we begin.

(Make sure to check out my thoughts on "Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part One, Part Two, and Part Three" to see how things went down during the mega-crossover's finale)

Arrow — "Starling City" — Image Number: AR801b_0067b.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen/Green Arrow, Katie Cassidy as Laurel Lance/Black Siren and David Ramsey as John Diggle/Spartan — Photo: Jack Rowand/The CW — © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

In "Starling City," Episode 1, we visit Earth-2 where Oliver (Stephen Amell) has to face off against his best friend Tommy Merlyn, who has become the Dark Archer and is planning to do his own version of The Undertaking. He is joined from Earth-1 by Diggle (David Ramsey) and also enlists Earth-2's Laurel (Katie Cassidy) in The Monitor's mission to find dwarf star particles. As they wrap up, Oliver, Diggle and Laurel step through a portal back to Earth-1 just as a wave of antimatter sweeps over Earth-2, destroying everything.

Now a refugee in an alternate universe, Laurel finds herself wondering if she should return to a life of crime. There are several opportunities for her to betray Oliver through the rest of the season, and it's fun to see her sometimes play both sides. The immediate opportunity for that opens up in "Welcome to Hong Kong," where they have to protect a scientist and deliver him to Mar Novu. Except the Triads, let by China White, also want him. It ties up a lot of loose ends from Season 2, and propels the team forward to their next setpiece in Nanda Parbat.

"Leap of Faith" is one of the most fun episodes of the season. Directed by Katie Cassidy, it's basically an Indiana Jones adventure with ninjas. Also, Talia al Ghul is back, as is Oliver's sister Thea. It also sends them on a mission trying to find out more about Mar Novu and his dealings with Earth in ancient time.

Arrow — "Leap of Faith" — Image Number: AR803b_0203b.jpg — Pictured: Willa Holland as Thea Queen, Lexa Doig as Talia Al Ghul and Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen/Green Arrow — Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW — © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Meanwhile, interspersed in all of this (as with last season) we continue to get flash forwards to the future where Oliver's children Mia (Katherine McNamara) and William (Ben Lewis) join Connor Hawke  (Joseph David-Jones) as they face off against the Deathstroke Gang, led by JJ Diggle (as in John and Lyla's son). In a fun hat tip to the pilot, the opening of the season begins with them, cloaked in green, running through the forest on Lian Yu.

"Arrow" Season 8: Our Thoughts Heading Into "Crisis" Finale [REVIEW]
Arrow — "Welcome to Hong Kong" — Image Number: AR802b_0051b.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Katherine McNamara as Mia and Joseph David-Jones as Connor Hawke — Photo: Sergei Bachlakov/The CW — © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

While the flash forwards were somewhat of a distraction the first few episodes, in "Present Tense," everything pays off as the next generation are rocketed into the past, then go on a mission with their dad to Russia in "Prochnost." While the Russia mission was definitely another trip into Oliver's past and a way to tie up all the Bratva storylines, these episodes also become a fun attempt for Oliver to pass the torch. There's training. There are tears.

Oh, and they're trying to steal some plutonium because it could potentially be used in a weapon to fight The Monitor. Well, he and his Harbinger, revealed to be Lyla Michaels, don't take that lightly. In order to teach Oliver to stop trying to fight his fate, they send him on an endless loop of a day in "Reset" where he and Laurel fail over and over in preventing the death of Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne).

"Arrow" Season 8: Our Thoughts Heading Into "Crisis" Finale [REVIEW]
Arrow — "Reset" — Image Number: AR806A_0175b.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Katie Cassidy as Laurel Lance/Black Siren, Paul Blackthorne as Quentin Lance and Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen/Green Arrow — Photo: Colin Bentley/The CW — © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Finally learning to heel to Mar Novu's direction, Oliver finds himself, and the rest of Team Arrow, back on Lian Yu in "Purgatory." The island's energy is causing ghosts from the past to appear, and could be used to fight the upcoming Crisis. Lyla leads a team to try to build a weapon to harness the island's power while our heroes line up in an epic battle and take on the bad guys.

Arrow — "Purgatory" — Image Number: AR807B_0220b.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen/Green Arrow, David Ramsey as John Diggle/Spartan, Katie Cassidy as Laurel Lance/Black Siren, Rick Gonzalez as Rene Ramirez/Wild Dog, Katherine McNamara as Mia, Joseph David-Jones as Connor Hawke, Byron Mann as Yao Fei and Juliana Harkavy as Dinah Drake/Black Canary — Photo: Colin Bentley/The CW — © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

This season, so far, has been possibly the best of the entire series. Certainly it is the best since some of the early seasons. The intensity and knowledge that they have to leave it all out on the field is palpable. Every crazy thing they can possibly think of is thrown and the wall, and most of it sticks.

The best part of all is that the plot is all in service of advancing the characters and their broader journey. All of these characters are growing in different ways. Oliver especially has one on an incredible journey, even this season. It's been fun to watch, and it's going to be hard to say goodbye to this show.

About Andy Wilson

A mild mannered digital strategist working for an environmental nonprofit in Austin, TX roaming the interwebs fighting his nemeses by day, and by night consuming all manner of media. You can find him either on his couch or at the nearest Alamo Drafthouse catching the latest. Don't follow him on Twitter @CitizenAndy.

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