Well…that was freaking awesome! This episode served as both the second/third (depending on how you see it) episode of the “Invasion!” storyline, as well as the 100th episode of Arrow. While that may seem like a lot to balance, this episode did that in spades. Yes, it wasn’t “perfect” but it was dang near close.
One of the trademarks of the DC Comics universe are the “Elseworld” stories. One that take the classic characters we know, turn them on their hands, and give us knew stories. This episode was basically the Arrow version of that. As we kinda/sorta learned what would’ve happened if Oliver Queen didn’t become the Arrow, and the tragedies that followed never happened. While that may not seem exciting, it was just the opposite. As we got to focus on the characters that made the Arrowverse so special from Season 01 to now.
I’ll get the crossover stuff out of the way. While this wasn’t the “best” way to do the crossover, it was sufficient. Cisco teamed up with the “nerd army” of Team Arrow to try and find them. Which led to Barry and Kara getting involved to get a key piece of tech. Seeing Curtis repeatedly geek out over the alien presence and alien tech was hilarious. As was Cisco kinda/sorta poking fun at him for being a knockoff of…well…Cisco.
Now yes, Wild Dog hating on meta was VERY annoying. And it was odd how Ragman was shown in the group before the villain attack…but wasn’t there afterward. Also, that villain was…ok, it was pointless, but they needed an action quota, am I right?
And of course, have the Waverunner saving the day, and setting up the Legends crossover finale was a nice touch. But now, back to the Elseworld!
In a way, this Elseworld story got to make up for many of the “flaws” that people have called out Arrow on in its run. The big one being the death of Laurel Lance. They used this to full effect by having her and Ollie getting married, which led to some great moments once it all started to fall apart.
I loved the use of current and past characters, and how those characters helped break everyone out of the dream machine. Not just Laurel, but Robert and Moira, Merlyn (with a dig at Tommy’s actor being the star of Chicago Hospital), and even Dig and Felicity. Seeing the interactions and how things could’ve gone made this a very powerful story.
But as we all know, things had to go wrong, and as everyone started to remember how their lives truly were, they knew they had to break out, no matter the cost. This was particularly heartbreaking when Ollie and Thea had to try and decide whether to stay in the illusion, and be happy, or leave and try to save everyone. You might think it’s easy to say, “Yes, we leave!” But seeing Thea literally break down at the thought of losing Moira and Robert again, and going back to the much harsher reality made you think you might do it too.
And then, with Laurel, …I promised I wouldn’t cry! Having Sara and Ollie have to say goodbye to her, even though they didn’t want to, was very hard to watch. In the good way! Especially for Ollie, who basically proclaimed that she (not Felicity) was the true love of his life, and that he never deserved her love, but was honored to have it.
Some other small qualms were the absence of Artemis, which apparently was because of the last episodes cliffhanger, and the lack of Manu Bennett’s voice attached to Deathstroke. But seriously, those are very small nitpicks drowned out by a very powerful and character driven episode. And with the conclusion now set in motion, I expect a very action packed episode of Legend of Tomorrow…er…tomorrow.