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TV REVIEWS: FTN Reviews Arrow Season 8 Episode 4: Present Tense

November 6th, 2019 by Todd Black Comments

Man…that Monitor is acting like the biggest jerk around, huh? Makes you wonder what his real endgame is…

Anyway, that epic stinger aside, “Present Tense” worked on a grand scale that honestly it really shouldn’t have. Think about it, all the time the future meshes with the past, the future kids or people have to hold back what happens in future to not alter it. But here, the writers were like, “Ah, screw it, they’re kids, let’s have them blab!” and it really worked here.

The crux of this episode by far was the past and future colliding and the emotional fallout that happened as a result. Seeing Diggle struggle with the truth about Conor and JJ, Rene having his worst fears be realized, and of course, Oliver dealing with seeing his two kids, together at once, and realizing once again what his sacrifice truly means.

It was these emotional encounters that really made the episode fun as you truly understood both sides of the coin. Of course William would run to his father and try to make up for lost time while Mia would be distant as she lived her whole life without seeing Oliver. And for Conor, he lived his life trying to live up to Diggle’s legacy, only to fail of sorts with JJ, and thus he was desperate to get his fathers approval now that he was “alive again”.

The question was, could the future be changed even with the future knowledge like this? This wasn’t a Flash Season 3 situation where the future was mere months away, this is two decades into the future, so how can you correct enough for that?

Simple, you kill a Deathstroke. In this case, Grant Wilson, who you might recall as the leader of the Deathstroke gang during the Legends of Tomorrow episode “Star City 2046”. As it turns out, Grant was the one who turned JJ to the dark side and trained him to be leader (which explains a lot), but his whole plan started here.

The mission to stop him was Arrow’s way of reliving Season 2’s Siege finale. Granted, it was never going to be that impactful because the one and only Manu Bennett wasn’t here to be Deathstroke, but it served its purpose, which was bringing Mia and Oliver closer together.

Is the future changed? Not sure. But the fact that the future kids are still here is a great twist and could bring even more fun to the next few episodes as the end draws ever closer. Plus, seeing Rene, Dinah and Laurel start to embrace their Mayoral and Canary futures was fun. Why wait for the future…when you can have it now?

There were a few downpoints here, it wasn’t exactly made clear why Curtis was brought back, and why hew as really needed to look at that piece of cloth that Oliver just HAPPENED to have. Also, I would’ve loved more details on Grant Wilson, but timing just wouldn’t allow it I suppose.

In the end, “Present Tense” delivered on a great twist, and things might just get better…or worse…

Just remember…A Crisis Is Coming.

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Todd Black is reader of comics, a watch of TV (a LOT of TV), and a writer of many different mediums. He's written teleplays, fan-fictions, and currently writes a comic book called Guardians (guardians-comic.com). He dreams of working at Nintendo, writing a SHAZAM! TV series, and working on Guardians for a very long time!