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TV REVIEWS: FTN Reviews The Arrow Season 8 Premiere!

October 16th, 2019 by Todd Black Comments

You know you’ve had a powerful ending when you have a comic nerd like me seeing red (literally) showing up in a scene and I’m crying, “No, no, no!!!!” because I know what’s about to happen. And it was that very haunting ending that highlights just what makes “Starling City” so special as Arrow Season 8 begins its quite literal death march.

For in this season, Oliver Queen knows he’s going to die, and he’s sent on a quest by The Monitor to get some necessary items so that the Multiverse may be saved after the Crisis comes. But what exactly the endgoal is for the Monitor is unclear, making Oliver’s journey all the more harrowing.

This season is a tribute to the 7 seasons that come before it, and to that end, this episode is about where it all began. And dear gosh the nostalgia in this episode is near intoxicating…in the best way possible. Seeing many scenes play out in the way you remember them (with small differences), hearing familiar dialogue that makes you smile when you hear it (“I missed tequila”), and seeing familiar beats unfold in a new and exciting way makes this something special.

First off, surprise! We’re on Earth-2! How that’s possible is a little befuddling based on what we saw from Flash Season 2’s “Welcome to Earth-2” and such, but I’ll let that slide. But on this version of Earth, Moira, Tommy and Malcolm are still alive when “their Oliver” returns home from Lian Yu. Thea died via Vertigo (which she almost did in Earth-1 if you recall), Tommy is now the Dark Archer, Laurel is Black Canary here in full…and Adrian Chase is The Hood!

Mind. Blown.

Granted, some of the twists were obvious, like Tommy being the Dark Archer and not Malcolm, but it was still a welcome twist. And that’s what made this episode more than just a nostalgia bomb. Because even though we were replaying the Undertaking again, it had a different feel, and a different ending that shows how things can change via the growth of these characters.

Speaking of which, Stephen Amell absolutely crushed it in this episode, playing the “Earth-2 Oliver’ while also reminding us that he knows how this all ends, as well a bearing the weight of the Crisis that is coming.

The other performances were just as good, and it was great seeing so many familiar faces. This is definitely an episode I’m going to rewatch because of all the great stuff in it.

Sadly, and not entirely ironically, the worst parts of the episode were the flash forwards. If you recall, there is going to be a new show coming via the Arrow series called “Canaries”, focusing on the 2040 timeline. And this season and last is basically a backdoor pilot for it. However, while the rise of JJ and the Deathstroke gang is appealing. The way the scenes were done was very odd. Including the final battle with JJ where Connor just seemed to disappear and then seem very weak. This shouldn’t have ended like that.

That being said, the ending of watching Earth-2 and all the characters save for Oliver, Diggle and Laurel was very shocking. And while that won’t happen in the rest of the season (Amell confirmed that this is the only off-world episode in the season) until Crisis, that’s still quite a stinger.

“Starling City” showed exactly why fans need to watch Arrow Season 8. Not only is it an ending of a great series, it’s a herald for what’s to come.

Just remember…A Crisis Is Coming.

4.5 out of 5 nerds

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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!