Title: Arrow: “You Have Saved This City” Review
Release Date: May 13th, 2019
Network: The CW
Genre: Superhero, Drama, Action
“You Have Saved This City” was the most awkward season finale of Arrow so far. It wasn’t bad or anything like that. Just awkward.
There’s so much to unpack in this finale, especially those last 20 minutes. Team Arrow had a few new guest members this week as Curtis, Laurel, and even Bronze Tiger returned to help stop the Ninth Circle from destroying Star City. Seeing Curtis and Laurel back was cool. Curtis was there…I guess. He did what you think he would do. Cracked a few hit-or-miss jokes and gave the audience all of the exposition. I was way more excited to see Laurel return as the Black Canary. I just wished Laurel had more to do. Who knows? Maybe we’ll see a bigger role for her next season.
Hollywood, please put Michael Jai White in more high-profile projects. This guy is a certified badass and crushes every performance I’ve seen him in from Spawn to playing Bronze Tiger on Arrow. Pretty much any action scene that involves White’s Ben Turner is vastly better because of it. That one scene where Turner just shreds into random Ninth Circle henchmen with his bloody claws was spectacular.
The short-lived Oliver/Emiko team-up was where the action faltered a bit. Is it just me or did some of these cuts between the present-day and flash forwards feel jarring? Back in season 5, we saw this style with present-day Oliver and Lian Yu/season 1 Oliver but I felt like it was not executed as well here. Which is unfortunate because I loved the idea of watching two generations of Queens destroy everything in their path. Oliver, as he always does, looked like the best fighter in the Arrowverse and that’s how it should be. His daughter wasn’t too bad herself. There’s something about Mia’s brutal fighting style that’s refreshing and every action scene with her in it has been entertaining to watch so far. Other than the few jarring cuts, the action was once again superb.
On to Emiko’s “redemption”. Many have felt that Emiko was too far gone and this was just another case of the CW redeeming their villains unnecessarily. I never saw this as Emiko’s redemption. Instead, I saw this as Oliver finally stopping this cycle of violence. Like I mentioned in last week’s review, this was his redemption. If Oliver killed Emiko, he would just be crossing off another name off of his father’s list of wrongs and continuing down that dark path. The only way Oliver could have successfully stopped this cycle is by getting through to Emiko.
Overall, I don’t think Emiko was the worst big bad in Arrow’s history but she definitely was the most underdeveloped. I still enjoyed her time as the major antagonist more than Damien Darhk, Diaz, and even Ras Al Ghul. Looking back, I think the problem with her character is that this entire arc of undoing every bit of good in Oliver’s life has already been done in much better detail by Prometheus back in season 5. Josh Segarra put up an epic performance as Prometheus throughout the season as a well-developed antagonist for Oliver who challenged him mentally and physically. Arrow season 8 didn’t devote the same amount of time to Emiko and her plans. Due to that, I didn’t really care that she died or her side of the story.
Back to the finale. Yeah, it felt awkward. We usually have these awesome final fights with a lot more drama attached to them. I don’t think this Ninth Circle plot is over and I’m sure they are the big bads of the final season but this was really the end of an era. Everything was wrapped up in 40 minutes with Oliver and Felicity leaving the team to go raise Mia. There were a few answers to how some characters got to their places in the flashforwards but there are still a ton of loose ends to deal with next season.
The flashforwards showcased the end of an era bit too. Our older characters sidelined themselves, which had a shockingly logical explanation behind it. I know they were controversial among fans but I’m actually excited to see where these flashforwards take us. Partly because I like these future characters and also because this is going to lead up to Oliver’s legacy as a hero. Mia will pick up the vigilante lifestyle and take the Green Arrow mantle.
Finally, we can get to the best part of the finale. Those last 20 minutes. I knew we were in store for a gut punch. Every character had a touching goodbye and it was all too optimistic for this show. I’m not an Olicity guy. I don’t really care about the superhero’s romantic relationship on a 22-episode series. For me, that’s a roller coaster not worth getting on. However, Stephen Amell and Emily Bett Rickards were phenomenal this week. Rickards didn’t really have much to do until those last 20 minutes but her scenes with Oliver, William, and Mia hit me right in the feels. Again, I’ve been highly critical of Rickards but she killed it this season, not just with the comedic stuff but on the emotional side of things as well. There’s no way we don’t see her character come back next season, even for a brief appearance in the season finale. We have to get an official answer to where flashforwards Felicity went, right?
Stephen Amell, on the other hand, was on fire the whole episode. Every speech Oliver made brought me back in whenever I felt like this episode began to drag its feet. His plea to Emiko and final goodbye to Mia were definitely the ones that got me the most. Unfortunately, it looks like Oliver will die in Crisis on Infinite Earths this Fall. His talk with The Monitor didn’t go down exactly how I thought it would. I thought Oliver straight up offered to sacrifice his life for Kara and Barry. I’m glad I was wrong because I believe this was much better.
Verdict: I think my problem with “You Have Saved This City” is that this was less of a finale and more of a set-up for season 8. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the dedication to Crisis on Infinite Earths but we were breezing through the present-day Ninth Circle and flashforward arcs way-too-quickly. We see some moments fall flat due to this but “You Have Saved This City” was still a good finale to a great season of Arrow. Everything is up in the air for the final season and I can’t wait until we get to DCTV’s version of Avengers: Infinity War/Endgame, Crisis on Infinite Earths.
- Michael Jai White as Bronze Tiger
- For the most part, the action scenes were awesome
- Stephen Amell and Emily Bett Rickards killed it this episode
- Excellently sets up the final season
- The flashforwards ended on a positive note
- I still can't believe we are getting Crisis on Infinite Earths next season
- A few jarring cuts in the Queen team-up scene
- Although the set up for season 8 was great, it may have hurt the main story arcs
- Overall, Emiko was a lackluster big bad