Title: Arrow: “Reset” Review
Release Date: November 26th, 2019
Network: The CW
Genre: Superhero, Drama, Action
So, after last week’s wonderful cliffhanger, we were met with a distorted version of our present day. One where Quentin Lance is still alive and is the mayor of Star City. Oliver and Quentin get roped up into helping out the SCPD with a hostage situation and it leads to everyone’s death. The day is then reset and we go through it all again. Oliver eventually discovers that Quentin’s death is what triggers the reset and that Laurel is seemingly the only other person aware of the time loop that The Monitor trapped them in.
Stephen Amell has been absolutely on fire this season. Whether it was the goodbye scene with Thea, William’s coming out scene, or Oliver’s final talk with Anatoly, Amell has given it his all and it shows. The dude probably won’t get enough credit for his work this season but he definitely deserves a lot of praise. The standout for me this week has to be when Oliver initially sees Quentin again. It just hits you right in the feels.
You can say the same for Katie Cassidy. A lot of people are huge fans of Earth-1 Laurel but I think this hardened iteration of the character is much more suited for Cassidy. Every major confrontation she’s had this season has been memorable and I think, in part, that’s due to Cassidy’s portrayal of a badass anti-hero. But, when she has to turn the switch and become sympathetic, it’s believable. Her scenes with Lance, especially her final goodbye, were equally touching as they were heartbreaking.
I don’t think I realized how much I missed Paul Blackthorne’s Quentin Lance on Arrow until this episode. There’s just something about this character and how Blackthorne plays him that makes you immediately invested in whatever he’s doing. As mentioned above, the Quentin/Laurel scenes were bittersweet. His scenes with Oliver were equally disheartening. Although, I did chuckle at the notion of Quentin just rolling with the punches after Oliver explains the time loop to him, citing that this is nowhere near as crazy as some of the other things they’ve encountered.
At the end of the day, this episode was about accepting death. This is something fans of The Flash just sat through themselves. It was a really depressing, but wildly entertaining, 2 hours of quality television. It actually felt like I was watching Joker again with how discouraged I felt when Arrow ended.
By the end of it, I’m not sure if we got any definite answers as to why The Monitor did what he did. If anything, that Lyla/Oliver scene just made me question everything even more. They sort of explained that The Monitor wanted to reward Laurel for not betraying Oliver so he gave her a chance to say goodbye to Quentin. Oliver’s reward was a chance to spend time with his kids. They also said that everything Oliver has done since his trip to Earth-2 has been one elaborate test by The Monitor. I don’t know. Maybe I’m reading too much into it. It’s just really strange that Oliver gathered everything he needed to destroy something as powerful as The Monitor or another Earth. And now it’s in the hands of this cosmic entity.
Rolling back to the parallels on The Flash and Arrow. The character arcs between Oliver Queen and Barry Allen are so similar right now that you can’t help but compare the two. It doesn’t help that the two shows are paired up on Tuesday nights. Barry Allen’s whole deal right now is dealing with his confliction over dying in Crisis. And that’s what Oliver dealt with this week, albeit a lot more violently. Where Barry’s story was more told in a psychological way through self-reflection, we got to see Oliver deal with his problems with a bow, fists to the face, and pure stubbornness. For a second there, I actually thought Oliver was going to beat The Monitor at his own game and he would somehow will Quentin Lance back to life. It was a pretty stupid thought but regardless, it has been interesting to see 2/3 of our DCTV trinity dealing with the same dilemma.
I’m not sure if I should praise the action in Arrow anymore. I’m essentially just repeating myself each week and it’s getting difficult to find a new way to say that the action scenes were spectacular. So, from now on, I’m just going to put the action sequences in the pros column until proven otherwise.
This episode didn’t hit a 5-star rating for me though. Paul Blackthorne returned and Lance was still awesome, but the Groundhog Day format lost a little steam near the end when the conspiracy for who hired the mercenaries became a chore. “Reset” was still a great episode but we probably spent a little too long reliving the same day.
Verdict: “Reset” was yet another great episode in Arrow’s final season. This show has yet to falter and with Crisis coming up, it doesn’t look like it will anytime soon. The return of Paul Blackthorne’s Quentin Lance was fantastic. Blackthorne, along with Katie Cassidy and Stephen Amell, put in incredible performances this week. The character arcs for Laurel and Oliver were also compelling. Unfortunately, the whole Groundhog Day format lost a little steam around the end, which is why the episode didn’t hit a “Remarkable” rating.
- The action scenes continue to impress
- Oliver and Laurel's final goodbyes to Quentin
- Paul Blackthorne, Katie Cassidy, and Stephen Amell crushed it this week
- The Monitor = evil storyline may or may not be over but I'm still interested either way
- The Groundhog Day homage was great but...
- ... it may have overstayed its welcome (just a little bit)
- We still have no answers as to why Lyla is specifically working with The Monitor and why he chose her