Title: Arrow: “Purgatory” Review
Release Date: December 3rd, 2019
Network: The CW
Genre: Superhero, Drama, Action
Is it just me or does every episode in this final season feel like a finale? Each week, we get some sort of sentimental farewell to a former cast member or a tough speech on Oliver’s journey. “Purgatory” was no different than any other fantastic episode in Arrow season 8, even if it was a little off the mark.
I’m not sure the writers for Arrow knew how much people would despise Mia this season. Because, at nearly every turn, she has made a decision that would cause more people to dislike her. About 20 minutes in, I was worried that this was going to be another one of those episodes but thankfully, the storyline went in another direction entirely.
It’s reared its head every now and then this season but I’m low-key really enjoying Mia’s character arc. She’s heard about all these larger than life heroes from the past, including her dad, and she’s failing to live up to those high expectations. Slowly but surely, Mia’s finding out that all of these people she has looked up to are far from perfect and she doesn’t have to be either. Mia’s scenes with William and at the end of the episode with Oliver were awesome because it illustrates both of those points. The problem with this character arc is that we only see this every few episodes and in-between are frustrating scenes that make you wish the CW went in another direction for the Arrow spin-off. That’s not to say there isn’t great potential with the Mia character. Her storyline this year has just been uneven and poorly timed. And with Arrow killing it this season, the character’s faults stick out even more.
Oliver’s return to Lian Yu for one last mission sounded amazing on paper, as does the idea of bringing back some old favorites from season 1. To be fair, watching the likes of Billy Wintergreen, Fyers, and Yao Fei was wildly entertaining. The only thing that could have been better was seeing Slade or Shado return as well. The reasoning behind their returns was the problem for me. I can get on-board with a lot of flimsy reasoning in these superhero shows but this one was just a little too much. There’s also been some legit rationale behind a few of these cast returns like Thea and Anatoly. Seeing everyone on Lian Yu again in the way it was presented felt a little rushed. Again, it was still really fun to watch but afterward, you’ll find yourself wondering what just happened.
I’ve never been happier to see someone’s arm get chopped off. And somehow, at the same time, I feel absolutely terrible for writing that. Anyway, Roy lost an arm in the plane crash which means that he’s due for a bionic upgrade. Between William, Cisco, Curtis, Lex Luthor, and Ray Palmer, I’m sure someone can help Roy out with a new mechanical arm in Crisis.
It’s cool to finally see Diggle, Lyla, and Connor share a scene together. Unfortunately, it seems that Connor’s development has been pushed to the side until their spin-off series and the focus of their conversation was geared more towards Lyla’s betrayal. Her reasoning behind lying to the team and Diggle was fine enough. Based on how this episode ended, I don’t think we’ll see her elaborate on it again so it is what it is. When she returned at the end as Harbinger, it felt like an entirely new character. It reminded me a bit of what happened to Samuel Anders in Battlestar Galactica. But, we only saw
Lyla Harbinger for about 45 seconds so I may be wrong on that.
The mysterious aura around The Monitor is another thing the Arrowverse is nailing this year. If you would read my reviews back to back, I would sound like an insane person because of how much I’ve flipped on this character’s motives. In the review for this week’s episode of The Flash, I mentioned that the scene with Nash Wells could be our first introduction into how Crisis starts and Nash is the one who accidentally brings out the Anti-Monitor. No matter what happens, it’s awesome that this character is surrounded in mystery. It gives us something to look forward to in Crisis.
Like The Flash this week, Arrow also featured a few emotional speeches celebrating their main protagonist who is supposed to die in the crossover. Roy, Diggle, Dinah, and Rene all got a touching scene to say goodbye. But, it was Oliver’s scenes with his kids that were the highlight of this section. As mentioned before, Mia’s scene with Oliver was great in conveying a somber passing of the torch. The kid version of William was always sort of a brat and it was cool to see adult William call himself out for it. A lot of people did not like that version of William because of that reason but he (and his decision to stay with his grandparents) was a big loose end on Oliver’s final character arc. It’s good to see that we officially resolved that before the series ends.
Verdict: The final Arrow episode before Crisis on Infinite Earths had some faults along the way, but all in all it was an entertaining 45 minutes that did what it needed to do. The return to the island was fun, even if I thought the reasoning behind it was a little weak. Everyone got to say some final words to Oliver before you know what hits the fan. The Queen family also got some closure here. It wasn’t a crazy action-packed episode filled with historic twists and turns. Instead, it was a slower, more character-motivated, episode. Considering that we’ll get all those twists and epic action in Crisis, it was a good call to keep the story more contained.
- It was fun to see Lian Yu again and all the returns
- Everyone's final scenes with Oliver before Crisis
- Mia's character arc is actually pretty good
- Roy losing his arm. Anyone who knows nothing about the character outside of this show probably thinks I'm a crazy person for saying that
- We finally got answers as to why Lyla betrayed everyone
- For the few action scenes we got, they were absolutely awesome
- The reasoning behind the Lian Yu returns was flimsy
- Not all the interactions with past Lian Yu people resonated with me
- It looks like Connor has been pushed to the side until the spin-off
- Mia's character arc is good but the show has done a bad job in showcasing it. In its place, we get annoying scenes that make you dislike the character entirely. Hopefully, they can correct this with the next few episodes and the spin-off