Title: Arrow: “Spartan” Review
Release Date: April 22nd, 2019
Network: The CW
Genre: Superhero, Drama, Action
Okay. If John Diggle doesn’t become John Stewart and find a powerful green ring by Arrow’s end, I’m going to be pretty upset.
Ghostbusters’ Ernie Hudson guest starred on Arrow this week as General Roy Stewart, the step-father of John Diggle. This was an arc that was a long-time coming for Arrow. Diggle has had misstep after misstep since season 4. His short tenure as the Green Arrow was a total bust and it really shouldn’t have been. Before “Spartan”, I think the character’s best highlight this season is from “Elseworlds” where John Wesley Shipp’s Barry Allen dropped that Green Lantern easter egg to Diggle. At times, it feels like Arrow just keeps the character around to dish out advice and to have the underrated David Ramsey on the main cast.
I thought Hudson was great, as always, and he fit right in with Team Arrow. The dynamic between General Stewart and Diggle was interesting and the drama that caused the rift between them was completely justified for both parties. I was surprised that the General survived the episode as I thought he would make the ultimate sacrifice for Diggle and this would lead up to John taking up the Stewart name in the future.
This present-day arc was coupled neatly with the flashforwards, where Connor Hawke got some much-needed screentime as well. It’s funny that Connor, who is the adopted kid from the Diggle family, actually displays similar characteristics of John. JJ, who is Diggle’s biological son, eventually becomes a villain as the leader of the Deathstroke gang. I’m not sure if JJ will show up as a futuristic version of Deathstroke but I really hope he does. It would be a fantastic creative decision and give an extra layer to Connor’s story.
I’m interested to see where Arrow is going with Connor’s character. I’m assuming we’re leading up to Mia becoming the Green Arrow of the future. So, if this is the case, where does this leave him? Is he the next Arsenal? Or are we in store for a swerve of sorts and Connor will take up the green hood instead? There were a few visual background choices and bits of dialogue this week that suggests the latter but maybe I’m just reading too much into it.
A complaint I see all the time about Arrow is that Oliver Queen isn’t the main character in his own show. I’m starting to see that same complaint pop-up again now and I’m guessing it won’t stop this week. While I strongly believe that this argument could be made for seasons 4 and 6, I don’t think that could be said this season. He was heavily featured in the prison arc. The main antagonist this year even has a deeply personal connection to him. I think the problem is that the last few episodes mainly focused on everyone else to counter-act how little impact they had in the first half of season 7. I fully trust that we’ll get back to the Green Arrow doing Green Arrow things soon. We just needed to see some character development from Emiko, Dinah, Laurel, and Diggle.
I do have a problem with the decision to kill off Dante. The Longbow Hunters are still around, despite the fact that they haven’t done anything noteworthy. Even though he became stale in season 6, Diaz made it through over half this season. But you kill Dante after a few episodes. A new character that you spent weeks building up as a major player. A guy who had a somewhat impressive debut and a mysterious backstory to explore. Just like his debut, this happened out of the blue. Oliver just tells Emiko that he killed her mother and that was that I guess.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m completely on-board with Emiko as our big bad. Her fights with Oliver have been awesome. This week, in particular, we had a great action scene where the two simultaneously shot an arrow at each other and the arrows collided. Yeah, it was unrealistic. But, it was a cool visual that served as another example of how skilled these two are. The Ninth Circle are still compelling as well and I’m intrigued to find out why they wanted that weapon from General Stewart. My issue is that Arrow has just killed off a villain out of nowhere who still had some potential. Man, this is The Last Jedi all over again.
The Archer story has me hooked. Especially now that we know that Felicity killed the program in 2019. At first, I thought she would revive it at the end of the episode, vowing to make sure it never fell into the wrong hands. Thankfully, we didn’t see that. That would have really set Felicity’s character back. I kind of hope we don’t see Alena in the flashforwards though. I’m not a fan of the makeup for most of our future characters so the fewer people we have to see in the future, the better.
Verdict: Arrow had a great showing this week that gave the Diggles some much-wanted and much-needed character development. Emiko is officially our main villain and a final collision with Oliver is going to be fun to see. The flashforwards hit a wall a few weeks ago but it’s building back up nicely. I wasn’t a huge fan of that ending but I’m still excited to see where Arrow goes now that all of the pieces are in place.
- Diggle finally gets some attention and takes another step towards ultimately becoming the Green Lantern (hopefully)
- The flashforwards are getting good again
- Ernie Hudson
- Everything that happened with the Archer program this week
- That fight between Oliver and Emiko
- Nice visual with the Ninth Circle wearing hoods and Oliver now out in the open without a mask
- The decision to kill off Dante so quickly
- I thought the Rene subplot could have been handled better
Avid gamer and placeholder of what is now the worst selfie of all time. Mostly an Xbox/PS4 player but I have been known to destroy friendships in Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.