Title: Arrow: “Starling City” Review
Release Date: October 15th, 2019
Network: The CW
Genre: Superhero, Drama, Action
You know, during the off-season from Arrow season 7 to season 8, we were constantly reminded that this final run for the show would be a little off the rails. So, I was expecting some crazy moments this season. However, I didn’t expect to see the season start at crazy and end at “Oh %^&$, they’re starting Crisis already!”.
I sincerely don’t know where to begin. “Starling City” is definitely a homage to the show’s pilot episode in so many ways but it’s able to add on a ton of intrigue of not just “Crisis on Infinite Earths” but the possibility of Oliver escaping his fate.
You know what, here’s where I’ll start. Even though it was NOT a theory I came up with on my own, I totally predicted the Adrian Chase twist back in July. And I could not have been any happier with how it all played out. The dynamic between Stephen Amell and Josh Segarra was hilarious every time they appeared on-screen together. These two versions of the Green Arrow disliked each other for completely different reasons with the line of the night going to Oliver, “Maybe I was just 10 steps ahead of you”.
It was cool to see a somewhat classic Green Arrow/Black Canary team-up as well, even if it will only last for this episode. Black Canary’s new suit is pretty sweet and the same can be said for Oliver’s revamped season 1/2 suit. It’ll be interesting to see if Laurel, like Diggle, will continue to team-up with Oliver while he goes on his trip around the multiverse. The character would be a welcomed addition to the story and the overall build-up to Crisis.
My one, and only, gripe with this episode in the present time is that it may have been too insane from the get-go. Don’t get me wrong, it was awesome, but it was also confusing. I’m still not 100% sure what Earth they were on. All I know is that it included Earth-1 Oliver, Earth-1 Diggle, and Earth-2 Laurel. I really hope that it wasn’t Earth 2 or 3 though because that would mean Jay Garrick on Earth-3 or the Wells family on Earth-2 are goners. Despite my confusion, that intro contained my new all-time favorite Arrowverse easter egg, which you can see down below:
The Tommy twist was a little predictable but I don’t think it was supposed to be a groundbreaking revelation. We know things are different on this Earth and logically, if the Dark Archer wasn’t Malcolm, it had to be Tommy. The character’s motivation for becoming the Dark Archer made a ton of sense as well. Just like Malcolm on Earth-1, Tommy lost someone close to him (Thea), he took it out on the Glades and wanted revenge. It was also nice to see Oliver and Diggle sort of redeem themselves here from their failure to stop the attack on their Earth back in season 1.
With no Felicity this year and a focus on Oliver’s inevitable sacrifice, I would be down to see Diggle tag along with Oliver for the remainder of the season. Their brotherly bond has been one of Arrow’s strongest relationships since the beginning and he would probably be the only person trying to prevent Oliver’s death. Who knows, maybe he ends up acquiring a special green ring along the way.
The action throughout “Starling City” was top-notch as well, which should be the norm for Arrow at this point. They don’t cut too much during these scenes and the fight choreography always looks absolutely brutal.
I was a fan of the flashforwards last season but I have to admit, the flashforwards crew never should have been in this episode. Mia, Connor, William, and Zoe really brought nothing of note to the table here. It didn’t help that the new Deathstroke (John Diggle Jr.) fell flat. It’s just with Manu Bennett’s iteration of Slade Wilson and Esai Morales crushing it on Titans, it’s hard not to compare this future Deathstroke to previous versions. And I know that’s not fair and the character was only on-screen for about 1-2 minutes but it just didn’t resonate with me at all. Hopefully, the flashforwards can pick up and the JJ Deathstroke can gain some traction because it’s probably going to be an important cog in the overall story.
Someone asked me this the other day and it’s stuck with me ever since. What if The Monitor is not The Monitor? What if this is the Anti-Monitor and he’s recruited Oliver into helping him find what he needs to destroy the multiverse? This would also explain why The Monitor would (sort of) sabotage Barry’s optimistic mindset on last week’s episode of The Flash. It’s not likely and would need a ton of explanation behind it but I have to admit, it was a little convenient that this Earth didn’t start to be erased from existence until Oliver and co. were about to dip out.
Verdict: This was a remarkable start to Arrow’s final season, which is already proving to be one of the show’s most creative yet. Oliver’s journey towards certain doom has begun and it’s filled with a ton of fan service for those who have watched this series from the first season on. Colin Donnell was great here as Tommy and you could say the same for David Ramsey as John Diggle. Hopefully, Diggle sticks around and we can start to move on to a new corner of the multiverse next week.
- The Green Arrow and Dark Archer reveal
- Dark Archer's motivation
- Oliver and Diggle
- David Ramsey
- That Batman easter-egg and name drop
- "Crisis on Infinite Earths" is already starting
- The flashforwards storyline was not needed this week
- It was a little too much, too quickly