Title: Arrow: “Welcome to Hong Kong” Review
Release Date: October 22nd, 2019
Network: The CW
Genre: Superhero, Drama, Action
This season of Arrow so far has been really confusing and all over the place but, at the same time, it’s been nothing short of remarkable.
Last week, we saw Oliver spend some time on Earth-2, redeem himself for his failure to stop the Undertaking back in season 1, save Tommy from going down a dark path, and have a final moment with his mom. Oh, and we also had the complete destruction of Earth-2 that saw everyone, excluding our Earth-1 heroes and Laurel, be erased from existence by anti-matter.
So, it’s safe to say that I was hoping that we would see the fallout of this throughout “Welcome to Hong Kong”. Thankfully, we had that through Oliver and Laurel’s storylines.
Katie Cassidy had a really good performance here showing a distraught Laurel who had finally found a home and her own friends only for all of it to be swiftly taken from her. Arrow has spent so much time into developing Earth-2 Laurel and her redemption from Black Siren to Black Canary. As a result, I genuinely cared about this arc for her and I’m ecstatic to see what role she’ll play in Crisis.
The same can be said for Oliver. We’ve spent years watching this character grow from a murderous vigilante to a full-fledged hero. I care about this season so much because I’ve invested 7 seasons in it and this character’s journey. This has been one of Arrow’s biggest strengths this season. It’s cashing in on all of its characters (excluding Felicity), using them in creative ways, and most of us are hooked because of the time we’ve spent watching the series. It’s great storytelling through fan-service, which is a brilliant move by the writers. I hate to keep harping on the comparison but it is somewhat similar to Avengers: Infinity War/Endgame.
As Oliver usually does, he put all of the blame for Earth-2’s destruction on himself because he stopped Tommy from destroying the Glades and disobeyed The Monitor. Speaking of which…
In my review for “Starling City”, I briefly mentioned the possibility of The Monitor fooling everyone and end up being a villain in all of this. Since that time, we’ve received our first look of the Anti-Monitor (the big bad for Crisis). Although I’m still on-board with this theory, I have to admit it’s on pretty thin ice now. Whether or not The Monitor is out to save the multiverse, it’s surprising to see that he is getting a storyline. Maybe he’ll even get some character development to accompany it that can explain some of his actions.
Rila Fukushima’s Tatsu/Kitana was a character that was underutilized after Arrow season 3. The same can be said for China White, a villain who has made sporadic appearances throughout the years. It’s cool to see these characters back. Kitana not only knew of The Monitor’s existence but was wary of trusting him blindly without knowing more about the Crisis. That’s refreshing not only because it reinforces my theory but it adds more intrigue to Tatsu’s character.
And on the complete opposite of that intrigue, we have the flashforwards. I feel that I’m pulling a 180 on this storyline as of late. Ever since the season started, the flashforwards have felt out of place and flat-out boring. The Deathstroke gang stuff isn’t clicking for me either. It doesn’t help that our characters have no depth to them at all. Mia is the Oliver of the group, Connor is the Diggle, and William is the Felicity. Zoey also comes off as a copy of Dinah and her father at times. This storyline needs a jolt, quickly. Maybe the team decisively picking a leader, like Legends of Tomorrow did during their second season, would improve things.
To round out this review, we need to talk about the excellent action scenes. Hats off to everyone on Arrow who works on these scenes because they are always well-choreographed, well-shot, and absolutely brutal. Diggle had one scene, in particular, there at the end where he just brutalized a few of China White’s thugs. It was awesome and it’s definitely something I’ll be rewatching later in the week.
Verdict: Arrow season 8 continues to thrive with blending excellent storytelling with some cool fan-service to those who have watched this show from the beginning. Outside of the lackluster flashforwards, this season has been creative in its choices and callbacks, making it have the feel of a best-hits episode without retreading too much. The Monitor storyline with Lyla is definitely the main talking point going into next week and I’m excited to see everyone’s theories on it all.
What were your thoughts on this week’s episode of Arrow? Do you think The Monitor is trying to save the multiverse? Let us know in the comments below!
- The action scenes (honestly, you can assume that will be a fixture in the pros section throughout the season)
- Oliver and Laurel's storylines
- Katie Cassidy's performance
- Everything revolving around The Monitor and Crisis
- Kitana returns!
- The flashforwards dragged the episode down