This Arrow review contains spoilers.
Arrow Season 7 Episode 16
Arrow finally gave in and gave us an episode entirely in flash-forward, with the fun but somewhat uneven “Arrow 2040.” Most of my criticisms were frankly about the fact that we haven’t spent enough time in the future, so we weren’t emotionally invested enough for this episode to hit as powerfully as it could. Still, it was a fun one, and I hope it’s a hint of things to come.
It was fun to see Mia make her way to Star City, become a prize fighter, and have her own origin story. Learning more about Agent Hawke, who followed even closer in his parents’ footsteps than we realized, was a nice treat, too. I hope more is coming on him, since I have a feeling his father makes an intense sacrifice in 2019 to protect his son.
I’m glad this story was given an entire episode to breathe, though it could have probably used more, or at least more time spent investing in these relationships in the lead up. When Mia feels betrayed by Hawke’s secret, it’s hard to see her response as anything other than an overreaction, since we haven’t been given enough time to see Mia and Hawke’s relationship play out. I understand on an intellectual level why she’s sensitive to being lied to yet again, but we don’t feel a betrayal because we haven’t seen them scrapping in Star City, having each other’s backs, the slow process it took for her to trust him in the first place. We’re being given the story beats from the third act of a romantic comedy without any of the necessary setup from the first two.
This episode, much more than most, hand waved all obstacles with one tech-related deus ex machina after another. Some of this was necessary, since the episode had far more ground to cover than normally fits in an episode of Arrow. (It takes far too many uneventful steps for both sides of this investigation to get going in earnest.) I imagine some of the ridiculous tech was an attempt to make the future feel more, well, futuristic, although this feels pretty late in the game to decide to do that kind of scene setting. The 2040 of Arrow is basically the exact same as 2019 except this one specific city is an absolute mess, server rooms are no longer necessary, and you can use a cheek swab to recreate a very made up-sounding “full DNA profile” or whatever.
There were also some moments that felt very CW-y, and not in a good way. I’m a CW defender of the highest degree, but using City of Emerald as code for Emerald city is eyeroll-inducing. Similarly, I know Mia looks cool fighting with her hair down, but what woman specifically takes her hair down to partake in a physical activity? Worse, the fight wasn’t even good, in stark contrast to her great take-down of a ton of security guys in Dale’s office. And if you ever wondered what a CW version of Eyes Wide Shut would look like, the festival was here to oblige. Oof.
Including Nyssa in Felicity and Mia’s secretive life was a stroke of genius. Who else could teach Mia to be able to defend herself and handle dad issues at the same time? Plus, it made that whole sister-wives thing canon! I need to know far more details about their lives together: what did Mia call Nyssa? Did Nyssa sink to the floor sobbing when she found out Mia ran away, in a rare display of emotion because Mia is basically the only good and pure thing in her life? Or did Felicity keep it from her because she knew Nyssa would endanger her own life by trying to track down Mia?
Both of Nyssa al-Ghul’s appearances this season have been top notch. Each time it’s unexpected yet completely welcome and logical – the perfect way to use a recurring guest like Nyssa. She never overstays her welcome – far from it. I’m still hoping for more appearances from her closer to the 2019 timeline, in keeping with her emotional growth thus far.
Thinking more about how Nyssa played into the Smoak family’s life brought up more questions. Did Felicity not try to track Mia down? When exactly did Oliver go out of the picture, and how? We leave 2040 with Rene trying to take down Galaxy from the inside, up against a highly suspicious Dale. Arsenal, black canary and the calculator have huge bounties out on them. Is Agent Hawke’s cover still in place? We now know Archer is what Felicity created in her fear and paranoia, but how does Galaxy come into play back in 2019?
A few great moments:
“Vintage movie night – Jordan Peele marathon”
Mia referencing BSG like her mom, saying “What the frack!”
Mia knowing all about Overwatch, Team Arrow etc is reminiscent of Clarke telling Maddie stories about the rest of The 100.
Mia being assumed to be William’s assistant and Mia doing handstand pushups are great references
Season 1 elevator vibes (did Big Belly Burger survive the Purge?)
Felicity reminded me of Moira for a moment at the end: “it’s not you, it’s not you, it’s me.”