Arrow Season 8 Episode 7 Review: Purgatory

Arrow headed back to Lian Yu for an excellent emotional, action-packed episode that felt an awful lot like goodbye

This Arrow review contains spoilers. 

Arrow Season 8 Episode 7

Lyla, who’s apparently a literal harbinger of things to come, said it: the Crisis has begun.

But first, Arrow gave us a whole lot of episode and some very weighty goodbyes – doesn’t this feel a bit like the end? – to remember it by.

The whole gang wound up on Lian Yu, one way or another, where William worked to assemble the weapon it turns out they’ve been working on all season. Meanwhile, some funky island energy resurrected not only the land itself, which we last saw rather exploded, but some figures from Oliver’s past on Lian Yu, just to spice things up.

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Billy Wintergreen, Fyres and friends shot down Dinah, Rene and Roy’s plane – who had Roy loses an arm on their bingo card? It’s a fun reference to the comics, if by “fun” you mean “television routinely glosses over the lifelong aftereffects of amputation, such as stump curation and phantom limb pains,” then sure. Somehow losing his arm (which really felt like it only needed to be a hand) gave Roy the opportunity to reflect that he’s glad he joined the team. No sign of bloodlust here, and he seems to successfully be on a better path. Yay? Whatever, this episode isn’t really about Roy. Where’s Thea?

William and Mia fought about her going after Oliver, which was really about Mia not knowing where to put all her big feelings about losing their dad. It was such a great illustration of how the two kids have so much Ollie and Felicity in them, yet they’re so different. It’s also a great look at the benefits of stability and time, two things William has had that Mia’s childhood in the future lacked. It’s easy to see the fire and stubbornness of both her parents in Mia. Her father is so similar – they’re both running away from the problem of this big scary fact, even if their version of running away looks different. Mia’s lucky to have William to stop her from making a mistake she’ll regret.

Oliver and Laurel have had some great screen time together this season, especially in these last two episodes. Laurel has a very specific take on father-daughter relationships, having lost two fathers, one of them twice, herself. Last episode she got to experience the closure of saying goodbye – between that and the way she’s never put Oliver on a pedestal, she’s uniquely positioned to call him on his bullshit.

I was skeptical about Arrow’s intention to simply replaced Laurel with New Laurel after putting us through the ringer with her death – it felt sexist and cheap in all the ways – but the character is in a genuinely good place. It helps that so much time has passed from when they initially tried to pivot to her redemption far too quickly, but Katie Cassidy has done a great job finding a distinctly new lane for this Laurel to occupy. No one else on the show fulfills her role, and if she were gone from the Arrowverse at large, it would be a huge loss.

I greatly enjoyed that John and William decidedly did NOT get the memo about being down with the Monitor. Last episode felt like an unearned resolution to Lyla’s deception, but their disapproval went a long way to remedy that. It also led to possibly the best heart to heart John and Oliver have ever had, in a goodbye that was sweet, funny, heartfelt, and completely perfect to their relationship. If Arrow does end with Oliver Queen’s death, you better believe John Diggle will be by his side right up until the very last moment, come hell or high water – and so will Felicity Smoak.

So many of the conversations on tonight’s episode come down to Arrow’s overall message as a show. It’s about how people are stronger and better as a team, how anger, ego, and impatience might feel good in the short term, but they take their toll – you can’t build a life, a relationship, a legacy on them. Even just a few seasons ago it would be hard to imagine spending the bulk of an episode on conflicts chiefly in the realm of emotional intelligence. From a show about a rich man’s brutal revenge, Arrow has become a show about finding your team, learning to treat them better, protecting those you love, and making sure they know you care.

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“Every mission has an end. I wish this one didn’t.”

Other notes

Can we revisit the fact that Lyla’s ARGUS agents attacked the bunker and brought the kids against their will? WTF?! “I needed you here and I didn’t have time to convince you,” is a terrifying explanation.

I was expecting more to be made of William returning to the place where his mother was killed so brutally. This isn’t just a traumatic place for Oliver.

“Wait so we build this magic weapon for the space god and we…stop…crisis…?” I love Mia

Diggle saying he’s “fresh out” of faith has me picturing him singing Natalie Imbruglia

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How amazing do you think Stephen Amell feels about his hair looking this good and normal on Lian Yu? That’s real star power.

Don’t think I’ve forgot about Nyssa! But in this episode and the previous one, no one mentioned her, which I believe are the only two episodes of this season.

I love Rene “Pass. Do not accept. This ain’t over till it’s over, Oliver”

William and Ollie have come so far! I can’t. I’m a puddle. This whole ending! Y’all Oliver’s not coming back, is he?

I just want the entirety of Dig and Ollie’s goodbye on a loop, but I’ll leave you with this: “You’ve always been my rock.” “Don’t you mean the best man you’ve ever known?” “I also mean that.”

Keep up with all our Arrow season 8 news and reviews here.

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