‘Arrow’ Reviews

‘Arrow’ 100th Episode Review: “Invasion! Part 3′

Caity Lotz, Stephen Amell and David Ramsey in Arrow's 100th episode "Invasion!" Photo Credit: Bettina Strauss/The CW

Caity Lotz, Stephen Amell and David Ramsey in Arrow’s 100th episode “Invasion!” Photo Credit: Bettina Strauss/The CW

Arrow tackles a massive milestone this week. The hit superhero show crosses over the 100 episode mark with its latest episode. Not only that, but it’s also part of the massive 4-part DCTV crossover event, “Heroes vs. Aliens.” Arrow has had its ups and down during season five. While trying to recuperate from a rocky season 4, the show has lost its spark. The 100th episode of Arrow entitled “Invasion! Part 3” serves as a giant love letter to long-time fans and puts us back on the right track with only some weaknesses.

Going into season five, Arrow’s 100th episode was met with some mixed emotions. The milestone would be incorporated into the massive 4-part crossover with Supergirl, The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow. Something fans (and this reviewer) were not too happy about. When Arrow first leapt onto screens in 2012, it was hard to image the show having the impact that it has. While most people credit The Flash with building The CW’s superhero empire, none of it would’ve been possible without Arrow. Since season one, the show has been the backdoor for numerous characters including Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh) and Sara Lance (Caity Lotz).

In 100 episodes, Arrow has created some truly memorable moments, all of which are celebrated here. Beginning with Tommy’s (Colin Donnell) heroic downfall to Roy (Colton Haynes) being unmasked as “The Arrow,” the show has moments of pure character development and insane villainous twists. It’s a show that isn’t afraid to be dark and broody. There’s rarely any happiness as Oliver (Stephen Amell) and the gang fight to save Star City. Watching the show evolve into something much more than a mindless crusade of killing villains has been a privilege to watch. The characters hold Arrow up and it’s something season five has sadly lost sight of. The 100th episode acts as a beautiful reminder that without his friends and family, Oliver is a shell of the man we’re willing to fight behind.

Arrow’s 100th episode is set up as a love letter to past seasons right from the start. At the end of The Flash’s portion of the crossover, Oliver, Sara, Ray, Diggle (David Ramsey) and Thea (Willa Holland) are taken hostage by The Dominators. This leads them into a universe where Oliver never got on “The Queen’s Gambit,” never landed on Lian Yu and never became The Green Arrow. The episode’s premise leads to some beautiful goodbyes and storylines, but also has some flaws.

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‘Arrow’ Review: “A Matter of Trust”

Joe Dinicol, Madison McLaughlin, Stephen Amell, Rick Gonzalez and Echo Kellum in the Arrow episode "A Matter of Trust." Photo Credit: The CW

Joe Dinicol, Madison McLaughlin, Stephen Amell, Rick Gonzalez and Echo Kellum in the Arrow episode “A Matter of Trust.” Photo Credit: The CW

After a season of missteps, Arrow has already produced three of its best episodes since season two. For the first time, in what seems like forever, Arrow has founds its footing and it’s quite a sight to behold. While simultaneously reinventing itself and introducing new characters, Arrow continues to blossom in the latest episode “A Matter of Trust.”

In last week’s episode, Arrow introduced fans to the brand-new Team Arrow. Alongside Curtis (Echo Kellum), Evelyn (Madison McLaughlin), Rene (Rick Gonzalez), and Rory (Joe Dinicol) have joined Oliver (Stephen Amell) and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) on their quest to clean up Star City. One of the major pluses in Arrow’s corner with this new Team Arrow is that their story is taking center stage. Last season, Arrow let its main villain dominate storylines. Our main characters stories were often trivialized or thrust into the background. It seemed impossible to focus on more than one main cast member per episode, which did not help last season stand out.

Already, Arrow has introduced several new characters and they are all flourishing on screen. Within two episodes, we feel like we have a growing connection with them. This is the first time a new character has been introduced, that we care about, since the introduction of Roy (Colton Haynes) back in season one. Arrowhas already done an incredible job at distinguishing these characters, but giving the same heart, drive and courage that we love in Oliver, Felicity, and Diggle (David Ramsey). Some original fans may have been skeptical of Team Arrow 2.0, but Arrow knows how to pander to its audience. Rene, Evelyn, Rory and Curtis aren’t simply jumping into our universe, we learn to trust them along with Oliver.

To that point, Oliver’s gradual acceptance of the new recruits has been beautiful to watch. While Oliver works well with all the new recruits, it’s his relationship with Rene Ramirez that we are most excited for. Rene reminds us of a young, stubborn Oliver and that makes his relationship with Oliver even better. Gonzalez and Amell have already begun to create a great bond on screen. Oliver and Rene have a relationship resembling an older and younger brother and it’s allowing Amell to explore a side to Oliver he hasn’t really had the chance to. This is truly the first time he’s had someone push back against his rules so forcefully. It’s creating a great dynamic that we are excited to explore as the season progresses.

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‘Arrow’ Review: “Legacy”

Stephen Amell in the Arrow episode "Legacy." Photo Credit: Bettina Strauss/The CW Stephen Amell in the Arrow episode "Legacy." Photo Credit: Bettina Strauss/The CW

Stephen Amell in the Arrow episode “Legacy.” Photo Credit: Bettina Strauss/The CW Stephen Amell in the Arrow episode “Legacy.” Photo Credit: Bettina Strauss/The CW

This week, Arrow began its journey into season five. A big feat for the superhero drama that started the “Superhero Revolution” on The CW. This new season presents several new voyages for the show. Not only will it be the last season of flashbacks, but the show looks to go back to its season one roots. In a love letter to longtime fans, Arrow returns with the season five premiere “Legacy.”

Last season was arguably Arrow’s weakest season to date. While simultaneously trying to launch other superhero shows, Arrow’s core values seemed to get lost in the shuffle. The superhero show that once thrived on amazing stunts became caught up in competing with its fantastical superhero rivals in The Flash andLegends of Tomorrow. This season, Arrow already has one plus in its corner: there’s no superhero show to launch this time around. Setting the stage with “Legacy,” Arrow begins to rebuild. Although the episode still has flaws, Arrowstarted to look like its former self.

One of the positives in this Arrow episode is the stunt work. Directed by stunt extraordinary James Bamford, this episode put the stunts in the forefront. One of the first impressive moments comes very early on when Green Arrow/Oliver (Stephen Amell) fights Anarky (Alexander Calvert). The hand-to-hand combat is always where Arrow has thrived. More so than any other superhero show, Arrowutilizes their stunt team to their fullest potential. Bamford has a keen eye for directing these stunt sequences and it shows. The slow motion mixed with Green Arrow and Anarky falling through the floor is a heavenly stunt combination.

Arrow also takes on another major stunt sequence this week at the end of the episode. When Green Arrow hunts down season five big bad, Tobias Church (Chad L. Coleman), he refuses to let him escape. Green Arrow swings from Church’s helicopter and engages in a crazy fight sequence. It ultimately ends with Green Arrow launching from the helicopter and using a new, parachute arrow. This stunt sequence is one of the largest Arrow has attempted and it greatly elevated the episode. Once again, Bamford and the entire Arrow stunt team pulls out all the stops, especially for this season premiere.

On the subject of Tobias Church, Coleman makes a grand entrance into theArrowverse this week. The introduction of Church is simply amazing. In a single episode, he takes hold of numerous other Star City crime organization and stakes his claim. Church is brutal and Coleman portrays him flawlessly. A stray from hisThe Walking Dead character, Coleman brings his character into Arrow with a violent force. His wild eyes say it all as he hopes to take down Green Arrow and Star City. The only possible downside to this villain is if he will play out a storyline we’ve seen way too often on Arrow. A disgruntled man who tries to take down Star City in order to “save it.” The hope is that Tobias Church has other motives. He also already has competition: the mysterious dark archer who makes a grand entrance in the final minutes.

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Top 10 Reasons to Be Excited For ‘Arrow’ Season 5

David Ramsey, Willa Holland, Stephen Amell and Emily Bett Rickards in the Arrow season 5 trailers. Photo Credit: The CW

David Ramsey, Willa Holland, Stephen Amell and Emily Bett Rickards in the Arrow season 5 trailers. Photo Credit: The CW

With the season five premiere of Arrow just six short weeks away, Emertainment Monthly editor Nora Dominick has decided to countdown the top 10 reasons to be excited for Arrow season five.

Last season, Arrow further proved where the show thrives: in moments of grounded reality filled with action packed stunts. Season four of Arrow was filled with magic, new characters, the first season for “Olicity,” the death of a major character and a mystical villain. Although Arrow delivered great episodes in the front half of season four, the show began to lose its momentum in the back half. The past season boasted some strong performances and storylines, but also some negative ones.

With two trailers already released for season five, Arrow appears to be getting back to basics and delivering a season reminiscent of its first. This comes as a major sigh of relief for longtime, devoted fans.

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‘Arrow’ Season 4 Review

Emily Bett Rickards and Stephen Amell in the Arrow episode "Broken Hearts." Photo Credit: The CW

Emily Bett Rickards and Stephen Amell in the Arrow episode “Broken Hearts.” Photo Credit: The CW

With a season filled with magic, new characters and so much moreArrow accomplished a lot this season. Between the first season of Oliver (Stephen Amell) and Felicity’s (Emily Bett Rickards) relationship to killing off a major, fan-favorite character to a mystical villain, Arrow delivers a season with some strong points, but also some negative ones. After an entire season of reviewing Arrow, I break down and review everything in season four including some of my favorite moments.

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‘Arrow’ Review: “Canary Cry”

Katrina Law, David Ramsey, Emily Bett Rickards, Willa Holland and Stephen Amell in the Arrow episode "Canary Cry." Photo Credit: Diyah Pera/The CW Katrina Law, David Ramsey, Emily Bett Rickards, Willa Holland and Stephen Amell in the Arrow episode "Canary Cry." Photo Credit: Diyah Pera/The CW

Katrina Law, David Ramsey, Emily Bett Rickards, Willa Holland and Stephen Amell in the Arrow episode “Canary Cry.” Photo Credit: Diyah Pera/The CW Katrina Law, David Ramsey, Emily Bett Rickards, Willa Holland and Stephen Amell in the Arrow episode “Canary Cry.” Photo Credit: Diyah Pera/The CW

When Oliver takes Quentin back to the morgue and further proves that Laurel is indeed dead, Quentin steps up his search to find a way to bring Laurel back. Quentin calls on Nyssa (Katrina Law) to help him bring Laurel to the Lazarus Pit. In an emotional moment, Nyssa breaks the news that she destroyed the Lazarus Pit after bringing Sara back. Law and Blackthorne create a short but emotional scene as both of them come to terms with Laurel’s death. With the destruction of the Lazarus Pit, Quentin has run out of options and with it comes the best scene of the episode.

Stephen Amell and Paul Blackthorne have both had incredible seasons. Amell has showcased Oliver’s vulnerable side through his relationship with Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) while Blackthorne has become a key player on Team Arrow and his relationship with Donna Smoak (Charlotte Ross) helps him break out of his shell. I guess Smoak women really do bring out the best in people. With Quentin slowly losing hope, Amell and Blackthorne engage in the most heartbreaking scene in this week’s episode. Oliver must break the harsh truth to Quentin that Laurel is dead and nothing is able to bring her back. Amell triumphs in this scene as he shows a range of emotions. He has grown the most this season in terms of emotional vulnerability and development and it shows in this scene. Blackthorne finally takes Quentin to the heartbreaking place he’s been avoiding since the episode began. He tells Oliver, “When we lost Sara, when I became a drunk, when no one else believed in me, she did. She’s always been there! She’s my rock. She was my rock…” Between Amell’s tears and Blackthorne doubled over in grief, this scenes writing coupled with the acting makes it stand out as one of the best this season.

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‘Arrow’ Review “Eleven-Fifty-Nine”

Katie Cassidy in the Arrow episode "Eleven-Fifty-Nine." Photo Credit: The CW

Katie Cassidy in the Arrow episode “Eleven-Fifty-Nine.” Photo Credit: The CW

Overall, Katie Cassidy has transcended expectation with her portrayal of Laurel Lance. Starting from the love-scorned, ex-girlfriend of Oliver, to a drug addict, to the Black Canary has been a beautiful arc for Cassidy to play and for Laurel to be on. The character of Laurel has touched each and every character on Arrow and her presence on the show will surely be missed. Cassidy has delivered a career-defining performance as the Black Canary and she will always be remembered within theArrow.

In today’s age of social media, TV shows need to deliver bold storylines that will keep viewers on their toes and wanting more. Arrow does just that with this latest episode. With an entire season leading up to the big “Who’s in the grave?” reveal, Arrow does not disappoint. This startling death with surely thrust Arrow towards interesting and refreshing storylines for every character. How will Oliver deal with this latest loss? Will Diggle blame himself because of Andy’s actions? How will Sara react? This episode packs all the right punches and gives fans a bit of nostalgia for the Arrow they fell in love with. With this episode and the risks it takes, Arrow hurdles towards its final episodes of season four and it will surely be a wild ride.

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‘Arrow’ Review: “Taken”

Stephen Amell and Emily Bett Rickards in the Arrow episode “Taken.” Photo Credit: The CW

Stephen Amell and Emily Bett Rickards in the Arrow episode “Taken.” Photo Credit: The CW

Arrow continued its streak of emotional episodes this week as Oliver (Stephen Amell) and Team Arrow try to rescue William (Jack Moore), Oliver’s son, after he’s kidnapped by Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough). Last week fans watched as Darhk and his team attempted to take out Quentin (Paul Blackthorne) while Donna Smoak (Charlotte Ross) planned the best engagement party ever. The latest episode of Arrow entitled “Taken” delivered some emotional moments as well as some action heavy sequences.

This season, Arrow has been doing an excellent job at balancing action with emotion and this episode may have been its best balancing act to date. A lot of this is thanks to the phenomenal acting between Stephen Amell and Emily Bett Rickards. The duo have created one of the best partnerships both on and off screen. This week’s episode, although centered on finding William, focused heavily on Oliver and Felicity’s relationship and their future together. The opening scene of the episode deals with Felicity going to physical therapy after receiving the medical implant from Curtis (Echo Kellum). This small scene where Felicity attempts to walk with Oliver right by her side leaves a lasting impact on fans. Rickards flourishes in these small scenes. She has fleshed Felicity into a female character that isn’t afraid to show her vulnerable side and this scene proves it. Rickards and Amell continue to astound especially in the following scene where Felicity tells Oliver, “I wanted to be able to walk down the aisle on our wedding day.” Of course, “Olicity’s” happiness doesn’t last long when Damien Darhk shows up.

Last week’s episode of Arrow ended with Damien Darhk kidnapping William and bringing him to Star City. Neal McDonough continues to be a phenomenal addition to the Arrow cast. He consistently delivers stellar performances and has created an Arrow villain that fans hate to love. McDonough has the ability to make fans laugh with Damien and fear him in the same breathe and it’s truly remarkable. When he approaches Oliver and Felicity and trades quips involving Felicity’s accident, fans know this can’t end well. McDonough’s scenes always have a level of comedy mixed with tension that only he can achieve. Darhk doesn’t hesitate to knock the happiness right out of Olicity’s sails when he tells Oliver he has William. “Who’s William?” The two words fans dreaded hearing from Felicity Smoak. In one moment, Darhk knocks Oliver and Felicity’s future off course and sets this Arrow episode into motion. Also cue the exact monologue Felicity said to Oliver in the first timeline during the The Flash/Arrow crossover and you have a heartbreaking Olicity scene from start to finish.

When Samantha (Anna Hopkins) arrives in Star City to find William, Oliver promptly tells her that he’s the Green Arrow and will do everything in his power to find him. Team Arrow has exhausted most of its efforts to take down Darhk, but this time Oliver isn’t messing around. He calls in Vixen/Mari (Megalyn “E.K” Echikunwoke) to help save his son.

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‘Arrow’ Review: “Blood Debts”

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Emily Bett Rickards in the Arrow episode “Blood Debts.” Photo Credit: The CW

It only takes an entire episode for Team Arrow to finally tell Oliver he needs to see Felicity. What comes next is one of the most gut-wrenching moments between Felicity and Oliver ever. Rickards and Amell astound in their scenes opposite each other as they continue to have the best chemistry. As Oliver enters Felicity’s hospital room, it’s hard not to shed a tear at the duos first scene together all episode. In an episode with very little dialogue from Rickards, she elicits the biggest fan reaction. Seeing Felicity lying in bed, listening to the man she loves, will surely reduce an entire room ofArrow fans to tears. Rickards doesn’t have to utter a word, the tears welling up in her eyes are enough to make this scene one of her strongest to date. She has come a long way during her four years on Arrow. Going from a guest star in season one to the character every other character gravitates towards is a major accomplishment for the young actress.

In a soon-to-be classic “Olicity” moment, a distraught Felicity turns to Oliver and says, “The doctor’s…they say…” The sentence isn’t even finished before she starts crying, Oliver tears up, and every Arrow fan is on the floor sobbing their eyes out. Felicity continues by saying, “We didn’t really exchange any vows so the whole, ‘For better, for worse’ thing doesn’t really apply here…” Oliver gives a heartbroken Felicity her engagement ring back and tells her, “For better, for worse.” Cue an ungodly level of crying from every Arrow fan as the duo share a sweet kiss. Amell and Rickards deliver one of the most honest and heartbreaking performances together. In a rare moment for Arrow, there is no action involved, Oliver isn’t coming to save the day, it’s simply two characters, their love for each other, and some of the best dialogue on Arrow. Rickards and Amell have grown exponentially during their time on Arrow and it will be interesting to see how the duo deals with this new, emotional storyline. Oliver says it best when he tells Laurel (Katie Cassidy), “We go out every night, suiting up, risking our lives. Fighting assassins and meta humans and all the worst kind of people. She’s stronger than all of us.”

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*Note: These are not all my Arrow reviews/articles*

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