Arrow Season 8 Episode 1 “Starling City” Recap, Aired Oct. 15, 2019.
I think it’s important to start out with this simple truth:
What’s a season of Arrow without a red pen? No season at all if you ask me.
— Stephen Amell (@StephenAmell) December 8, 2016
This episode, and this season, is like no other. Because our “red pen” Felicity Smoak will no longer physically be with us, and because it will be like a season paying homage to other seasons… leading up to the very big “Crisis” event! Naturally, that has Arrow fans like myself worried. Change, in the face of a longtime TV viewer, is a scary thing.
However, I think “Starling City” was truly the best it could have been. They leaned into the nostalgia and emotional beats rather than spending to much time on hand-wavey plot.
Speaking of hand-wavey plot, I have some questions. Like, why couldn’t The Monitor get the Dwarf Star Particles himself? This is what he’s leaving his wife and children for? But whatever. I assume there’s more tasks at hand in the episodes to come.
To honor this episode, and all of it’s callbacks, let’s do a nostalgia-filled ranking of our own. Here’s the top 8 moments from the Arrow season 8 premiere:
What made this scene great was not the fight in itself. Although admittedly, seeing Tommy Merlyn take on his rightful role as The Dark Archer, was just fantastic. In every way.
What made this scene great was Oliver using what Angel Tommy told him to use, in 7×21. He’s leaning into the best parts of himself, and showing that side to the people who need it the most. In this case, it’s Earth 2 Dark Archer Tommy.
Oliver leaned into the best parts of himself, therefore Dark Tommy didn’t go through with the undertaking. I may have shed a single tear.
“We are only as good as the people we have in our lives. I have lost people too, Tommy. I have lost people closer to me than I can possibly explain to you. Every one of those losses brings with it a choice. Between darkness, and light. Make the right choice. Are you going to kill thousands of innocent people, or are you going to be the man I know you are.” -Oliver Queen
I just really liked to see FTA (Future Team Arrow) in formal wear. But most importantly, this scene told us that they have been working as a team for quite some time now. And our warrior princess Mia Smoak, is still warming up to the idea of “playing well with others.” I mean, even Oliver didn’t go off-script when OTA had a set plan in place. Anyways, this is the spin-off that I want. Give it to me.
Also LOL at William getting punched in the face, but it made me smile to see Mia was worried about him. I love them. They are my children.
“I believe that fate brought the four of us together for a reason. Just like it did our parents when they decided to save this city. Now it’s our turn. We don’t want to mess it up do we?” -William Harris/Clayton/Queen/Smoak
I just really like the idea of an evil brother and a good brother situation. And it’s with John Diggle’s sons! Plus, Connor in this scene… really hot. Had to say it. I make no apologies.
I feel like the pinnacle of any good villain is their Evil Monologue, and Tommy delivered. This scene was fan fiction come to life. *chef kiss*
Diggle shows up on earth 2 and he reminds Oliver, once again, that they’re ride or die. I especially laughed when he put child locks on the limo doors. So funny. But really, listen to Diggle, Oliver.
This speech The Monitor gives is especially satisfying and equal parts jarring for an Arrow fan. We aren’t used to high praise and compliments given to Oliver Queen. And Oliver is especially not used to it. It sets him apart to the abundance of heroes in these Arrowverse shows. And listening to it made me overjoyed that Oliver was getting the same respect that he’s showed the other heroes over the years. He’s sacrificed more than anyone. He deserves it. He’s a paragon.
“One of the many misconceptions humanity holds dear is the fallacy that all beings are created equal. In truth, there are those that are greater. They are called heroes. But even among heroes, there are different echelons. The highest are known as paragons. They are the only hope of all creation.”
Besides being a meta-statement for the season as a whole, Oliver meeting Not-Felicity like he did in 1×03, was a definite highlight. It’s easy for shows to just not talk about it, and never mention it again when they lose a key member. But clearly Felicity Smoak is at the forefront of Oliver’s mind, every step of the way.
They brought back their “love tokens” so to speak. “It’s supposed to be red”, meaning the pen she was chewing on, and their love fern. Classic Olicity callbacks.
These are always the scenes that has me crying buckets. But this one in particular earns the top spot because it really highlights Oliver’s struggle.
He asks his mom if he ever had to leave him and Thea to protect them, would she do it? And of course she says yes. Moira Queen in a nutshell is a woman who would do anything to protect her children. That’s why she died. And it all at once gives Oliver some comfort and some clarity. Comfort in his decision, and clarity for his mother.
He says, “mom, I’m so sorry” and he’s apologizing for judging her so harshly for her mistakes. Because with Moira Queen, it always came from a place of love and protectiveness.
In conclusion, give Stephen Amell and Susanna Thompson all the awards.
- On earth 2, it looks like Robert Queen killed Batman? I don’t know, it wasn’t explained.
- I know Willa Holland is coming back but I desperately need my Thea.
- Who should I ship with this whole Mia, Connor, and JJ situation?
- Team 2040 are so cute.
- I like the purple bunker.
- Oh, RIP earth 2.
All in all, I would say it was a pretty solid season premiere (even though it cannot be perfect without Felicity Smoak). It was definitely a lead up to Crisis but it also showed Oliver Queen a world where he wasn’t in it. And that’s definitely a worse world.
Catch all new episodes of Arrow Tuesday’s at 9 PM on The CW.