ARROW – SEASON 8 / CERT: 15 / SHOWRUNNER: MARC GUGGENHEIM, BETH SCHWARTZ / STARRING: STEPHEN AMELL, DAVID RAMSEY, JULIANA HARKAVY, KATIE CASSIDY, KATHERINE MCNAMARA, LAMONICA GARRETT / RELEASE DATE: MAY 25TH
Here we are then, after eight years, as The CW’s Arrow draws to a close. For those who’ve stuck with the Stephen Amell-fronted Emerald Archer series, there’s no doubting that Arrow has had its fair shares of ups and downs across its eight-season run. But does the show go out with a bang or a whimper? Let’s find out.
When Season Eight opens, Amell’s Emerald Archer and his pals are already well aware that a world-devouring threat is on the horizon in the shape of the Anti-Monitor. After all, the epic Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover event was much hyped across all of the Arrowverse shows way before each of these most recent respective seasons began. And thus, so much of Arrow’s eighth season is setting the table for this Crisis – and with it, the belief that Oliver Queen will perish during this battle.
All eyes may be on the looming large Crisis, but Arrow utilises this to bring back a who’s who of the series’ familiar old faces. From Quentin Lance, to Tommy Merlyn, to Adrian Chase, to China White, to Anatoly Knyazev, to Yao Fei, and so many more. But while the first seven episodes of the ten-episode Season Eight are a great nostalgia trip, the show at times struggles with the weight of the impending Crisis. By that, we mean that it can be a little hard for Arrow to showcase the Green Arrow when each episode is dripping in pre-Crisis setup and anticipation. Still, the flip side is that Oliver’s realisation of what lies ahead does lead to some emotional and poignant goodbyes, not least when it comes to seeing Ollie having to say a final farewell to Thea Queen.
Of course, when Crisis on Infinite Earths does arrive, it’s all kinds of spectacular. In terms of scope, rarely has anything been done so brilliantly and, well, comic book-like in the history of the Arrowverse. For fans of so many DC TV shows, Crisis ticks a ludicrous array of boxes and delivers exactly what you’d hope for. For the Arrow input, this eighth season continues on for two further offerings once Crisis is done and dusted – one episode setting up the future-set Green Arrow & The Canaries show that’s currently being planned, and the other episode serving as an emotional wrap-up to Crisis, to Arrow’s eighth season, and to Arrow as a show, period.
After an initially so-so start in that first season, Stephen Amell has gone on to wear Oliver Queen like a second skin. Much like audiences saw Ollie grow and mature, so too did Amell’s performances mirror that progression. It also helps that Amell had such a stellar supporting cast to lean on for Arrow’s heavy hits and more delicate moments, with David Ramsey, Katie Cassidy, Juliana Harkavy, and Rick Gonzalez all pivotal and delivering when it mattered during the most recent seasons of the show.
In terms of Season Eight, it’s full of Easter eggs and nods ‘n’ winks that are utterly rewarding for long-time fans of Arrow. Likewise, it gives a marvellous send off to a show that will be remembered by genre fans for decades to come. There may have been times when this final year felt like it was just twiddling its thumbs and waiting for Crisis, but the minds behind Arrow largely made it work.
The legacy of Arrow can already be seen in the Arrowverse which it kickstarted, and in the show’s second season it truly gave viewers one of modern-day great single seasons of genre TV. It’s sad to know that Arrow has now come to an end, yet it almost felt like the perfect time for Amell to hang up the hood and sail off into the sunset.