Bettina Strauss/The CW


S5 E8
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December 01, 2016 at 05:03 AM EST

Look, I was never a Laurel fan, but this was wrenching. The Oliver Queen who returned from the island five years ago returned with a heart full of love for Laurel. That the Dominators would try to exploit that makes sense, particularly in an episode designed to commemorate the previous 99 episodes.

In short, I hope you reserved some tears. It’s almost time.

In the Smoak building, the fivesome find a big shiny portal and step through it. But before Oliver walks through it, specters from his past appear to whisper to him.

His mother calls Oliver her beautiful boy and says she’s proud of what he’s become.

Felicity tells Oliver he’s not done fighting.

Tommy reminds Oliver he’s a hero.

Roy says Oliver saved his life and gave him purpose.

Laurel says Oliver never gives up.

And his father says this is all Oliver’s responsibility now.

I’ll just give you a second to reach for the tissues.

Back in the real Arrow Cave, the team realizes the alien tech is transmitting in a type of gematria, the numerology of the Torah in which each letter corresponds to a number. This allows them to crack the latitude and longitude, which show up as negatives. They’re boggled when they realize their kidnapped brethren and sistren are in outer space, and again, I feel like this shouldn’t be a surprise. They are literally fighting aliens here.

So yeah, the fivesome wake up in their alien jammies and creep down the hallway of a spaceship, where they run across some Dominators, fire on them with alien weapons that happen to be lying around, and hijack an alien jump ship that Thea activates by pressing the touchpad.

They zip away but are immediately pursued by a legion of Dominator ships, and holy crap, were you guys expecting to watch a space battle tonight? The fleeing heroes are quickly outnumbered…until the Waverider appears to tractor-beam them onto the ship and zip away, with a cheerful Nate Haywood waiting to greet them.

“This is exactly twice as many spaceships as I ever thought I’d be on,” says an awestruck Thea.

Now that they’re safe on the ship, Ray starts to think through the implications of what they just went through, and he realizes the Dominators were distracting them while probing their non-metahuman subconsciousness. He then repeats a snippet of a Dominator phrase he heard them say on the ship — because Ray Palmer is a genius and the best character in The CW’s DC-verse, hands down. I will brook no argument on this point.

Gideon translates the phrase to “We are nearing completion of the weapon,” and the team realizes, to their horror, the mothership is on a direct course for Earth.

Aaaand to be continued!

So. Lots of Arrow action here, and not as much for The Flash/Supergirl folks to do. Still, it all worked beautifully. We get enough cross-team action to make it a treat for viewers of the Berlanti-verse while still forwarding the invasion story line — and honoring the characters, plots, and themes that have made Arrow such a satisfying show over the last four and a half seasons.

It was a tall order, but the episode pulled it off. Now go hydrate yourself; you need to replenish your moisture.

Thoughts for your quiver

  • Season 5 salmon-ladder count: 3.5. One for Oliver, 1.5 for Curtis, one for Rene.
  • The best part of this episode was the palatial bathroom in the Queen mansion. Want.
  • The second-best part of this episode was Curtis’ disillusionment with the mean aliens. Poor guy!

Were you satisfied with this episode as part of the crossover? Was it a fitting tribute to Arrow’s 100th-episode milestone? Let me know in the comments!

Episode grade: A

( 4 of 4 )

Billionaire Oliver Queen — under the vigilante persona of Arrow — tries to right the wrongs of his family and fight the ills of society.
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