The concept of a four part crossover is no easy feat, when you’ve got seventeen different characters, story arcs and one big alien race to contend with it’s not so much having a lot of plates spinning as plates spinning while juggling sticks of fire.
But somehow Arrow manages it, a really well done, emotionally resonate episode of Arrow that doesn’t ignore the other elements of the crossover and even gives Team Geek the time to shine.
Last episode ended with five of the team being abducted by aliens and this episode opens with them a world away (literally) from The Flash and Supergirl.
Team Arrow is brought back to the first episode flashbacks with Oliver Queen never getting on the boat, both parents being alive, Oliver and Laurel together and getting married and things looking audaciously normal for everyone.
It’s revealed that the five of them are in coma pods, sharing a hallucination that the Dominators are using to keep them placid. It’s nice to see Laurel again, even if it is in a very stilted characterisation of her and I’m excited too see how the cross-show contract Kate Cassidy has is going to be used throughout the next season.
Meanwhile the Geek team and Arrow’s-in-training are on the ground trying to find out what’s going on. It’s a little awkward having Felicity, Cisco and Curtis in the same room as they all basically share the same personality traits, if Winn enters the scene then there’s probably going to be a breakdown in the pop culture references continuum.
But everything’s going well for Oliver as he gets closer to his wedding with Laurel, Ray Palmer and Sara Lance come into frame and everyone is having memory flashes of their actual lives. And Oliver finds his bat cave and John Diggle as ‘The Hood’ with Felicity helping him (although I’m confused to how these two would have met without Oliver)
Realising things are not quite right, they begin to work out a plan, only Thea doesn’t want to leave. It’s a nice emotional moment for Thea who has otherwise been pushed to the fringes this season wants too stay within the fantasy, she was a lot younger when she lost her parents and takes longer to figure out what she wants to do.
In the real world Supergirl and The Flash back up Wild Dog as they go and retrieve some alien tech from Cyborg Woman. Wild Dog, doing his best season 1 Arrow impression, is less than welcoming too the very lovely, far more powerful alien and meta-human team just trying too help him.
The shared hallucination comes too a close without any real or lasting effects, but it’s a great way too create a hundredth episode that honours where it comes from even though Arrow feels a world away from it’s beginning.
The episode ends with the Wave Rider coming in as the calvary which is a nice way to transition from Arrow too Legends of Tomorrow, that’s happening tonight. Legends doesn’t have the strongest viewership so I’m interested as too how it will cope as the finale of the crossover. But it is my favourite out of the four so I’m excited too see what it has to offer!