(Disclaimer: Spoilers for Arrow below. Continue at your own risk!)
The massive Arrowverse crossover event continued tonight with the 100th episode of Arrow. The show has had its ups and downs over the 5 years that it has been on The CW, but it has made a triumphant return to form this season. Supergirl and The Flash laid the groundwork for this episode of Arrow, and our heroes continue to fight the Dominators, who threaten the very existence of the Arrowverse.
Watch the CW Arrowverse full length promo for 'Heroes Vs. Aliens'- the four night crossover event:
Oliver's Road Not Traveled
In this episode, Oliver and company were taken aboard one of the Dominator's ships and placed into pods. These pods present Team Arrow was a virtual reality, markedly different from the world we know on the show. We follow Oliver as he lives the life he could have lived, if he and his father never stepped foot aboard the Queen's Gambit 5 years ago. Oliver is suddenly thrust into a world where both of his parents are alive, and he is soon to wed the lovely Laurel Lance.
Check out more Moviepilot articles about The CW Arrowverse:
- It's Heroes v Aliens In 'The Flash' But What Do The Dominators Want?
- 'Supergirl' Just Dropped The Biggest Batman Easter Egg Yet — Does The Dark Knight Exist On Her Earth?
- Invasion: Rumors, Trailers & All You Need To Know About The CW's Latest Superhero Crossover
This storyline is a perfect '100th episode' retrospective, which pays homage to the series as a whole; but it's also essential to the evolution of Oliver, and who he is meant to be for the rest of the series. Since the beginning of the show, Oliver's choices have affected all of those closest to him. His journey to become the Green Arrow has come at a tremendous cost; a cost that some have paid with their lives.
All of the collateral damage Oliver has caused has not only taken a toll on him physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. At any given moment on the show, Oliver can begin to doubt himself, which leads to him becoming emotionally compromised — and making poor decisions as a result. As he remembers his Mother (who was slain by #Deathstroke), his best friend Tommy Merlyn, and Laurel Lance, he takes full responsibility for all of their deaths. Over the last 5 seasons, Oliver has carried all of his baggage alone, to the detriment of himself and his team.
Becoming Something Else
This season of #Arrow has hearkened back to the glory days of the show, most specifically in terms of character arcs. This episode allowed Oliver to come face-to-face with his "demons", and begin the process of healing — an amazing feat to accomplish in the midst of an all out alien invasion. In Oliver's mental version of #Flashpoint, he was given the chance to live the "perfect" life, but he fought against it.
Barry Allen made a similar choice to leave his "dream world" when he left Flashpoint, but under much more dire circumstances. Oliver's growth in the episode is a huge accomplishment for his character. Not only did he reunite with his loved ones, but he had the maturity to know that this reality — even though it is wonderful — is not where he is meant to be. Oliver's actions show a level of growth that we have not seen from him before.
Arrow executive producer Marc Guggenheim spoke on the relevance of the 100th episode, and what it means for Oliver:
I think the circumstance that the Dominators placed him under in the 100th basically sort of forced him to double down on his mission, essentially to have the mental and emotional strength to pull away from the temptation of this alternate reality that the Dominators had created for him. Oliver had to re-commit to his own mission.
Oliver moving on from his past will make him not only a stronger person, but one with a resolve that can not be easily broken. Guggenheim speaks more on how Oliver's new focus will be tested very soon:
This whole thing has only reminded him that there’s so much more work to do. I think without overstating things I think that’s very much sort of what happens in our mid-season finale next week where Oliver will re-iterate to Thea and to the other characters how re-committed he is to his mission. However, without spoiling anything, circumstances will transpire in that episode that will make that newfound drive far more difficult for him to make good on.
Across all mediums, the best stories revolve around great characters. Amidst The CW's giant crossover event, they took time out to focus on Oliver, and what his purpose really is. When you think about it, it was the perfect choice for the 100th episode of Arrow. We were given glimpses of the past seasons, but were shown that we must always keep moving forward.
Oliver's mental and emotional resolve affects the Arrowverse in more ways than we think about from episode to episode. Without Arrow and Oliver Queen, we wouldn't have the Arrowverse we have today (especially since the word 'Arrow' is in the title). Since Arrow was the original show, it makes total sense to focus on Oliver's journey in the middle of this huge event.
Watch the promo for Legends of Tomorrow, which is the final installment of the crossover event:
When it comes down to it, Oliver is truly the centerpiece of the entire Arrowverse. The show has gone to great lengths to make Arrow the best show it can be, and to help Oliver evolve into the hero that he is destined to be. With only one show left in this massive crossover event, our heroes will go head-to-head with the Dominators on Legends of Tomorrow Thursday, December 1st at 8PM/ET on the CW!
Sound off! What do you think of the 100th episode of Arrow? Let it be known in the comments section below!