Five years ago, the idea that a TV show starring the Green Arrow would reach 100 episodes sounded like the stuff of make believe. And yet, here we are at the centennial landmark, watching Oliver Queen navigate a fake reality constructed by obscure alien invaders from an '80s comic book crossover...
Against all odds, the 100th episode of Arrow is one of the TV highlights of 2016, combining thrilling set pieces and emotionally devastating scenes that draw out some of the best acting ever seen on the show by many of its principal players.
Check out every single time that the heroes of the Arrowverse crossed over before Invasion took place:
After a disappointing response to Season 4, now was the perfect time for Arrow to impress and fire on all cylinders — particularly as this landmark episode drew in plenty of new viewers eager to follow The CW's 4-way crossover through to the end, tuning into shows they might not usually try.
However, while the third part of the Invasion story arc served as a good jumping-on point for newcomers, the main thrust of the story this week paid homage to the legacy of the show, rewarding long time viewers with a vast array of callbacks and references to the past five seasons. Spotting every single one is harder than a dozen rounds on the ol' salmon ladder, but check out our breakdown of the episode, and see if you saw any extra easter eggs that we missed.
The Running Man
The 100th episode opened like every season of Arrow does: with Oliver working on some sweaty cardio. But the big surprise comes after the camera pans out and reveals that we're back at Queen compound, where it all begin.
Speaking to Comicbook.com, star Stephen Amell explained that;
"The hundredth episode of Arrow begins in a very appropriate way: it begins with Oliver running. We've had him running into the premiere almost every year, we didn't have him running in this year, but we have him running in the hundredth episode."
Crossing over from The Flash, Cisco Ramon uses his powers on Oliver's old, original bow in order to figure out where the alien Dominators have taken their allies. What are the odds that we'll see this weapon displayed in the Hall of Justice one day?
Back in the pilot episode, Oliver gave Thea an arrowhead-shaped stone that's referred to as a Hōzen, which symbolises reconnecting in Japanese Buddhism. It makes perfect sense then that Thea would give Oliver this same token as a pre-wedding gift, especially considering how their relationship develops by the end of the episode.
Laurel Lance's development into the vigilante Black Canary was pivotal to her character across her four seasons on the show, so it's fitting to see her wearing a necklace emblazoned with the hero's logo from the comics.
"Will You Marry Me?"
When Oliver asks Laurel to marry him, she responds by saying "I think I already answered that," echoing a conversation that he held with Felicity last season. Who's better suited for Oliver? You decide.
Walter 'Steeles' The Company
Now that Oliver's father is about to be sworn in as mayor of Star City in this new reality, Robert requires an heir to replace him as CEO of the family company so that it doesn't fall into the hands of Ray Palmer. While discussing potential replacements, Oliver suggests Walter Steele — who ended up taking over in the real world after he married Moira in Robert's absence.
The opulent Queen Mansion from Season 1 returns this week for the first time in forever, but did you know that this was the same building used to house the Luthor's in Smallville, Arrow's superhero predecessor on The CW?
Give Us A Raisa!
Rich folk tend to be followed around by their maids, and the Queens were no exception — although Raisa only appeared once in the pilot and was then never seen again after. The 100th episode brought in a clumsy maid at one stage, paying homage to this long-forgotten character from the earliest days of Arrow.
During a quick visit to the police station, Oliver spies a board which contains the original Hood sketch and newspaper clippings that the authorities used back when they considered Green Arrow a criminal in Season 1. Little do they know that it's now John Diggle hiding under that hood instead now.
Digging The Hood
Back in the first season, Oliver was notoriously poor at forming excuses to cover up his extra-curricular activities, to the point where people began to suspect that he was in fact The Hood. To throw them off the scent, Diggle publicly wore the costume for a short time while Oliver appeared at a public event, so this week marks a welcome return as The Hood for John.
What's Your Name Again?
Oliver is rather fond of reminding us who he is each week in the opening credits, something which is referenced when he infiltrates the Arrow Cave in this new reality.
Within the same scene, Diggle then utters Oliver's next most famous phrase, stating that “No one can know my secret,” which comes directly from the original pilot and cropped up again recently when Oliver was forced to kill a dirty cop.
In one of the most obscure comic book references ever seen on the show, Van Horn Industries briefly pops us this week, which just so happens to be owned by a superhero known as Gunfire in the comics. Ironically, this fairly unpopular character debuted during another alien crossover in the '90s, where meta-humans were created, rather than killed. Some tenuous ties with Deathstroke further suggest that Andrew Van Horn's heroic alias could eventually appear in the #Arrowverse. After all, we've already seen Wild Dog, Ragman and Vigilante all appear this season, so this wouldn't be the most random thing to ever happen on Arrow.
Tommy The Traitor
While the rest of Season 1's cast returned for the 100th episode, central character Malcolm Merlyn failed to show due to the actors work commitments for the show Chicago Med. In a super meta and quite cheeky nod to this, Malcolm Merlyn reveals that his son won't be able to attend the rehearsal wedding dinner because he's working long hours at a hospital in Chicago.
Remember back when Ray and Felicity were briefly a thing in Season 3? Now that Oliver has stayed with Laurel in this timeline, Olicity never came to be, much to the delight of many fans.
Karma's A Bitch
Just as our heroes finally realize that they're in a virtual world, familiar faces from Oliver's past return to stop them from leaving. Thea takes on Merlyn in an attempt to sort out their father/daughter issues; Oliver blinds Deathstroke in one eye, just like in the comics; and Sara finally takes revenge on Damien Darhk for the death of Laurel. Oh, and most significantly of all, Sara also kills Deathstroke in the exact same way that the mercenary killed Moira Queen back in Season 2.
To escape this virtual reality, the group have to infiltrate the Smoak Technologies building, which appeared once before in an alternate timeline on DC's Legends of Tomorrow. Good thing Felicity doesn't know that she could have been super rich if she hadn't met Oliver. There's no way that would end well.
Finally, just before Oliver returns to reality, holograms of Moira, Felicity, Tommy, Robert, Roy Harper and Laurel appear, reciting pivotal lines taken from different points over the past five seasons. We dare you not to shed a tear at this poignant moment. No, wait, we double dare you!
In case you're feeling all nostalgic now, check out this clip which breaks down Oliver's 10 greatest moments on the show so far:
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Did you spot every single callback and easter egg or were you too distracted by all the awesomeness happening onscreen? Call us keen or overly sentimental, but it's hard to deny that the 100th episode ranks among the best ever aired, setting the bar insanely high for the rest of Season 5.
Were you impressed by the 100th episode of Arrow?
[Source — Comicbook.com]