Bettina Strauss / The CW

Arrow Has Some Guests

Everyone who's ever been on the show, and a handful of people from other shows, all stop by to vex Oliver and his pals.

Oh, hey! A crossover event! Some people will tell you that you need to watch every part of a four-part crossover if you want to understand what's going on. Some people are wimps. I came in without watching the previous steps and it all seemed pretty straightforward. Oliver, Diggle, Sara, Ray, and Thea were prisoners of some kind of scary alien and were experiencing some kind of alternate reality or shared hallucination or something. The reality they got to experience was one where nobody was dead, so we got to see Laurel, both the Queen parents, Deathstroke, Damien Darhk, and even Tommy Merlyn at one point. They mostly just wandered around and chatted with guest stars from seasons past until it was time to come back to reality. They figured out it wasn't real because of the giant "Smoak Technologies" building, although they also could have gotten a clue by the way absolutely everyone somehow knew that Oliver was skipping his rehearsal dinner. Many of these scenes weren't strictly necessary, but it was fun to see dead characters again.

In the real world, the crossing over was pretty straightforward. Cisco came in to match nerd references with Curtis, and then Flash and Supergirl "helped out," by which I mean they did all the work because they've got the superpowers. And there wasn't really a conclusion because everything had to be handed off to the next part of the crossover. I don't suppose I get to complain about not seeing Oliver team up with Supergirl when it's my own fault for not watching the show where he actually did that.

So, accepting that there were three other shows shoehorned into this one, how much Arrow was left in Arrow?

Arrow-ish Element Present?
Trick Arrow No time for trick arrows, I'm afraid. But I will give a shout-out to the time in the final scrum where Thea shot an arrow so that Sara could snatch it out of the air and stab a guy with it. That's the kind of unnecessary teamwork I like to see.
Oliver Queen: A Jerk The Oliver Queen on display in the alternate reality (or shared hallucination) seems like a nice guy. Even Captain Lance seems to like him. It's a bit rude to call off the wedding like that, but I think he had a good reason.
Comic book reference There's nothing more "Comic Book"-y than a huge crossover where characters have to deal with uneven power levels and superheroes team up to face new challenges. So the whole episode counts as a comic book reference. Also, "Van Horn Industries" is from a comic book called Gunfire, according to this one website I found.
Someone walks into the Arrowlair without warning. Cisco Ramon from The Flash walks into the Arrowlair, but that doesn't really count because he's being escorted by Felicity. However, in the false reality, Oliver Queen walks into John Diggle's Arrowlair, and that totally counts.
Flashback scenes mirror the present day. They weren't flashbacks, exactly, but I'm counting the scenes of the alternate reality. And they were full of winky references, like Sara Lance telling Oliver, "You're lucky I'm not a trained assassin or anything."
Things get gory. There was very little violence, actually. Aside from Flash and Supergirl beating up Cyberwoman and that giant fight at the end, that is. Not much blood, anyway.
The Only Hospital Room In Town We came so close when Oliver was talking to Alternate Laurel for the first time. He briefly saw her in her hospital gown, but I don't think we saw the hospital room set itself. I miss that set.
Someone gets kidnapped Obviously Oliver, Diggle, Ray, Sara, and Thea spent most of the episode as captives of the Dominators, but the actual kidnapping didn't take place during Arrow so I have to reluctantly deny this point.
Someone goes shirtless. Yes! Not only does dream Oliver go shirtless prior to Laurel coming out of the shower (a clear reference to Patrick Duffy in Dallas), but the real world is treated to Wild Dog showing off on the salmon ladder.
4 / 9
Final Score
Circus Of The Netlet Stars
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