‘Arrow’ 7×12 Review: Please Make This Stop

After hearing the unpleasant reviews surrounding Arrow’s 150th episode, I put off watching it as long as possible. Being sick in bed and not wanting to get sicker was certainly part of my motivation, as well.

And I’m sorry to say that the negative reviews hardly did the horrific “love letter” hour justice. It was bad. So bad. The idea of this documentary following Oliver Queen was a good idea. And for the first 15 minutes it felt solid. Until it didn’t. Until Arrow went and Arrowd it up.

Every week I find myself rolling into Tuesday mornings groaning. Not because it’s morning but because I have to watch Arrow and manage some semblance of a review. In a world where I’m three episodes behind on The Flash and caught up on Arrow and Supergirl, it’s only because I have to write reviews for these shows that I’m caught up. Trust me, if I could watch just one of these superhero shows right now it would be The Flash.

I just don’t enjoy Arrow anymore. Mostly because it’s not Arrow anymore. But as every week drags on I find myself knowing one thing to be true:

Arrow needs to come to an end.

It’s clear that even a new showrunner, who promised a focus on the foundation of Arrow, can’t save this series. If they want to do a show with just the newbies in masks, go ahead and make your spinoff. But stop having them masquerading around on a show that’s supposed to be about Oliver Queen and those closest to them.

I don’t want to watch a show where the core is a shell of its former self. I don’t want to watch a show that values newer characters that people hate over OG characters that people love. I don’t want to watch a submissive Oliver Queen being held back in every possible way by this show. I don’t want to watch a show that I dislike. And yet, here I am. And here I will continue to remain until A) Oliver, Felicity, and/or Diggle are gone or B) It ultimately becomes too much.

Let’s break down “Emerald Archer,” which did have a couple of good things (mostly things that were brief) and the bad things (that were like a bad stench of cologne.


The Good

Arrow — “Emerald Archer” — Image Number: AR712A_0117b — Pictured (L-R): Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak and Jessica Heafey as Documentarian — Photo: Shane Harvey/The CW — © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Idea of documentary/First 15 Mins 

This has become somewhat of a trend with Arrow. There’s an amazing idea that it’s playing with only for it to completely screw it up in its execution. But again, not surprised. This is Arrow. I loved the whole documentary-style episode idea. It was something unique and something you wouldn’t expect out of Arrow. But then again, the execution you completely expected. I loved the integration of past characters and the interviews spliced together in the documentary. The first 15 minutes were solid, the rest sucked.

Old faces return

I didn’t know whether to smile in joy or start crying once my favorite old faces started appearing on my screen. Quentin. Thea. Sara. Roy. Sara. Cin. Rory. Hell, even Barry. It was so great seeing those characters again, but it made me incredibly sad and angry knowing that these people once represented what was right with this show. It reminded me of happier times — times when Arrow was at its best in season 2 and how much potential this show had. And then when the newbies showed up, I was brought crashing back to reality and left fuming that I have to watch these bozo newbies instead.

Oliver and Diggle scenes

How long has it been since Oliver and Diggle shared a scene? I mean a genuine scene? An actual scene with dialogue and understanding? I’m being serious. How long? I don’t remember. And damn if that isn’t the saddest shit you ever heard. I really don’t understand how stupid these Arrow producers/writers are that they’ve forgotten about the very things that defined this show and Oliver Queen. How do you neglect Oliver and Diggle for so long? How do you forget about one of the fundamental relationships of this show? I guess it’s the same answer for everything: This is Arrow. But I did enjoy — for at least one episode — a return to Oliver and Diggle’s relationship where they bonded in this episode. They spoke to each other and acknowledged that there were mistakes on both sides. It was nice to see that bond. But it sucks knowing these writers will once again forget about it.

Felicity Smoak-Queen

For the brief amount of time that she was in this episode (what a dick move, you know who you are) Felicity was the shining light in an otherwise horrific hour of television. As she always is. And despite the fact that she herself is a hero (who is never given her due because she doesn’t wear a damn costume), Felicity did what she always does: Reminds us that despite every attempt of this show to make Oliver or others out to be vigilantes, “call them what they are…heroes.” What a freaking hero that woman is!


The Bad

Arrow — “Emerald Archer” — Image Number: AR712A_0179b — Pictured (L-R): Echo Kellum as Curtis Holt/Mr. Terrific, Juliana Harkavy as Dinah Drake/Black Canary, Jessica Heafey as Documentarian and David Ramsey as John Diggle/Spartan — Photo: Shane Harvey/The CW — © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

“Love Letter” Bulls**t

So apparently this 150th episode of Arrow was supposed to be a “love letter” to the fans. First of all: Are you kidding me? Second of all: Are you f***ing kidding me? Though really this should come as no surprise as Arrow has used this “love letter” line before with the 100th episode. You remember: The episode that had to be shared with a crossover event and excluded important characters like Felicity. Oh and, shocker, Felicity was sidelined again for this 150th episode. For people that get paid money to do this job, they really don’t understand this show or these characters or fans at all, do they? Save your love letter bull. I don’t want it. If this were a love letter, I’d dump your ass so fast.

Execution of documentary

Again, Arrow is usually really good at creative ideas. But, again, Arrow is really bad at executing those ideas. Look no further than the 150th episode, which had all the potential in the world with this documentary idea that soon spun out of control. The first 15 minutes, where we really got to see this documentary unfolding, were promising. But then Arrow had to force the newbies on us again and ruin everything.

The Newbies

God, do not even get me started on the Newbies. My hatred for them grows with each passing episode as they appear to be cockroaches that just. Won’t. Die. Arrow ruined any chance of me liking these characters following last year’s storyline where these Newbs felt like they were on the same level as OTA and were acting selfish as hell. There’s no coming back from that. It certainly doesn’t help matters when you’re forcing Dinah, Curtis, and Rene on us constantly but we have to beg for Felicity and Diggle.

Submissive Oliver

Where the hell is Oliver Queen? I mean the real Oliver Queen. The one that fights for what he believes in. The one that doesn’t comply. The one that, as a hero, puts himself on the line despite whatever “orders” come his way? Because ever since this prison storyline Oliver has become quite submissive like a dog following orders as he works for the SCPD. Now, if I trusted Arrow even a fraction I would recognize this as a moment for character growth. That he could rediscover himself by season’s end. But this is Arrow. And I don’t trust it.

Anti-Vigilante Law

I am so over this stupid Anti-Vigilante Law. It’s overstayed its welcome. Arrow has an opportunity to waive this stupid law after our “heroes” united and saved the city proving that “vigilantes” are worth it because they protect our city. Instead, this show held up the stupid law and did something else quite dumb: Gave all of our “heroes” badges. What, now everyone gets a badge and gets to play cop? Just stop. Give us what we really want: Costumed heroes working separate from law enforcement the way superhero shows should be done.


Arrow airs Mondays at 8/7c on The CW (although I don’t watch live anymore.)

Teacher by day, writer by every other free moment. Obsessed with sports, TV, books, movies, and superheroes. Proud shipper and supporter of strong female characters. Co-executive Editor, TV Editor and Sports Editor. I write about DCTV, Netflix, Cloak & Dagger, sports and so much more. Contact: alyssa@fangirlish.com.