‘Arrow’ 8×06 Review: “Reset”

Here’s Arrow’s review! After a week off, the show returned with “Reset,” an irregular episode with some bright moments, but with great deficiencies that make it lack emotion. Let’s comment everything!

Here we go!

Oliver’s reaction to seeing Quentin opens the episode. He is really seeing a ghost … but a ghost he needs to have in his life. Quentin is another one of those irreparable losses that broke his heart. Seeing him alive again is like a dream, an opportunity to solve a death that should never have been. An opportunity to stop feeling like he failed to save him.

I loved that moment of “it is too risky” / “says the man who risks every day to save the city.” It is a clear recognition of Oliver’s work as a hero, which he has always deserved to be recognized for. And the person who recognizes it is someone as special as Quentin, with whom he has had a complicated relationship, and someone who is like a father to Oliver. Those words mean a lot to Oliver coming from Quentin.

Laurel’s reaction to seeing Quentin alive is also emotional. Her change is really for him. He believed in her, and she wanted to be better so that he felt proud, so that he saw her as his lost daughter. Losing him meant losing a part of herself that she had just discovered. And there she has him … at her fingertips again.

She wants to save him as much as Oliver, but Quentin has to know what’s going on. Once he understands, Quentin doesn’t flinch, he accepts his death as a sacrifice made with pleasure to save his daughter. The problem is that she is not his daughter, only the evil version of her that later became good. But to enjoy this scene we have to forget that and accept that Quentin sees this Laurel as his daughter.

It is a premise that they tried to shoehorn in that nobody bought at the time, and that is what all their scenes are based on. So, I don’t like it at all, but let’s accept it for a moment so we can analyze the scene.

Quentin believes in her, always has. That is what Laurel needed, for someone to believe that she could be better. Although she feels unworthy of Quentin’s faith in her, that is the basis on which her life has been sustained since she found him.

To see him die again in her arms is to lose that part of herself again. Only worse, because she hoped she could save him. It’s like being able to see the sky, almost touching it with your fingers … but never being able to reach it.

So Laurel has to take everything inside… and let it out. Take the opportunity to tell him everything she could not say when she witnessed his death the previous time.

Laurel wants to make it clear that she is not going to give up, ever, he believed in her when not even she did it, and that was the reason for her change, the reason she believed she could be more than a murderer.

Quentin confesses that she is a hero for him (something I don’t understand, because before her change, she was a cold-blooded killer but, again, we accept it so we can move on). Laurel can only say “thank you.” Thank you for everything. For believing in her, for always thinking she was better than she was, for helping her change and especially for loving her like her daughter, for giving her a father again. He was everything to her, and she makes sure he knows.

His last words are to tell her that he loves her.

It is a beautiful scene, based on a very weak premise. We have to forget too many things about the argument for this to fit and make us emotional.

The lesson that this episode leaves to Oliver is that he cannot escape his destiny, no matter how hard he tries, no matter how hard he struggles. As Diggle says (our great John, who always gives the best advice), Oliver always finds a way out of the quagmire, he never gives up until he finds it, and this shouldn’t be different.

What The Monitor, through Quentin and Lyla, tries to teach Oliver is that this time there is no way out, there is no plan B. He must accept his destiny and embrace it. Life will continue without him. There will be more bad guys … only he won’t be there to catch them.

He should know that time with his children is a precious gift … but it is running out … he must say goodbye to them, while he has time to do so. He should not leave anything unsaid.

In spite of all this, I remain convinced, as I’ve been from the second they announced the “death” of Oliver, that he will not die. Not really. Of course, I’m sure that in an episode of the crossover he will “die” but then either everything will be fixed, or his family will find out that he is still alive.

They have been announcing Oliver’s death for too long and hanging everything on that fact. Remember season 4 and the grave? Clues marked with colored arrows are only a distraction, not a reality. But, for the moment, to understand Oliver and what happens in the episode, we have to put ourselves in the shoes of a character who is clear that his death is an inevitable fact.

The most special and emotional scene for me of the entire episode is the farewell of Oliver and his children, once he realizes he must let them go. He won’t be there for them, and he knows it, so he just wants to … say goodbye. Tell them how much they mean to him and what the time they have shared together has meant. It has been a gift, a precious but temporary gift. A gift with an expiration date. The universe is thanking him for so much sacrifice over the years … but it’s time to pay the price. They have very little time left. Everyone needs more. His children need more, he needs more … they need a lifetime … but they don’t have it.

Just seeing the people they have become, hugging them, feeling them in his arms, talking to them … seeing the people they will be, who they are, has been one of the greatest things Oliver has ever experienced. He will miss them so much … terribly. He needs them, just as he needs Felicity, to breathe. But Oliver must learn to breathe without them just as they will learn to breathe without him.

The time they have spent together has been everything. He wishes that moment could suffice, that moment in which they have been together … but although it is not so, although that moment is not enough, it should be. It is all they have left. He just wants to enjoy the gift that life has given them, and use it to say goodbye.

Oliver wants them to know how proud he is of the people they have become. His children are everything he always dreamed about and before leaving, he wants to make it clear.

Mia knows that this is goodbye. And she promises that everything will be fine. But she can’t promise that … as much as she wants it doesn’t depend on her. Although she struggled with all of her to save her father. She just got him back, and just can’t let him go so soon.

Oliver has already accepted that he cannot fight his destiny but he knows that, even if he is not there, everything will be fine, his children will be fine, his family will be safe and they will be together.

Oliver in this scene does the hardest thing a father can do: let his children go. It’s a beautiful and heartbreaking scene … but too short. We had a full scene of the farewell between Laurel and Quentin, but this farewell has barely lasted a minute. I liked the Laurel/Quentin scene but as a spectator, and fan I care much more about the farewell of Oliver and his children and it is the one that they have dedicated less time to. That is the only downside, because the rest is perfect.

The final farewell of Oliver and Quentin is another emotional scene. It has not been a farewell, but rather a advice from father to father. Quentin has been the benchmark in which Oliver has modeled himself, his father figure beyond Robert.

Quentin was the model Oliver wanted to follow and the father he always wanted approval and respect from. In his reality, in the end he got it and in this reality he also has it. Both have that respect and that mutual trust, that admiration for each other. Quentin is as proud of Oliver as a father feels for his son, and for Oliver to know that … it means everything.

But now he needs something more from him. He needs to know if it was worth all the sacrifices he made. Oliver needs to be sure that leaving his family is worth it, he needs to be sure that they will be fine, even though he is not by their side. Quentin gives him that security. Everything he did for his daughters was worth it. It was horrible not to be there for them, but he would do it as many times as necessary. He would do it even knowing that he would not live to see the people they would become. He would do it, always.

That is the last push Oliver needed. To know that, even if they do not have him, his children will be fine, even if he is not. Oliver can only thank Quentin for everything. Not only for the advice, but for having been there, for having sacrificed everything, for having believed in him, for having been a father for him, a role model, for giving him respect and love that Oliver thought he didn’t deserve. And then it’s time to say goodbye and let him go … time to release his ghost and grant him peace.

At the last moment Oliver tells him that he loves him, something he did not dare to tell him in life, but is free to do so now. He loves him so much … as a son loves his father. 

Now is the time to accept his own destiny. Oliver does it, but before … he just wants to watch him leave … it’s the last vestige of life that could have been and was not (although it will be). The last vestige of his resistance. It’s his surrender.

At the end of the episode, we have finally seen a confrontation between Lyla and Oliver. This confrontation has lacked the tension that it should have had. It has been a fairly flat and lifeless scene.

Oliver brings up to Lyla her actions and her deceptions, not only to him, but to her husband, to her own family. He shows that bitter pain of betrayal. Lyla, in turn, reveals how much it hurt to have to lie to Diggle. He is the love of her life and hiding things is killing her … but she does it to protect him.

As Lyla had already said, this is the best way to protect her family, the only possible way. But … we already knew that.

It was clear from the beginning what her motivations must be. Lyla is a heroine not a villain. Of course, if she was hiding something, of course it was because she really thought there was no other option. However, they don’t explain to us why she feels that this is the only possible way, the powerful reason why she trusts someone unknown before her own family; and I mean a reason beyond the bland  “a Crisis comes and that is bigger than all of us,” an argument that, frankly, I’m tired of hearing.

Apart from this, in the most seemingly surprising note, we discover that everything we have seen so far, all of Oliver’s missions, were nothing more than tests to prepare him for Crisis and time with his children is only a gift. A borrowed time. A precious gift but … limited. And I say that this is apparently surprising, because it was quite possible to deduce knowing all that we knew, and the discovery has been dimmed by the rest of the plot of the episode.

In the stunts section, as usual, there is not much to highlight except great tricks with the arrows and, of course, Oliver’s fights.

In conclusion, this episode has been the worst of what we have been a good season, by far. I don’t like “Groundhog Day” because I find it too repetitive, and boring to always repeat the same series of scenes with some minimal variation. The episode has been clearly inspired by this movie, so you can imagine how little I enjoyed it.

In addition, I don’t like the episodes of the series that deal with any daydream or imaginary world … so the episode has had another point against it.

There has been no … emotion in the episode. I have practically felt nothing. There is no tension, no scenes that mirror those of previous episodes. There have been very specific scenes that have been emotional, but nothing compared to what they can actually do, and most of them too fast for even a tear to form. The action has also not been a strong point in this episode.

It’s as if … the scenes were cut in half. They have good material to work with, but they only scrape the surface and don’t deal with the conflict in depth, and it is that depth that really interests us.

To give you an idea, I watched the episode live and in the commercials I’m usually writing down the most important things so that I don’t forget anything. Well, in the first break – 10 minutes after the episode began – I was able to write a summary of the lesson that Oliver would take with him at the end of the episode. So, apart from everything I’ve mentioned, the episode was absolutely predictable.

In short, I think this episode has not lived up to what we have seen in this season, and has hit an important downturn in quality. They wanted to do something nice with the return of Quentin, relating it to Crisis and they haven’t managed to do much of anything, since the return of Quentin (beyond Laurel) wasn’t that emotional, and what we have discovered about Monitor and Lyla has not been surprising.

Despite this, it has been a pleasure to see Paul again, and witness the farewell of his character and, of course, see David’s work as director. Hopefully direct more episodes throughout his career.

Agree? Disagree? Don’t hesitate to discuss everything with us in the comments below!

Arrow airs on Tuesday on The CW at 9 pm.

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