How many different things did tonight’s episode of Arrow need to be? Let us count the ways: It needed to continue the conflicts set up in The CW’s ambitious DC crossover. It needed to balance non-Arrow characters within its narrative. And it needed to honor the milestone of the show’s 100th episode. So how did it do?
It hit a bullseye. Right in the heart.
Previously, on the Legends of Flarrowgirl crossover, the Dominators arrived to Earth. Team Flash assembled the superheroes, including Thea, who finally suited up! Barry and Oliver stayed behind while everyone else went to save the president; the away team returned to go all Kill Bill on the two of them thanks to the Dominators’ mind control. But Supergirl broke them all free and everybody (save Barry) was beamed up, Scotty.
The hour opens with a callback to the Arrow pilot as Oliver sprints through greenery. But this time, it’s on the Queen Estate and he’s going for a jog the day before his wedding. Inside the mansion, he canoodles with his beaming fiancée, a whole and healthy Laurel Lance. Oliver’s chest is heartbreakingly free of scars, burns, and trauma.
See, this Oliver never got on the Queen’s Gambit, never cheated on Laurel with her sister, never endured the five years of hell we’ve witnessed. But, of course, this isn’t real. Oliver and the rest of the captives — Thea, John, Ray, and Sara — are slumbering in alien pods, dressed in green pajamas. (Wait, the Dominators redressed them? Creepy.)
In the Arrow Cave, the Arrowlettes and Cisco work frantically to locate their missing teammates. Cisco touches Oliver’s season 1 bow, hoping to vibe the location of Oliver and company — the heroes, not the cherished Disney cartoon starring Billy Joel. (Props to the showrunners for waiting five whole years to bust that one out.)
He shows them on a ship — “a little Alien, a little Star Trek, J.J. Abrams-style.”
First, duh. Of course they’re on an alien ship; they were taken up in beams of light! It’s unlikely they were whisked to an IHOP. Second, this is good news because Felicity and Curtis can use the piece of the Dominators’ ship Cisco has to track them.
“We’re gonna hack alien tech. This is seriously the best day of my entire life!” Curtis crows.
Back in the dream, Thea gives Oliver a pre-rehearsal-dinner gift of a hōzen, an arrowhead symbolizing reconnecting. And yes, it’s the reverse of the pilot scene in which Oliver gave Thea the hōzen to symbolize their reconnection.
Oh, you thought that was bittersweet? How about when the Queen parents walk into the room, full of love and praise for their grown children? “You’re practically a completely different person. You both are,” Moira says.
Save your tears. If you cry now, you’ll be dehydrated by the end of the hour.
Next, we cut to Sara, arriving at the Queen manse and greeting Laurel with a huge hug — but things are off. Laurel’s canary necklace makes Sara jump as if electrocuted. Oliver hugs Laurel and is confused by a flash of her as she appeared in her hospital deathbed. The skyline boasts a large building with Smoak Technologies emblazoned across it, which doesn’t sit well with any of the dream intruders, although they’re not sure why.
Oliver brushes it off, though, and he and Robert have a heart-to-heart about Oliver’s future. Robert’s about to become mayor, and he needs Oliver to step in as his CEO at Queen Consolidated, lest Walter Steele or Ray Palmer seize control. As they debate, a thug demands their watches, wallets, and phones at gunpoint. Then a hood-wearing, arrow-wielding vigilante drops out of the sky to save them.
NEXT: Oliver bids farewell to his old life