*Warning this review contains spoilers for Season 7 Episode 16 of Arrow*
After a few lackluster episodes, Arrow season 7 is back on track. The episode returns Arrow to its former glory that it used to be before it returned from break. This episode is bold, nuanced, and packed full of amazing action sequences. The production level is not quite movie level, however, it does seem above most other television shows considering its budget. It just seems more care and time were put into developing this episode. The directing and acting were both amazing and it does a great job moving the story along.
One of the reasons this episode works so well is that it only has one storyline. Focusing on one storyline gave the episode more time to breathe and it seemed more satisfying when it wrapped up. Oppose to the normal episodes of Arrow where there are three to four storylines going on at once and none of them seem fully fleshed out. This episode committed to one storyline, and a great one at that. This plot was one of the most well thought out and exciting I’ve ever seen on the show. To breaking into the city, infiltrating the tech company, and crashing the bomb launch, all of it was perfectly done.
The acting in this episode was also stellar. There was not one cast member who didn’t carry their weight. The older members of the show really leveled up their performances while the new members brought a new sense of energy to the episode. Ben Lewis and Katherine McNamara have great chemistry together and really make a great duo. Also, Raj Paul as Kevin Dale gave a surprisingly charismatic performance as the shows new villain. Finally, I have to give a special shoutout to Emily Bett Rickards who did an amazing job as older Felicity. Not only did she look older, but Rickards gave an older, more sophisticated performance.
As far as the production level goes on this episode, it was truly amazing. It seemed the people making this episode just cared more. While the set design, acting, and story are all very impressive, the real star of this episode is director James Bamford. He is one of the best directors currently working on the Arrowverse. Bamford always finds a way to elevate the material and turn it up to an 11. He can deliver some killer action sequences. The scene at the end where Mia goes up against Dale’s guards was amazing. It was so well directed and kudos to Katherine McNamara for really selling it.
The set design in this episode was also spot on. The glades gave me serious Maze Runner vibes and that’s impressive that a tv show can even compare. Also, the end sequence at the crazy Mardi Gras party was a very unique and impressive location. So often the sets on the Arrowverse shows seem repetitive so it was nice to see such a welcome change. I really hope they continue these standards not only for the rest of Arrow but for all the Arrowverse shows.
Overall, this was a fantastic episode of Arrow. To be honest, I can’t even think of any major complaints. The production and set design were top notch bringing a sense of nuance to the show. The plot was thrilling and was given plenty of time to play out. Every member of the cast brought their A game in terms of acting. The action sequences in this episode were some of the best in the season and director James Bamford was one of the greatest things to ever happen to the show. There are rumors that the CW is developing a spin-off based on these future characters. If that’s true and it is even half as good as this episode was, I’m in.