‘Arrow’ 7×19 “Spartan” Review

*Warning this episode contains SPOILERS for season 7 episode 19 of Arrow

Season 7 episode 19 of Arrow centers around Diggle. John Diggle, aka Spartan, has been a main character on Arrow since season 1, however, despite spending around seven seasons with the character, the show has never really explored his past. Now while there are many reveals about Diggle’s past throughout, the episode never fully explores it. That being said, this is a very well crafted episode. The story and script all feel like they were well thought out. Also, this episode has a secret weapon and his name is Ernie Hudson.

I knew this episode was going to be good from the very beginning. The opening scene with Oliver and Diggle in the alley was just perfect. You could watch this episode just for that scene alone. Sometimes Arrow just gets it right. While the rest of the episode wasn’t able to live up to the amazing opening scene, its still a very solid episode.

The main storyline involving Diggle and his stepdad was very interesting. I also loved how the side storyline with Felicity and Archer flowed seamlessly into the main storyline. The one weak point in this episode was the villains. At this point, the Ninth Circle is way too underdeveloped. The villains just aren’t compelling and we still don’t even know what the Ninth Circle really is. And I do not want to have to sit through another redemption arch with Emiko, it’s just been done way too many times.

This episode gets a serious boost from the acting. All the main cast members once again did a fantastic job. David Ramsey has truly been a gift to this show. He is one of the few actors who always brings their A-game each episode. Emily Bett Rickards continues to do a great job with Felicity. The one moment when the Ninth Circle invades her apartment and she attempts to shoot the leader. It just showed that she was willing to do whatever it takes to defend herself and others.

Speaking of powerful women, Sea Shimooka as Emiko, while she doesn’t have a lot of screentime, she still made an impression. While her character is very underdeveloped, both her brutality and ferocity still make her a good enough villain. The scene in the end when Emiko is brutally killing Dante was one of the best parts of the episode. And of course, the standout in this episode was Ernie Hudson. Sometimes when famous actors join the Arrowverse, they phone it in for a quick paycheck, however, that was not the case with Hudson.

The flash-forwards were also done very well in this episode. Katherine McNamara and Joseph David-Jones have great chemistry together. However, the whole thing with Galaxy One and those vigilante killers were all really confusing. Its also really hard to keep track of all the evil organizations going on at one point.

You have the Ninth Circle, Galaxy One, Smoak Tech, Archer, and every single one of them are underdeveloped. They also had some big reveals, like one of Diggle’s son became Deathstroke. While it was a cool reveal, they never really did anything with it. You would think that Diggle’s son taking up the Deathstroke mantel would be a big story point, but it wasn’t.

The directing in this episode was pretty solid. Director Avi Youabian does a surprisingly good job despite this being his first directing gig in the Arrowverse. While this episode isn’t perfect Youabian nails the most important parts. Even if your whole episode isn’t great, you want to make sure you have a great beginning and a great ending.

This episode had a great beginning with its amazing opening scene, and it also had a strong ending.  Youabian is also able to deliver some really great action sequences throughout the episode. This episode also had some great sets as well. Particularly the opening scene, however, there are a number of good sets and locations.

Overall, this was a very solid episode. It was very well put together containing a lot of good reveals and action sequences. The main storyline involving Diggle was very interesting and even the future storyline had good moments. This episode, of course, gets a boost from its amazing cast with the standout being Ernie Hudson. While this show continues to feature great female characters, it also continues to suffer from underdeveloped villains. Nonetheless, this episode was very enjoyable, and if you don’t feel like watching the whole thing, at least tune in for the opening scene.

Score: 8.5/10

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