Jack Rowand/The CW
Arrow took a trip to the future in tonight’s “Star City 4040.” While the hour — which was written by Beth Schwartz and Oscar Balderrama, and directed by MVP James Bamford — didn’t shed any light on what Star City’s warehouses look like in the future (disappointing me, and probably only me), it did answer some questions about Mia’s childhood and saw Team Arrow rise once again to stop a terrorist attack on the cursed city they love so much.
We begin nine months in the future at a secluded and picturesque house in the middle of the forest. Bamford’s camera smoothly glides through the halls as a woman’s shrieks of pain are heard in a distant room. Eventually, the camera enters the upstairs bedroom, and we see Oliver comforting Felicity through her home birth. And from here, there are some questions: Why did Oliver and Felicity decide to have their baby in this secret home instead of at a hospital? Does the situation in the present get that bad within the next few months that they’re forced to go into hiding even before Mia is born? Obviously, we know that their plan to save Star City fails, but who knew it would happen so quickly.
From there, we’re treated to a pretty cool montage that follows Mia through the years as she trains with Nyssa in the backyard. Honestly, this was probably my favorite part of the episode. Even though Katrina Law has very little dialogue, it was just kind of comforting to have her back and to watch her teach her ex(?)-husband’s daughter. Once Mia is grown, Nyssa believes she’s finally ready to wield her father’s weapon of choice and she presents her with a brand new bow and arrow set.
Of course, this training montage raises one question that has plagued the flash-forwards since they began: What happened to Oliver? The episode never answers this question, but his absence from Mia’s training definitely supports the theory that he dies sometime in the future. (The other evidence of his impending death is the fact that Arrow is ending in the fall and that Oliver made a deal with the Monitor at the end of “Elseworlds” that is guaranteed to play a role in “Crisis on Infinite Earths.”) While I understand the show can’t confirm Oliver’s fate so early, it’s still somewhat frustrating and distracting to hear everyone talk around him throughout the entire episode.
Mia and Felicity’s seemingly calm life in the woods is disrupted by the leading cause of drama on Arrow: lying. One night, Mia discovers that her mother isn’t just managing Smoak Technologies from their home; she also has a secret lair where she’s been hacking away, like the good ol’ days, to take down some corrupt company that involves Rene and Kevin Dale. Mia is pissed that her mother’s been lying to her and ends up running away because she now believes that vigilantism ruined their lives. So Mia escapes to Star City and uses Nyssa’s training to become Blackstar.
From there, we jump ahead an undisclosed amount of time and we find Mia and William scaling the wall of the Glades. Meanwhile, Roy, Dinah, and Zoe, who are still trying to find the bombs, receive a visit from an angry Rene. The Glades’ mayor explains that he’s working with Galaxy One to blow up Star City because he wants to rebuild it in the Glades’ image (how very Damien Darhk of them!). Apparently, Galaxy One has assured him that it will evacuate the city before any bombs go off, though. The team rightfully points out that Rene is being na?ve if he believes that Galaxy One — which is a front for something called Eden Corps — actually cares about saving the citizens before the bombs go off. But, Rene ignores them.
The next day, Mia and William follow Felicity’s coordinates to Galaxy One headquarters, where they end up running into Connor Hawke, who is apparently an agent of Knightwatch, a.k.a. “The good version of A.R.G.U.S.” With his help, the three of them infiltrate the sub-basement and free Felicity from her cell. William and Felicity share a tear-filled and truly moving reunion. The same can’t be said of Mia and Felicity, though, because Mia is pissed to learn that her mother wants to stay behind to disarm the bombs instead of fleeing with her.
“Typical, you would rather play hero than do what’s best for your daughter,” says Mia, to which Felicity replies, “Being a hero means choosing other people’s safety above your own, including your family.”
While Mia hangs back to argue with Connor, with whom she’s still pissed for lying, William and Felicity reunite with Dinah, Zoe, and Roy, all of whom show up to help out, and dive further into Galaxy One to find the bombs. Connor, who confesses that he genuinely cares for her, eventually convinces Mia to join the rest of the team in disarming the bombs. Unfortunately, it turns out that Galaxy One has already placed the bombs and they’re set to go off during some Glades celebration in 38 minutes. Luckily, though, Rene, who found out that there wasn’t an evacuation plan for Star City, saw the light and is now going to help them stop the Undertaking 2.0.
So, the team throws on some robes and masks and joins some creepy Glades celebration. Mia spots Dale in the crowd and pursues him. However, he lures her into a trap filled with many armed guards. But that’s no problem for the Daughter of Oliver Queen, who effortlessly and badassily takes them all out in a standout action sequence. With that done, Mia chases after Dale and with an assist from the team, she manages to shoot an electronic cube that controls the bombs out his hand, thereby destroying it and disarming all of the bombs.
Unfortunately, they aren’t out of the woods yet. Galaxy One still wants to find a way to destroy Star City so that it can take the ARCHER system global. So, Rene blames the ruckus at the party on Arsenal, Dinah, and The Calculator (a.k.a. Felicity) in order to save face and help them take the evil organization down from the inside. And it looks like Galaxy One is upping its game now because they’re going to use a fancy and scary-looking helmet to achieve their goals.
But, it’s not all bad news because something good comes out of all of this: a rapprochement between mother and daughter. In the wake of all the action, Felicity apologizes to Mia for everything and Mia admits that her hatred of vigilantes comes from her hatred of her mother. That’s starting to change now as Mia understands it must’ve been hard to have the city turn on both her and Oliver(!!!). Mia asks Felicity if her desire to take down Galaxy One has anything to do with Oliver, but Felicity says no. It turns out she wants to destroy Galaxy One because she created ARCHER, which we already suspected, and now regrets it and wants to stop Galaxy One from gaining too much power when it goes global. In the words of Ultron, we always create the thing we dread.
Overall, this was a perfectly fine episode of the show. I’m still not sure what the point of the flash-forwards is, but throwing Felicity into the mix definitely helped elevate them. I have a feeling I’ll end up changing how I feel about this episode once we see where it all leads.
Wall of Weird:
- Roy displays some anger issues in this episode, which adds more fuel to the fire that is our desire to know why he isolated himself on Lian Yu. Did he end up taking a dip in a Lazarus Pit during his time away?
- Felicity’s ARCHER system is basically Arrow’s version of the Brother Eye system Batman created in the comics to monitor metahumans. Spoiler alert: That didn’t turn out well for anybody, both times he did it.
- How does Emiko fit into the flashforwards? Does she at all?