Last week’s episode of Arrow saw Mia, William and Connor travel back in time, where they came face to face with a younger Dinah, Rene, Diggle and Oliver. But as far as reunions go, this one isn’t quite as smooth as expected. In episode 8.04 “Present Tense”, the parents adjust to brand new information, even though the children hold onto secrets that could ultimately change history.
When William, Mia and Connor appeared out of thin air, many might have expected a teary reunion between them and their parents, and while that is true on William’s part, Mia is having a much tougher time getting used to the idea of being with her father. Connor on the other hand approaches John, the only man he has known as a father, but who has no idea yet that he would adopt Connor in the future.
The trio’s arrival not only forces Oliver to tell Dinah and Rene the truth about Felicity’s pregnancy and their reason for leaving Star City to protect their daughter from harm, it also causes them to table any conversations about the Monitor for the time being and explore why their children have been sent back 20 years.
William uses the newfound time with his father to catch him up on his life, and to properly come out to him as gay, a chance his younger self never had. Oliver said that he and Felicity knew, and were hoping he would one day feel comfortable enough to tell them. Mia, very much her father’s daughter, refuses to let Oliver get close to her and proposes that they won’t share any information about the past with their families – especially not about Zoe’s death at the hands of JJ Diggle.
The team’s internal unrest is interrupted when a bomb is detonated in Starling General hospital, and brings with it a return of Deathstroke. This causes Curtis and Laurel to come back to town. Mia thinks the Deathstroke is JJ, who has followed them to the past, and decides they should investigate the matter solo. They trace the Deathstroke back to an empty space where they first began their operation and promptly find a body.
Mia, also very much her mother’s daughter, steps on a bomb, as they come face to face with the man in question, who turns out to be Grant Wilson, Slade’s other son, and in their timeline the originator and leader of the Deathstroke gang for whom JJ would eventually take over. Oliver, Dinah and Laurel come to the rescue, having tracked the victim and everyone is able to escape safely.
However, back at the bunker Oliver confronts Mia about the solo mission, who fires back that he gave up the right to question her actions when he left her as a child. The children finally reveal the truth about the future of Star City, JJ’s reign of terror and Zoe’s death. William also tells them about Rene’s run as mayor, which inspires him to fight even harder for the Glades during his campaign, and the Canary Network, which Laurel and Dinah start working on immediately.
After Laurel talks Mia out of killing Grant Wilson to disrupt the current timeline, the whole team agrees that the other man needs to be stopped. With all hands on deck, Team Arrow is able to apprehend Grant, who is taken to Blackgate Penitentiary – but is that enough to stop the rise of the Deathstrokes and with it JJ’s move to the dark side in the future?
With the children sticking around for a while, Oliver decides to make amends. He takes Mia to his father’s grave and opens up about his own fractured relationships with his parents. It may be a small moment between the two of them, but it is nonetheless meaningful, as it is the first time Mia has shown vulnerability with her father.
In the final moments of the episode, Curtis tells Oliver that he might have a lead on the Monitor’s identity and equipment, but the catch is that they have to go to Russia to investigate it. On the other side of town, Laurel finds herself approached by the Monitor himself, who offers to restore her whole world. But in return, she must betray Oliver Queen.
Nothing ever comes easy on Arrow, so why would a reunion between Oliver and his grown children be any different? It’s an incredibly clever way for the series to give audiences screen time between Oliver and the daughter he never got to raise, and for him to contribute to her life in some way – it will be interesting to see them try and build a relationship based on their shared trauma.
Sadly, good things never last long in Star City.
Catch Arrow Tuesdays 9/8ct on The CW.
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