Around and around and around and around we go. In this week’s episode of Arrow, “Reset”, Oliver finds himself stuck in a time loop that only he can break – by accepting his own fate and that his death is inevitable.
Following Laurel’s reveal that Lyla had been working with the Monitor and the subsequently fired tranq darts on the roof, Oliver awakes in his apartment with no recollection of how he got there. He also has no memory of what happened to himself, John and Laurel after they were dosed on the roof. What he wakes up to is his children urging him to get ready for a function he cannot remember.
At the gala, Oliver quickly realises things are not as they were before the team was dosed – he runs into Quentin Lance, who is very much alive and representing Star City as its major. Suddenly a hostage situation arises at SCPD, and the perp requests a meeting with the major. Quentin and Oliver take on the perp at SCPD, but are ultimately unable to stop the other man from activating a hidden explosive – which is exactly when Oliver wakes up.
Oliver once again finds himself back at his apartment, waking up to his children chatting about Big Belly Burger. He realises he is caught In a Groundhog Day situation, which will end with himself and Quentin dying over and over again. In order to stop the time-loop, Oliver tries to open up to Quentin, who actually believes him.
This time, when Oliver and Quentin receive the call about a hostage situation at SCPD, Oliver goes searching for the hidden bomb and promptly runs into Laurel who is also stuck in the time loop but was unaware of her father’s resurrection. They are unable to stop the bomb, and Oliver once again wakes up in his apartment.
During their third run, Laurel and Oliver are able to deactivate the bomb in time, but it doesn’t cause them to return to their normal lives. Instead, Quentin is shot dead and the time loop starts all over – saving Quentin’s life is the key to breaking the cycle.
In their fourth run, Oliver opens up to John, who believes him and helps him gain access to ARGUS resources. Oliver and Laurel track the bomb down to an abandoned building, where they hope to get a lead on who is trying to kill Quentin. The building is rigged, and when the bomb in it isn’t enough to kill Quentin, Lyla appears out of thin air and shoots him, once again restarting the time loop.
When Quentin dies for the fifth time, Laurel is finally able to say her goodbyes. Knowing this is what she always wanted she tells Oliver that she can’t keep helping him with the time loop, so when he awakens next, Laurel has vanished. Instead he faces Lyla in the foundry who tells him the only way to end the time loop is to accept the inevitable, but Oliver continues to fight and struggles to accept Quentin’s death.
It is only after Quentin dies for the sixth time (by sacrificing himself) that Oliver starts to feel resignation, and that maybe he can’t fight the Monitor. Trying to make peace with his fate he bids Quentin an emotional goodbye before the other man is whisked off to the hostage situation at SCPD, where he will lose his life.
Finally, Oliver finds himself once again facing Lyla, asking why the Monitor went through all this trouble. She answers that the alien had to make sure Oliver was ready, and that all the missions he went on so far did contribute to that. The Monitor has also given Oliver more time with his family as a reward. Lyla claims that Oliver has to go on one final mission before the crisis, and he, Laurel, John, Connor and William wake up on Lian Yu.
Catch Arrow Tuesdays at 9/8c on The CW.
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