Arrow, CW’s long-running Green Arrow series, is in the sixth episode of its final season, “Reset.” After last week’s episode saw Team Arrow visit Russia one final time to say farewell to old friends and to find plans to stop the Monitor, the episode was left on a cliffhanger. Deciding not to betray her friends, Laurel (Katie Cassidy-Rodgers) decided to tell Oliver (Stephen Amell) and Diggle (David Ramsey) the truth about Lyla (Audrey Marie Anderson) ‘s involvement with the Monitor. When it looked like heated words were about to be exchanged, the three members of Team Arrow were knocked unconscious.
In “Reset,” Oliver wakes up in his apartment just as though the events of last week’s cliffhanger never happened at all, leaving the Emerald Archer incredibly disorientated and confused. Mia (Katherine McNamara), William (Ben Lewis) and Connor (Joseph David-Jones) tell Oliver that there was a misunderstanding between everyone and Lyla and that he’s late for a meeting at Town Hall. Being reassured that this is once again the case by Diggle and Lyla, Oliver then proceeds to be re-introduced to the mayor of Star City – Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne).
Just like the previous episodes this season, Episode 6 focuses on Season 6 of Arrow in which Laurel began her redemption arc with the help of her father Quentin who died to save her life in that season finale. It was Quentin’s death that also pushed Oliver into finally outing himself as the Green Arrow and handing himself over to the FBI. Once again, Quentin’s return is an opportunity to celebrate one of the most beloved characters in the show while also having importance to this season’s arc. Paul Blackthorne is a phenomenal actor and shines at his brightest when acting alongside Stephen Amell and Katie Cassidy-Rodgers, with ‘Reset’ being a love-letter to their characters’ relationships.
If Quentin being alive wasn’t enough of a red alarm, it becomes clear after dying in an explosion and waking up again in the exact same spot as earlier that Oliver is in a time-loop. As we see the events repeated a few times, Laurel shows up and begins to explain how she is also trapped along with Oliver.
There are a few Bill Murray and Edge of Tomorrow jokes littered throughout, which makes sense when using the ‘time-loop’ narrative for your story. But rather than focus on the potential possible outcomes for each ‘reset’, the story instead focuses on Laurel and Oliver’s current struggles. With David Ramsey directing this episode, it’s clear that he had a very specific vision for what should be focused on – after having spent so much time in this world and with these characters, it’s actually rather refreshing to see this spin on the concept.
Lyla’s machinations during the resets finally alert Laurel and Oliver to what is actually happening. Rather than punishing them for going against his personal wishes, The Monitor instead is giving both a gift – for Laurel, that gift comes in the form of being able to finally thank her father for helping her become a hero. For Oliver, it’s acceptance – following on from the Season 6 theme, instead of having to surrender himself to authorities, Oliver learns he needs to surrender himself to fate.
Watching both these realizations occur is utterly heartbreaking, thanks to the performances by the core three actors. Much like many of the previous-long term character actors, Paul Blackthorne fitted right back into Quentin’s shoes and it’s devastating that we don’t get to see him as much as we’d want to for the rest of the season.
Once again, I have to commend the writers for the excellent approach to the final season of Arrow. Every single character reappearance and story beat feels both earned and makes sense to the narrative of Oliver’s final story. Stephen Amell mentioned how the cast and crew wanted to bring their all this season and that’s reflected in the episodes themselves. A tremendous job from all involved.
Overall, “Reset” is a fantastic episode of Arrow which brings back a beloved character in an earnest fashion, while also adding that emotional weight to Pre-Crisis.
“The only way to win is to accept the inevitable.”
Arrow airs every Tuesday at 8 PM CT/9 PM ET on the CW.