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Spoilers ahead for Episode 6 of Arrow Season 8, called "Reset."
The countdown to the Arrow-verse's "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover is on, with less than two weeks left before the first leg of the five-part event kicks off on The CW. Arrow has spent most of its eighth and final season so far building to the crossover thanks to The Monitor coming to collect on his deal with Oliver at the end of the Season 7 finale.
At the beginning of the season, the mission seemed straightforward: carry out side missions for The Monitor for eight weeks until it was crossover time. Then there was the possibility that The Monitor was bringing about the Crisis, and now Arrow dropped another reveal. The end result? I'm confused about why this is the way Arrow is spending the final episodes of its final season.
In "Reset," The Monitor was seemingly toying with Oliver and Laurel by sticking them in a Groundhog Day-esque scenario in which they had to watch Quentin Lance die over and over again, while Lyla watched and her friends dealt with the idea that she'd betrayed them. Oliver initially believed The Monitor was punishing them for not playing by his rules; by the end of the episode, he came to the realization that it wasn't a punishment. The scenario was The Monitor rewarding Laurel for not turning on Oliver, and teaching Oliver that he needs to stop fighting his fate.
While Oliver wasn't thrilled that The Monitor went the extra mile to drill it into his head that resistance is more or less futile, he did seem to have his head on straight again and accept that The Monitor had been testing and strengthening him on these various missions throughout Season 8. He has accepted his fate, The Monitor is one of the good guys rather than the one trying to kickstart the Crisis himself, and everything seems pretty well set up for the crossover to begin on December 8. Honestly, it's hard to guess what's going to happen in the next episode other than the return of Yao Fei.
So, why am I confused? It's certainly not that Arrow and the Arrow-verse bamboozled me into believing that The Monitor and not The Anti-Monitor was the baddie trying to destroy infinite Earths, as I've read the "Crisis on Infinite Earths" arc from DC Comics. No, I'm confused because the latest reveal feels like a proof that Arrow has been taking a step back for every step forward all season, and Oliver isn't in a very different place at the end of Episode 6 than he was at the end of Episode 1. And there are only ten episodes in Season 8!
Yes, his kids did travel back in time to hang out with their dad as adults, and that's definitely new. But Oliver started the season believing he needs to die to stop the Crisis, and he now has returned to the conclusion that he needs to die to stop the Crisis. This is the very last season of the show that started the entire Arrow-verse for The CW, and it deserved to be something spectacular.
I won't go so far as to refer to these episodes of The Monitor testing Oliver as "filler," but I was hoping and expecting more development by this point. There are only four episodes of Arrow left, with one episode as the Arrow leg of "Crisis on Infinite Earths" and another episode as the backdoor pilot for the spinoff, which won't feature Oliver at all. That means fans have one episode of pre-Crisis Oliver and then the series finale to wrap things up to match how Arrow said goodbye to Felicity at the end of Season 7.
Since Emily Bett Rickards is reprising her role for the series finale, we can probably count on a somewhat happy ending for Oliver, as I have a hard time believing the series will end on a huge downer after giving Oliver heartbreak after heartbreak over a span of 13 years. Hopefully Arrow clears things up for me in the best way. After all, I was pleasantly surprised by the Season 8 premiere, which is responsible for leading me to the conclusion that the "Crisis" crossover will be fantastic rather than drowning in cameos, and the latest episode of The Flash proved that I can admit when I'm wrong.