ARROW 7.16 Review “Star City 2040”

... I want to be Mia Smoak when I grow up.

This post contains spoilers for Arrow.
Check out our last review here.

After years of mediocre flashbacks, it’s so weird to have an episode separate from the main story that packs such a punch. “Star City 2040” does exactly what it says on the package. We head to the future to follow Mia and William’s adventure to save their mother and, eventually, the city. Connor Hawke drops in along the way to back up his not-so-young Young Justice-esque band of friends, as do Black Canary, Arsenal, and Zoey (codename currently unknown outside from her being a Canary).

There are so many layers to this week’s episode. There’s the top layer of melodrama between Felicity and her children, and Rene and Zoey that keeps your attention throughout. Underneath that is a story about legacy, and even further still is the classic “us vs. them” mentality. Each part of the plot has a purpose, and there are plenty of scenes with Mia kicking everyone’s ass to satisfy those who might want more punch than plot in their Arrow episodes.

Zoey and Mia spend much of the episode struggling with who their parents have become. While Mia’s right to be furious at her mother’s lies, Zoey’s got a little bit more of a leg to stand on. Earlier flash forwards have already illustrated how far Rene’s fallen, but some real-talk with his incredibly smart and talented daughter brings the Mayor of the Glades around. Mia doesn’t give in so easily because, as the episode points out countless times, she is very much the daughter of one Oliver Queen.

Though we didn’t go through the separation or any of the fall of Star City just yet, there’s tangible relief in the reunion of Team Arrow. That emotion can be felt from Dinah and Felicity’s embrace, all the way to the “oh, ps, here’s Oliver and I’s daughter! Whoops!”. There are eventually even a couple of emotional moments between Felicity and Mia, but nothing compares to the moment when she sees her son again for the first time in over twenty years.

Team Arrow has more than one legacy. There’s the one that they created with their heroism (which also happens to the be the one that’s currently being tarnished by bold faced lies), and then there’s the legacy of their children. Connor and Mia have a fight about being the children of heroes. The former had a chance to realize that his demands on his father to care about him more than the city were selfish because he was given a choice, and knew what had been going on his whole life.  Mia had it all thrust on her at once. But, no matter what pace they find themselves ready at, Zoey, Mia, Connor and William all grew up heroes in their own right.

Finally, there’s the “us vs. them” through line. You might have noticed a giant ass wall in this episode. It’s not meant to be subtle, and it’s calling out exactly what you think it is. The Glades may have risen from the ashes, but it’s still being run by the same monsters who thought they could run Star City and failed because of the vigilantes that protected it. Team Arrow defended their city with everything they had, but we saw them fail The Glades time after time. We don’t know exactly what went down just yet, but when things get bad folks will do whatever it takes to save their families. The rich and powerful have been preying on that since the beginning of time. Slap a well-known figure in the Mayor’s chair and bam! You have an entire city eating out of the palm of your hand.

The narrative cherry on top of “Star City 2040” is the reveal that Felicity created Archer. Like I said, scared folks can do some dumb things when they’re trying to protect their families, and sometimes big brains don’t realize just how dangerous they can be until it’s too late. Unfortunately, we’ll be taking a little bit of a break from all of the interesting tidbits going on in the future, and with Felicity’s deeply dangerous new toy to focus on Emiko. My one hope is that we’ll at least start to see the foundation for “The Canaries” start to be built as a notably future-absent Black Siren works to take down Oliver’s shady sis.

Comments section’s waiting if you had thoughts on this week’s episode!