The DCTV universe is approaching what might just be its most monumental week ever. Aside from the upcoming, massive 4-show crossover event, the week will also feature the premiere of the 100th episode of Arrow, the series that effectively started it all. While the episode will be taking place within the Invasion! crossover storyline with The Flash, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow as well, some key story details have been revealed from the episode over the past few weeks, and will feature the return of a number of the show's most notable former cast members.
Already confirmed to be returning are Robert and Moira Queen (Jamey Sheridan and Susanna Thompson), Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy), and Slade Wilson/Deathstroke (Manu Bennett), as Oliver wakes up to a life in which he never got onboard the Queen's Gambit for the fateful trip that left him exiled from Star City for five years, before returning as the Green Arrow. According to star Stephen Amell too, it'll be unlike any other episode of the show so far.
Speaking with TVLine, Amell talked about the episode's format, and why it allows for Arrow to momentarily adopt an entirely different feel and structure than all of the previous 99 episodes. Thanks to it being part of a crossover event, the series is able to organically inject some of the more fantastical elements of The Flash, Supergirl, and even Legends of Tomorrow into its story:
“It is such a radical departure from anything that we have ever done on the show. We utilize the fantastical elements that we bring in on The Flash and carry through to Legends of Tomorrow with the present-day storyline to create something… that is not a flashback [or] a flash-forward. It’s something else entirely.”
According to Amell, it's not just the influence of the other DCTV shows that allows the episode to truly flourish though, but the return of so many of the show's important past stars and characters as well:
"[It] basically gives us license to do whatever we want, and to show some things that we’ll never be able to show, to have some characters interact that will never be able to interact on the show again — probably.”
Of course, with Oliver either having directly witnessed or somehow being involved in the deaths of Laurel, Robert, and Moira, it makes sense that seeing them again could cause a bit of a personal crisis for Oliver, once he realizes his idealized life is nothing more than a fantasy. Apparently, along the way however, Oliver may be able to find some closure with the ones he's lost:
“There [is] a very therapeutic moment for my character towards the end [of the Arrow episode] where I get to say goodbye to people that I never got the chance to say goodbye to."
In addition to being a milestone moment for Arrow, it also seems like the 100th episode is going to fit in extremely well with the season's major themes. So far, the entirety of season five has been dedicated to bringing Oliver's story full circle. Whether it be by bringing in a villain that's a byproduct of his earlier actions in the series with Prometheus, having him resort back to his killing ways, or even bringing the flashbacks to his five-year exile to a close, there's been a real sense of maturity and growth in this season of Arrow so far, giving it a much-needed kickstart after its two previous, lackluster seasons.
As it were, a number of Arrow's best moments and episodes to date, have revolved around Oliver either losing a loved one ("Seeing Red"), or coming to terms with his loss of them ("Three Ghosts"). So by following Oliver as he enjoys a life with both his parents still alive, on the verge of marrying Laurel, "Invasion!" should prove to be an interesting and introspective change-of-pace for the series - as Oliver has to learn to live with his decisions over the past five years since returning home, including the achievements he's accomplished, and the people and opportunities he's had to say goodbye to. If the episode manages to live up to its full potential, then this could just be yet another step in this becoming one of Arrow's best seasons to date.
Arrow continues on November 30 with its 100th episode, which is also part of the ‘Invasion!’ Arrowverse crossover event.