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Returning from mid-season hiatus, the first two episodes of Arrow heat-up the fight between Green Arrow (Stephen Amell) and the team led by Cayden James (Michael Emerson) who is so overconfident after fracturing Team Arrow he reveals the full roster of baddies under his control before hijacking Star City’s infrastructure and holding it for ransom to the tune of $10 million a day. The episodes also reveals James’ reasoning for attacking Oliver’s city, although it appears the villain is blaming the wrong bow-and-arrow wielder for the death of son. Despite bending to the terrorist’s demands, the latest piece of information may offer Oliver an out if it turns our he can’t defeat the villain as either the mayor or its hooded vigilante.

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IF ARROW WAS HONEST

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The four-part crossover concludes with the death of one of the Legends (helping the show write off the character of Firestorm which it never learned to use properly), the arrival of the other Legends (better late than never), and our heroes’ return to Earth-One for a final confrontation with the Earth-X invaders. Keeping half the Legends in reserve until the final episode does help boost our heroes numbers in the final episode, but is a disservice to Ray (Brandon Routh) who, given his tenure in the Arrowverse, certainly draws the shortest straw this time around. The death of Stein (Victor Garber) is hardly surprising, but how he is kept alive from his critical wounds at the beginning of the episode, and his sacrifice, both work well.

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Things are looking pretty bleak for our heroes at the beginning of “Part 3” (and aren’t a whole hell of a lot better by the end). Most of our leads are captured and imprisoned on Earth-X, the Reverse-Flash (Tom Cavanagh) is preparing to carve out Supergirl‘s (Melissa Benoist) heart, and Cisco (Carlos Valdes), Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker), and the Arrow B-team are trapped in the particle accelerator. Enter Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller). Well, a new version at least (complete with his comic book trademark glasses the previous Earth-One Cold was too cool to wear). We also get a new hero in the Ray (Russell Tovey), a grizzled General Winn Schott (Jeremy Jordan), and a last-ditch plan for our heroes to make it back to their Earth before it is too late.

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“Part 2” of the four-part crossover focuses on the fallout of Barry (Grant Gustin) and Iris‘ (Candice Patton) wedding and the explanation of who the villains from Earth-X are and what they want on Earth-One. While our heroes manage to push back the Nazis in “Part One,” the second episode offers a counterpunch from the evil dopplegangers (whose identities seemed fairly obvious to everyone except, apparently, our heroes). Heavier on action than the first episode, there are still smaller conversations shoehorned in here and there to give those not in the fray something to do. “Part 2” also offers small cameos to Arrow‘s B-team who arrive to provide support against the Nazi horde.

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Unlike last year’s crossover, which tailored each episode to that particular cast, “Crisis on Earth-X” begins in earnest with jumping us right into the action and introducing (nearly) all our characters at once. This time around it feels much more like a cohesive crossover (and Supergirl gets to be in the action from the beginning). The focus on “Part 1” is primarily to get all our characters to Central City in time for Barry (Grant Gustin) and Iris‘ (Candice Patton) wedding. We get their wedding reception, various drama between Oliver (Stephen Amell) and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and Jackson (Franz Drameh) and Stein (Victor Garber), and wedding crashers in the form of the crossover’s big bad villains – Nazis from Earth-X.

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Oliver (Stephen Amell) leaves Star City with Deathstroke (Manu Bennett), traveling halfway around the world to help Slade rescue his son from prison. Things become complicated when the learn the boy has been killed by a powerful crime syndicate and even more complicated after discovering Joe (Liam Hall) is not only alive but the head of the Jackals. Reunited only to discover his son has followed in his murderous footsteps, Slade will have to make some hard choices – especially after Joe’s men capture Oliver and serve him up to Deathstroke.

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Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) faces attacks on two sides in “Tribute.” First, the release of a photograph of him as Green Arrow creates a media frenzy around the Mayor of Star City, creates trouble for his son at school, and launches a FBI investigation into his life. And second, the reappearance of Anatoly Knyazev (David Nykl) is problematic with the Bratva soldier and his men kidnap visiting dignitaries and hold them for ransom. The episode B-story also finally delves into just what’s wrong with Diggle (David Ramsey) since his return from Lian Yu.

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Despite choosing to end the flashbacks into Oliver Queen‘s (Stephen Amell) lost years before his rescue and return home, the new season of Arrow can’t quite resist an entire new set of flashbacks to fill out the season premiere. Opening five months after the death of Prometheus and the explosions on Lian Yu, “Fallout” gradually fills in some of the gaps of what happened to various characters. Despite explosions on the entire island, the only casualty turned out to be William’s mother (Anna Hopkins) who appears in an awfully clunky death scene just long enough for Oliver to promise to take care of William (Jack Moore). Thea (Willa Holland) may be temporarily stuck in a coma, likely until sweeps, the rest of the team comes back in one piece (more or less).

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Green Arrow‘s road trip finally leads him back to his former hard traveling companion. Needing help to get into space to check out the Ninth’s Circle secret satellite, Ollie calls on his old pal Hal Jordan. Writer Benjamin Percy certainly has fun bringing this argumentative pair back together for one more road trip.

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