Arrow Season 8 Episode 7 Review: Purgatory

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We learned a while ago that Lian Yu is Mandarin for purgatory. If you did not think that was a fitting name for the island that held Oliver Queen captive for five years, you surely do now.

A return to the island reawakened a few of the demons Oliver formed during his time there -- literally and figuratively.

Demons aside, Arrow Season 8 Episode 7 was the show's last installment before the highly anticipated crossover -- Crisis on Infinite Earths. Did it live up to expectations?

Green Arrow - Arrow Season 8 Episode 7

Oliver had finally accepted his destiny to die in the Crisis, but that did not mean that everyone else had as well.

On Lian Yu, Oliver had plenty of emotional conversations with pretty much everyone who has made a difference in his life these past eight years -- minus Felicity of course.

The name of the island they found me on is Lian Yu. It's Mandarin for purgatory, now I understand why. The memories, the pain, I've never escaped them. They're always with me, a reminder of what I had to endure. With only one thought, one goal -- survive. To save the multiverse, I must become something else. To do that, I have to return to where my journey began. Purgatory.

Oliver

One of the toughest he had to have and the toughest to watch was with Mia.

Throughout the entire hour, Mia had retreated to her stubborn ways and refused to believe that her father would die. She, unlike William, could not see the bigger picture of what it means to be a hero.

Canaries - Arrow Season 8 Episode 7

Mia always thought that Oliver chose to be a hero instead of a father. What she failed to realize was that he chose to be a hero because he was her father.

Everything Oliver has done after he left Felicity and Mia in their cabin was in the name of protecting his family. Mia was finally able to accept that in their final moments on Lian Yu and father and daughter finally came to an understanding.

Oliver: For a very long time, I have hated this place. I just think about all the people that it took from me. And it would just, it would just make me so angry.
Mia: But you're not now?
Oliver: Still a little bit angry. This island taught me to survive. It turned me into someone else, somebody better than the person I was before. So despite my feelings, there are no stories about the Green Arrow to tell if I don't make my way to Lian Yu. And I'm also not standing, in this moment, looking at my daughter.
Mia: Thank you for letting me a part of your story, even if it was only for a little while.
Oliver: Mia, something tells me you're going to create your own stories.

It is not a secret that Mia has wanted to prevent her father's death in the Crisis, as growing up without him has left an irreversible scar on her.

But, Mia has come to understand that Oliver's heroism goes hand-in-hand with his parenting. Plus, his spirit will always survive through her as Yao Fai explained to Oliver, no matter how difficult his predicted death will be to watch.

Let us hope that Mia will never get to see that and that we will never have to watch Mia experience her father's death.

Laurel Lance - Arrow Season 8 Episode 7

Along with his talk with Mia, Oliver seemed to be making his round of goodbyes similar to how he did on Arrow Season 6 Episode 23 before he went to prison.

The two most poignant conversations besides Oliver and Mia's were Oliver and Diggle's and Oliver and William's.

First of all, Oliver's bond with William is one of the strongest on the show. William is his firstborn, and he has spent years loving him and wishing the best for him. Of course, their goodbye would make anyone with a heart cry.

However, Diggle was the first person Oliver trusted after his time on Lian Yu and was the first one who joined him on his so-called crusade. They are brothers, through and through.

Diggle: I'm gonna stick by your side, for as long as I can. But I know you have to do this alone.
Oliver: Every mission has an end.
Diggle: I wish this one didn't.
Oliver: I couldn't of done any of this, any of it, without you. You've always been my rock.
Diggle: Don't you mean the best man you've ever known?
Oliver: I also mean that.

Oliver saying goodbye to Diggle is almost like the fans saying goodbye to the show, and that is something no one is ready to do. Thankfully, there are still three more episodes before that has to happen, and we can stay in denial for a bit longer.

Oliver, Diggle, Laurel, & Rene - Arrow Season 8 Episode 7

While filled with action and flashbacks to the earlier days of Arrow with characters long forgotten, something was missing. And that was the emotional connection the viewers, along with Oliver, had to the island.

Sure, there were the emotional scenes between Oliver and pretty much everyone else who was alive on the island. But, Oliver also formed real bonds with the people he met on Lian Yu.

We needed to see how living in purgatory changed Oliver. You can say that his scenes with Yao Fai accomplished that, but there was not a very strong emotional connection between the two characters.

Shado, on the other hand, would have been the perfect choice to accompany Oliver on his jog down memory lane, if you can even call it that.

If we saw Shado interacting with Oliver instead of her father, Oliver's revisit to the island that made him the Green Arrow would have been much more impactful and resonated with the long-time fans.

Burst Through Flames - Arrow Season 8 Episode 7

However, some pretty crazy things happened on the island that would have made any comic book fan giddy -- no matter how gruesome or eerie.

Like his superhero alter ego in the comics, Roy lost his right arm due to the plane crash.

It was a sad scene, but one that Roy seemed to accept immediately. Now, we can only hope he gets a bionic arm in time for the Crisis.

And, finally, we got to see Lyla become Harbinger -- something fans have been waiting for ever since she was introduced on Arrow Season 1.

Lyla and William - Arrow Season 8 Episode 7

It was revealed just before Arrow Season 8 started that Lyla would be playing Harbinger on the Crisis.

However, no one was sure if that meant that Lyla had been Harbinger all these years or it was an alter ego she would take on for the crossover.

Well, after seven episodes, we got our answers.

Oliver: Lyla?
Harbinger: Not anymore. I'm now a Harbinger of things to come.
Mia: And that's...?
Harbinger: Yes. The Crisis has begun.

Lyla has been working with The Monitor for some time now but has never harbored any superhero abilities.

After the events on Lian Yu, though, Lyla is the Harbinger to warn our heroes of the Crisis. Which, oh yeah, has just started! And here we go folks.

So, what did you think Arrow Fanatics?

Were you sad that Shado didn't appear? Was the explanation for the ghosts a little too out there for Arrow? And how excited/nervous are you for the Crisis?

Let me know in the comments and do not forget that you can watch Arrow online right here on TV Fanatic!

Arrow airs on Tuesdays at 9/8c on The CW.

Purgatory Review

Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
  • 4.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (18 Votes)

Sarah Little is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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Arrow Season 8 Episode 7 Quotes

Oliver: Lyla?
Harbinger: Not anymore. I'm now a Harbinger of things to come.
Mia: And that's...?
Harbinger: Yes. The Crisis has begun.

Oliver: For a very long time, I have hated this place. I just think about all the people that it took from me. And it would just, it would just make me so angry.
Mia: But you're not now?
Oliver: Still a little bit angry. This island taught me to survive. It turned me into someone else, somebody better than the person I was before. So despite my feelings, there are no stories about the Green Arrow to tell if I don't make my way to Lian Yu. And I'm also not standing, in this moment, looking at my daughter.
Mia: Thank you for letting me a part of your story, even if it was only for a little while.
Oliver: Mia, something tells me you're going to create your own stories.