Another week, another emotional gut punch from The CW. Following last week’s bombshell cliffhanger, Arrow returns with another installment in the show’s final season which sees Oliver (Stephen Amell) come face-to-face with the future versions of the children he’ll eventually leave behind.
“Present Tense” picks up right where the show left off last week, with Mia (Katherine McNamara), William (Ben Lewis) and Connor (Joseph David-Jones) all finding themselves inside of the present-day Team Arrow bunker. Things quickly get real as the future collides with the past, making for a heavy start to the episode. William embraces a father he hasn’t seen in decades; Connor drops the bomb that Diggle will eventually adopt him, and Mia looks into the eyes of the man that she feels abandoned her.
Levity finds its way into the episode shortly after the emotional opening, with William and Mia visiting their father’s home. While Mia is reluctant to take on the daughter role, William jumps at the opportunity to make up for lost time with his dad. Ben Lewis provides a stellar performance opposite Amell, who continues to bring his A-game for the show’s last outing. With David Ramsey and David-Jones also holding their own in the emotional scene department, it’s easy to say that “Present Tense” is one of the most well-acted episodes of Arrow.
The reunion tour is cut short, however, as the Deathstroke Gang rear their ugly head, setting off bombs throughout Star City. It’s at this point that future Team Arrow decide to disregard their predecessors’ offer of support and set off to take down J.J. As it was with Nora in last season of The Flash, characters from the future going off on their own in the present is a bad idea. Mia, Connor and William find themselves trapped by the present-day leader of the Deathstroke Gang, Grant Wilson.
The kids then have to come clean to their parents and tell them about the events of the future. The characters in Arrow aren’t as accustomed to dealing with time travel as their friends over on The Flash are, so it’s difficult for them to come to grips with the fact that the future is more or less a hellhole. After a couple more heart-to-heart scenes, both teams come together and end the threat of the Deathstroke Gang, at least for now.
The episode caps off with Mia finally opening up to Oliver, revealing to him that she needs his help in dealing with the loss of Zoe. The emotional beats in “Present Tense” is what makes this episode stick out in an already stellar last season. Placing the future characters was a gamble for the team behind Arrow, but it appears to be one that paid off. –Jackson Hayes
Grade – 10/10
New episodes of Arrow air on Tuesdays at 9 pm EST on The CW.
The series stars Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen/Green Arrow, David Ramsey as John Diggle/Spartan, Katie Cassidy Rodgers as Laurel Lance/Black Siren, Rick Gonzalez as Rene Ramirez/Wild Dog, Juliana Harkavy as Dinah Drake/Black Canary, Ben Lewis as William Clayton, Katherine McNamara as Mia Smoak, Joseph David-Jones as Connor Hawke and LaMonica Garrett as The Monitor.