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Blu-ray Review: ARROW: THE COMPLETE SEVENTH SEASON

Aug 19 Posted by in DVD/Blu-ray, Reviews | Comments

Disclaimer: “Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-rayTM I reviewed in this Blog Post. The opinions I share are my own.”

 

As the sixth season of Arrow came to a close, Oliver took one for Team Arrow, turning himself in, claiming responsibility and getting sentenced for the team’s vigilante exploits, in exchange for the others receiving immunity. In the process, he revealed his identity as the Green Arrow to the world.

The new season opens five months later, dealing with the fallout of Oliver’s decision. Oliver is now in Slabside Prison, locked away from Felicity. He is trying to keep his head down and keep out of trouble while he does his time. However, trouble has a way of finding him, and Oliver soon partners up with scared new inmate Stanley (Brendan Fletcher) to once again act the hero.

The rest of the group had officially disbanded, and Star City has been vigilante-free for 5 months. Felicity and Oliver’s son William had gone into hiding, but Ricardo Diaz still managed to find them. He tried to kill Felicity the same day that Oliver was also attacked in prison. They both survived the attempts on their lives, but Diaz is still at large. Felicity decides she is done with hiding. She sends William away to boarding school and gathers the rest of the team at A.R.G.U.S. to start looking for Diaz, making it her mission to find and eliminate him. However, they soon discover that Diaz has recruited The Longbow Hunters for some new criminal enterprise.

Meanwhile, a new person has arisen to pick up the mantle to help keep the streets of Star City free of crime, donning the green hood and firing arrows at evil-doers. While Rene is happy to see this mystery person, Dinah is eager to take down this new vigilante, warning Rene that if he goes back out as Wild Dog again she won’t hesitate to lock him up.

The seventh season opens with a quick glimpse into the near future that finds Felicity and a teenaged William desperately running from Diaz on the island of Lian Yu. Diaz then shoots Felicity in the stomach and she collapses to the ground. This season’s side story takes place 20 years in the future, flashing forward each episode to tell bits of that story. In the ongoing side story, we see an adult William (Ben Lewis) returning to the island for the first time since “the day his mother died” to seek out Roy Harper (Colton Haynes, returning to the series). Did Diaz really kill Felicity?! This is a question that looms for much of the season!

 

In all honesty, Arrow has never been my favorite of the DC TV series—I generally prefer the lighter tone of the other shows in the lineup to the dark and brooding nature of Arrow. That said, I actually enjoyed watching this season a lot more this second time around, now that I was able to binge the episodes one after the other, without the huge delay in between the weekly episodes. I think the show plays a lot better this way.

One problem with these 22-episode seasons for the superhero shows is that they tend to have one storyline or big bad that drags out all season. However, for this season of Arrow, the prison storyline helps to create a natural mini-arc for the first half the season. This is then further broken up by the Elseworlds crossover, before the second half of the season. There are also some interesting twists and turns to the story this season—such as the mystery identity of this new Green Arrow and the motives for their actions, and what did or didn’t in fact happen to Felicity. We also get to see how Oliver deals with life now that he has been unmasked. Also, I found the flash-forward storyline more interesting this season than what we’ve had in previous seasons.

The season also features a couple more unique episodes, such as “Emerald Archer”, in which Oliver, Team Arrow and some other familiar DC TV faces are followed around by a documentary crew. The episode opens like a Warner Bros. film, and often switches to 2:35:1 aspect ratio with clips from the completed documentary, “Emerald Archer: The Hood and the Rise of Vigilantes”. The episode “Star City 2040” jumps ahead 20 years, following the storyline set forth in the flash-forwards for an entire episode,

The Blu-ray release of this seventh season includes all three hours of the season’s big Elseworlds crossover event, while the DVD release only includes the Arrow episode, “Hour Two”. This event was easily the highlight of the season for me as it helps to add some much needed levity and lighter humor to the generally darker tone of Arrow. This crossover has a lot of fun poking fun at Oliver’s dark, brooding nature as well as his signature catch phrase. The premise is that an other-worldly being known as Mar Novu/The Monitor shows up on Earth-1 where he hands psychiatrist Dr. John Deegan (Jeremy Davies) a book with the power to rewrite reality.

In the first hour, the The Flash episode, we see that in Deegan’s new reality, Barry Allen and Oliver Queen have swapped places (whether this is a Freaky Friday or a Quantum Leap situation is constantly up for debate). Oliver wakes up in bed next to Iris and discovers that he is Barry Allen, despite still looking like himself. Meanwhile, Barry discovers that he is now the Green Arrow. None of their friends know about the swap, or believe them when they try to explain the situation. Barry, of course, has fun with his new abilities, while Oliver is understandably upset—especially when he has to embrace his inner joy in order to effectively be The Flash. When a killer robot that absorbs meta powers starts destroying the city, the guys head to Earth-38 to get Kara’s help, and to see if reality has been effected there as well. And so Superman and Supergirl return with them to Earth-1 to fight this new threat.

The second hour is the Arrow episode, though it feels more like a Batwoman backdoor pilot as the majority of it takes place in Gotham City. The red skies and odd lightning have followed Oliver and Barry to Star City. Cisco vibes to see the meeting where The Monitor handed the book to Dr. John Deegan and notices the Wayne Enterprises building in the background. So the team heads to Gotham City to find Deegan and get the book so they can restore reality. There they cross paths with Kate Kane (Ruby Rose), cousin of Bruce Wayne, who warns them to leave the city. There is a breakout at Arkham Asylum, and a masked Batwoman arrives to help the group.

The third/final hour is the Supegirl episode. The Monitor had given the book back to Dr. John Deegan, demanding that he really shake things up this time. Oliver and Barry become a bank-robbing duo known as the Trigger Twins. All of their family and friends have also had their reality altered. Meanwhile, Deegan has tuned himself into an all-powerful, black-suited, evil version of Superman and has locked up Kara so she can’t use her powers against him. So Barry and Oliver enlist the help of Cisco, who is now a bank-robbing gangster, to retrieve the real Superman from Earth-38 to help save the day.

 

All 22 episodes of the season (plus the 2 additional cross-over episodes) are split across four Blu-ray discs. The release provides a solid video and audio presentation. The picture looks excellent and captures the special effects, colors and sights of Star City beautifully, in both darker and daytime scenes. The audio track provides clear dialogue and an immersive viewing experience. The discs are packed in a multi-disc HD keepcase with a cardboard slipcase. Inside is a sheet with digital copy redemption instructions as well as an episode guide insert.

The bonus material primarily consists of some deleted scenes, a gag reel, and three longer-form featurettes that encompass many of the DC TV shows. While these features are quite well done, they will likely be included on all of this year’s DC TV Blu-ray releases, so they will be repetitive for those who collect all of these shows, and some of the material may not be of great interest to those who don’t follow all of the series. That said, I can see the benefit from a production standpoint of only having to produce one common set of bonus material (besides deleted scenes and gag reels)—plus they make good promotional material to help sell some of these other shows to folks who may not already be watching them.



What’s Included:

    Episodes: (16:55:13)

      Blu-ray:

      • All 22 episodes of the seventh season, plus 2 full crossover episodes:
        Disc 1: “Inmate 4587”, “Longbow Hunters”, “Crossing Lines”, “Level Two”, “The Demon”, “Due Process”
        Disc 2: “The Slabside Redemption”, “Unmasked”, “Elseworlds: Hour One”, “Elseworlds: Hour Two”, “Elseworlds: Hour Three”, “My Name is Emiko Queen”
        Disc 3: “Past Sins”, “Emerald Archer”, “Star City Slayer”, “Brothers & Sisters”, “Training Day”, “Star City 2040”
        Disc 4: “Inheritance”, “Lost Canary”, “Spartan”, “Confessions”, “Living Proof”, “You Have Saved This City”
      • 1080p / Widescreen 1.78:1
      • Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
      • Subtitles: English SDH​

      Digital: (Redemption deadline 9/30/2020)

      • Digital HD copy of the episodes redeemable via Vudu.
        The code was not yet redeemable at the time of this review, but it looks unlikely that you get all three hours of the crossover with the digital copy, just the Arrow episode.

    Extras:
    Bonus material is spread across all of the discs.

    • Deleted Scenes (9:15)
      Collection of 10 deleted scenes, found on the discs with their related episodes.

      • Disc 1: 2 scenes from “Inmate 4587” & “Level Two” (1:22)
      • Disc 2: 1 scene from “Elseworlds: Hour Two” (:53)
      • Disc 3: 6 scenes from “Star City Slayer” & “Star City 2040” (6:18)
      • Disc 4: 1 scene from “Living Proof” (:42)
    • Best of DC TV’s Comic-Con Panels San Diego 2018 (1:00:59)
      The cast and creators of four of the DC TV shows visit San Diego Comic-Con 2018. Includes interviews with the stars from the press line and at autograph signings, and clips from the shows’ Q&A panels. Participants include Supergirl (executive producers Robert Rovner, Jessica Queller & Sarah Schechter, Katie McGrath, Mehcad Brooks, Chyler Leigh, Melissa Benoist, David Harewood, Jesse Rath & Nicole Maines), Arrow (executive producer Beth Schwartz and stars Rick Gonzalez, David Ramsey, Emily Bett Rickards, Colton Haynes, Echo Kellum, Juliana Harkavy, and Stephen Amell), Black Lightning (EP Mara Brock Akil, director Salim Akil, and stars James Remar, Marvin ‘Krondon’ Jones, Nafessa Williams, Cress Williams, China Anne McClain, Christine Adams & Damon Gupton), The Flash (executive producer Todd Helbing and stars Danielle Nicolet, Hartley Sawyer, Danielle Panabaker, Tom Cavanaugh, Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Carlos Valdes & Jessica Parker-Kennedy), and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (executive producers Keno Shimizu & Phil Klemmer, and stars Jes Macallan, Matt Ryan, Nick Zano, Maisie Richardon-Sellers, Brandon Routh, Caity Lotz, Dominic Purcell, Tala Ashe, Courtney Ford & Adam Tsekhman).
    • Inside the Crossover: Elseworlds (45:01)
      Host Hector Navarro sits down with the showrunners of the series to discuss the process of planning and executing this epic cross-over event. Also includes behind-the-scenes footage, and cutaway segments with interviews with DC Entertainment folks who discuss how the original comics dealt with alternate realities in the Elseworlds stories. Participants include executive producers Beth Schwartz (Arrow), Todd Helbing (The Flash), Caroline Dries (Batwoman) & Robert Rovner (Supegirl), consulting producer Marc Guggenheim, and from DC Entertainment, animation creative director Mike Carlin, co-publisher Dan Didio, co-creator of Batman: The Animated Series Bruce Timm, Warner Bros. Animation screenwriters Alan Burnett & Heath Corson, and Mad Ghost Productions writer/producer Geoff Johns.
    • Villains: Modes of Persuasion (38:05)
      The cast and creators of various DC TV series, including Gotham, Krypton, The Flash, Arrow & Supergirl, discuss the rationale and pathos behind the various shows’ villains, and how these characters are often the heroes of their own stories. Participants include Supergirl executive producer Robert Rovner, Krypton executive producer David Goyer, Gotham executive producer John Stephens, licensed clinical psychologist Andrea Letamendi Ph.D., Gotham staff writer Seth Boston, Arrow consulting producer Marc Guggenheim, Arrow producer Oscar Balderrama, The Flash executive producer Todd Helbing, and Gotham actors Robin Lord Taylor (“Oswald Cobblepot”), Cory Michael Smith (“Edward Nygma”) & Ben McKenzie (“James Gordon”).
    • Gag Reel (4:41)
      This gag reel finds the cast and crew flubbing lines, cursing, having issues with props, dancing, and just having fun on set.

     


    Final Thoughts:

    My Rating
    Episodes:
    Video:
    Audio:
    Extras:
    Recommended

    In its penultimate season, Arrow still finds interesting and exciting new storylines for its characters, including a leap 20-years into the future for the flash-forward side story. The season sees the return of some favorite characters as well as the introduction of some new ones. The Blu-ray provides excellent picture and sound as well as all three hours of the wonderful Elseworlds crossover event, plus nearly 158 minutes of bonus material.