Everything's just better when Tommy Merlyn's around.
Despite an odd reason for his arrival on Arrow Season 7 Episode 21, it's always a nice surprise when Tommy appears. Perhaps it's his natural charisma or ability to bring out the gentle side of Oliver, but anytime he appears, he heightens Arrow's quality.
That was definitely needed after such a poor showing on Arrow Season 7 Episode 20.
Despite there being only one episode left on Arrow Season 7 and only 11 episodes left in the entire series, it still feels like there is so much more story to tell, and very little time to tell it.
So while I deeply appreciated Tommy Merlyn's return, I couldn't help but worry that it added another wrinkle in an already flawed story.
Tommy: You are living proof that people can change, and you have got to find a way to see that in her (Emiko) too.
Oliver: I don't know if I can.
Tommy: That's okay. That's the risk you got to take.
Seriously, what is up with Emiko? I've tried multiple times to give her a chance, and when she was revealed to be the leader of the Ninth Circle, I saw a glimpse of potential. That potential has diminished.
Her motives are super unclear. I understand her wanting to take down Oliver and the Queen family, but why does she want to destroy Star City?
It took Arrow so long to finally reveal her evil nature that she never fully got the chance to develop as a true villain.
At this point, I'd prefer to see Oliver and Emiko wrap up their little sibling squabble by seasons end so that way the final season can focus on a major big bad that has valid motives and reasoning behind all of his or her actions.
I repeatedly said that Diaz's story arc dragged on for way too long, but at least we knew why he was doing what he was doing.
Emiko had a rough upbringing, but that by no means gives her a valid reason to want to destroy an entire city.
I need more to buy into her character arc and since we only have one episode left of Arrow Season 7, I don't think I'm going to get what I need.
That's why this episode was conflicting. On the one hand, I loved Tommy and Oliver's interaction. Knowing that Arrow is coming to an end within the year, it was a nice throwback to their friendship which was a cornerstone of the show that came crashing down way too soon.
However, Oliver's internal struggle over whether he should kill Emiko or try to use compassion and understanding to get through to her is not original in the slightest.
This struggle that Oliver's facing is one he's faced on the regular. Tommy's involvement in the whole scenario was the only reason it was remotely interesting.
Another interesting thing was Arrow's slight nod to its future storyline during that Dinah and Roy bonding session. Their close relationship in the future made absolutely no sense.
They had no connection besides Oliver that seeing them become such great buddies was super confusing.
Roy: Maybe it's better if I'm six feet under.
Dinah: Dying is the coward's way out. Everyday that you stay alive, you try to redeem yourself for that messed up thing you did because this world is a better place with a hero like you.
Similar to Emiko, it seems as though Arrow's going to make this duo's new found friendship super rushed. Unlike most other friendships on this show, this one does not seem organic in the slightest.
It seems like this connection needed to be made fast for the future timeline to make sense, and this was Arrow's way of establishing their new connection.
Maybe it's because we've arrived at the tail end of the season, but so much stood out on " Living Proof" as underdeveloped. A prime example of that would be Kevin Dale.
Throughout Season 7, Arrow's never seemed too committed to its future timeline. Perhaps, they thought they would have more time to tell that story, which is no longer the case.
It was more evident than ever that there is still so much missing information regarding the future that we might never get a completely coherent story out of it.
One of the main reasons for that is because of the highly underdeveloped Kevin Dale.
Emiko's got her issues, but at least we know her backstory. I can't tell you a single thing about Kevin Dale except that he used Archer to destroy Star City.
Why? I got nothing.
I was anticipating that a huge twist would get revealed and we'd find out that Dale's working for someone much bigger and more well-known in the Arrowverse.
That still is a possibility, but I'm extremely doubtful that's the case now. Dale is most likely the main antagonist, and the show has just decided to not tell us much about him.
It's a shame because at one point the future timeline was the best story arc, but too many inconsistent details have fallen through the cracks.
The only positives are that Alena's return to the show now makes sense as she's the reason why Archer is in the hands of a corrupt organization.
It's always the sweet ones, eh?
Hey, um, random question. Did you add another hero to your Justice League?Alena
With only one more episode left for Felicity, her fate was practically sealed at least in the present timeline.
It's been pretty obvious for a while now that she's going to leave Star City and raise her child in a safe, secluded space. The only question that remains now is whether Oliver will go with her?
He was there for the birth of Mia, so maybe he comes in and out of Star City?
It'll for sure be interesting to see how Arrow goes about telling Oliver's story without Felicity. The two have become so connected with their marriage and children that separating them is going to painful for all of us Olicity shippers.
Felicity: Your father and I never wanted to let you go.
William: But you did, and then even after everything that happened you still stayed away like I wasn't even a part of this family.
Mia: Ooh, and I thought we had problems. I'm just going to go do anything else.
While her fate in the present timeline has been told, her future fate is a much bigger question. Arrow might be looking to make Kevin Dale seem like a huge threat and having him kill Felicity would be huge!
I would still need some backstory, but I would be more inclined to care about him if he were to do something that astronomical.
While this wasn't the episode I hoped it would be considering we're heading into a massive season finale, I did enjoy the return of Tommy Merlyn.
If only we could get rid of Emiko and let Oliver and Tommy aka BFFLs, stroll through the sunset and live happily. Now that would be a quality ending!
What did you think of "Living Proof"?
Did you enjoy Tommy's return to Star City?
Would you like to see Emiko's story come to an end this season or continue into Season 8?
Does Kevin Dale need to be developed more for us to invest in the future timeline?
Felicity's fate in the future timeline: alive or dead?
What do you hope to see on the Arrow Season 7 finale?
Let us know in the comments below and if you need to catch up, make sure to watch Arrow online right here on TV Fanatic!
Brandon Viera was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. He retired in May 2019..