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Arrow: An Alien Life

Arrow: An Alien Life

By DCE Editorial Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

The #DCTV Couch Club is a team of DC fans dedicated to exploring the shared universe of The CW’s Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. Look for new Couch Club posts here on DCComics.com after every new episode!

This week, the #DCTV Couch Club is doing something a little different. Since the four CW shows are crossing over, we decided to have our club of #DCTV fans cross over as well. Therefore, each new Couch Club post this week will feature all four members of the club discussing that night’s episode of the crossover. In addition, each Couch Club member has also shot a video sharing their individual thoughts about the crossover. Look for those to go live on the DC Fans YouTube channel the morning after each new episode.

The third night of the crossover found Oliver, Diggle, Thea, Ray and Sara lost in a strange new reality where Laurel was still alive and engaged to marry Oliver, Sara never joined the League of Assassins and Star City’s hooded avenger was none other than John Diggle. Of course, the whole thing was a dream—the Dominators’ way of keeping the four heroes in stasis. However, true or not, it created some very real questions for our heroes…which in turn prompted some fascinating responses from the Couch Club.

Tonight’s episode was considerably different in tone to last night’s. It was much more cerebral and character based. What did you think of that? Matt, I heard you say it was your favorite one so far.

Matt Ross (Arrow): Yep. I really enjoyed this episode exactly for the reason you mentioned above. It was very introspective, which I thought was cool. As I mention in my (embarrassing) video blog, I think that’s what made it stand out to me.

In comparison to the other three shows, this episode was important because it showed a side to Ollie that we really never see. Instead of the tough guy angle, we saw a more touching, human side. When you strip him of the machismo “act,” he’s just a guy at the end of the day. He wants the things that we sometimes take for granted: family, friends and relationships.

I hope the fans took that away from the episode. When you combine how Ollie was in this episode with how he was when interacting with Barry in Flash, (where he was funny and light-hearted), you start to see a pretty big step forward in Oliver’s character development. He actually had that feeling of Oliver from the comics to me throughout this crossover event. He could be funny, as well as introspective, but can also take care of business when he needs to.

This was also Arrow’s 100th episode. Did you think they did a good job honoring that milestone?

Matt: I didn’t even know it was the 100th episode...nice! I’m not sure the milestone was really “honored,” but I thought it was solid all around.

Ashley V. Robinson (The Flash): I loved the “Arrow’s greatest hits” showing up throughout this episode. While some characters (Tommy, Walter, Slade, Shado), didn’t make appearances, it was a nice burst of nostalgia to return to storylines and ideas that we haven’t visited in some time.

Remember what a great couple Sara and Oliver were? Yeah, me too!

Matt: I’m still relatively new to Arrow and didn’t realize that all those characters returning were sort of a nod to the past because it was the 100th episode...good call!

For those of you who follow Arrow, what did you think of Ollie’s goodbye to Laurel? Did you think that we needed that after her death last season?

Matt: I definitely think it was needed. I know she’s a sore subject for a lot of fans, but to me it added that level of emotion that comes with the difficult decision to leave the false reality.

Imagine being in love with someone—a person you could see spending the rest of your life with—and they’re suddenly killed. You’d be destroyed. Then you’re presented with an opportunity to sort of “start over” and be with that person again and live your lives, but you know deep down inside that it’s not right and you can’t do it.

Dude...that would be brutal! So I think having her in it sort of drove that idea home.

Amy Ratcliffe (Supergirl): Whether you like a character or not, it’s hard to say goodbye more than once. And if anything, this farewell after a dreamworld where Ollie almost married Laurel—it was painful. Possibly more painful than the first time we let her go. On the upshot, at least Sara got to say goodbye.

Ashley: I think the goodbye was needed, and by featuring Laurel as the character she was originally introduced to us as—the love of Oliver’s life—this episode was a lovely send off to her.

So where do you fall on the Oliver/Thea disagreement? Would you rather stay in a dream that you know isn’t real, but is less painful than reality, or would you rather escape and return to reality? It’s the whole Matrix red pill/blue pill thing, isn’t it?

Matt: Good question and something that is one of my favorite recurring themes in a lot in sci-fi mediums and comics. The realist in me says to bail and get back to “reality,” but the romantic in me says to stay.

Imagine how good it would be to go back to a time in your life where you were the happiest, but consciously knowing it’s not real. If you didn’t know it wasn’t real, that’s one thing. But knowing it’s not right and thinking you could stay there is something completely different. I mean, how do you stay and live in a false reality having all the memories and knowing what really happened?

I think life is all about moving forward, through the good and the bad. You can’t go back, no matter how bad you might want to. You either move on or get lost in the dust. That’s why we love these characters and their stories—they make us think and relate our lives to their stories and themes.

Actually, this idea is being explored in TRINITY right now. Such a rad book!

Meg Downey (DC’s Legends of Tomorrow): I’m in the same camp as Matt on this one, for sure. I love sci-fi narratives that push this sort of emotional challenge because it’s such a genuine no-win scenario and I can’t help but love that type of drama.

In Thea’s case though...I mean, we can’t deny she had a point, right? I was glad when she turned around and decided to come with them at the 11th hour, for sure, but her argument was valid—and provided a nice little segue into a bit of Legends which I won’t talk about too much because spoilers!

But anyway, the idea that heroes sacrifice and sacrifice only to be rewarded by pain and misery is something I think about a lot, and I think Thea would have been well within her right to stay, had she chosen to. I guess that’s really the most important part of the whole scenario to me. I wouldn’t want to be stuck in a dream state if I had no say in the matter, but if I was told the truth and given a choice? Honestly, I really can’t say. I’d have to hear both arguments out.

Amy: Normally I’d be all on board for facing reality, even if it’s terrible and you’ve suffered. However, Thea has really been through the ringer. If you made a list of all the tragedies she’s witnessed or been a part of since Arrow began, it wouldn’t be short. She’s lost so many people dear to her. Of course, I think those events helped her grow up—remember how reckless and immature she was when we first met her? Still, I can’t blame anyone wanting to escape a world where people they love have been taken away from them.

It reminded me of what happened when the Black Mercy got a hold of Supergirl. She ultimately turned things around (with the help of Alex) when she realized her life and her new family were more important than a dream world without depth, and I’m glad Thea came to the same conclusion.

Ashley: As someone who has had a parent pass away as a teenager, I really appreciate the honesty in Thea’s argument. That level of grief is powerful and scary (not to mention the fact that you have to multiply that for Thea because she has lost so many relatives and people she loves). Given the fact that we’d already seen Thea step away from the role of Speedy, I half-expected her to stay and live inside this Black Mercy-inspired fantasy for as long as she could, only to have Oliver save her in the end. It was gratifying to have her make the decision for herself, though, and stand in combat alongside the people she loves who are still alive.


Want more on the crossover? Matt Ross shares his thoughts on this week's Arrow on the DC Fans YouTube channel.

Click here for more information on the INVASION comic series that inspired this week’s crossover!

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