'Arrow' Season 8 Episode 4 'Present Tense' was a bit predictable but it's still a very emotional and hopeful story
This is the first episode of the season that really feels like a classic 'Arrow' story and while it does get somewhat predictable, it still manages to do a good job giving us emotion, action, and a background for the 'Green Arrow and the Canaries' spin-off.
The future is now in 'Arrow' Season 8 Episode 4 'Present Tense' in both a literal and metaphorical sense. The dystopian future of Star City 2040 has now been prevented (probably) and Team Arrow has a new mission to create the best version of Star City that they can.
The emotional beats are well-written though perhaps not as heavy-hitting as the last episode's and the overall theme, that we shape our own future, is actually pretty inspiring. This is the first episode of the season that really feels like a classic 'Arrow' story and while it does get somewhat predictable, it still manages to do a good job giving us emotion, action, and a background for the 'Green Arrow and the Canaries' spin-off.
We also get some rather fun moments where the present-day Team Arrow keeps finding similarities between Oliver Queen / Green Arrow (Stephen Amell) and his daughter Mia Smoak (Katherine McNamara). The fact that these moments keep happening exactly when Mia's being particularly stubborn or reckless makes the comparison both funny and a reminder of just how much Oliver has grown since Season 1.
The episode mostly departs from the overall storyline with Oliver and the Monitor(LaMonica Garrett) with only a few references to 'Crisis on Infinite Earths'. Compared to the last three episodes in the season, 'Present Tense' is a bit of a letdown but that's not to say it's a bad episode.
Arguably the best scene in Episode 4 was the touching interaction between Oliver and his son William Clayton (Ben Lewis) where William tells his dad he's gay. Father-son moments were aplenty this episode with plenty of scenes featuring Oliver and William as well as a nice little arc with John Diggle (David Ramsey) and Connor Hawke (Joseph David-Jones), Diggle's adopted son from the future.
As we expected, the death of Zoe Ramirez (Andrea Sixtos) at the hands of Diggle's son John "JJ" Diggle Jr (Charlie Barnett) was a major plot point in the episode. However, Rene Ramirez / Wild Dog (Rick Gonzalez) actually took the news of his daughter's death better than we thought he would.
Of course, it initially causes him to lash out in anger but his desire to prevent this future from coming about actually helps Rene become better than he was before. He now knows the consequences of his actions as mayor in 2040 and though he doesn't know for sure whether the 2040 timeline has been prevented, Rene is determined to do everything he can to make sure the future is a better place for all, as a true hero should.
'Arrow' Season 8 Episode 4 'Prochnost' will air on The CW on November 19.