Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The returns of Arrow and The Purge make for a very cheery Tuesday

Katie Cassidy, Rochelle Aytes
Photo: Jack Rowand (The CW), Alfonso Bresciani (USA)

Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Tuesday, October 15. All times are Eastern. 


Top pick

Arrow (The CW, 9 p.m., eighth season premiere) and The Purge (USA, 9 p.m., second season premiere): What will the Arrowverse look like without Arrow? It may seem counterintuitive, but that’s a question for which we’ll begin to get answers.

“I think that the show, as people have understood it and its structure I think it ended in our season-seven finale,” Stephen Amell said at the Television Critics Association summer press tour. “This year is fundamentally different. The episodes are events. And, to me, the show, as we constructed it, ended when Emily [Bett Rickards, who played Felicity Smoak] left.”

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The season seems likely to function as an on-ramp to the forthcoming Crisis On Infinite Earths crossover event, and is just as likely to deepen audience investment in the Star City of the future (expect continued flash-forwards). But it’s also looking to its past. The title of tonight’s episode is “Starling City,” a name Star City left behind back in season three. So as the show and the network look toward the future, it’s a fair bet that Oliver Queen (Amell) will glance back over his shoulder to the past, and the people who exist only there.

The second season of The Purge carries no such weighty responsibility, but that doesn’t make it light viewing. This second season will focus on how four characters were affected by a single Purge night, following them throughout the ensuing year to the next Purge. Check out a behind-the-scenes look at the second season from our own Alex McLevy.

Regular coverage

The Flash (The CW, 8 p.m.)
This Is Us (NBC, 9 p.m.)

Wild card

Treadstone (USA, 10 p.m., series premiere): If you were one of the many people underwhelmed with Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon’s most recent attempt to continue the Jason Bourne franchise on the big screen, take heart: It fares much better in its latest outing as a series. USA’s Treadstone follows some of the other victims of Bourne’s brainwashed-spy program, as the story begins with a few of these unwitting assassins being activated years after the operation was supposedly shut down. The premiere episode throws viewers right into the action, with a thrilling jailbreak sequence, car chases, and enough ass-kicking to satisfy any fan of the movies’ kinetic style.

Jumping in quickly with a minimum of hand-holding, the show introduces Brian J. Smith as Doug McKenna, an oil-rig worker who had seemingly forgotten all about his history as a badass CIA spy turned brainwashed killer until the bad guys come calling. Along with a demure piano teacher (Han Hyo-Joo), a disgraced journalist (Tracy Ifeachor), and a couple agents who begin looking back into the notorious operation (Omar Metwally and Michelle Forbes, both excellent as always), the show hops continents and character arcs with aplomb, burning through narrative and admirably resisting padding its story. By the fourth episode, most of its cards are on the table, allowing the audience to just sit back and enjoy the breakneck excitement of its thrilling fight choreography and international intrigue. Here’s hoping it can sustain the momentum—so far, it’s the TV equivalent of all killer, no filler. [Alex McLevy]

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About the author

Alex McLevy

Alex McLevy is a writer and editor at The A.V. Club, and would kindly appreciate additional videos of robots failing to accomplish basic tasks.

Allison Shoemaker

Contributor, The A.V. Club and The Takeout. Allison loves television, bourbon, and dramatically overanalyzing social interactions.