Arrow: Emerald Archer

archer

The title card for the documentary

 

Arrow has hit many milestones in its run, and now adds another trophy with episode #150, which is farther than a lot of shows make it. “Emerald Archer” is the title of the episode and one of Green Arrow’s nicknames in the comics. It’s also the title of the show within the show, “Emerald Archer and the rise of Vigilantism,” a documentary being filmed as the episode goes on. On the one hand, it let us see a few characters who have been gone a long time from the show. On the other, some of the things that happened, and who they managed to talk to, made no sense. There were some neat ideas, but many of them were of the “Don’t look too closely because they don’t really make a lot of sense” variety.

 

The show opens like a Warner Brothers movie, with those titles instead of the normal series credits. The episode itself jumps back and forth between a “normal” episode and the documentary. The documentary starts off with interviews from long gone original characters Quentin Lance (archive footage from 2014 since he’s currently dead) and Thea Queen-Merlin. They talk about various sides of the debate on vigilantes, with a few headlines and news footage thrown in of some of Oliver’s early exploits. The next two interviews don’t make a lot of sense. They’re with Ricardo Diaz, clearly in a cell (ARGUS let in a camera crew?), grousing about vigilantes being hypocrites and Sara Lance talking about how vigilantes are trying to prevent anyone else from suffering losses. How the camera crew got hold of a woman who’s generally on a time-ship and in other eras, I have no idea.

 

There’s more footage and voiceover (from Kelsey Grammer, which was impressive) of various members of Team Arrow in action before the next interview, Sara’s former sidekick Sin (given the name Cindy Simone here, a nod to Gail Simone, who created the character in comics). Sin, to no surprise, is pro-vigilante, but worried about the toll it takes on them. Again, how the camera folks knew to look for her, let alone manage to find her, I have no idea. There’s some reality-show style footage of Oliver and Felicity at home, which gets interrupted when William comes home. He’s not happy about the surprise film crew in their place, and seems fairly well into the “moody teen” phase. Points to Oliver, he demands the crew edit this footage as he doesn’t want his son on camera.

 

Felicity gets interviewed next, and she manages to combine her babbling, scattered side with the ferocious intelligence she has. She doesn’t like the term vigilantes, and says they should call these people what they are: heroes. They interview Diggle, with some older news clips that embarrass him a bit, but he gets in some good words about Oliver. Diggle is in his ARGUS uniform, but more on that later. Old footage covers Roy Harper’s confession that he’s actually the Arrow, and then moves on to Captain Dinah Drake for some comments on Oliver’s current status of working with the SCPD.

 

A brief interview with Oliver, which has him questioning whether he’s meant to be a leader, dissolves into more “reality footage,” as the SCPD gets word of shots fired and a vigilante sighting, which also has an amusing rote comment from Dinah about the vigilante law. On the scene, they find a downed Wild Dog telling Oliver that the new Green Arrow has been captured. In more “normal” Arrow footage, Oliver bars the crew from coming in while he and Dinah interview/berate Rene for being back in costume. He’s clearly wearing his improved outfit with the armor, not his original, homemade one, which makes me wonder where he got it from. Maybe he raided the Bunker? Oliver objects to the “New Green Arrow” name, and as they leave, Mayor Pollard makes her unpleasant presence known, annoyed about more vigilante sightings and flexing her political muscle.

 

Back at the Queen residence, Felicity and William have a charged scene as he both shows his computer skills are getting better and is pretty much a moody brat to his step-mother. She tries to talk him down and he storms off in a cloud of angst. Far away from the cameras, Oliver goes to Diggle for help in finding the missing archer, and finally shares who she really is. Diggle is understandably surprised, and they both agree they haven’t been talking a lot lately. Diggle’s phrasing here is a bit odd, and what I think was going to be his finally telling Oliver about Diaz and the Ghost Initiative gets interrupted by one of Curtis’ talkative entrances. Oliver clearly knows more than he should about ARGUS’ operations, and, when Curtis is surprised, the hero/vigilante/cop asks if Curtis has met Felicity. It’s a great line and look.

 

Diggle and Queen follow up a lead from Curtis and find the base of operations of the mysterious man who attacked Emiko and Rene. It seems to be an old converted gym, and he has trophies from several characters we haven’t seen in a while, including Huntress, Ragman, and whatever name Roy Harper was using last. Then it’s time for more interviews, including a kind of snotty one from Laurel Lance and, oddly, Rory Reagan, former Team Arrow member Ragman. Since his ID was never made public, I again don’t know how the crew found him to talk with him, and he seems to have retconned his departure from the masked hero business. Rene gets one that seems to foreshadow what we’ve seen of him in the future segments of the show this season. The next two interviews are nice nods to the show, but make no sense from in-world logic. What, exactly, is the publicly known connection between Oliver and either Curtis Holt or Central City CSI tech Barry Allen? I know Curtis and Felicity allegedly started a business that seems to have been utterly forgotten about, but that seems kind of thin.

 

Switching back to more reality footage, Curtis comes in to the SCPD with news on the bad guy, a new name for him, and admission he’s not Cisco with the knack for nicknames. He’s also surprised by the camera crew and babbles too much. Curtis’ new clue sends the heroes, police, and camera crew to a building formerly owned by Adam Hunt, one of Oliver’s first targets in the early days of his career. They find Chimera, the baddie of the week, who has a military-grade exoskeleton and manages to outfight Oliver, Diggle, and the horde of cops. They also find a very battered Emiko, who warns he’s coming for Oliver.

 

At Rene’s place, the writers have suddenly remembered he has a daughter. Rene and Zoe’s left-over pizza night gets interrupted by an unexpected visitor: William. Rene has no idea what to make of this or of William and Zoe’s friendship. It’s amusing to see him as befuddled father. Something is clearly wrong with William, but he won’t tell Zoe (or us).

 

Diggle, Dinah, and Oliver debate what to do next as the crew films on. Dinah calls Chimera an anti-vigilante vigilante, while Curtis says he’s more like a predator. There’s some worry that no one can get hold of Roy or Helena (the Huntress), and it’s mildly implied they might be dead. They don’t even mention Rory. Dr. Schwartz, Oliver’s long-time ally, delivers the news that Emiko has taken off. She’s gone back to her own place, where Rene comes to check on her and they have an almost friendly exchange. Considering both of their temperaments, that’s kind of impressive. Since it seems to be the episode for it, Emiko tells Rene the truth about her background.

 

Dinah’s office is the next setting, as the captain herself is annoyed at both the camera crew and the mayor. As Oliver comes in, there’s some banter about new problems. He tells Dinah about Emiko’s past, and Dinah is understandably surprised. A few wisecracks later, she tells Oliver about Mayor Pollard insisting on the big Town Hall meeting to make Oliver look bad. Oliver doesn’t want to endanger innocents by holding a public event right now, which makes a lot of sense to me. While Dinah makes a difficult phone call, Diggle and Oliver plot ways to capture their newest foe. It’s another scene that plays up Diggle and Oliver’s friendship, which they have kind of been neglecting of late. Diggle makes a risky decision and persuades Oliver to accept it.

 

The inevitable Town Hall occurs as the heroes try and set their trap. The team is back together again, with Felicity on coms as Overwatch, and Curtis not at all happy to be suited up as Mr. Terrific again. Oliver and Pollard exchange a few barbs, the attack comes, and it’s a huge fight scene. The heroes manage, eventually, to defeat Chimera, but only after Dinah has to reveal her powers to the Mayor in order to save lives. The team is triumphant… for about two seconds, which is how long it takes the police, led by Pollard, to come in and arrest them. Oh, and the bad guy, too.

 

There have been several Chimeras in DC Comics, and this is clearly none of them. He gets an in passing origin/background that sort of explains his motivation, somewhat alleviates the safety concerns for Helena and Roy (still no mention of Rory), and does nothing at all to explain how he got his high-tech toys, which include Deadshot’s old gauntlets and some WayneTech power armor. Laurel, displeased about the cameras, and Oliver go to see the arrested team, who are all still glad they jumped in to help out. Laurel explains some bad news to them. Felicity and William get another scene, where we find out some of what’s been eating the young man and the secrets he’s been keeping.

 

Later, Oliver and Dinah both independently decide to go see the Mayor about the unfairness of the arrest of Wild Dog, Mr. Terrific, and Spartan. The mayor is just as annoying and smug as usual, but reaches a decision that surprised everyone, including me. It also doesn’t resolve the dilemma Laurel mentioned last scene. Oliver brings the crew to the old Bunker, which is still trashed from Diaz’s attack however long ago that was, and announces plans to rebuild it.

 

The show ends on a clever note. The documentary itself becomes a plot point in the future, presumably the same time frame the other flash-forwards this season have been taking place. Two characters, one we’ve seen before and one new one, use the footage to find the Bunker. Why they want to and what they’re up to, we don’t get to find out yet, but it’s an interesting end to the show. We do get several comments about how Star City got to be the apocalyptic wasteland it seems to be in the other flash-forwards.

 

What I liked: This was a really clever episode on a lot of fronts. The different camera styles to show what was happening were a great idea. It was nice seeing so many old friends again, however briefly. I love that they gave Sin, who never had a last name in the comics, Gail Simone’s last name as a tribute to her. Gail herself didn’t know about this until a fan told her. It was nice seeing the team working together again. The writing was well done, and they did a lot of little nice touches. The end scene was a really interesting hint at things to come. The one before it makes it sound like the Bunker is finally going to be used again, which I’ve missed.

What I didn’t: As I said, some of the internal logic doesn’t hold up. The people they interviewed, and how they found them or knew where to look didn’t make a lot of sense. Chimera was such an afterthought of a plot point that the poor guy didn’t even make the credits page on IMDB. I still want to know how he got stuff that should either be in ARGUS custody or the high-tech vaults of WayneTech.

 

I have a few nitpicks, but overall, it was a great episode and kind of love letter to the series. For me, since I’m so far behind, it was even more poignant since it was just days ago as I write this that they announced the show is coming to an end. I’ll give this a high 4 out of 5. Well done, team.

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