There’s a lot going on as Team Arrow deals with issues of “Inheritence.” A recurring theme on the show seems to be unexpected betrayals. I’m mildly surprised the entire team isn’t utterly, ravingly paranoid by this point. The flash forwards to the dark future get replaced this week by background on one of the newer characters.
The newish voiceover details Oliver’s release from prison, his uneasy alliance with the police, and once again being the Green Arrow. The first scene in the current time frame is Oliver and Emiko, training with boken (wooden training swords). Oliver appears to be slightly better, but Emiko is cocky and driven. Later, Emiko walks down the requisite dark and foggy/smoggy/smoky alley, and is followed by a hooded figure. Emiko takes cover and shoots, winging her tail in the arm. As she takes down her hood, we see Laurel is hiding in the shadows, nursing the wound on her arm.
At the loft that seems to have become Felicity’s business address (which makes me wonder about zoning laws), Felicity gives herself a pep-talk just before her old Helix comrade Alena drops by. They compare notes and then Felicity makes her an offer Alena joyously accepts. Oliver is making dinner at home when Laurel drops by to talk to Felicity. His wife not being in, Oliver offers first aid and an ear, and Laurel tells him some things he doesn’t want to hear. Only Oliver would defend someone by saying, “Hey, I’ve shot someone to make a point, too!” Things get heated and they both make some good, if ugly, points.
We get to see Palmer Tech for the first time in a while (two of our heroes have been CEO of this company, but it seems to keep surviving anyway). Dante and Emiko are up to no good here, and a shocked Oliver looks on. How he knew where they were, I have no idea. A badly wounded employee, who we saw coerced earlier, gives Oliver a lead, warning about the Ninth Circle.
Taking a moment out here, there’s a random change in Emiko this episode. Until now, she’s been dressing in a fair approximation of one of Oliver’s old costumes. Now, she’s wearing dark leather with red highlights, and is even in the credits as Red Arrow. Why she changed, aside from getting closer to her comic book counterpart, I have no idea, and it’s a tiny bit odd that no one comments on it. She devoted so much time and effort to being the new Green Arrow, and now isn’t even wearing the mask anymore because… reasons? She didn’t like it? Masks are out this season?
Oliver gathers the team in the bunker and briefs them about what he’s learned. Felicity has found references to the Ninth Circle going back centuries, so maybe the Dante/Virgil/Ninth Circle names have a longer history than we thought. This is also what, the third secret society that has been around forever no one has heard of until now? The secret history books must be getting crowded. There’s some friction on the team about believing Emiko versus Laurel, and they split up to attend to things, leaving behind Felicity, who once again fills the time by talking to herself.
Missing from the meeting was Dinah, and we find out why. She isn’t happy with Laurel and her job performance lately (not that it’s a police captain’s duty to correct the District Attorney). The two bicker on how things are getting done, and Laurel is given another chance (again, something far beyond Dinah’s purview). Oliver goes to see Emiko, and proves he is a remarkably unsubtle interrogator. Emiko first evades, then admits her ties to Dante. Oliver offers to help, she says it will make things worse for everyone, and once again blames everything on their father, Robert Queen, abandoning her when she was younger. After some Team Arrow/ARGUS collaboration, they use Felicity’s Archer program (can we work that name in to the episode a few more times?) to get a bead on Dante. The team rolls out, popping up to foil Dante’s plans. Dante turns on Emiko for leaking intel to Team Arrow, and manages to get away, leaving Emiko behind.
At the bunker, Emiko warns everyone they will be targets for helping her, which they are singularly unimpressed by, given how many times this has happened in their careers. Wild Dog points out she’ll have an easier time with the team behind her, and Felicity reports Archer has crashed. Ah, the joys of new, experimental programming. Emiko provides some intel on what Dante is after, Dinah has to go to work, and Emiko and Rene have a scene about her secrets and their partnership. Funny how the big loner has now followed two different masked archers into battle.
Laurel has an interview with a remarkably well-informed arrestee looking to make a deal, and shows her temper issues. The team regroups at the bunker after striking out on their last lead to find Dante. A pretty much expected (by me, at least) betrayal happens, and the team gets dealt a nasty blow. No one is happy about the new development, and Oliver ignores Felicity’s suggestion about taking a break or a rest to go check for a lead somewhere. Diggle goes along with him. Dinah and Laurel have another clash, with Dinah making veiled accusations with not a lot of proof, and Laurel getting very frustrated.
The bad guys get some planning in, while Diggle offers some advice to Oliver. They talk over a similar situation that happened before, and Felicity comes up with a new clue. The bad guys are set up for a nasty gas attack, and there’s possibly an in joke here. Two of the workers are dressed like Bob and Carl, sort of mascots for DragonCon. If it wasn’t a nod, it was an amusing coincidence. The team closes in for a big fight, and the bad guys are driven off, although part of their plan succeeds. Weirdly, what they find out later is this was an elaborate test that doesn’t really make a lot of sense. I also question why the team, knowing they were up against a big group and having actual resources now, didn’t call for SWAT backup.
Laurel gets some bad news at City Hall, and a villain stops by to taunt her. Felicity and Alena talk about some options to make Archer better (and the future heroes all yell “NO!” really loudly). Oliver and Diggle talk about what to do next, and we see the leadership at the Ninth Circle isn’t quite what is seems, which doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.
This week’s flashbacks fill in some holes in Emiko’s past. We learn how she made some connections, get a nod to the Bertinelli family (long time foes and where we got Huntress from), and see some of her training. Why she was trained on the bow I have no idea, since modern weapons are a thing and all that happened before the incident on the Queen’s Gambit. We see conclusive proof of that and a new spin on what happened. It does seem like Robert Queen brought a lot of his troubles on himself, but, if he hadn’t, we wouldn’t have Green Arrow or his team.
What I liked: The action on this show is always good. I really enjoyed the Highlander tv series, back in the day, so it’s great to see Adrian Paul (Dante) again. Oliver’s loyalty is commendable. I like they took the time to address the brief partnership between Rene and Emiko.
What I didn’t: Another secret society, another big bad, another betrayal, more sabotage in the bunker. We’ve seen all this before. Why did Emiko change her name and costume? Why is a police captain giving the DA orders? Shouldn’t the team have gotten back-up on the big raid at the end? The reveal about who is in charge of the Ninth Circle doesn’t really track, nor does why they made Emiko an archer. I’d much rather have seen more of the future episodes than What I Did During My Childhood By Emiko Queen. Robert Queen is getting less and less likable all the time, and I didn’t care for him that much in the pilot episode.
This was not an inspiring episode, and I hope they do better for the rest of the season, since it’s the last full one. I’ll give this a low 3 out of 5.