Arrow has had a very uneven season. Diaz was still lurking around for far too long, there was the new Suicide Squad Ghost Protocol Initiative, and various conflicts with Dinah and Laurel, and the “Who Is The New Green Arrow?” plot. Now they seem to have settled on Emiko as the big bad for the few episodes remaining. The shadow of her and the Ninth Circle are very long in “Confessions,” which isn’t exactly one of the best of Arrow’s episodes, but does bring back one of my favorite characters.
The episode is an odd one. Rather than the old Flashback Theater or the newer Flash Forward, this entire show jumps back and forth between a series of scenes in the SCPD interrogation rooms and a battle in the Star City Metro between Team Arrow and the seemingly endless hordes of Ninth Circle thugs. The police are represented by Captain Dinah Drake, who seems to have once again turned against the team, and Sgt. Bingsley, who hasn’t liked the vigilantes from the first.
I’m not going to go over this in sequence because there’s a lot of back and forth from the interrogation rooms to the fight, and it gets tiresome. What we learn is that Emiko and the Ninth Circle are going ahead with their plans to use the ugly bio-weapon they recently acquired, and their next target is the subway. The team, thanks to Felicity’s cyber skills, learned about the one part the Ninth Circle needed to complete their nefarious device. Oliver and John go visit the company that has it, but oddly, owner Jason Toth, while claiming to be a fan of the heroes, turns down their offer to help.
Suspicious, Felicity digs into the owner, and finds a series of questionable payments into his accounts. The company is supposed to have amazing security systems that even Felicity get can’t around, and the attack looks dire and imminent, so Oliver calls for help. I’m not sure when Roy Harper got to be a break-in expert, but I’m glad to see him again. Roy does some Mission Impossible/parkour stuff with an Arrow twist, and finds Toth handing over the gadget O’ doom to the bad guys. Roy wades through the Ninth Circle thugs with ease, but Virgil is less than impressed and drops Roy with little apparent effort.
What we gradually find out in the jumping back and forth is that two security guards (who are dressed and armored like cops, but I guess I can understand that in Star City) were killed during the battle. The security footage has been wiped, hence the need for Dinah and Sergeant Bad Cop to interrogate the team one by one. Dinah and the Sarge are both fairly hostile to the team and especially Roy. The story of the day gets revealed in bits and pieces as the team splits up to hit their various targets. I do really wonder why Felicity is in the field so much now that she’s pregnant, which she never was before. That seems like bad pre-parenting.
At any rate, the stories come out, bit by bit, and things aren’t lining up. I admit, I was getting really frustrated with the episodes, as so many things weren’t making sense to me at all. Eventually, Oliver is pushed into telling the truth about what happened. Or so it seems. In the last few minutes of the episode, they pull several shocking reversals. The entire team has been lying. We learn the truth, and I was surprised, as well as disappointed. We find out who killed the guards, and why. That was a pretty big twist in and of itself, but they’re not done yet.
The episode wraps with the team going after Emiko yet again. Felicity wisely stays back in the Bunker on this one, which turns out to be a very good thing. Oliver finds Emiko, and it turns out to be a trap. She gets in a big villain speech which doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Her rage at Robert Queen I completely understand, that works for me. But given how hard he’s been working with her, and the progress he appears to have made at various times, her hatred for Oliver I just don’t get. One minor conflict in the team’s stories gets resolved, and it’s going to look really bad for Team Arrow. They have more pressing concerns, however, as Emiko springs her trap and leaves the team in a really bad place for a cliffhanger end to the show. With only two episodes left this season, it’s going to be a busy, and nasty, wrap up.
What I liked: I was glad to see Roy back. The character has had a lot of bad luck in the comics and tv show both. The reveal behind why the guards’ deaths happened made at least a bit of sense.
What I didn’t: So much of this episode didn’t work for me. The rationale behind bringing back Roy, but not Thea and/or Nyssa, made little to no sense. Roy being a master thief is new. Oliver’s command decisions, especially near the end, were highly questionable. A team of alleged heroes agreed to obstruct justice and frame someone for murder. Emiko’s motivations are making less sense as we go. I also really don’t like what they did to Roy in this episode. Dinah comments at one point about Spartan’s jacket having blood on it. That would have been seized for evidence, not left in his possession.
Even with the “Oh, I get it now” moment towards the end, this episode had issues. With the last minute stuff helping, I’ll give this a 2.5 out of 5. It was going to be lower before that.