Arrow: Living Proof


Yep, this building’s completely collapsed. How will we ever get out?


Last episode, the team decided to cover up two murders and commit obstruction of justice, but they’re the good guys. Or the less bad ones at this point, I guess. The show ended with Emiko springing a trap and dropping a building on Team Arrow and special guest-villain Roy Harper. Now, they have to deal with the aftermath, and Oliver is haunted by his past, in “Living Proof.”

Oliver is in a bad situation, and struggles to free himself. He gets a helping hand and an unexpected visit from an old friend we haven’t seen in a long time. Roy manages to free himself, and the rest of the team find each other in some remarkably intact corridors for a “collapsed building.” There’s also a corollary going on here to the trope about “Action Hero Never Runs out of Bullets (Unless Dramatically Appropriate).” I don’t recall this ever being an issue on the show before, but, to show how bad off they are, both Roy and Oliver’s quivers are shown as empty.

Felicity gets back to SmoakTech, where she gets several nasty surprises from Alena and the SCPD. Emiko has done a great job of… well, she didn’t really frame the team, and they made themselves look bad, but she delivered it all in a nice package. Felicity faces arrest or worse, and then pulls a trick that lets her and a very surprised Alena escape. They race off to try and find a way to contact the team.

Oliver continues his strange conversation, rehashing his current predicament and going over some issues from Oliver’s past. The rest of the team finally get to a spot where they can get Felicity’s signal and compare notes on what’s going on. They learn what they’ve lost and do a fair amount of defeated whining, although I don’t wholly blame them. Oliver reflects on some past crimes of his while the team goes on about what all this is costing them. John in particular complains that no one knows they were set up. Well, John, you weren’t. Roy killed some people, and you guys decided to cover it up. That’s not being set up, that’s accomplice to murder after the fact. Roy offers to turn himself in, which actually won’t help at this point, legally speaking, and the team tells him not to. They continue to trek through the remarkably intact building and find their next piece of bad news, involving a generator, poison gas, and a potential explosion.

Green Arrow (is he still calling himself that?) is still being haunted by his past and failing to make any progress in getting out of the mess he’s in. There is a lot of reflecting and regretting about how things went with the Merlyn family, who we haven’t seen for a few seasons now. It’s a good trip down Memory Lane, and touches on some stuff that should have affected Oliver deeply that he hasn’t brought up in some time. The rest of the team is stymied by the “We can’t switch off the generator before it blows us up because of the poison gas” issue. Roy takes matters into his own hands and does what should be a qualifying run for American Ninja Warrior to get things taken care of. The team is shaken when they think they’ve lost him, and relieved when he inevitably pops back up a moment later.

Alena and Felicity are doing all their support work from the Bunker, which is an odd choice. The damn place is so public now, I can’t believe the police haven’t come to check it yet, since Felicity is now a fugitive on several counts and Alena is probably listed as an accomplice. Instead of the cops, Emiko drops in for a threatening and gloating session. Felicity makes a surprising declaration, and Emiko settles for some property damage and theft.

Oliver ruminates about possible futures and what to do about Emiko. There’s a lot more talk about the Queen family and the “cycle of violence,” which we’ve been hearing about since that whack job psychiatrist got his hooks into Oliver’s brain back at Slabside. I’m kind of sick of it, and I keep getting the feeling that partway through the season, one of the writers took a psych course and fell in love with this concept.

The team continues hiking through the not-collapsed building, and Roy needs to take a break. He and Dinah have a chat, with Roy falling deeper into guilt and shame, and Dinah trying to talk him out of it. Since she was one of the loudest complainers earlier, this sounds a bit odd. Felicity and Alena get the Bunker back up and running, and Felicity thinks about her own parents and her future. Alena offers a suggestion or two. Oliver has an elaborate dream sequence that goes ugly and then finally he and the rest of the team meet up for real.

The battered and bruised team finally make it back to the Bunker, and there are happy reunions. They try and figure out what Emiko is up to, and then get a big clue when they hear Green Arrow is attacking the SCPD. The heroes get replacement weapons and ammo and charge off to the rescue, with another big fight scene. Oliver confronts Emiko, who is annoyed that he “refuses to die.” Oliver faces a crisis of conscience and somehow works out that it’s better to let the ruthless murderer now armed with a lethal gas weapon go than take direct action to stop her. Interesting choice. The episode ends with the team gathered on the roof to see Emiko get away and the SCPD helicopter lighting them all up and demanding their surrender. This last episode is going to have a LOT going on to clear all, or even most, of this up.

In future-land, things aren’t looking great either. Galaxy One is running a commercial for their new unstoppable soldiers that our heroes see. Interestingly, the new troops are called Zeta, which is the name of a character from Batman Beyond, also set in the future. The team debates what to do, and Felicity tries to contact someone to help them. William comes up with a plan she rejects, and they have enough family drama that even generally indifferent Mia flees the room.

While Felicity and Roy go find Felicity’s contact, Mia tries to give William some advice. Instead of following it, William goes and does what Felicity told him not to. William manages to get himself and Rene both in a lot of trouble, while we learn who Felicity’s contact is, and what Felicity had to do in order to ensure cooperation. This, too, ends on a cliffhanger, as the good guys’ hideout is stormed by Galaxy One Zetas.

What I liked: Roy is at least feeling guilty about what he did, which he should. I’m really not sure what Emiko’s attack on the police at the end was supposed to do, since Team Arrow is already wanted for various felonies. I’m glad future-William called out Felicity on some of what she did, and that he had the courage to try and fix things for the team. The Ghost of Archer’s Past was a great choice to represent Oliver’s conscience.

What I didn’t: I’m really sick of this “cycle of violence” thing. Letting Emiko go was the wrong decision for someone who wants to save his city. Oliver Queen, you have failed this city. The team seems remarkably unconcerned about committing multiple felonies, and is only worried that they’ve been caught and what they’re going to lose. That sounds like criminal thinking to me, in my professional opinion. The building was in remarkably good shape for a devastating explosion having taken place. Either Emiko failed her demolition classes, or she’s playing more games with Oliver. Why the police didn’t check the bunker, I’m not real clear on. Future Rene is really not impressing me at all on any level. Where was future-Zoe in all this?

This was an erratic episode with some good stuff and some real puzzling choices. I’m going to give it a straight 3 out of 5. This season finale should be a real interesting one.