This post contains spolers for Arrow.
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Who would have thought seven years ago that a show about The Green Arrow would hit one hundred and fifty episodes and still be going strong? He’s one of my favorite superheroes, and it still surprises me from time to time. While he may be the title character, he didn’t get to seven seasons on his own. “Emerald Archer” acknowledges that fact every step of the way.
Hunks of the episode are shot documentary style. In the interest of transparency, Oliver has agreed to give the crew behind Emerald Archer: The Hood and the Rise of Vigilantism full access to his day-to-day. It doesn’t work all the time, but it does give the show free reign to bring back a bunch of our old favorites. Sara and Quentin Lance pop by in old footage shot by the crew, as do Rory Regan and Cindy Simone. Old faves aren’t the only folks who swing through, either. Barry has the most Barry Allen interview ever, and we get a couple of moments with Roy and Thea before hopping into the meat of the episode.
A vigilante hunting baddie by the name of Chimera shakes things up for the team when he kidnaps the New Green Arrow. If there was a member of the team who didn’t know that Emiko was Oliver’s sister, they do after this week. Emiko’s role in the episode is brief, as are the flash forwards. The future will still be there tomorrow, and “Emerald Archer” is all about Team Arrow.
Oliver Queen has made an egregious amount of mistakes. It’s legitimately fascinating how much he screwed up and then proceeded to learn nothing over the course of seven years. “Prison changes a man” might be a lazy phrase, but in this case it served as a reset button for Oliver’s attitude and outlook. As such, it resulted in a turning point in the show. Transitions are hard, but so far as big changes go, Arrow’s fared pretty well this season. There’s just been one thing missing, and that’s addressed in “Emerald Archer”.
Oliver Queen never planned on having a team, but how often do things ever really go according to plan? Original and New Team Arrow have come to blows in the past, and they’ll undoubtedly fight again, but at the end of the day they’re still a team. That team has been scattered through the course of season seven, but you can’t have a milestone episode without getting the band back together!
In an attempt to draw Chimera out, Team Arrow suits up one more time, Anti-Vigilante law be damned. They stop the masked mad man (literally, he escaped from a mental institution and just happened to be obsessed with superheroes after the Green Arrow saved him seven years ago). Dinah even saves the Mayor’s life! But that’s not enough to stop Pollard from arresting everyone without a badge save Felicity. Overwatch is safe on the coms back at Argus. While Pollard might be a cold hearted ice-queen, the decision seemed pretty low, even for her.
And, as it would happen, it was. She decides that not only will she advise the DA not to press charges, but that all of Team Arrow will be deputized and brought on to the SCPD. The question of whether or not vigilantes can operate above the law was a running theme in this week’s episode, but it won’t end with the documentary wrap party. Judging by the state of the future Star City, that line will either be followed too closely, or will be tested to the point of societal explosion in the present.
Arrow’s come a long way. There have been days (seasons) where even the most ardent of fans started questioning their loyalty to the show, but “Emerald Archer” seems to acknowledge that. A lot of its time is spent focusing on Oliver’s mistakes, but there’s a little bit of reality shining through in those moments. Kind of like the call out to fans showing their love in mysterious ways. (This was the writers being gracious. Stop being buttheads to creators because the story’s not what you want at that second. You look like a crazy person.)
“Emerald Archer” is a nice little group hug between several parties. New and Original Team Arrow seem to have finally come together. It’s lovely from a story perspective, but creative teams and fans both past and present were a part of it too. This week was the kind of episode that leaves you with the smallest of smiles on your face after the credits roll. I don’t know where we’re going yet, but damn am I excited to be a part of the ride.
Next week we’re going to spooky town! Arrow’s got its own horror-looking situation going on as the newly deputized team takes on their first big bad. We’ll probably talk more about William being cranky then. You know what to do if you had thoughts on this week’s episode!