This post contains spoilers for Arrow.
Check out our last review here.
There are drawbacks to having a twenty-three-episode season. Of those drawbacks, you’ll hear folks complaining about filler episodes most often, but even they can be fun. Speaking as a girl who would gobble up a show about popular heroes completing the most mundane of tasks, I’ve found myself in support of many a filler ep. They can add much needed levity to rough seasons, explore a character we see little of, or even take time for characters lost. What doesn’t get decried often enough in long seasons is overdone exposition for the sake of stretching your story to fit your long arc.
Especially when that long arc revolves around Emiko Queen.
There’s a word for when a character you’ve inexplicably hated from the start turns out to be the big bad. It’s called vindication, boys and girls, and hell yeah I felt it. What’s wrong with Emiko? Ostensibly nothing. But there’s something about the character that’s never sat right, and now we know it’s because she was a big fat lying liar! Now, my little victory dance aside, there’s some stuff to dig about the reveal of Emiko not only being a part of The Ninth Circle, but running it.
First and foremost, “Inheritance” shows off Emiko’s smarts from start to finish. First when she impresses her father (and is spurned in favor of then-useless baby Oliver), later when she outwits the entirety of Team Arrow, and finally when she sparks the apparent downfall of Laurel. Her character isn’t just a ball of anger anymore. This week’s reveal gave her some depth, which is great! But a big reveal doesn’t hit home when the character before the flip had no personality. “Good” Emiko might as well have had STRONG FEMALE CHARACTER tattooed on her forehead.
The Black Siren, which will serve as the redeemable character of the two as the season progresses, is an example of how to do a character flip right. Leonard Snart and Mick Rory are also right there as examples. They might have had seasons available to them for slow burns, but a little personality can go a long way. Doesn’t need to be a likable one, either! Just needs to have something going on other than the “I can take care of myself” rage. Credit where it’s due: that lack of depth went a long way towards illustrating she really was Oliver Queen’s sister (sorry, old Ollie).
The drag about all of the exposition in “Inheritance” is that none of it really says anything. And sacrificing the infinitely more interesting fast forwards for flashbacks was criminal. Give us more of the Arrowverse’s Teen Titans! “Show, don’t tell” is an important rule, but if what you’re showing is the same thing you just had your character do a monologue about, one of those two things is wasting time.
Legends of Tomorrow finally returns next week, which means Arrow’s taking a little break until the fifteenth! Emiko’s plot, coupled with Dinah’s lack of faith, is enough to push Laurel back to her villainous roots. The team will undoubtedly bring her back, but it’ll be fun to watch The Black Siren finally figure out who it is she wants to be.
You know what to do if you had thoughts on this week’s Arrow!