Arrow: Emerald Archer review S7 E12

Emerald Archer was a cute way to celebrate Arrow’s 150th episode even if it came at the expense of some silliness and further degrading of a season still very much in the midst of an identity crisis.

To help put a positive spin on his new role as a deputy with the Star City police force, Oliver agrees to take part in a documentary on vigilantes. Clearly there’s some blackmail/hostage situation going on as the Oliver Queen we’ve followed for six seasons would never agree to be filmed in any circumstance. That gave Emerald Archer a sort of credibility defying tone, but the CW and Arrowverse apparently both dare to defy logic.

Anyway, the documentary team has been at work for years as evidenced by archival interviews with Quentin Lance and the use of alternate camera angles from old Arrow cases. That’s a clever spin on the clip reel show. We also get new interviews from some regulars like Team Arrow as well as Sara, Rory, Thea and Sin(!). The interview with Diaz was stupid because his take wouldn’t exactly be without bias. As bad as the Diaz interview was, interviewing Central City CSI tech Barry Allen made no sense whatsoever. Sure, it was a fun nod to the Flash/Green Arrow friendship, but that’s just establishing a connection to the outed Green Arrow and a guy who operates in The Flash’s hometown.

arrow emerald archer - curtis, dinah and oliver

Felicity suggested she hates the word vigilante and wants people to call them what they are. Legends? Oh…heroes. Right.

Someone is going after vigilantes and Oliver slowly starts connecting with his old allies. Diggle is upset Oliver didn’t mention his new half-sister was running around as Green Arrow. Just for appearance’s sake, shouldn’t Dinah and Oliver be tracking Emiko down to preserve the vigilante law? This vigilante stalker, who Curtis names Chimera for no good reason, finds Emiko and just beats her up. Apparently he’s gone to the Cicada school of ineffectively taking out heroes.

Chimera never came off as a real threat, just a random whack job in a patched together costume. He hardly seemed like the kind of challenge that would lead to the return of Team Arrow. Granted, Oliver has gotten heck a soft from eating donuts and not stopping any real crime in the city, but still. Chimera was the kind of villain Season 1 or 2 Oliver would wipe out on his own. On a more nuanced show, Oliver would raise the question if becoming more of a hero meant he was no longer as effective a vigilante crimefighter. On Arrow, we’re going to focus on William.


Show of hands if you can remember a long-running TV show made better by the addition of a child. Arrow clearly won’t be the one to break that trend as William is terrible. He’s in a pissy mood upon returning home. Not because Future William already told us he never reunited with Oliver and Felicity after leaving for boarding school — in this season (!!!!) — but because he had to stay at school during the holidays. Since he can’t screw up his dad’s plans anymore, William opts to hang out with Zoe. Rene’s radar is broken and tells William he’ll be in the other room cleaning his gun. That was pretty funny.

Felicity does some digging and learns William made a fake school website and was actually expelled. Why won’t he open up?? I’m going to scream (loudly) if it’s just because he’s gay since viewers already were told this at the start of the season. And really is anyone that invested in William that anything he says would matter? Maybe if he actually mentioned his mother getting killed so we could be reminded Prometheus killed the one person that would make us suffer instead of Oliver.

arrow emerald archer - chimera

While the mayor clearly watched Team Arrow save her life, she’s still down with them being arrested for violating the vigilante law. I could waste the time questioning how Diggle (and Curtis), a government agent could be arrested under Star City legislation, but why bother? Wait, just last episode a guy was arrested for anti-vigilante activities. Which way do the writers want this vigilante thing to go? Oh never mind, after letting Team Arrow sit in holding for a few hours she agrees to deputize all of them. Well that yanks all of the suspense out of that storyline. That’s too pat and way too easy a solution. It’s so simple even Rene came up with it earlier in the episode. And will Oliver care if Emiko is the lone vigilante operating that should be arrested?

With Team Arrow back, Oliver takes the documentary crew to the Arrowcave, which he promises to rebuild stronger and better than ever. This transitions to a future flashforward with Maya thrilled that the heroes got what they had coming to them. This future subplot continues to be dragging. Is it possible it can eventually become entertaining? At least the odds on that are better than William becoming an interesting character unless he’s the tech madman framing Felicity in the future…

Emerald Archer was clever and works as an anniversary episode, but still can’t provide any overall direction for this season.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

Photo Credit: The CW