Arrow: Unmasked

“A toast to your prison- and Green Arrow-free life.”

Diaz is gone, Oliver has been freed, and everyone lived happily ever after. Not.

Oliver may be back with his family and friends but things are far from normal. After being in the public eye for much of his life, Oliver is reluctant to face the city he believes he’s failed. Felicity has become someone he doesn’t recognize. And the latest person to don his hood may not be the hero everyone hoped.

Oliver is being honored for his work on behalf of inmates rights which is surprising considering there is no love lost between him and his replacement, Mayor Pollard. He runs through a gauntlet of press, former frenemies, and current friends only to be upstaged when the New Green Arrow apparently goes rogue and starts killing people. Oliver, being Oliver, has to find out why. As he says “Old habits.”

Rene is adamant the New Green Arrow is innocent and attempts to broker a meeting between the old and new Emerald Archers to prove it. Despite the conversation ending before it began, Rene succeeds in his aim. The person Oliver saved from the Green Arrow at his gala was successfully murdered by him during Rene’s aborted meeting, proving there is yet another hooded wannabe running around Star City.

Dinah discovers the two victims were a part of a secret society at Yale. Oliver just happens to know another member – his good friend Max Fuller, who’s mysteriously all sweetness and light considering the last time he saw Oliver he had him beaten up and tossed from his club. Unfortunately, other than showing off his latest club and mourning the passing of his friends there’s not much he can do to help Oliver out. Or so he’d like Oliver to believe.

Oliver’s not buying but he’s attacked just as he returns home to ask Felicity to do a little digging. Despite Diaz’s and Laurel’s comments, Oliver is blind-sided when Felicity pulls out a gun and shoots the attacker. When did his wife trade in her red pen for firearms? And is it, as she claims, his fault? Oliver is willing to make amends for whatever damage his sacrifice caused. The question is will Felicity let him.

I’m all for an honest exploration of how Felicity’s experiences led her to “toughen up” and how those changes impact her marriage to Oliver. However, if this turns into a repeat of season four, I will NOT be pleased.

In other news, the painting Curtis discovered has been the talk of the town for multiple terrorist organizations. Not only that, but a company Lyla believes represents the Longbow Hunters has made several payments to “Dante.” I wonder if there’s anyone we know that might have information on the trio’s whereabouts.

FYI – hiding things from Oliver and Felicity usually doesn’t end well.

As I predicted, we got a couple of answers regarding future Star City. It turns out that The Mark of Four is a tattoo that represents Oliver’s vision of heroism – Courage, Compassion, Selflessness, and Loyalty. As definitions go, it’s not too shabby. So, what had Dinah so concerned during her tête-à-tête with Roy a few episodes ago? She acted like the idea William could turn out like Oliver was a bad thing. Now it’s the reason she talked William into staying.

Additionally, The Canary Network sussed out that Blackstar’s favorite stomping grounds is a nightclub turned fight club. And she’s the headliner. When not beating opponents to a pulp, she specializes in acquiring hard to find items of the not so legal variety. Before Felicity's untimely demise, she contacted Blackstar to procure an electrical firing circuit and a couple of transmitters. Items she would need if she wanted to, say, blow up Star City.

Curiously, Blackstar claims Star City's state of being is Dinah’s fault or possibly the fault of vigilantes in general. Clearly, Dinah has a different theory. She certainly implied Oliver died during whatever “everything” was.  I’m dying to know that tidbit of history.

We are starting to see the contours of how our merry band of heroes turns into their future selves. The OG Green Arrow is no longer a vigilante but will that make him a hero? How does one end the cycle of violence while fighting crime? Does Rene’s anger at the inequity between the haves and the have-nots of Star City lead him to run for office and assume whatever position of power he now possesses in The Glades? Is Felicity’s newfound strength the first inkling of the ruthless businesswoman yet to come?

Please pardon a small digression, but if you want to see why diversity is important in all facets of production, here is your proof. Three female characters we know and mostly love transitioned into positions of authority this season – Dinah as Police Captain, Laurel as District Attorney, and Pollard as Mayor. Felicity’s story arc up till now did not revolve around Oliver. The Longbow Hunters consist of two women and one man. Plus, this episode introduces two strong women who will have lasting repercussions on this season’s and potentially the series’ story arc. I would also argue, if the IMDB ratings are any indication, this is one of Arrow’s stronger seasons. Would all of this have occurred if the showrunner was male? Possibly but not likely. Diversity matters. Climbing down from my pedestal now.

And while I’m digressing, let me get my mea culpas out of the way. Diaz is so obviously not dead. Oops. It also appears that the Longbow Hunters have not pulled a vanishing act. Finally, our Green Arrow wannabe is not Roy. At least I admitted that one wasn’t likely.

We may not know the wannabe's name but the New Green Arrow seems to have the same father as the older model. In the comics, Emiko Queen was the daughter of Robert Queen and Shado. If The Powers That Be stick to that backstory it would be the second woman that both father and son shared. Not cool.

For all intents and purposes, this was our mid-season finale as next week brings us the long-anticipated crossover. The shocking cliff-hangers of past seasons were MIA, but for my money, it did not disappoint.

4 out of 5 crypto laden USB drives

Parting Thoughts:

The Canary Network? Did we know about that before?

I really wanted to see Laurel walk past Max and have him flinch. After all, She beat him up way before she was the Black Canary / Black Siren.

If Oliver continues this new relationship with the law, I guess murder is officially off the table.

Speaking of, I’m not the only one that saw Oliver pull a Hawkeye, was I? I’m not sure how I feel about that.

There is a character named Mirror in DC Comics. His name was Jonathan Mills and he was not a copycat assassin for hire.

Kobra and Basilisk and the Third World Liberation Army are all Terrorist Groups also found in the comics.

And Blackstar is also mentioned in DC Comic lore as both the female villain of Supergirl and male villain of Firestorm.

Yale’s Scroll and Key AKA Skull and Bones? Why bother to change the group’s name but not the University's.

Quotes:

Felicity: “You’ve been spending more time in the shadows recently than when you were the Green Arrow.”

Felicity: “Let them see you for who you really are, without a mask.”

Rene: “We didn’t get this kind of treatment after we put Diaz behind bars.”
Dinah: “Envy is not a good look on you.”

Max: “You’re the freaking Green Arrow.”
Felicity: “Well, I‘m Felicity.  I’m the wife of the freaking Green Arrow.”

Lyla: (about Laurel) “We’re friends with her now?”

Felicity: “And how are you going to do that if you are a no-go on the Arrow?”
Oliver: “Is there a law against me consulting?”
Curtis: “You mean an investigative consultant, like The Mentalist?”

Rene: “I didn’t want Dinah to lock him up.”
Oliver: “Oh, I bet she really appreciated that.”
Rene: “She threw my ass in jail.”
Oliver: “I’m really sorry I missed that.”

Dinah: “You’re not helping.”
Rene: “Why does the Mayor get to have all the fun?”

Rene: (about Mayor Pollard) “She may be the tiniest, most unpleasant person I’ve ever met.”

Future William: “So this whole fight club thing. Do you just beat people up for what? Fun?”
Blackstar: “Stress relief.”

Blackstar: “Asking questions about Felicity Smoak will not end well, for anyone.”

Max: “They sent you to prison for helping this city. Why the hell should you care about any of this.”
Oliver: “Old habits. I guess some people don’t change that much after all.”

Dinah: “Oh, hey, just a bit of advice. You probably shouldn’t be shooting people your first week out of prison.”
Oliver: “That’s a good tip.”

Oliver: “Where’d you even get a gun? You’re new best friend Laurel?”
Felicity: “Of course not. I got it from your ex-best Friend, Anatoly.”

Dinah: “I thought you didn’t drink.”
William: “Yeah, well, it’s been a tough week.”

Oliver: “Hiring killers is easy. Taking the shot yourself isn’t."

Shari loves sci-fi, fantasy, supernatural, and anything with a cape. 

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