Arrow: Confessions

“You all are very, very good liars.”

Two security guards are bludgeoned to death with only Team Arrow at the scene of the crime. And once again Oliver finds himself on the wrong side of an SCPD interrogation table.

As the story unfolds we learn the few uncontested events of the evening. Team Arrow discovered that in order to disperse the Cygnus X-1 bio-weapon stolen last week, the Ninth Circle needs a thermal fogger which, conveniently, could only be acquired from a company called Aerodyne Initiatives. Oliver and Diggle visit the CEO and offer their services to protect the fogger only to be unceremoniously turned down. A little typey-type on Felicity’s part revealed that said CEO of Aerodyne was in the Ninth Circle’s pocket. Which is when Oliver and Company called Roy A.K.A. Arsenal out of retirement to break into Aerodyne and acquire the fogger before the Ninth Circle could get their hands on it.

Emiko inevitably beats them to the punch leaving Team Arrow scrambling to stop the Ninth Circle from dispersing the “terrifying bacteria that can eat through anything” at a subway station. Oliver heads to the ventilation room while Diggle and Rene go to the ventilation shaft in search of the weapon. Meanwhile, Felicity, protected by Roy, heads to the switch room to shut down the HVAC system on the off chance the rest of the team was unsuccessful. This is where everyone gets separated, shots are fired, the thermal fogger is recovered and two security guards are beaten to death.

I must admit, I never suspected Team Arrow of being guilty. I imagined, like Laurel before them, Emiko must have set them up to take the fall. Slightly repetitive?  Maybe.  But hopefully told in a novel fashion. The only question in my mind was if and when Team Arrow would be exonerated. Was this how the vigilantes split from the SCPD and became the villains of 2040? The jury’s still out about the outcome but I was obviously mistaken about Oliver and Company’s guilt.

Given the givens, I should not have been as surprised as I was. This is not the first time Roy’s rage issues have driven him to kill someone. The first due to Mirakuru and these two due to the after-effects of the Lazarus Pit. And, as I suspected, there was a larger story at work when Dinah had to pull Roy off the SCPD officer in the flash forward. However, Roy’s first instinct has been to tell the truth and accept the consequences. It was in the spirit of atonement that Roy confessed to being the Arrow way back in season three. Here he tells Oliver that he never wanted Oliver to cover for him, although in the moment, it was clear that Roy was incapable of making that decision.

Oliver has no such qualms. Regardless of his relationship with the SCPD, Oliver has never believed the law applied to him or by extension his team. The events of this episode are a perfect example. Even if you take the security guards’ deaths out of the equation, Oliver knowingly brought in a non-deputized vigilante with a criminal record to assist the team's attempt to steal proprietary technology from a respectable company. These actions were illegal no matter the circumstances.

Pinning the guards’ deaths on Emiko is proof that Oliver is not the hero he aspires to be. Heroes do the right thing, they don’t lie, and they accept responsibility for their actions. Especially when it’s hard. Oliver has spent the seven years doing the wrong things for the right reasons and if he is ultimately brought down by this, it will be the last of a long line of self-inflicted wounds.

Up till now, Emiko’s anger towards her brother seemed unfounded. It was her father that abandoned her to poverty. Ollie may have been spoiled, but he was unaware of Emiko’s existence. To hate him because of Robert Queen’s preference was unfair. Or was it?

Oliver’s sense of entitlement has wreaked havoc since the beginning. Before the island, his never-ending quest for the next thrill led to many run-ins with the law, cheating on his girlfriend with a woman he got pregnant and his girlfriend’s sister. He may have left the selfish version of himself on the island but the chaos he’s created has grown exponentially.

Oliver has been responsible for the wanton destruction of property, numerous thefts and multiple murders culminating in the death of two innocent security guards. And, yes, Roy was responsible for these particular deaths and not Oliver. But Oliver is the leader and role model for the team and his disregard for the law is so ingrained in Team Arrow’s DNA that they willingly covered up the murder of innocents. In that light, Emiko’s hatred for Ollie is not only understandable but justified. And that was before he tried to set her up for murder.

Why is Oliver the supposed hero and Emiko the villain? As we have seen here, both have broken and continue to break laws. And they both believe they have the right to be judge, jury, and executioners over others. Would this be different if his name hadn’t been Queen? Emiko thinks so.

Not content to destroy Oliver and the rest of Team Arrow’s reputation by turning over video proof of Roy’s guilt, Emiko demolishes a building with Oliver trapped inside. Whatever her grand plan for the Ninth Circle may be, her desire to destroy the Queens is not in doubt. The only question is how far does that hatred extend? Felicity is probably a given, but what about William? Is this why Oliver and Felicity never contacted him again? And what of Thea who carries the name Queen but is of no relation to Emiko? What will it take to dampen her fury? Is it possible for her to be redeemed at this point? Or will her demise fan the flames of Eden Corps?

My initial response to this episode was quite positive.  They used the interrogation format to address and or give context to some long-standing conflicts between Team Arrow members.  Having Roy in the present is always a plus. I loved Felicity’s hormonal surges and burgeoning appetite. Plus, I’m always pleased when I don’t see the ending coming.  I know Oliver will survive this, but that last image brought back visions of Tommy.

However, repeated viewings revealed many narrative cheats and plot holes. The context I was so pleased by was lessened by the fact that it was all for show.  Felicity’s algorithm points to the Ninth Circle releasing a bio-weapon for maximum damage in an empty subway station? If the SCPD found Emiko’s arrows at the scene of the crime, why would they have considered Team Arrow the prime suspects in the first place? Or, if Rene’s fingerprints were on the murder weapon, why would Oliver’s “confession” that it was his sister who committed the murder be enough to exonerate them?  And given their other questionable if not outright illegal actions, how are they still working for the SCPD?

I should probably rate it lower than I did, but it gets the benefit of the doubt due to my first impression.

3 out of 5 thermal foggers

Parting Thoughts:

Who knew Virgil was such a badass? He made Roy look like Random Henchmen #3!

Just in case you were wondering The Hudolin McGuire Subway Station is not from comics. It was named after Arrow Production Designer Richard Hudolin and Art Director Bridget McGuire.

Quotes:

Dinah: “The SCPD-Vigilante partnership works best when we operate as a covert unit."
Bingsley: “Doesn’t seem so in this case.”

Felicity: “So that’s a ‘no’ on the evil sister redeeming herself then.”

Dinah: “You do understand what accomplice to murder means?”

Felicity: “He probably just went to get some R&R.  Some Roy Relaxation.  (Dinah glares.) Not funny.  I see that now.”

Roy: “Oh, your new sister?  Not a fan.”

Felicity: “Could I maybe get a pizza?  Just a personal size is fine.”
Dinah: “No, I think you’ve abused your food privileges enough for today.”

Roy: “You think I did it?  Whose side are you on?”

Oliver: “At a certain point, Rene, people need to take responsibility for their actions.”

Emiko: “The Queens took everything from me.  Now it’s my turn to take everything from them.”

Oliver: “I have no more ways to tell you I didn’t kill those guards.”

Virgil: (to Oliver) “You’re a real pain in the arse.  Do you know that?”

Bingsley: “We appreciate you disarming the device but that’s not why you’re here.”

Guard: “Vigilante attack in progress, Hudolin McGuire Metro Station.”

Oliver: “How did you die?”

Emiko: "You will die a villain just like our father did. And I will be the cause of both of your deaths."

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

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