Title: Arrow: “Emerald Archer” Review
Release Date: February 4th, 2019
Network: The CW
Genre: Superhero, Drama, Action
If anyone ever tells you that Arrow hasn’t been the same since its earlier seasons, please direct them to “Emerald Archer”. This is one of the most well-put-together episodes of television that I’ve ever seen from the Arrowverse.
I’m still torn whether or not this beats out “The Slabside Redemption” as the best episode of the season (so far) though. Where Slabside was action-packed, “Emerald Archer” really put an emphasis on the past in the best ways possible.
That’s not to say that “Emerald Archer” wasn’t filled with sweet action sequences. The action was top-notch and exactly what you would expect from stunt coordinator James Bamford and showrunner Beth Schwartz. The creative decision to use the cameraman as our point-of-view in certain action scenes was unique and absolutely captivating to watch.
Yes, this was the 150th episode of Arrow and with it being a documentary style episode, it was filled with cameos. But, these cameos didn’t feel forced. They were a refreshing look back at where the show started and how much Oliver has changed. We opened with the late Quentin Lance (in a scene from a few years ago), who questioned whether or not vigilantes were good for the city. Over the course of the documentary, we got short cameos from Ragman, Sara Lance, Sin (the girl from season two who was helping Sara), Roy, Thea, and even Barry Allen. The Barry cameo was amazing on every level from his denial that he knew Oliver was the Green Arrow to him asking the camera crew to cut a part out of the interview in fear of Oliver finding out about it.
Speaking of Oliver, I cannot believe how much I’m loving his character arc this season. Don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying The Flash season 5 but I wish Barry would get some of the same care that Oliver is getting here. Oliver’s had so much death throughout his life and he puts it all on his shoulders. He wants to be a hero that people can look up to, like Barry, but his darkness constantly gets in the way. Being out in the open, maskless, working with the SCPD is his way of becoming that. And it all works perfectly because of the great writing and Stephen Amell’s stellar performances over the past few weeks. It’s just a fantastic character arc for him.
Chimera was an excellent villain. He came off as a mix between Deadshot and Vigilante, which worked well seeing as he was a worthy competitor against a newly reformed Team Arrow. His reveal left a lot to be desired though. He’s Kevin Meltzer, a guy who came from a psych ward and stole vigilante masks as a sign of appreciation. That’s a little weak. I’m hoping we’ll see him pop back up again with a more fleshed out backstory.
Going to go ahead and get this out of the way, I could have done without the William/Felicity stuff. It wasn’t bad, per se, I just was so invested in the main story. You probably could have put anything as the “B-plot” here and it would have still been a dud for me. I will say this, it is a good call for the show to establish Zoe and William’s friendship now. That way, we can see it in the future and actually believe in the relationship.
Team Arrow is coming back, in an official capacity for the SCPD, and that’s fine. We’ve gone pretty much an entire season without the team in full-force. As long as it doesn’t shift the main focus away from Oliver, I can’t see any reason why I would dislike this move.
The jury’s still out for me regarding Emiko. I want to like her and I’m seeing glimpses of a personality there. I just hope the show continues to reveal more and quits banking on her personality being just like season one Oliver. By the way, is she outed as the new Green Arrow now? Or did they erase that footage completely? Oliver’s right though, Emiko needs a better name than the new Green Arrow.
The flashforwards reveal at the end tied everything together cleanly. There was a valid reason for us watching the documentary as we saw that Blackstar used it to find Team Arrow’s old base of operations. Why? We still don’t know but we do know that she is not a big fan of vigilantes. She also revealed that vigilantes ruined Star City. Which, really puts a damper on Oliver’s optimistic outlook and the newly reformed team.
Verdict: “Emerald Archer” was the 150th episode of Arrow and it felt like it. It had some minor issues and a sub-par B-story but fun callbacks with surprise cameos, top-notch action, an excellent villain, and a refreshing style made this one of the best episodes of the season, maybe even surpassing “The Slabside Redemption”.
- The documentary style was not a hindrance and instead, offered a refreshing look back at past characters and events
- Action scenes
- Oliver's character arc and Stephen Amell's performance continues to be a bright spot
- Team Arrow is back and I'm totally shocked this isn't in the "Cons" section
- Just a fantastically well-written and well-produced episode
- William/Felicity sub-plot
- Chimera's big reveal left a lot to be desired