Title: Arrow: “Unmasked” Review
Release Date: December 3rd, 2018
Network: The CW
Genre: Superhero, Drama, Action
Well, we learned one thing from this episode of Arrow. Oliver is just as intimidating with or without a hood.
“Unmasked” was a double-entendre title for the Arrow mid-season finale. On one hand, it symbolized Oliver’s new position as a public figure after being outed as the Green Arrow. It also meant the reveal of the new Green Arrow’s identity.
Honestly, I thought the reveal at the beginning of the episode was a little lackluster. The intrigue around the copy-cat vigilante eased that reaction as it left the door open for a better reveal down the road. Despite a “meh” reaction to the initial introduction, the final moments of “Unmasked” put all of my complaints to rest.
So, we know that the new Green Arrow (who definitely needs an official name ASAP) is Oliver’s half-sister and the daughter of Robert Queen. This all makes sense considering how much effort this season has put into Oliver’s mission and Robert’s part in it. Like The Flash, Arrow’s season is based around legacy.
If I had to speculate, I’m guessing that this woman is none other than Emiko Queen, who is Oliver’s half-sister in the comics and takes up the vigilante lifestyle. In the comics, Emiko’s mother is Shado, who actually appeared in the flashbacks of Arrow’s first few seasons. If this new Green Arrow is Emiko Queen, I’m guessing that there will be a few backstory changes.
Speaking of the Queen family, Oliver’s first episode out of prison was certainly eventful. His demeanor and willingness to make a stand for prison reform shows that the show won’t just forget the arc. Prison clearly affected him. This is great from a storytelling perspective because we know that these arcs matter for the characters and will change them over time.
Oliver as an unmasked hero was something that I never thought would work. Turns out, I was wrong as even in the public eye, Oliver can still protect his city. With the prison storyline gone, we needed another meaningful arc to grab onto. Oliver officially working with SCPD as the Green Arrow has the potential to be that arc if handled correctly.
I mentioned in my “Due Process” review that Felicity’s character hasn’t been this interesting since the show’s second season. That still hasn’t changed. Her motivations behind her new attitude are somewhat justified. Oliver took the FBI deal without telling her or William, leaving them in a vulnerable spot. She was attacked while in witness protection by Diaz and ended up having to send her step-son away. I don’t blame her for being a little antagonistic towards Oliver. Although if this carries over for the entirety of the season, I can easily see me growing tired of the drama.
There’s one problem with Arrow at the moment. One that the writers just can’t fix.
They may have made these flashforwards too good. We know that the present day Star City ends up in turmoil. This makes us as the audience hope for the future to change. But, the flashforward scenes are so compelling that I don’t want them to change. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind if Arrow just made a time-jump next season so the flashforwards take the main focus (that is if they get another season).
“The Mark of Four” was revealed to be a term coined by Oliver. Future Dinah explained it as the four pillars of heroism and that everyone on Team Arrow has the mark. Which does explain why Roy was so quick to oblige to William’s request. Juliana Harkavy was excellent in this scene as Dinah but it was a little too cheesy for me there at the end when she was going into the individual “pillars”.
It seems that Blackstar (or Maya) is going forward with Felicity’s “evil plan”. I don’t see that being the case. For one, I still don’t buy that Felicity is dead and/or she’s turned to the dark side. Also, I don’t believe Maya will be a villain. The Arrowverse has been killing it with the expert castings of the next generation of heroes (Jessica Parker Kennedy as The Flash’s daughter and Ben Lewis as adult William). Katherine McNamara’s Maya looks like she could be the daughter of Oliver and Felicity. Just saying.
The A.R.G.U.S subplot scares me. I haven’t been shy about my feelings on Ricardo Diaz as the main villain and I thought last week was the final time we would see The Dragon for a while. It seems that he’ll be appearing when the show returns in a supporting role for A.R.G.U.S. Hopefully, this isn’t a stepping stone for the character to return to the top of the food chain.
Here are just a few bullet points for some of my observations from the mid-season finale of Arrow that didn’t make it in this review:
- I noticed that in the future, Dinah’s has a scar on her throat. I’m curious about how she got that scar and if this means she lost her powers?
- Felicity and Laurel’s friendship is one of the strongest elements of the season thus far.
- Although it was fun for this episode, I hope that the hood-less Oliver doesn’t become a thing. Because we’re only a small step away from his ridiculous Robin Hood hat from the comics and that would be terrible.
- Keeping William out of the present day feels weird. I’m not mad as it’ll probably fit for storyline purposes in the future stuff, I just found it awkward.
- Oliver fighting in the nightclub was cool and on-par with the amazing action of season seven. The only way it could’ve been better is if he got in a “You Have Failed This City” line in during the staredown with Fuller.
- It was also pretty cool for the show to reuse the nightclub in both the present day and flashforwards. Things like that will help make these flashforwards feel more concrete.
- Rene’s scenes in this episode were absolutely hilarious. That is all.
- The teaser for the crossover episode was great. I just don’t know if Earth 90 is from the 1990s The Flash TV series or in the Smallville universe. I only say this because I saw a few dead heroes in that teaser that looked similar to the ones seen in Smallville.
Next week is the three-night “Elseworlds” crossover event. I’ll be reviewing all three episodes of this crossover, starting this Sunday night with The Flash (for some reason, The Flash kicks off the crossover).
Verdict: Arrow is on a roll heading into its mid-season break and I see no reason for that to change unless the show returns to a boring main villain. The reveal around the new Green Arrow’s identity is more than enough to keep viewers invested and sets up some more Queen family drama for the rest of the season.
What did you think about this week’s episode? Are you excited for the crossover? Let us know in the comments below!
- The true identity of the new Green Arrow
- Oliver's new role
- Felicity's character and motivations
- Juliana Harkavy had an impressive performance as Dinah (especially in the flashforwards)
- I really like the legacy theme for Arrow
- The teaser for the crossover was great
- These flashforwards are good...
- ...Actually, the flashforwards may be too good
- Hopefully, Diaz doesn't return to being the main villain this season
- The "Mark of Four" was a little cheesy