ARROW “EMERALD ARCHER” REVIEW
BY JUSTIN CARTER
From the moment it was announced, this documentary style episode of Arrow was an enticing prospect. There’s plenty in the series’ history to warrant such a gimmick and it being the 150th episode, they’re surely allowed to indulge in something so silly? Surprisingly however, the concept is one we haven’t seen since Chronicle, which is strange given how successful that turned out to be. And if any superhero show on TV right now could pull it off, it would surely be one in which the main character still hasn’t exactly won people over by being a superhero cop.
And let it be acknowledged that the show does quite well with the gimmick; Marc Guggenheim and Emilio Aldrich’s script helps Glen Winter’s direction stay in the spirit of the show while also being “out there” thanks to the camera crew and the amount of guest stars who contribute to the “documentary” while the actual episode runs in the background. Everyone does very well with the material here, with Amell in particular doing very well at looking incredibly uncomfortable at a bunch of cameras circling around him.
It must be said that the crew really did pull some surprising deep cuts for the interviewees: Barry and the various members of Team Arrow, sure; Diaz also felt appropriate, if a little weirdly timed. But bringing in Sara and Quentin, plus Thea and Rory (aka Ragman), were some very welcome surprises, plus that of Sara’s old BFF Sin back in season two. There’s appropriately a lot of history here that gets brought back to the forefront, such as clips from old episodes under the vein of video footage from onlooking citizens and stills of the Team beaten to hell, that appropriately sells the episode as a look at what being a superhero entails.
Found footage/documentary style episodes are nothing new, but the CW has only tried its hand once in the eighth season of Supernatural. Whereas that one went out of its way to stay with its video footage gimmick save for the first few minutes and the very end, “Emerald” splits its time between the footage and an actual episode. In that respect, the actual present day proceedings are perfectly serviceable, if slightly immersion breaking. The idea of a vigilante hunter obsessed with taking masks is a creepy one that should put everyone on Team Arrow in danger, but really … doesn’t. I’m not sure what the right move would’ve been, short of just making the episode longer, honestly.
Still, our baddie, nicknamed Chimera by Curtis, sure is a good way to get Team Arrow to rally together again and have the Oliver/Emiko connection revealed to everyone. I don’t think I really understood how little everyone has kept in contact with one another — at best, I figured they would at least share a beer sometime, but the show’s consistent refusal to show any more than two or three of them in the same room at a time really hits that home. It makes it all the more satisfying when they do all reunite, mostly suited up and each kicking Chimera’s ass just before they’re all deputised and working with the SCPD.
But of course, this is Arrow, and time always is lurking around the corner. That the documentary is being viewed by Blackstar — aka Mia, who may possibly be Mia Dearden? — in Star City 2040 is intriguing, since it leads her and Diggle’s future son Connor to the old Bunker. No love lost for the vigilantes in the future, and whatever happened started when the newly deputised team rebuilt the Bunker. “They got what they deserved,” Mia declares to close out the episode. Exactly what that is is unclear, but I’m interested to learn the answer.
As I said, I enjoyed the interviews, but also: how did some of these happen? Sara’s would’ve had to have happened at some point immediately following last season’s finale, presumably? Diaz’s could be at any point before last season, I suppose. How long were they working on this documentary?
It was nice to see Rory again, though I would’ve liked to have seen what he’s been doing in the two years since his rags stopped being magical.
That’s Kelsey Grammer providing the voice for the doc’s narration, or Gelsey Krammer for those MBMBaM fans out there.
Oh hey, William’s back. For a brief moment, I thought his and Zoe’s scene would lead to him coming out, since that’s the direction it felt was being angled to–on that note, how old is he meant to be?
To no one’s surprise, all Arrowverse shows got renewed for another season, as did Riverdale and the CW monstrosity that is Supernatural. Arrow, however, may have its ultimate fate decided by May.