ARROW “INHERITANCE” REVIEW
BY JUSTIN CARTER
Several episodes ago, I noted that it seemed much of the season would initially focus on Emiko, but then surprisingly … didn’t. The show effectively sidelined her so it could concentrate on setting up the hell that was Star City 2040 for Team Arrow’s kids, instead of dealing with the new status quo that another member of the Queen family has brought with her. The revelation that she was working with Dante didn’t have the punch it was meant to, but now thanks to “Inheritance” it finally does. Because it turns out Emiko isn’t just our Big Bad for the season, she’s also in her own way responsible for creating the Green Arrow. Whether or not this semi retcon works is ultimately up to you, but I personally found it just dumb enough to let it slide.
On some level, it’s not that surprising that Emiko should turn out to be evil, or at the very least someone who could be pulled back. Arrow isn’t new to siblings turning out to be double agents — something Diggle makes note of with his own brother a few seasons ago — and at first the episode feels like it’s going through the motions. Of course Oliver’s going to believe Emiko deserves to tell her story, of course Diggle tries to remain objective, and so on. That’s not to say it’s dull; the opening training sequence between Oliver and Emiko has some good sibling banter, and Emiko and Rene’s relationship continues to be … something to watch for, but you’ve seen the calm before the storm once, you’ve seen it multiple times.
The ace in the hole is of course Emiko herself. None of the Queen kids are exactly emotionally healthy, but the episode does a good job of displaying how hurt she is to be continuously spurned in life. Sea Shimooka brings a good deal of vulnerability and rawness to her scenes that makes it easy to see why she would reject and continue to cling to her family. Her flashback with Robert is particularly telling: she’s not just angry at the Queens for letting her mother die, she’s angry because her dad snubbed her for a clearly less qualified man. I wouldn’t say she’s sympathetic, but I’m sure that many will find her completely valid in letting the Queen’s Gambit sink. And for what little we get to see of her actually dropping the act and being full on malicious is fun to watch, since it’s clear that she takes no shit from her underlings.
Emiko, as it turns out, is also the leader of the Ninth Circle. The Ninth Circle is a fairly recent addition to the Green Arrow mythos by way of Benjamin Percy and Otto Schmidt’s Rebirth run: essentially, they’re a terrorist group whose members are corrupt members of big organizations. Their introductory arc included Emiko in the comics, as well — she’s a teenage girl whose mother is Shado in that continuity — and it’s fitting that the show decides to lift that bit of history for Oliver to face this season. With the Ninth Circle as a backdrop for some Queen family drama, it finally feels like Emiko has the direction that she’s needed for some time now.
But while Emiko finally feels like she has direction, Laurel’s character feels like she’s regressing and being forced into having an identity crisis. While I don’t think she should be immune to one, I do think that it’s past its expiration date; she hasn’t really done anything that could classify as morally sketchy since pretending she was Laurel- 1. Oliver has a right to be skeptical sure, but Dinah has had her life saved by Laurel multiple times and the two have worked quite well together, so why the uncertainty? Because the “Birds of Prey” episode next month, apparently, but there’s gotta be a better way to make that transition. But hey, since she’s now been outed as an old partner of Diaz’s thanks to Emiko, hopefully we’ll see Laurel get an official seal of approval from Team Arrow.
- For the longest time after the episode, I wondered why Emiko only just showed up now, only to realize the very simple answer of: she didn’t think Oliver was worth keeping an eye on.
- Oh hey, Alena from a few seasons ago is back, and of course she’s helping Felicity’s Archer program eventually go to hell.
- “My wife was a junkie, you’d think I’d know when someone was lying to me.”
- Won’t be able to say this until the movie’s already out, but go see Shazam, it’s very good.
- See you on the 15th.