ARROW “UNMASKED” REVIEW
BY JUSTIN CARTER
If it wasn’t for the fact that the annual crossover is next week, this episode of Arrow could easily function as a midseason finale. It drops two big bombs, ends on a dramatic status quo change, offers up some intriguing questions, and feels like it should end with “see you in January!” That “Unmasked” is willing to so casually lay down its cards with just two weeks to go before the series goes on hiatus proves the production team has confidence and doesn’t need to drag things out any longer than it has to.
Take, for example, the reveal of the imposter Green Arrow, which opens the hour: it’s Oliver’s half sister, Emiko. (She isn’t named in the episode, but comics fans will have known since Sea Shimooka was cast in a then undisclosed role.) In previous seasons there would’ve been a greater buildup, but the show is fully aware that Star City’s been through multiple archers already, and that the identity of the latest doesn’t matter so much as their relationship to Oliver. Emiko and Oliver don’t really have a face to face conversation, but it’s easy to imagine that’ll happen sooner than it normally would, and the prospect of it occuring under the pretense of his new job is even more interesting.
It’s nice that the show is just committing to Oliver’s identity being public and doing the most logical thing, which is to make him a superhero cop. That creative move however is still an unknown quantity at this point. How it all hangs together in the long run will surely depend on how far the show decides to go with it. It feels like this could very easily be a way for the show to tackle police brutality without having to actually talk about the cops themselves and the systemic problems that are ingrained into it. But for now at least, it’s the kind of shakeup the show needs after having deciding to take the toys out of the box with last year’s finale.
After six seasons of roster changes and internal crises, Arrow is wisely spending this season using its main character to explore what being a hero means. That the show feels the need to actually define this in the flashforwards with the Mark of Four — a tattoo the members of Team Arrow will get to symbolize the aspects of heroism — is goofy, but it’s a good way to lay down a goalpost for the series to eventually strike at. And hopefully, because of the small insistence that everyone on the team got them, there’ll be no more breakups or internal struggles.
“Unmasked” isn’t a perfect episode, but it is a solid one that does a good job of establishing another new status quo and answering questions earlier than anticipated. Sadly, any other revelations will have to wait, because next week is Elseworlds!
I have to give it to Mayor Pollard, she may be shorter than Oliver and Dinah, but she certainly stares them down like she lords over them.
The hallway fight was pretty good, and a fine reminder of what Netflix will no longer be providing since they’re cleaning house of their Marvel franchise.
Emiko for whatever reason never even crossed my mind as a character the show would use. If you’re looking for a primer on her, Jeff Lemire’s run on Green Arrow during the New 52 and Benjamin Percy’s run immediately after are both filled with her.
Glad to know the effort to put Diaz behind bars would just be undone a week later.