Arrow season 7, episode 12 review: Emerald Archer

Arrow -- "Emerald Archer" -- Image Number: AR712B_0064b -- Pictured: Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen/Green Arrow -- Photo: Shane Harvey/The CW -- © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Arrow -- "Emerald Archer" -- Image Number: AR712B_0064b -- Pictured: Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen/Green Arrow -- Photo: Shane Harvey/The CW -- © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. /

“Emerald Archer: The Hood and The Rise of Vigilantism” Mild spoilers for Arrow season 7, episode 12 follow.

Arrow marks its 150th episode with a special episode, a documentary looking back at the effect of Oliver’s vigilante crusades as the Arrow in Star City.

While Oliver is being followed around by a documentary crew, William arrives back in town, and Emiko is attacked by a new villain.

Documentary now

There’s a kind of brilliance to celebrate a milestone episode by doing a style never explored by the show — a documentary. It ties together the first season and the most recent episodes in such a tangible way that would be extremely hard to do in pretty much any other way, other than maybe Slade returning as the big bad. By making everything feel more tangible, it ties together the themes that have been present over the past two episodes. And really, if this was a real documentary, it would be dang good regardless of it being present in the context of the show. There’s a couple of great cameos from past characters and characters featured in other shows with the highlight going to Grant Gustin’s Barry Allen.

Now the entire episode takes place within the context of a documentary, more so the set-up of the episode, but it’s excellent set-up and payoff for the journey that the series has gone through over seven years. It’s also set-up for the rest of the episode when it’s revealed that there’s a new villain hunting vigilantes in Star City. Chimera is a very intriguing villain that really they don’t do enough with.

This documentary style, when used during the second act of the episode, makes for some fantastic action sequences. There’s a shaky cam style very similar to the Bourne films, which works immensely well. A lot of the action in Arrow is based around very clean, un-motivated movement and wide shots, so having a new style presented here, while fitting in with the specific style of the episode, is really fun to see.

William returns to Star City

After being shipped off to boarding school, this is the first time William has appeared in the present in a while, and here, we really get to begin to see why William is so angry at Oliver and Felicity in the future. He’s having a rough time, and there are some things that make complete sense given that we’ve seen where he’s heading in the future.

We also see William and Zoe for the first time in the present, which really helps with their relationship in the future. This isn’t the first time they’re meeting in the future, and they were actually friends in the present, but with very opposite personalities in the present than they do in the future.

Oliver and Diggle team up again

More from Arrowverse

For the first time in this season though, Oliver and Diggle are back together again. They’ve been in the same room, but never out in the field with each other this season, so it’s great to see them back together again. It’s also the first time the members of A.R.G.U.S. actually feel like they have a connective thread to everything else happening in Star City.

This is the first episode of the season that Diggle has felt relevant, which feels like a horrible thing to say for such a great character. Seeing Oliver and him together and their reconnection is so satisfying in the best way possible. These are two people who have been together from the beginning and know each other better than anyone, so finally bringing them back together is just fantastic. So by the end of the episode, when Team Arrow is back in action, everything feels right, even if the past seasons regarding the team have felt off.

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Arrow provides a great milestone episode that serves as a great connective tissue between all of the seasons of Arrow, while also showing a new way forward for the show, in the present and the future.