“Despite what Emiko’s done, you’re not ready to give up on her.” Minor spoilers for Arrow season 7, episode 17 follow.
Now that Oliver and Emiko are finally together again, he believes that he can finally begin to make up for the sins of their father, similar to how he acted around the rest of Team Arrow.
Meanwhile, Laurel is continually confronted by her past despite every attempt she’s made to change her life.
Emiko returns to the fold
This episode wastes almost no time dealing with the reveal from the end of the last episode. Emiko is a member of The Ninth Circle and, by having Laurel pretty immediately confront Oliver about it, there’s no cat and mouse games being played about true allegiances. This is a play that can be played as something very interesting, but Arrow has had many problems in the past regarding this style of storytelling. So it’s nice to see it avoid that trope again.
Really the whole reason for this episode’s plot is the reveal that Emiko is not the good Samaritan that she seemed to be. This episode does as great job of showing how much Oliver has grown because he no longer has that blind spot for family that he used to. He’s still the stubborn Oliver that he’s always been, but he is now willing to listen to those around him now.
As for Emiko, it’s an interesting play to make her a part of The Ninth Circle from the get. In the comics, she’s playing a double agent to protect Oliver, and she’s always been a hero. But here, that is much more simplified, which makes sense for this version of the character. Also, the use of flashbacks in this episode harken back to season one of Arrow, essentially showing Emiko’s origin story. It wasn’t needed, but it was nice to see anyway. This episode dabbles in the shades of gray that a story like this needs, and it does it really well. On a side note, it’s also pretty cool to see Emiko in her comic book accurate colors at last.
The Ninth Circle arrives
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The Ninth Circle is one of the most horrific organizations in DC Comics, even though they’ve only been recently introduced, so it’s interesting to see them in play here already. Not complaining, it’s just an interesting choice. Not much is being done with the organization as a whole so far. The only members that have really been shown are Dante and Emiko, but there’s a lot promise regarding them.
Even though this isn’t really shown in this episode though, this episode provides a feeling, and evidence of one fact — The Ninth Circle has been behind so much that has happened in this series. It can turn out that this isn’t the case, but it still feels that way in this episode, which is what an organization like this needs to feel like.
Laurel’s life begins to fall apart
Other than Oliver and Emiko, Laurel is really the only character to be given a heavy focus with this episode, and it’s to show the struggle that she’s having. It’s been kind of an unspoken secret with the narrative of the show that Laurel is in a weird spot in her life, so it’s good to see her struggles as a character become apparent in this episode.
By showing her struggles and having Dinah act as her foil, Laurel is actually given some really solid character moments that have seemingly eluded her during this season, so it’s good to actually see her given the chance to shine in this episode.
Coming off the back of the best episode of the season, Arrow continues with its strong path toward the end of the season.