Arrow recap: Winter premiere answers several Emiko Queen-related questions
Arrow ended its fall run with a scandalous reveal: The new Green Arrow is none other Emiko Queen, Robert Queen's daughter from an affair and thus Oliver's half-sister. Of course, this reveal raised many questions: What does Emiko want? Why did she become the Green Arrow? Who is her mother? Why are we just finding out about her now? As the episode title suggests, the winter premiere, thankfully, starts to answer these questions.
We begin with a pretty cool montage that follows Emiko as she runs around Star City crossing names off a list while she monologues about justice and the failures of the system. Her nighttime adventures eventually lead her to break into a security company building to find some man named William Glenmorgan; however, the security guards surprise her while she's stealing something from the server and manage to hit her with a bullet as she tries to flee the scene. Of course, when Oliver shows up to examine the scene with Dinah and the SCPD the following day, he picks up her DNA sample and takes it home for Felicity to test it.
Felicity runs the sample through her computer and quickly discover that it matches Robert Queen's and the new Green Arrow is Oliver's sister. Look, I've never been in a situation like this, but I imagine this is not the way someone would want to find something like this out. By this point, Oliver has made peace with the fact that his father is a man of many secrets. Stephen Amell strikes the right balance between being shocked and resigned to the fact that his family is pretty messed up. Unfortunately, Oliver definitely isn't prepared to learn just how messed up the present situation is.
Through some more computer stuff, Felicity finds an old storage unit paid for by Moira. They have all of the items delivered to their apartment and find a letter Robert wrote to Walter. In the letter, Robert confesses that he loved a woman named Kazumi Adachi and had a daughter with her, but he was forced to abandon them (because of Moira); he also asks Walter to take care of them in the event of his death. That obviously didn't happen because Moira kept all of this stuff locked in a storage unit. So not only did Oliver just learn that his father had a secret second family, but that the Queens essentially abandoned them. This is a lot to take in for Oliver, who has a natural penchant for feeling guilty for other people's actions. To be fair, it makes sense that he would feel this way because he returned from Lian Yu intent on righting his father's wrongs, and it's obvious he missed out on a big one. The script makes a really smart decision of drawing on the show's history, particularly where Oliver started out, to handle this revelation.
So what happened to Emiko and her mother? Well, Emiko explains that to Rene, whom she reluctantly allows to help her in her crusade after he patches up her bullet wound. After Robert left, it was just her and her mother living alone in the Glades, and Sea Shimooka does a great job of conveying the pain and loss they felt after Robert's departure. But then last year, someone put a bullet through her mother's head and tried to cover up the murder by burning down the entire apartment. So, Emiko has spent the past year trying to track down the man responsible, and her quest has led her to the aforementioned William Glenmorgan.
The episode sets up a very interesting distinction between Oliver and Emiko. Whereas he became the Green Arrow to right his father's mistakes and wrongs, Emiko took up the hood in order to avenge her mother's death. In other words, we're dealing with a redemption vs. revenge dichotomy here. Even though their goals are different, they do share some similarities. For one, Emiko, like Oliver believed at the beginning of his career, has embraced the darkness in order to achieve her goal. If there's one thing we've seen over the past few seasons, it's that that's not a sustainable method of doing this job. And we can expect Oliver will probably impart this wisdom to her when he, in his quest to redeem the Queen family once again, eventually teams up with her. (The episode ends with him approaching her while she's visiting her mother's grave).
Next: Rene teams up with Emiko
The other similarity is in their personalities. Both the script and direction suggest that grumpiness is a Queen family trait because Emiko is just as stern as Oliver was when he came home/is. One of the funniest moments of the episode is when she initially tries to get Rene to leave her alone by threatening to put an arrow through his leg, which is exactly what her brother did in season 5 when he met Rene for the first time.
After hearing her story, Rene agrees to help her take down William Glenmorgan, who's hiding out in some big mansion. While Curtis hangs back at Rene's place as their "person in the chair," the new Green Arrow and Wild Dog launch an attack on Glenmorgan's mansion. But, it turns out that Oliver isn't the only one who is blindsided by news in this episode. Emiko eventually corners Glenmorgan and demands to know why he killed her mother. Plot twist: Glenmorgan couldn't possibly have done it because he was out of the country when it happened. This means that she's back at square one, but at least she isn't going to be doing it alone.
While all of the New Green Arrow stuff was going on, Diggle and Lyla were having their own family problems at A.R.G.U.S. When Deputy Director Bell questions why they have Diaz in their custody, Diggle interjects and says that Lyla is reviving the Ghost Initiative, a.k.a. the Suicide Squad, and plans on recruiting Diaz to it as a way to help them with this Dante mess. Judging from Lyla's face, this isn't something she and Diggle had discussed, and the fact that he brought it up like this, in front her deputy, who is very enthusiastic about the idea, undermines her authority because she has no other option but to go along with his lie. And Lyla lets him know what he did was wrong and warns him that he's becoming more like Amanda Waller.
"My Name is Emiko Queen" also featured the season's best flash-forwards so far, which have been rather frustrating so far. In the future, the Glades, which is walled off from the rest of Star City, is a prosperous and safe place thanks to Mayor Rene Ramirez (a.k.a. Old Man Rene), who wants nothing to do with Star City or Dinah. Alas, he's forced to interact with his former teammate when she pays him a visit and asks for the codes to something called the Archer System so that she and Zoey can stop whoever is planning on bombing Star City. At first, Dinah tries the carrot, but he doesn't budge and threatens to arrest her, so she goes with the stick and threatens to kick his butt. He relents and hands over the codes.
Of course, there's more going on than meets the eye. After his meeting with Dinah, in which he finds out that Felicity was murdered, Old Man Rene meets with a mysterious man who happens to be behind the plan to bomb Star City. Apparently, this mysterious man believes Star City is a cancer that needs to be removed so that the Glades can reach its full potential, and Rene has been working with him. In other words, Rene is involved in the Undertaking 2.0, because history repeats itself. The script does a fairly good job of setting up how desperate Rene is to help the Glades so it isn't surprising that an older version of himself would agree to do this. I mean, we've seen this kind of moral compromise for some twisted version of the greater good before. Not only with Robert Queen, but also with Detective/Captain Lance teaming up with Damien Darhk at the beginning of season 4. I'm actually pretty interested in seeing how this shakes out.
Wall of Weird:
- "My name is Emiko Queen. I will get justice for my mother and no one will stand in my way."
- The show lays Zoey's future as a vigilante on pretty thick when Lil' Zoey eyes one of the new Green Arrow's arrow.