Emerald Archer
Credit: Shane Harvey/The CW
S7 E12
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Arrow’s 150th episode, which aired tonight, might be my favorite episode of the season for one reason, and it’s not because it was partially shot like a documentary about the Green Arrow: it featured all of the members of Team Arrow interacting with each other.

While I’ve enjoyed this season for the most part so far, the one thing that’s been nagging me is how there are so many disparate parts that, at least at this point in this season, don’t appear to be converging. For the most part, it feels like every character is off dealing with individual storylines, but it’s been a while since we’ve seen a lot of them in the same room. To be fair, that’s been by design since Team Arrow disbanded in season 6 and Oliver spent the first half of the season in prison. Even though the reasons for Oliver, Felicity, Dinah, Diggle, Rene, and Curtis not sharing scenes makes sense, it’s felt like the show’s been missing something. Sure, it’s named Arrow, but at this point in its run, the show’s strongest asset is Team Arrow and the relationships among its members. Thankfully, “Emerald Archer,” and the in-show documentary that it’s built around, took some major steps towards bringing Team Arrow back.

As has been reported already, the show’s 150th episode showcases a documentary called “The Hood and the Rise of Vigilantism,” which explores Green Arrow’s crusade on crime. A substantial amount of the hour was shot to look like footage from a documentary. While I’m not sure the whole documentary gimmick was necessary — we never find out what the cheekily named filmmaker M. Pedowitz (or the show) is trying to say about vigilantism with her movie or what her perspective is — it does give the show a chance to honor not only everything Oliver has been through over the years, but also everyone he has worked with. In the show, we find out that Pedowitz received funding to complete her movie after Oliver went public, but she’s been working on this for years, which is why it includes current interviews with the team as well as interviews with Diggle from 2012 (one of the funniest talking heads of the episode); the dearly departed Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne!!!) from 2014; Thea, who made time to come on camera while destroying Lazarus Pits; Sara Lance, who took a break from Legend-ing to chat; a lovably goofy Barry Allen, who pretends he didn’t know Oliver was the Green Arrow; Cindy (Bex Taylor-Klaus); and so many more. It was a great and poignant way for the show to acknowledge that Arrow, as I said above, has become more than just about Oliver Queen. All of these people he’s crossed paths with have helped it become what it is today.

But the episode isn’t just interviews with all of the characters. See, when the episode begins, Oliver allows the crew to follow him around for a few days to see how he Green Arrows. Alas, he picks a complicated day to let them in. First, a grumpy William finally returns from boarding school and he’s not pleased about his dad “making a movie.” It also turns out that he got expelled from school, but Felicity doesn’t tell Oliver that in this episode. Then, there’s also the city’s current a crisis: An anti-vigilante vigilante, who attacks Wild Dog and takes the New Green Arrow hostage.

With Emiko captured by this anti-vigilante vigilante that Curtis, doing his best Cisco impression, decides to call Chimera, Oliver has to come clean to the team about who the New Green Arrow is. He first tells Diggle, who wants to know why Oliver is so anxious to find her. Although Diggle is initially taken aback that Oliver waited a month to tell him, the two quickly work through that because they realize that they haven’t exactly been running through the same circles. It’s an in-show acknowledgment of how isolated they’ve been. From there, they get a lead on Chimera’s whereabouts and head out to find them, which leads to an impressive action sequence shot from the perspective of the documentary crew. Chimera manages to escape, but Oliver, Diggle, and the SCPD recover a badly injured Emiko.

Next: Team Arrow rides again

Unsurprisingly, Emiko flees the hospital and returns to her lair. Rene pays her a visit and makes a joke about how she and Oliver must be related because of how stubborn they are — which, of course, leads to Emiko breaking the truth to Rene. She explains that she kept it from him because she didn’t want it to ruin their “thing.” While I’m not sure if the show is going to romantically pair up these characters, I wouldn’t necessarily object to it.

At the same time, Oliver brings Dinah up to speed on the Emiko Queen of it all. However, Dinah pushes past that reveal pretty quickly because they have a bigger problem on their hands: Mayor Pollard is insisting Oliver attend her town hall on vigilantes in Star City because she doesn’t believe Chimera is real and thus isn’t worried about innocent people’s lives being in danger. Of course, Oliver is worried about that. Luckily, Diggle has an idea: Recruit Team Arrow to help out. That’s the last thing Oliver wants to do because they haven’t been deputized and vigilantes are outlawed in Star City, but Diggle convinces him to change his mind. “We are a team, and nothing’s going to change that,” says Diggle, adding that it’s clear Oliver has learned from his past mistakes as a leader, too.

So Team Arrow (minus Dinah) suits up and is ready for Chimera’s inevitable attack. And thank God they were there because Oliver had a surprisingly hard time on his own. Dinah ends up revealing she was the Black Canary when she uses her canary cry to save Pollard from a falling wall, and Green Arrow and his team manage to subdue to Chimera, who, it turns out, is just a fanboy who loves vigilantes and wanted to collect their masks. (Fans, am I right?!) Although the Team is initially arrested because vigilantes are illegal, Mayor Pollard frees and deputizes them and lets Dinah keep her job because she realizes there are indeed some threats the cops can’t handle. Somehow the past seven years of shenanigans weren’t enough?

In the wake of Team Arrow’s reunion and this latest victory, Oliver decides to recommit himself to the Team Arrow project. He brings the camera crew to the destroyed bunker and reveals that he plans on rebuilding and doing a better job this time around because he has learned from his mistakes. “You learn from them, move forward, be better,” he says.

And that’s when it’s revealed that Katherine McNamara’s Mia and Connor have been watching this documentary in the future, where it has actually been banned (Damn, Star City definitely took a turn for the worst if it’s banning movies). Mia, who hates vigilantes and believes they destroyed the city, uses the documentary to find Team Arrow’s old hideout. What she (and Connor) want with it remains to be seen.

Wall of Weird:

  • Look, I can’t fault the show for not having anything concrete to say about vigilante justice because to do so would risk undermining the central conceit (Also see Detective Comics’s “The Victim Syndicate” or the first arc of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Black Panther, which tried to grapple with objections to their main heroes before just being like, “Eh…let them be superheroes”)
  • In the episode, we also learn that William and Zoey are friends and texted the entire time he was away. This was also news to Rene, who isn’t too happy about boys coming around his daughter. Jokes!
  • Why didn’t Oliver point out that Malcolm Merlyn was already planning the Undertaking and running around in a hood with a bow and arrow long before he suited up as the Hood? Oliver didn’t bring this madness to Star City!!
  • Barry playing the clapper board was hilarious!

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Billionaire Oliver Queen — under the vigilante persona of Arrow — tries to right the wrongs of his family and fight the ills of society.
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