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Warning: This post contains spoilers from Monday night’s Arrow midseason finale. Read at your own risk!

Arrow has pulled off another surprise that we all should’ve seen coming.

“Unmasked,” season 7’s midseason finale and the strongest episode of the season, revealed that the new Green Arrow is none other than Emiko Queen (played by Sea Shimooka), Robert Queen’s secret daughter and Oliver’s half-sister. The installment began teasing this reveal from the first scene, which showed Emiko working out before throwing on the new Green Arrow costume. At this point, we didn’t know her name or relationship to Oliver; however, the scene purposefully and effectively evoked season 1’s ab-filled training montages and thus primed us for the episode’s final scene in which Emiko visits Robert’s grave and refers to him as dad while talking about how similar she and Oliver are. As was the case in “The Demon,” this surprise should’ve been evident. I mean, the season premiere ended with crossing names out of a book that looked like the one Oliver got from his deceased father way back when.

Of course, this big reveal raises questions: What does she want? Where has she been all this time? If she hasn’t been in Star City, why does she care about saving it? Also, is secret love child the soapiest CW reveal the show has pulled off in a while? Even though I have several questions about Emiko’s, well, everything (which I’ll get to momentarily) I am excited about her being introduced because she is one of my favorite characters from the Green Arrow mythos.

For the uninitiated, the character of Emiko is a relatively new addition to the DC Comics universe, as she was first introduced during Jeff Lemire’s run on Green Arrow in DC’s New 52 era. In the comics, she’s the result of an affair that Robert Queen had with Shado while he was part of a mystical secret society called The Outsiders; however, Robert’s enemy Simon Lacroix, a.k.a. Komodo (who has also appeared on Arrow) kidnapped her, raised her, and turned her against the Queen family. The first time Oliver meets his half-sister, she’s trying to kill him. They eventually work past that and she becomes Oliver’s sidekick, but the personality she developed under Komodo remains. Even though she’s barely a teenager in the comics, she’s a formidable archer and fighter, disciplined, and murderous. Her dynamic with Oliver in the comics is hilarious because she’s constantly owning him and really wants to be the Green Arrow, as you can see in the panel below from Green Arrow #32. (ASIDE: Before the season started, I suggested everyone read Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino’s Green Arrow run to prepare for season 7, and I’m glad my instincts turned out to be right. END ASIDE)

DC Comics’ Green Arrow Vol. 5, #32
| Credit: DC Comics

Arrow is already putting its own spin on the character. For one, the show’s version of Emiko is much older than her comic book counterpart. Secondly, she can’t be Robert and Shado’s love child because Robert died before Shado was introduced, and more importantly, it’s Oliver who had a romantic relationship with the now deceased Shado on the show. Clearly, sticking too close to Emiko’s comic book origins would lead to some weird stuff. Whoever her mother is, though, it makes sense that Robert would have a secret child. The show established fairly early on that Robert was unfaithful (remember his affair with Summer Glau’s Isabel Rochev) and had many secrets beyond his role in the Undertaking (as was revealed toward the end of season 5). Based on her one scene of dialogue with Robert’s headstone, it’s clear that she’s just as disciplined and trained, and looks down on her half-brother somewhat. Furthermore, we know she’s very skilled with a bow and arrow and must have had specific training, which raises some questions.

To be fair, Arrow actually doesn’t give us too much information about Emiko in this episode — the script doesn’t even reveal her name — so it’s too soon to make too many judgments about how effective this new addition, and even Shimooka’s performance, will be. (She does know how to workout!). I do find interesting, though, that the writers felt it was necessary to give Oliver another sister after writing off Willia Holland’s Thea last season (I’m still not over it).

NEXT: Let’s talk about the other 90% of the episode

Honestly, Emiko wasn’t even the most interesting thing about the episode (he says after writing over 600 words about her). The rest of the hour was concerned with Oliver, who’s planning his life post-prison and adjusting to how Felicity has changed since he went away.

Upon his release, the city decides to recognize Oliver for all that he did to stop the injustices on Level Two; however, the ceremony gets interrupted by a new Green Arrow impersonator who kills one of the attendees. Of course, the city automatically assumes it is the new Green Arrow, but Rene insists that it isn’t, which leads to Oliver finding out that Rene has been in contact with his replacement. Cue the team-up!

Having Oliver out of prison and working with some of Team Arrow was one of the best things about this episode. While I enjoyed his stay in prison, it still felt like there was something missing because Oliver was so isolated from everyone else in the storyline, and the point that Arrow has made time and again is that Oliver is who he is (and worth watching) because of his relationship with these people. Thankfully, the episode wastes very little time in having him team-up with Dinah and Rene to figure out what’s going on. Their investigation eventually clears NGA’s name, but raise more questions.

Eventually, Oliver discovers that his old friend Max Fuller is responsible for two murders, and he decides that he has to handle it. But there’s the little problem that he just got out of prison and vigilantes have been outlawed. Dinah, however, comes up with a solution and hires him to work with the SCPD. So, Oliver gets his suit back from Diggle and heads out to confront Max Fuller sans mask because, as he tells his brother, he doesn’t need it anymore. I’ll admit, it was great seeing Stephen Amell back in the green suit; however, it is kind of weird that the show has turned Green Arrow into a part of law enforcement. I can’t totally explain why it makes me a tiny bit but uncomfortable, but I’ll take it because it means we get the real Green Arrow back.

Oliver’s life isn’t completely back to normal, though. Before Oliver took Max down, Max sent an assassin to kill Oliver and Felicity, who responded by pulling a gun on the guy, much to Oliver’s surprise. Last week, Diaz cruelly teased Oliver with the knowledge that Felicity tried to kill him and has changed since Oliver’s been away, and in this episode, Oliver finally sees what he meant and doesn’t like it because he feels like he’s losing the woman he fell in love with. To be fair, and as Felicity pointed out, she became this way because of a unilateral decision he made that altered her life forever. Unfortunately, this isn’t something the couple will easily get past. At the end of the episode, Felicity simply says, “I just don’t know if what’s best for me right now is the same thing as what’s best for us.” While I’m not looking forward to more Olicity drama, it does feel as though the show is respecting Felicity’s point of view by not having her revert back to who she was just because it’s what Oliver wants.

Meanwhile, in the future, Dinah, William, and Zoe discover that Blackstar, the last person Felicity contacted before she died, is actually a street-fighter named Maya, played by Shadowhunters’ Katherine McNamara. Maya denies knowing what happened to Felicity, but after a quick sweep of her office, the trio discovers that she’s still planning on going through with the bombing. Unfortunately, they don’t have any equipment to stop her, which means they need to head to the Glades and ask Rene for help, which is the last thing Zoe wants to do. While it still feels too early to judge the flash-forwards, I don’t think they’re working for me at the moment. There’s just way too much mystery and not enough concrete information to make me invested.

Wall of Weird:

  • Arrow gave into some bad habits in this episode, too. After discovering that the Longbow Hunters are connected to that Dante painting they’re investigating, Diggle and Lyla turn to Diaz for help, but decide not to tell Oliver — because nothing ever goes wrong on this show when we keep secrets!
  • “Hey, dad, it turns out Oliver is more like you than I thought, more like me, too. But I’m not giving up — not ever,” Emiko, to her father’s grave.
  • Dinah asks Rene if he’s ever thought about running for elected office…Wonder where that‘s going to lead?
  • Next week, Arrow heads to Gotham City for Part 2 of the “Elseworlds” crossover!

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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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