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