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The big mystery of who is under the hood has been revealed, and now we finally get to know what exactly drives Emiko Queen — aka the New Green Arrow. Turns out, she has a mission all her own.
Spoilers ahead for “My Name is Emiko Queen,” the latest episode of The CW’s Arrow, which aired Monday, Jan. 21, 2019.
Emiko takes center stage this week, in an episode that really feels like a throwback to Season 1 (for better and worse). We get to know young Emiko Queen, a secret and largely forgotten daughter of Robert Queen. Thanks to a secret storage locker that is suddenly uncovered (gotta love those secret storage lockers), Oliver and Felicity learn that Robert had fallen in love with Emiko’s mother and asked his dear friend Walter (early season throwback there) to look out for them in the event of his death. We don’t actually know what happened for that not to happen (the theory seems to be that Moira may have frozen this second family out and hidden the proof).
But being seemingly abandoned by the Queen family isn’t what turned Emiko into a vigilante — it was the mysterious murder of her mother, who was shot and had her entire apartment complex burned to the ground in an effort to cover up the death. We pick up with Emiko seemingly at the end of her revenge quest, teaming up with Rene after she’s shot in the shoulder and needs help to escape. Emiko has been piecing together who killed her mother, and the list she’s been working from is apparently associates leading her to this William Glenmorgan (a bit player character for DC Comics purists) she believes killed her mother.
After finally getting him cornered, Emiko realizes Glenmorgan was apparently framed — meaning her months-long quest to track him down was a red herring. So Emiko still has a mission, and now Rene has teamed up to help her figure who is orchestrating this elaborate cover-up.
Oliver is largely sidelined this week, with his only scenes essentially spent fretting over whether to introduce himself to Emiko (thanks to a quick DNA test of her blood, Oliver puts the pieces together to realize the new Green Arrow is his half-sister). He finally decides to reach out, after coming to terms with the fact that Emiko was apparently left behind by their father. That’s the cliffhanger the episode ends on, as well, with Oliver introducing himself to Emiko.
So did this all work, though? It was a mixed bag. Teaming Emiko up with Rene felt like a natural progression, and finally gave her a more tangible connection to the main cast. That honestly probably could’ve happened a bit sooner. But there are still a whole lot of questions. Why did Emiko decide to become an archer? That seems like such a random skill to take on, with no further context. Did she already know Oliver was the Green Arrow before he went public? If so, how? Who trained her? Did she get this good in just the short while since her mother’s death? Looking deeper at her origin story itself, who would go to so much trouble to kill her mother in the first place? Are there really this many high-profile murder-for-hires in the Arrowverse? There’s a lot of balls in the air here, and there need to be some airtight explanations to make it all make sense.
Along with formally introducing Emiko to the world, this week’s episode also includes some major developments in the flash-forward. We get to see that Future Rene is the mayor of the new-look Glades, a gilded, crime-free city that has essentially cut off the rest of Star City and left it to rot. Future Rene is a far cry from the street-level hero of the present. Sporting a well-coifed head of hair and a ruthless attitude about anyone other than his constituents. We also learn he’s actually in on the bomb plot Future Roy, Future William, and Future Dinah are investigating — and also doesn’t bat an eye when he learns his co-conspirator had Future Felicity killed (supposedly, because I still don’t think she’s actually dead). We also learn that the Glades has a high-tech security system, the Archer Program, to thank for its renaissance. Dinah steals access to the system to try and stop the bomb plot.
The juxtaposition between Rene and Future Rene is clear. A few decades down the line, Rene has found real power through politics — and has forgotten and given up on the street-level battle he used to wage. We still don’t know exactly what leads Rene to such a startling about-face, but it must be something big. We still don’t know everything about these flash-forwards (is this future malleable?), but if this really is where Rene ends up, it’s disappointing. Rene is a hero with a true moral compass, something that’s been proven time and time again. For him to become this entitled jerk in the future, there must be a major, major twist to earn it.
Don’t forget about the old baddie Diaz, as he’s still alive and kicking — and is apparently poised to start up his very own new-look Suicide Squad. Diggle cuts a deal with Diaz for freedom if he helps them track down a terrorist. As part of the deal, he revives the Ghost Initiative, aka the Suicide Squad, albeit against Lyla’s wishes. It causes a clear rift, to the point where Lyla actually compares Diggle to the ice-cold Amanda Waller herself. Is this a low-key beginning of Diggle getting himself in too deep trying to stay a step ahead of Diaz & Co.? It certainly could be. As for who might make up this new squad, I'd look for Slade Wilson's boy to make the cut, especially after his random cameo in "Elseworlds."
Hey, we have a present-day reference point to Roy! Apparently he and Thea are on a different continent at this point. So, good to know.
Next week: Oliver and Emiko’s family reunion doesn’t look to go all that well.