Arrow: 7.10 My Name is Emiko Queen
The trouble with mid-season breaks on all the various superhero shows (for UK viewers at least) is that the level of expectation and anticipation is high. Unfortunately they don't always deliver and the return of The Flash last week was more underwhelming than perhaps it should’ve been. The same went for the return of Arrow. While the start of this season blew me away, the story since Oliver’s prison release has been all over the place; there’s little consistency and even less to care about.
The focus, given the episode title, is on Emiko Queen, the new bow-and-arrow wielding vigilante going around taking out bad guys. The reveal that she is Oliver’s half-sister was less than surprising and the episode went out of its way to explain her motivation, which all felt very familiar and unoriginal. She is all dark and gloomy, stone-faced, well-trained and crossing names out of a book in the name of justice; if that doesn’t sound like Arrow season one I don’t know what does. Next we’ll be told she’s a trust fund kid, trained in Lian Yu and has a step-sister called Shadow…please, I beg, be more unique and inventive; not everything has to be tied together.
Emiko teaming up with Rene was yet another unsurprising move. Despite this, the chemistry between them was immediately electric; the two working together toned down the broody atmosphere helping Emiko not be so overbearing. The only action to come out of this episode was from these two, which was very well executed, and was a nice change of pace from the otherwise mundane, dialogue-heavy affair.
Oliver was somewhat missing from this episode, with his only scenes being a brief crime scene appearance – serving to depict how disliked he is by the force – and then the discovery of his new sister. Although his performance was excellent, perfectly displaying his emotional growth, given his family’s history it baffles me that this would be such a surprise to him. It was a disappointment that he had such little screen time as the idea of him being unmasked had, and still has, lots of potential. Perhaps it’s being saved for later…here’s to hoping.
The transitions into the flash-forward scenes weren’t as fluent as they have been, and in several instances, I found myself wondering if we were in the future or present…well, until I saw some grey hair anyway. Showing Rene as Mayor of the Glades, with quite possibly the most horrific hair piece I have ever seen. That being said, the side-plot went further down the rabbit hole, leaving viewers some thought provoking breadcrumbs to follow. The dialogue was clever, hinting at other possible deaths, dishonour and mysteries to unravel. Most of all, it affects the audience's connection with Rene in the present, given his actions in the future. This was a superb bit of character development.
The remaining time was spent with Lyla and Diggle at ARGUS, as Diaz was interrogated for information. Not only was this yet another tame scenario, it was also a rehash of the Suicide Squad, with him being let go but with a bomb in the back of his neck to enforce compliance. The puzzle pieces currently aren’t exciting enough, while the longbow hunters have been underutilised and forgotten, which is a shame. Diaz is possibly the greatest antagonist Arrow has ever had, and he’s been boiled down to a threat machine; all his ominous presence and gravitas has disappeared.
My name is Emiko Queen was a totally average, watchable episode. While it created some interesting mystery and incorporated some decent action sequences, ultimately there was nothing outstanding, eye-popping or memorable, outside of the plot being a rehash of season one but with a female protagonist. Now that Team Arrow has disbanded, the amount of sub-plots is becoming too much, especially when each has their own mysteries etc. It needs more focus. Now that Oliver is on the straight and narrow, Emiko’s inclusion gives Arrow the vigilante angle it’s now missing. The question is, can she live up to big brother?