Arrow: 7.20 Confessions
Flashbacks have been a well trodden part of Arrow's formula and this week's episode attempted to play with that through the medium of a series of police interrogations. Team Arrow faced the questions of police captain Dinah Drake and Sergeant Bingsley about the events that led to the deaths of two officers. Presenting the idea that one of the vigilantes might have killed them in their fight with the Ninth Circle was an intriguing idea; sadly the episode wasn't as clever as it thought it was - at least not at first.
The heightened drama of seeing each twists and turn unfold through Dinah's discovery was supposed to keep the audience on their toes, but it lacked credibility. Were we supposed to believe that Dinah, a member of team Arrow, had been kept out of the mission? Was she really going to interrogate her team mates, forces out their darkest secrets? Given her growth this season, I found it hard to believe that she would sell them out so easily.
For most of the episode, this became the noose around it neck. The return of Roy Harper was very welcome, slipping into his Arsenal mantle to help them uncover the secrets of a corrupt billionaire in league with Emiko and the Ninth Circle. The snippets of the mission were thrilling - particularly seeing Roy in action - and really built on the threat of the Ninth Circle. Some the twists, while a little contrived, still worked, even if Dinah was uncharacteristically antagonistic. Rene being revealed as the killer, before flipping it onto Oliver, was a particularly intriguing direction to take.
And then we had the biggest twist of all - the cover up. Once we got over the whole 'Dinah was in on it and there after all', Confessions picked up momentum. The episode redeemed itself with a genuinely shocking moment - Roy brutally killing the officers in battle with the Ninth Circle - as the mission was replayed fully, with Dinah in tow. It was genuinely quite disturbing to learn that the mission he, Thea and Nyssa had been on had led to his death - and resurrection with the Lotus Elixir from the Lazarus Pit an, act that caused his uncontrollable bloodlust.
What this episode did achieve was it's ability to raise the stakes for the finale. In the space of one episode, Oliver learned that his sister was behind the Ninth Circle and his team's attempts to protect Roy can to naught when Emiko gave the police the footage of Roy committing the murder they had so elaborately tried to cover up. Confessions ended well, with Emiko's trap set and Oliver's world literally coming crashing down. It's just a shame it had to play such an unconvincing game to get there...