True to form for this season of Arrow, “Unmasked” brought with it far more questions than answers. For one thing, Ollie and Felicity’s relationship is in question, as the latter’s newfound lack of inhibition where violence is concerned has Oliver worried that his wife may be treading a dark path. Moreover, Felicity herself tells Ollie that the pen-nibbling blonde he fell in love with is gone forever and that the new her is here to stay; she places the blame on her husband for turning himself in to FBI custody without consulting her, thus leaving her to defend their family, as the catalyst for this turn to a darker side. However, she also states that she holds her old self responsible as well for being weak and unable to protect them herself. The question of whether or not we would see our favorite Emerald Archer lace up his boots and don his hood once more is answered in short form. Ollie relents to help the Star City Police Department in catching an old college acquaintance, Max Fuller, for the murder of two individuals with whom he was in business. The current mayor of Star City is none too pleased with Dinah’s decision to officially enlist the Green Arrow’s aid with quelling the city’s growing crime rate, but the consequences of making the former vigilante a member of their law enforcement apparatus will have to wait for another day.
In flash-forward news, Dinah, Zoe, Roy, and William follow the trail left behind by a presumed dead Felicity and locate the last person she had been in contact with, a girl who goes by the moniker of “Blackstar.” This girl, whose hobbies apparently include getting the tar beaten out of her before returning the favor in cage fights, acts surprised when the group informs her that they believe the former Overwatch turned Calculator to be deceased, but through a little prodding, Dinah and William deduce that Blackstar knows a lot more than she’s letting on. Returning to the girl’s quarters, they discover physical blueprints reflective of the holographic ones in Felicity’s holdout that showed plans for the destruction of Star City. Now that the group knows that Blackstar has far more than a simple inkling of what has transpired to result in Felicity’s disappearance/death, they resolve to track her down and get some far more thorough answers. Given the girl’s – whose real name is Maya – penchant for violence, this will likely be a matter of “aggressive negotiations.”
From the outset of “Unmasked,” they attempt to set the tone moving forward, as Oliver will no longer be “hooding-up” and will strive to help make his city a better place through other means. It is, however, fairly obvious to most anyone watching that this will not long be the case and, in short order, he is leaping back into action. I’m not so sure about the whole working with the police bit, as the character of Green Arrow has always assisted the boys in blue while not necessarily being a co-worker. This can be said of most any vigilante superhero throughout comic book history, but it strikes as particularly odd with the Emerald Archer. I guess we will have to wait and see with this one, but something tells me that, given the mayor’s displeased reaction to the alliance, this blue and Green team-up is going to be a limited-run miniseries.
The other noteworthy plotline was the big reveal of the “new Green Arrow.” Emerald Archer faithful may have suspected her (that’s right) identity early on this season, recognizing the copycat archer from DC’s New 52 Green Arrow series as Emiko Queen, Oliver’s half-sister. We’ve already known that Ollie’s father Robert Queen was unfaithful to his wife at least once (as was she with Merlyn – resulting in Thea, both of whom I miss very much) and it doesn’t require much stretching of the mind to put two and two together with this. What her goals are, however, is another matter entirely. In the comics, Emiko wanted to oust her brother and be a new and improved Green Arrow; we’ve already seen her working out and crossing off names much in the same manner that Season 1 Ollie did, as well as aid the former Team Arrow members and the SCPD. But what her endgame may be is anyone’s guess, and as with any CW DC show, we cannot necessarily rely on comic book continuity for potential answers. (Emiko’s origin alone from the comics would simply not work in the show, and if they attempted it, it would be more than a little strange. Read New 52 Green Arrow beginning with issue #17 by Jeff Lemire for more tie-ins). Additionally, her name was not explicitly stated in “Unmasked,” so this is just speculation, albeit a fairly safe one upon witnessing her standing over her father’s grave near the episode’s end.
There are a lot more externalities in “Unmasked” than a first viewing gives credit to, with the exception of the flash-forwards, which continue to be uninteresting and detract from the main plot of the season. Presently, these scenes only appear to attempt to force-feed this “darker Felicity” that the writers are selling and I’m not buying. The scripting for the flash-forwards feels hollow and disjointed, and, if they are to tie back to the main story in some fashion, they’re taking far too long to reveal how they do so to make it an interesting story to follow. Even Old Man Roy – and I’ve always been an Arsenal fan – isn’t presented in a very likable way, and everyone else feels fairly shallow and directionless as well. Aside from that gripe, and the mostly unnecessary return of the Oliver and Felicity drama, “Unmasked” is one of the most enjoyable episodes of this season yet.