Arrow Season 7 Episode 8 Review: Unmasked

The new Green Arrow is unmasked and Oliver Queen gets back in the saddle in a satisfying, packed episode of Arrow

Arrow Season 7 Episode 8: Unmasked

This Arrow review contains spoilers. 

Arrow Season 7 Episode 8

In this week’s wall-to-wall episode of Arrow, the new Green Arrow is unmasked, and by the episode’s end, we even know what that means. Oliver Queen is out of prison and he isn’t the only one having trouble adjusting. Most of the old gang is back together, and Dinah finds a way to get Ollie back in the suit, if not the hood. And in the future, it seems Felicity will have at least one mysterious collaborator, as William and friends learn more about what happened.

So about that new Green Arrow: I agree with Rene, she needs a new name. Congrats to everyone who guessed it was a woman, and especially those who had their money on a secret Queen kid. It seems Robert Queen had another child at some point, who appears to be a bit younger than Oliver and woman of color, played by Sea Shimooka, an American actress of mixed Japanese, Hawaiian, and European ethnicity. Any guesses on who that means her mom might be? As Rene says and the intro shows, this new Green Arrow is certainly disciplined, and her gymnastics ring handstand pushups might just be the new salmon ladder.

The actual case this week was just a vehicle to get everything else where it needed to go. And after so long in the Slabside storyline, and before that with the warring factions, it feels good to be back. The only time Oliver seems completely comfortable is when he’s working, like when he catches an arrow in mid-air. It was good to see Oliver and Diggle together again for a second, and again, those two have so much to catch up on, much like the group needs to unpack what’s going on with Laurel and how Oliver’s return is affecting all of them.

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This episode managed to cover a ton of ground – if I have a complaint, it’s that I’d rather see Oliver and everyone else sit with the ramifications of his prison time for a bit longer before running headlong into the crossover. As it is, there’s so many (exciting!) revelations that it’s impressive Oscar Balderrama & Beth Schwartz’s script was able to pack in as much as it was. That’s a credit both to their succinct characterization and the great performances – it only takes a couple of instances of Oliver hesitating and Felicity speaking for him to see that he’s hanging back in a more profound way than simply not wanting to go to a black tie event.

I’m hoping future episodes will give us a better sense of Oliver’s interiority. It’s a hard thing to play, especially to distinguish it from his previous mode, which was often quiet but for altogether different reasons. I’m sure we’ll see more about how they’re handling things as a couple, but I don’t want either of them individually to get lost in that shuffle.

It makes sense to me that Oliver’s presence would be what finally forces Felicity to confront her feelings. After all, she wouldn’t let herself breathe until he was out, and in many ways he’s the closest to her. It’s disturbing for Oliver to see Felicity like this, but he also has no idea what it was like when he wasn’t around to save her. And there’s a certain naivete to the idea that she would spend so much time surrounded by violence and never have it affect her. Diaz literally broke into her house and an apology doesn’t keep her safe. That said, showing Felicity talking to Oliver now is the most effective case thus far for her going off the rails, much more so than when she was going to torture someone over Laurel’s objections.

Another piece that shouldn’t get lost in the shuffle is that Team Argus is up to all kinds of trouble. For people who keep saying no more lies, everyone on this show is awfully fond of them. I’m glad the Longbow Hunters are staying in the mix, although I could take or leave (mostly leave) Diaz. That being said, it’s basically the only betrayal that would cut Felicity and Oliver deep and still be a somewhat reasonable thing that John and Lyla would actually be willing to do, so in that regard I get it.

Unfortunately, this season has continued the underutilization of Curtis. Purportedly Felicity’s best friend, he would’ve been a good way to draw some of this out up until now, especially once she froze Diggle out. Alternatively, showing Felicity avoiding Curtis so as to avoid facing those feelings or having any kind of accountability would have been interesting. The journeys for Dinah, Rene and Laurel have greatly improved this season – here’s hoping Curtis is on deck for the new year.

The flashforwards have been used judiciously so far, and the character Blackstar was an intriguing addition. It’s no surrpise Felicity Smoak would be drawn to her. She had a key tattoo in her bicep that I thought might connect to the Scroll and Key, the Yale secret society that Max and the two victims were in, but perhaps it’s just a coincidence. The potential for Rene’s political career and Dinah’s eventual return to vigilantism to tie-in as well makes everything from the future feel more urgent, a good antidote to one of the problems with the later season flashbacks.

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Ultimately this whirlwind episode was satisfying, even if packed to the gills. There’s nothing like seeing Oliver Queen back in uniform – except, perhaps, Oliver casually strolling into SCPD, leather pants and all, knowing no one can touch him. Does ollie have to show up to work at 9 am now? Label his lunch in the staff fridge? Does Dinah get to write him an annual review? But for a more serious question: I know the new Green Arrow hasn’t killed anyone yet, but she seemed pretty pissed off that she and Oliver are so alike. Is there any chance his dad keep two notebooks? If her mission is truly to save the Glades, how did she and Oliver get set off on such different courses?

See you next week for the Elseworlds crossover event!

The crossover kicks off with The Flash, which will air in Supergirl’s Sunday night timeslot on December 9. The story continues on Arrow on Monday, December 10. The trilogy will conclude on Supergirl, which will air during The Flash’s Tuesday night timeslot on December 11.

Keep up with all our Arrow season 7 reviews and news right here!

Rating:

4 out of 5