Arrow, ‘Inheritance’: Emiko’s Backstory Has More Twists Than a Mountain Road, Which Ties Oliver in Knots

Arrow, Season 7, Episode 17, “Inheritance”

After a week in the future, we return to the present to learn what has really been happening in Emiko’s life and see Oliver struggle with the idea that his sister is fighting for Dante and his group, the Ninth Circle. Here’s everything you need to know about the latest episode of Arrow:

What’s the scoop:  Emiko’s backstory is told through a series of flashbacks and discussions, and it breaks down fairly easily. Robert Queen gave Emiko and her mother the best of everything until Emiko was eleven. At that point, Moira found out about this second family and threatened to take his money and his company away, so Robert cut them off. To help her family make ends meet, teenage Emiko starts running packages for local mobsters, which is where she first encounters Dante. They have a typical Dickensian man of power/street urchin interaction. Dante likes the young woman’s moxie and starts training her to be a stone cold killer. Emiko still yearns for the love and approval of her father. An adult, Emiko makes a sound business pitch to her dad over lunch, but he turns her down for secret love child reasons. As he leaves, Robert casually mentions that he’s about to go to China on the Queen’s Gambit and later, we are left with the image of Emiko burning a schematic of the Queen’s Gambit marked with “plant explosives here – Malcolm Merlyn.” We all know where the story goes from here.

Meanwhile in B-plot land:  After mostly being ignored, Not Laurel is in hot water as DA. She’s getting the same pressure as the other vigilantes to operate by the book, or risk being exposed as the fraud she is. Of course, she’s more into punishing criminals and forcing confessions and whatnot. With the pressure on, she tries to interrogate a low-level mobster who pushes her buttons. The joke is on him because Not Laurel sets him free and then kills him on the streets. She’s also the bearer of bad news, telling Oliver that Emiko is the one who killed Diaz.

Sex and the Olicity: Not a ton of Ollie-Felicity interaction here, because Felicity is too busy following the science of the Archer system. She hires her hacker buddy from Helix to help refine the system. Felicity is so consumed by the potential good Archer can do to locate missing people and such that she ignores all the civil rights violating, privacy-invading potential side effects, which are not lost on Emiko.

On the island of the future:  The future cast and their wigs get the night off.

What about the action: For what was largely an expositional episode, there were some good fight sequences. The present story started with Team Arrow suspecting that Dante is trying to steal enriched uranium that is evidently being stored in one of Star City’s many abandoned warehouses. Emiko double-crosses Ollie by jamming Archer, so Dante can steal some invisible drones and the components to make nerve gas. This leads to one of those classic action sequences where the two participants try to hold a conversation while beating the tar out of each other. Oliver stops all but one drone and thankfully, no one is killed as the target was an abandoned building, and the whole thing was a proof of concept for something more evil no doubt. Also, to show her irredeemable nature, Emiko leaks photos of Not Laurel and Diaz to the press.

Last impressions: The revelations about Emiko were shocking. and also had a strong retcon flavor to them. It would be one thing if we had heard of a group called the Ninth Circle operating in the world before this season. Now, Emiko is at the head of this secret organization, has been operating in one form or another all along, and is at least partially responsible for setting Oliver down the vigilante path. It’s a big pill to swallow, but actually, not an unfamiliar one for comic book fans. We also received another heaping helping of Oliver trying to redeem himself and his father for their past sins. Oliver spends most of the episode trying to help Emiko despite everyone, Emiko included, telling him she’s way past the point of redemption. This round had all the merits and flaws that come with a setup episode. We know who the players are and the roles they are in, so we’re ready for the home stretch of the season.

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Craig Wack

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