NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “Arrow” are present in this review
Arrow’s had to suffer through a couple of lesser offerings since beginning to establish its promising new post-Ricardo Diaz threat, but fortunately, that changed with the standout, “Inheritance.” Centering almost entirely around the tragic fall of Emiko Queen, this episode builds further upon the new threat facing Team Arrow after Diaz’s murder, and Green Arrow/DC Comics fans will be very happy to see just who exactly Emiko Queen and Dante are connected to! Rounding things off is a subplot shared between Dinah and Laurel, as Laurel finds her career prospects in jeopardy, after an interrogation effort has unforeseen consequences.
After Laurel tries to make contact with Felicity to tip her off about Emiko being untrustworthy, she’s instead forced to make her case to Oliver, who naturally dismisses it very quickly. Once Oliver begins following Emiko however, he sees that she is indeed connected to Dante, committing some sort of drone heist, wherein the two make off with dispenser drones from Palmer Technologies. Boy, we haven’t seen Palmer Technologies playing a significant part in the Arrowverse for a little while, eh? Regardless, Oliver manages to save the scientist that was forced to hand over the drones, as well as an injured Emiko, who is abandoned by Dante when Oliver’s presence becomes known. It’s at this point that Oliver learns who Dante and Emiko are working with; The Ninth Circle!
The Ninth Circle are among some of the freshest and most recent Green Arrow antagonists originally established in DC Comics lore, having been introduced for the first time shortly after the launch of DC’s universal ‘Rebirth’ reboot in 2016. In the printed panels, the Ninth Circle are a crooked organization of wealthy terrorist bankers, who bankroll some of the deadliest and most ruthless terrorist efforts in the DC Comics Universe, plus the organization just so happens to have been founded by the Green Arrow’s late father, Robert Queen! In the case of the Arrowverse, the Ninth Circle appear to have been modified to some degree, being more hands-on, and operating as masterminds of political upheaval, essentially making them a long-running surrogate to the League of Assassins, who take their motif from the epic poem, Dante’s Inferno. Arrow’s Ninth Circle portrayal is significantly less interesting so far to be honest, but with Oliver and Team Arrow learning the truth about Dante’s organization, they can finally start taking more serious steps toward putting down a threat that’s menaced both them and A.R.G.U.S. alike.
That’s why it’s too bad that Laurel was completely right about Emiko. Turns out, Emiko is not only a traitor to Team Arrow, but is also the leader of the Ninth Circle! After jamming Archer, and ensuring that a nerve gas demonstration can unfold within Star City, Team Arrow has to quickly fight off Ninth Circle goons, with Dante and Emiko alike both ultimately getting away during the chaos, and one drone escaping Oliver’s arrows! The show does wimp out a little bit here, since it just has the drone target an empty building, begging the question of how exactly the Ninth Circle is supposed to make an effective, “Demonstration” of their weapons, when they don’t have any casualties to show off. That’s a little suspect, but it is nonetheless cool to see just how much influence Emiko now wields in the Ninth Circle, essentially making her the current arch-villain for Arrow. That’s quite a twist!
The flash-forwards completely sit out this episode as well, which might be appropriate, since the previous episode was entirely dedicated to their future-era storyline. Instead, flashbacks to Emiko’s past end up taking the place of the flash-forwards in this case, detailing how Emiko and her mother were cut off by Robert Queen, and how Emiko inadvertently encountered Dante when she was forced to do illicit deliveries for the Bertinelli family as a way of making ends meet. After Dante trains Emiko as a deadly fighter, Emiko re-approaches Robert Queen as an adult, suggesting a new business that could help make Queen Consolidated even more profitable in 2012. When Robert rejects the proposal because he can’t risk exposing his infidelity to the world however, Emiko responds by burning proof of Malcolm Merlyn’s bombs on the Queen’s Gambit! The reveal that Emiko was the one who actually let the sabotage occur on the yacht that ended up creating the Green Arrow was pretty awesome, fully cementing Emiko as the perfect new threat to keep probing Oliver’s, “Blind spot” for family!
Regarding the subplot with Dinah and Laurel in this episode, it’s also pretty interesting, even if it also feels like a pretty transparent excuse to push Laurel back towards her Black Siren persona. After spending so much time fighting to be taken seriously as a hero and as a public servant, Laurel finds that her temper starts getting in the way of her cases, with Dinah beginning to doubt whether Laurel is truly still trustworthy at her post. After one of the criminals that Laurel interrogated turns up dead as well, with photos of Laurel hanging around Ricardo Diaz also leaked to the press at the same time, Laurel finds her career ruined, with Emiko being the one responsible! This outstanding display of intimidation and ruin is another great thing that cements Emiko’s huge potential as a new Arrow arch-villain, with Laurel now having no choice but to fully re-assume the role of Black Siren to keep fighting criminals. Does this mean that Laurel is also once again going to become a threat to Team Arrow, now that she’s likely going to turn back into another vigilante operating without the affiliation of the SCPD?
“Inheritance” restores Arrow to top form, elevating Emiko as a new villain above even Dante, while Laurel appears to once again be on the path to becoming another violent threat. There’s been quite a lot of villain swaps in the Arrowverse lately, with The Flash, and even Supergirl, changing their over-arching villains in the lead-in to their respective seasons’ climaxes over the rest of April and May, though among those, Emiko as the leader of the Ninth Circle seems to demonstrate the most potential. With Oliver still struggling to try and redeem his sister, Team Arrow may find that their real greatest threat is their leader’s hesitation to truly do what’s necessary. All the while, Felicity continues to keep developing Archer, now with the help of Alena Whitlock, her former Helix buddy, just in time for Emiko to reveal to Dante that Archer can be stolen and appropriated for the Ninth Circle. It’s awesome to see Emiko seemingly becoming another piece of Star City’s future woes, since the Ninth Circle swiping Archer is no doubt another thing that sets up the dystopian future that Star City will eventually face! Most of all though, it’s great to see Arrow continuing to maintain some really strong momentum as it heads into Season Seven’s final handful of episodes. Hopefully, Emiko’s new arch-villain status helps keep that strong!
- Emiko revealed as a traitor and leader of the Ninth Circle
- Tragic flashbacks that effectively detail Emiko's backstory
- Laurel's career being ruined for discovering Emiko's secret
- Why is the Ninth Circle pulling punches with the drones so far?