NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “Arrow” are present in this review
Arrow is continuing to find fantastic ways to keep the battle against Emiko and the Ninth Circle consistently riveting, particularly in how well the latest challenges of Team Arrow keep finding new ways to play with the show’s storytelling dynamic. “Confessions” once again mixes things up in a really interesting way, having most of the episode unfold during a series of SCPD interrogations with the various members of Team Arrow, after two innocent guards are found dead at the scene of a Ninth Circle terrorist effort that Oliver’s crew ended up stopping. Clearly, someone is guilty, and while Emiko is a likely perpetrator, something clearly isn’t what it seems within the story being shared by the show’s heroes.
Overall, “Confessions” is another very strong episode that keeps the ongoing drama of Arrow positively sizzling with intrigue and excitement. The flash-forwards didn’t end up making an appearance at all in this episode, but I doubt that anyone will miss them, especially with such a strong story finding such an effective way to stand on its own here. Better still is that this episode also sees the present-day return of Roy Harper, this time outside of Dante’s clutches, and this time once again donning the mantle of Arsenal to work alongside his former vigilante partners! Since Team Arrow is too recognizable to Emiko’s forces, Roy is supposedly an, “Ace-in-the-hole” that can give the heroes an added edge over Emiko’s latest plot, something that doesn’t completely hold up to scrutiny, once you see how the episode unfolds, but the payoff is nonetheless great, especially when it helps bring more context to Roy’s history and behaviour in the flash-forwards.
Dinah oversees the interrogations with Team Arrow, seemingly not being present during their latest vigilante operation, with Oliver, Felicity, Rene, Roy and Diggle all offering separate accounts of what went down in the events that follow their learning of Dante’s murder at the hands of Emiko. At first, it seems like events do sync up for the most part, with Team Arrow, alongside Roy, all separating and performing different tasks to try and stop Emiko from dispersing a deadly bio-weapon throughout Star City. Felicity and Roy end up in one squad, Rene and Diggle end up in another, and Oliver also ends up in yet another separate location. Even then, other circumstances lead to Roy branching off from Felicity, and Rene branching off from Diggle, leading to more key story developments that further muddy and confuse Team Arrow’s accounts of the night to strong effect.
This story device also provides an inspired opportunity to have Team Arrow learn a few more important facts about Emiko and her ties to the Ninth Circle to boot. After Rene splits off from Diggle, who later finds him with the murder weapon that supposedly killed two guards, Rene learns directly from Emiko that she is the true leader of the Ninth Circle, not Dante. This was a pretty decent way for someone on Team Arrow to find out the truth regarding just how much influence Emiko wields over the Ninth Circle, and that’s good, since the rest of Rene’s involvement in the story is pretty tenuous. Rene essentially serves as a red herring, since Diggle claims that he sees Rene holding the pipe that was used to kill the guards at one point, but obviously, Rene didn’t do it. This is later explained by Rene simply touching the weapon for no real reason, which is pretty lame, to say the least. There really wasn’t a better way to explain Rene’s fingerprints being on the murder weapon?
Even Roy’s account of events seems to be pretty difficult to dispute however, and after a while, Dinah simply comes to the conclusion that Emiko was the one who killed the guards. That seems like a pretty obvious and fair conclusion at first glance, especially when it appears as if Oliver, who gives the final testimony of events, is yet again giving the impression of trying to protect his troubled sister. The best curveball of the episode was yet to come though, when it’s soon after revealed that Team Arrow all gave false stories to protect one of their own, including Dinah, who actually was present during the operation as Black Canary! Dinah’s account being completely overlooked by the other cops was a great way to exploit Dinah’s position at the SCPD to morally ambiguous effect, and Roy being revealed as the guilty party was equally satisfying, even if some may no doubt predict that he’s the only logical culprit in advance, even beyond Emiko. The twist reveal that Roy was killed and resurrected with a Lazarus Pit off-screen during his travels with Thea and Nyssa, and the Mirakuru made him resistant to the bloodlust-curing elixir, was nicely dramatic and tragically ironic, considering that Roy, Thea and Nyssa have dedicated themselves to destroying all of the Lazarus Pits in the Arrowverse.
It’s too bad that we couldn’t get just a bit more time for Team Arrow to effectively debate how the situation with Roy should be handled, but obviously, Emiko is still a very active threat. Thus, after Felicity widens some of her search parameters, she discovers a new location for Emiko, and Team Arrow race to what they believe is the hideout of the Ninth Circle in Star City. Oliver ends up cornering Emiko here, who happens to be hiding behind thick bulletproof glass, before declaring that she will kill Oliver and erase Team Arrow’s legacy, to complete her revenge against the family that forsook her. It’s at this point that Oliver learns of Emiko deciding not to warn Robert about the sabotage on the Queen’s Gambit as well, seemingly forcing Oliver to finally admit to himself that there is no redeeming Emiko. Oliver isn’t given any sort of opportunity to put his sister down however, with Emiko instead detonating some explosives that bury Oliver under rubble as she escapes, with the episode ending as Felicity frantically demands a status update from her husband!
It’s awesome to see Arrow continuing to soar as it heads towards its season finale. “Confessions” is another standout Arrow episode that not only delivers another creative and distinct way to tell an otherwise straightforward story on paper, but also finds an exciting way to add Roy back to Team Arrow’s ranks, even if it ends up having deadly consequences. The revelation that Roy is under the influence of bloodlust from a Lazarus Pit is a great twist that many viewers wouldn’t be able to predict, even if Roy is nonetheless an especially likely suspect in the killings of the two innocent guards, since there’s no believable motive for the current established members of Team Arrow. The real intrigue here however is whether the truth will ultimately come out to Mayor Pollard, or the rest of the SCPD’s higher-ups beyond Dinah. These events with Roy will no doubt play heavily into the path that Star City ends up going toward over the course of this Fall’s final season, as well as this season’s flash-forward storyline. Most of all though, the current battle against Emiko remains consistently engaging, even after she’s already killed her former master. Team Arrow appears to be rapidly approaching the Ninth Circle’s endgame, but even if they manage to successfully put a stop to Star City’s latest terrorist threat, the city’s vigilante problem seems doomed to rear its ugly head yet again in the near future, and there’s no stopping that!
- Dramatic, engaging interrogation-themed story
- Roy's return having deadly, difficult consequences for Team Arrow
- Emiko turning Oliver's efforts to redeem her against him
- Rene being a pretty forced red herirng