“While you were gone, I had to figure out how to survive and I am glad that I did, because the old me…she was weak.”
It’s been a long time come for Oliver; after months in Slabside, he’s finally a free man but he’s finding reintegration into society and a city that knows he’s the Green Arrow is not as seamless a transition as he wou ld have liked it to be. Moreover, he finds that things can’t always return back to the ‘good-old days’ just because you want them to.
What better way to enjoy one’s first days out of prison than a gala in your honor? For Oliver at least, that’s not on his list of priorities but he ends up going only to have chaos break out when the new vigilante Green Arrow allegedly attacks the gala, killing one of the guests. Considering that the arrows are flying but there’s no shot of the vigilante, it comes as no surprise that this is a set-up, designed to put the new Arrow in the crosshairs of the SCPD while also eliminating competition. The architect behind the hit is Max Fuller, a former acquaintance of Oliver’s who are taking out a few of his old secret society brothers. Things are wrapped up pretty quickly though Fuller’s involvement and the killer-for-hire he brings in (Frank Cassady, aka ‘The Mirror’) make for a cool Easter Egg, this small plot line is more of a jumping off for Oliver to partner with the SCPD. It’s Dinah’s idea though it doesn’t sit well with Mayor Pollard, who really seems to have it in for all vigilantes, despite the good they’ve done for the city.
Iffy action plots aside, the primary story arc in “Unmasked” revolves around Felicity and Oliver realizing that a lot can change in seven months. Oliver’s mostly at fault here, expecting his wife to be the exact same person he left, despite her nearly being killed multiple times by Ricardo Diaz, in addition to upending her life for a failed time in Witness Protection. If there is one character that’s truly grown this season, it’s Felicity. She’s no longer the meek damsel waiting for a rescue. She still has some of those same qualities of determination but there’s a hardness to her now, a ruthlessness created by her realization that Oliver’s not always going to be there to save her. In truth, her change is an admirable one though Oliver’s reaction to Felicity finding her own inner strength, even if she’s touching a bit more of violent cord, is disappointing. More to that point is that, at the end of the day, the two find themselves at a divide in the road, unsure of what path to take and, as Felicity says, “I just don’t know if what’s best for me right now is the same thing as what’s best for us.” Dramatic as it sounds, people do grow apart or, if that’s not the case here, require time to reacquaint themselves with the changes in their partner. This may be that watershed moment for the Olicity ‘ship…or it may just be another dabble in the overly dramatic that goes nowhere.
Outside of Oliver, his relationships, and new position as a deputized vigilante of the SCPD, “Unmasked” gives us just that; the face of the newest person to don the green cowl of the Arrow and it’s none other than Oliver’s…half-sister?! If that revelation wasn’t enough, then the post-credit tag showing a battered Barry Allen (the John Wesley Shipp 1990’s version) from Earth-90 as the sole survivor of a massive battle where all the heroes have fallen is the perfect lead-in to next week’s Elseworlds crossover. Whether the events of the three-night event has lasting consequences in the Arrowverse remains to be seen but, as the saying goes, I see a bad moon rising.
- We had a few glimpses into the future time and nothing really of note happened there except Dinah’s explanation of the Mark of Four. Representing the four pillars of heroism—courage, compassion, selflessness, loyalty—it’s a tenant that all heroes seem to follow and is a promise that, when a friend needs help, they will be there.
- Lyla and John going to Ricardo Diaz of all people for help is a good reminder that as agents of A.R.G.U.S. their purview in keeping people safe extends far beyond Star City. It seems like this ‘Dante’ they are tracking who has some relationship with the Longbow Hunters may serve as a primary plotline in the second half of this season.