TV Review: Arrow: Confessions
(Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW — © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.)

“At a certain point, Rene, people need to take responsibility for their actions.”

It’s a case of whodunit—or whodidn’t—in this week’s Arrow as Dinah interrogates team Arrow after they thwart the Ninth Circle’s terrorist attack when the bodies of two transit guards are discovered in the aftermath.

Colton Haynes’s return as Roy/Arsenal was the highlight of the episode. (Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW -© 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved)

Glossing over Dante’s murder (now three days past), “Confessions” takes us into Dinah and Sergeant Bingsley piecing together team Arrow’s actions as it relates to Emiko’s plan to attack the city with the Cygnus X-1 bio-weapon she stole last week. To add some manpower and an unknown face to the mix, Oliver calls in Roy, aka Arsenal, and the team makes their move to defend the subway station. It’s the aftermath in the interrogation room, where the SCPD attempts to piece together the events leading up to the unfortunate murder of the transit guards. It’s not until Oliver begrudgingly admits that Emiko is the murderer that Bingsley—never a fan of the whole Vigilante Initiative—is relatively satisfied.

Turns out, it was all a ruse.

Not only was Dinah present during the raid on Emiko’s plan, but she and the others all saw what happened; Roy lost control and bludgeoned the guards to death. Knowing that, if Roy goes down, they all do, and what it would mean to the city as Emiko would be unchecked, the team bands together, protecting Roy from the raging bloodlust, symptoms of a man who has been returned from the dead.

Herein lies a pretty ironic and hypocritical aspect to the episode and Oliver’s line to Rene about people taking responsibilities for their actions. While Roy wasn’t necessarily in his right mind when he killed the two transit guards, does that absolve him of the consequences of that? In a way, it reminds me of the points discussed in Civil War regarding the oversight of vigilante activity; except, in that movie, they weren’t covering up the murderous actions of any protagonist. Add to it that Dinah was involved and it’s a small miracle that the surveillance footage of the incident disappeared.

It’s unfortunate that a once interesting character in Emiko has become so generic. (Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW – 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved)

Only it didn’t. As Oliver tracks Emiko down at the very end, not only does she taunt him with the idea that she’s going to deliver the footage to the SCPD, but she admits to murdering their father by not warning him about the Gambit’s ultimately explosion. It’s a final dig at a brother she hates for no other reason than life wasn’t fair to her and, in that petty rage, Emiko loses any interesting aspects about her character and becomes nothing more than a cookie cutout antagonist, one we’ve seen so many times. In this case, it’s a shame because, if they’d taken just a bit more care with her, she could have been a tragic villain. Instead, we’re left with what ultimately appears to be a bland finale, lacking any sort of emotional weight. And that’s a damn shame.

Nota Bene

  • What could have been…I have always been a fan of the whole in media res episode opening a lot of TV shows use. Something about backtracking on what led to that moment is such a cool gadget (if not overdone). “Confessions” does a good job with that part; giving us the ‘story’ version and then afterwards, what really happened. Where it fails is in the de-evolution of Emiko’s character. Now, that’s not singularly episode’s fault, but that decision hamstrings what could have been a more dramatic and heartfelt conversation between Oliver and Emiko. Instead, it muddles a cool story device.
  • Continuing onto what could have been, the reveal that Roy was the one to actually kill the transit guards was a welcome surprise. Not often do we see our protagonists perpetrating such monstrous actions. Though he’s been a part of the middling flash forward, Colton Haynes return to the present was a welcome surprise. Considering what Emiko’s about to do, it’s probably a given that he’ll be back next week.