Arrow, Season 7, Episode 22, “Living Proof”
I’ll tell you off the top, I was taken out of this episode really early because I found it very Blues Brothers that Rene and Oliver could be trapped under thousands of pounds of concrete and steel, and the writers simply brush it off with no broken bones or internal damage. The same goes for Roy huffing a cloud of gasoline additive. The things we do in the name of action-adventure … Here’s everything you need to know about the latest episode of Arrow:
What’s the scoop: We spend most of the episode in Oliver’s concussed subconscious, where the ghost of Tommy Merlyn resides. Up until she dropped a building on top of him, Oliver has been very pro-Emiko redemption. So, Tommy advocating the same thing is really Oliver’s mind telling him what he wants to hear, despite Emiko clear demonstrating that she’s irredeemable.
Meanwhile in B-plot land: Diggle, Rene, Dinah, and Roy dig themselves out of the rubble and spend most of the front half of the episode wandering the halls of a crumbling factory looking for Oliver and/or an exit. The do a side mission to shut down the backup generator, but it’s made more complicated because someone has made a pillow fort out of barrels of benzene which, of course, are leaking vapor. The only solution is for Roy to parkour his way over to the generator, dive into the cloud and shut it down. He suffers only some minor shortness of breath that is cured by a pep talk from Dinah.
Sex and the Olicity: Two episodes left on the show for Emily Bett Rickards and again, she and Oliver share little to no screen time. Emiko has made Felicity’s life difficult by calling the cops who execute a search warrant on her apartment and try to confiscate some tech. She dispatches them and goes to Overwatch with Alena in tow. Emiko breaches the defense of the least secure bunker in existence and threatens to kill both nerds. Felicity pleads for her life and that of her unborn child. Learning Felicity is preggers is more vital to Oliver torture than killing her ever could be, so Emiko spares their lives and steals some arrows. Alena floats the hint to Felicity that maybe going off the grid is going to be the best thing for her and the baby.
On the island of the future: After a couple of weeks of minor developments, our future heroes decide they need to cripple Galaxy One’s army of super-soldiers by destroying the Archer system once and for all. As expected, Alena, who now sports a very Melissa McBride from The Walking Dead look, is the one who sold the Archer code to Galaxy One, but she had to go into hiding when she got duped in a business deal. William tries to pull a con that backfires and stormtroopers breach the bunker, which is still as secure as a tree fort.
What about the action: Once out of the building, Team Arrow regroups, trying to figure out Emiko’s next move. Lucky for them, Emiko and her goons are conducting Star City’s annual Murder-the-SCPD-at-Their-Own-Headquarters Festival right on time. Emiko takes the bioweapon out of the evidence locker and Oliver pleads to Emiko that she doesn’t have to execute her grand plan. Emiko does a quick personal inventory and discovers that yup, she’s still evil, hellbent on revenge and willing to take that revenge on Oliver’s unborn child if need be. She makes her escape in order to set up next week’s big season finale.
Last impressions: The Emiko stuff would be way more interesting if we learned more about her. At this point, it just seems that Oliver is going way out of his way to bring a person her barely knows back from the brink of insanity. As much as I hate to think it, Oliver trying to reform Black Siren would carry more emotional resonance than his mission to save Emiko. Having knowledge of the series’ behind-the-scenes happenings isn’t helping either. The lack of Oliver-Felicity screentime would seem pretty normal as the season ramps up the action in advance of its finale, but since it was announced months ago that Emily Bett Rickards is leaving the show at the end of the season, this lack of focus on Olicity is jarring. There are going to be some tearful moments in the finale for sure, but everything going on present and future seems hollow when the show’s emotional foundation is being neglected right before everything we know and possibly like about the show is about to change.