History continues to repeat itself in interesting ways in Arrow’s penultimate season. In the flash-forward storyline, Future-Rene was involved in a very Undertaking/Genesis-like plot to blow up Star City. Now in tonight’s episode, Oliver finds himself going through what Diggle endured in season 4: realizing that your sibling is actually evil and possibly beyond the point of redemption.
At the top of the our, Oliver and Emiko are enjoying some quality brother-sister bonding time, which is code for “sparring.” However, their fun dynamic — Oliver reveals more about his past while she remains pretty guarded — gets disrupted when Laurel shares her suspicions about Emiko with Oliver later on. As we are reminded in this episode multiple times, Oliver has a blind-spot for family (remember how he doubted his mother’s involvement in the Undertaking?), so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he initially rejects Laurel’s accusations.
Of course, once that seed is planted, Oliver has no other option but to investigate. So, he tails Emiko and sees her infiltrate Palmer Tech with Dante. By the time he makes it inside, though, they’ve already departed with whatever it was they came for and blew up the lab. But this little trip wasn’t all for naught. Inside the lab, he finds a scientist who uses her dying to breath to warn him that the Ninth Circle needs to be stopped — which leads us into this week’s DC Comics explainer.
If the Ninth Circle doesn’t immediately ring any bells, that’s because the evil organization/bank is a very recent addition to the DC universe. Introduced in 2016’s Green Arrow: Rebirth #1 (written by Benjamin Percy, with art by Otto Schmidt), the Ninth Circle is comprised of corrupt executives from multinational corporations. In other words, they’re the perfect villain for comic book Oliver, who is a bleeding heart liberal. Furthermore, in the comics, Emiko’s mother Shado has ties to them, too. The show, however, goes in a different direction on this part. (ASIDE: It is incredibly on the nose for Arrow to name a member of the Ninth Circle “Dante” and I love it! END ASIDE)
After debriefing with the team (TL;DR: Rene doubts that Emiko is evil and Felicity comes to Laurel’s defense), Oliver decides to just confront Emiko directly. She tells him that Dante took her in and trained her after Robert Queen abandoned her and her mom all those years ago, and now she feels indebted to both the Ninth Circle and Dante. This is enough for Oliver to believe her, but he becomes more convinced after Dante tries to kill her when Team Arrow show up.
Of course, that little bit was all a show. Oliver eventually discovers a signal disruptor in the bunker, which shut down Felicity’s ARCHER system, and immediately realizes that Emiko was the one who put it there. The two come to blows in a stunning fight sequence that lands hard because Stephen Amell makes you feel how upset Oliver is over this betrayal. He thought he was building a bond with his sister, but it was all a lie.
NEXT: Another Ninth Circle twist
Billionaire Oliver Queen — under the vigilante persona of Arrow — tries to right the wrongs of his family and fight the ills of society.