Arrow season 7, episode 20, "Confessions", saw Captain Dinah Drake forced to turn her keen detective's eye upon her fellow vigilantes. This proved necessary after the rest of Team Arrow was found at a crime scene with two dead night watchmen and no security footage to back up their story of having thwarted a terrorist attack by the Ninth Circle.
The episode borrowed heavily from Rashomon - the classic 1951 film by Akira Kurosawa, which examined the murder of a samurai from multiple viewpoints. As Black Canary interviews each of her teammates (accompanied by the vigilante-hating Sergeant Bingsley) she keeps uncovering more evidence of poor judgement and the team failing to follow police protocol. Oliver, for instance, calls in his former protege Roy Harper as back-up, despite Roy not having been approved by the police as an officially sanctioned vigilante. Yet there is nothing to indicate who might have been responsible for the death of the two guards as an all-out battle with the Ninth Circle broke out.
"Confessions" differs from Rashomon, however, in that the Arrow episode eventually reveals the truth behind its story. This builds to a stunning revelation once the identity of the murderer is revealed and an explosive cliffhanger going into next week, when the penultimate episode of Arrow season 7 airs. And yet, despite "Confessions" revealing a fair amount of information, several questions still remain.
4. Why Was There No Update On Star City 2040 This Week?
Despite last week's Arrow episode, "Spartan," ending on a major cliffhanger in the season 7 flash-forward storyline, "Confessions" didn't follow up on it at all. Presumably the writers wanted to keep the focus on Star City 2019 this week. Another factor is that there was only so much time to film and with most of the major actors in "Confessions" also having key roles in the Star City 2040 storyline, there was no way to address both plots this week. This still seems strange given that there are only two episodes remaining in season 7 and a lot of ground left to cover regarding Felicity's Archer security program being weaponized and used to empower an army of vigilante hunters with a sixth sense.
3. Why Did Oliver Only Call In Arsenal To Help?
The events of "Spartan" saw the Ninth Circle steal a biological weapon dubbed Cygnus X-1 - a self-replicating bacteria that could eat through virtually anything. Given the danger now posed by the Ninth Circle, it makes sense that Oliver Queen would seek additional help in bringing them and his sister Emiko Queen to justice. What doesn't make sense, however, is that Oliver only called in his old protege, Roy "Arsenal" Harper. Indeed, Roy asks Oliver why he specifically asked for only Roy to come and not Oliver's sister Thea, whom Roy has been traveling with since his last modern day appearance in the season 6 episode"The Thanatos Guild."
The simplest explanation is that Willa Holland (who played Thea Queen) was unable to return for a guest appearance and they needed to say something to explain Thea's absence. Oliver does offer an excuse about how he didn't want to tell Thea about Emiko's existence until his treacherous half-sister was in custody because he didn't want to further trouble Thea with "a wound inflicted on our family by our father." This makes little sense however, as the fact that Oliver asked for only Roy to return to Star City should have been a big red flag to Thea that something was wrong that Oliver wanted to keep hidden from her. It also doesn't explain why Oliver didn't call in Nyssa Al Ghul, who was also traveling with Roy and Thea.
2. Why Is Emiko Suddenly Out To Destroy Oliver's Legacy?
When Oliver finally catches up with Emiko in the climax of "Confessions," Emiko is a completely different woman than the one he came to know over the past few months. She confesses to Oliver that she knew about Malcolm Merlyn's plot to kill their father and did nothing to stop it. Emiko goes on to say that she is going to blow up the building around Team Arrow and leave them to die, as she goes out to destroy Oliver Queen's legacy and leave the world thinking he was just as much a villain as their sinister father.
While this does raise the stakes considerably going into the season 7 finale, it makes little sense given Emiko's past actions and words. She said at one point that she was convinced that Oliver was not the same kind of man as Robert Queen was. It also doesn't make sense for her to have been working to protect the Glades as the new Green Arrow if she's now willing to destroy the city just to spite the brother who was given all the advantages that she was denied. There is nothing to justify Emiko's sudden change in attitude apart from sheer insanity, which, while possible, doesn't seem to fit anything we know about her.
1. Why Doesn't The Cliffhanger Ending Work?
"Confessions" ends on a tense note, with Oliver Queen trapped under a colossal pile of rubble and a frantic Felicity asking for the rest of Team Arrow to get on the comms and tell her what just happened. Dust fills the air and the light slowly fades from red to deep brown as nobody responds to Felicity's questions. It seems that the rest of Team Arrow has surely been trapped by Emiko Queen's bomb and that their deaths are all but certain.
This might have been a thrilling cliffhanger except for one small problem - thanks to the flash-forward storyline set in Star City 2040, we know for a fact that virtually everyone on Team Arrow is going to be perfectly fine. Roy Harper, Dinah Drake and Rene Ramirez have all been seen alive in the not too distant future. We know that Diggle has to live long enough to adopt the son of Bronze Tiger and to see his biological son, John Diggle Jr., become a rebellious teenager. Ironically, the only member of Arrow's cast whose safety in the immediate future has yet to be confirmed is Oliver Queen himself, but with a short season 8 yet to come and rumors that Oliver will die saving the multiverse in Crisis on Infinite Earths, it seems highly unlikely that this is the end of Green Arrow.
Arrow season 7 airs Mondays on The CW.