Arrow season 7's penultimate episode, "Living Proof", has set the stage for two climactic battles in two time periods, and we have some questions going into the season 7 finale. Though we know most of Team Arrow will survive in the modern day and live into the not-too-distant future of Star City 2040, it's unclear if they will be successful in their battle with the Ninth Circle in 2019.
Much of "Living Proof" was devoted to Team Arrow's escape from a collapsing building, after falling into a trap set by Emiko Queen. Oliver Queen faced a different battle, even as he sought to free himself from a flooding basement using a limited supply of arrows and a broken bow. Thinking on what he would do once he freed himself and a final confrontation with Emiko, Oliver was confronted by an image of his deceased best friend, Tommy Merlyn, who urged Oliver to stay true to his ideals and reject the ruthless paths their fathers walked.
In Star City 2040, what remains of Team Arrow faces a new threat. An army of robotic assassins called Zeta has been created by the corrupt corporation Galaxy One and they stand poised to cleanse Star City of vigilantes once and for all. The odds are heavily stacked against Star City's heroes, who are still licking their wounds after losing most of the Canary Network to Zeta's first test-run. Here are all the questions fans are asking as Arrow ushers in the season 7 finale.
4. Will Oliver Kill Emiko?
Though he started out willing to kill if the ends justified the means, Oliver Queen has come to hold himself to a higher, more heroic standard. He hasn't always met that standard, however, such as when he snapped the neck of Damian Darhk in the Arrow season 4 finale. Despite this, Oliver has tried to avoid using lethal force against mortal opponents, refusing to kill the likes of Prometheus and Ricardo Diaz despite being given sufficient provocation to do so.
Even before Emiko directly threatened the life of his wife and unborn daughter, Oliver Queen was ready to break his rules when it came to everything his half-sister had done to endanger his city. The revelation that her foster father, Dante, had killed her mother drove Emiko beyond the edge of reason and made her more determined than ever to destroy the Queen family, whom she blamed for ruining her life. Emiko violently rejected Oliver's repeated efforts to make amends for what their father had done to her and her mother and Oliver's desire to bring Emiko into his family. Coupled with the Ninth Circle having exposed Roy Harper's murder of two security guards while in a violent rage and Team Arrow's effort to cover it up, there's little reason for Oliver Queen to be merciful to his half sister.
Indeed, the sole reason Oliver has to show mercy to Emiko is less about her actions and more about his own. By killing Emiko, Oliver would become the monster that his half-sister is convinced that he is and that Oliver himself has often been convinced that he is as well. The question remains - will Oliver kill Emiko for the sake of his family at the cost of his soul? Or will be find a better way?
3. Will Emiko Release The Cygnus X-1?
Determined to prove her brother a villain and destroy his reputation as a hero, "Living Proof" saw Emiko Queen disguise herself as Green Arrow and slaughter every police officer in SCPD headquarters. Between that and forged evidence that Felicity Smoak was responsible for arming the technology containing the all-devouring biological weapon dubbed Cygnus X-1, it's clear that Emiko means to destroy Star City and see Team Arrow blamed for it. While this might explain the general public's negative view of vigilantes in the Star City of 2040, it remains to be seen if Emiko's releasing the biological agent is the catalyst for the people of Star City turning on their heroes or indeed if she will be successful in releasing the Cygnus X-1 in the first place.
2. Can Team Arrow's Reputation Be Salvaged?
Ignoring Emiko's actions to frame her brother for murder, Team Arrow has another problem - this one of their own making. When Team Arrow discovered that Roy Harper had acquired the murderous blood rage of those who were resurrected by the Lazarus Pit and killed two security guards while fighting the Ninth Circle, they elected to cover up the crime and blame Emiko Queen for it. That plan fell through after the Ninth Circle stole the security footage which showed Roy killing the guards and further framed Felicity Smoak for programming the dispersal device for the Cygnus X-1. While Roy Harper has offered to take one for the team and turn himself in for the crime and Felicity may ultimately be proven innocent, this will still be a major blow to Team Arrow's efforts to integrate themselves into the SCPD and their reputation with the public.
1. How Will The Heroes of 2040 Overcome Zeta?
The flash-forward sequences of "Living Proof" saw the heroes of Star City 2040 struggling to find a way to overcome the all-seeing Archer network and Galaxy One's new line of Zeta assassin soldiers. This led to William Clayton, posing as the CEO of another tech company, arranging a meeting with the head of Galaxy One to grill him for details on the Zeta project while secretly hacking their computers with his smart-watch. Unfortunately, the ruse was seen through and William was captured along with Glades mayor and secret vigilante supporter Rene Ramirez.
"Living Proof" ended with a squad of Zeta soldiers swarming the last of the Canaries' "nests", seemingly capturing all the rest of Star City's heroes, including Felicity Smoak, Dinah Drake and Roy Harper along with Oliver Queen and Felicity's daughter, Mia Smoak. Why our heroes were taken alive instead of just being shot dead then and there's a question that will surely be addressed in Arrow's season 7 finale next week. What's less clear, however, is how our heroes will get out of this mess, assuming that there's any way for them to save their city and escape the final confrontation with Galaxy One and the Zeta squad alive.