The midseason finale of Arrow saw Oliver Queen trying to adjust to life as a free man again after being released from prison last week, but as the former Green Arrow worked to settle into his new normal, there were a whole host in "Unmasked" that've left fans with some major questions about where The CW series goes from here.
Major spoilers for tonight's midseason finale of Arrow, "Unmasked", below.
Tonight, Oliver (Stephen Amell) picked up his bow and arrow again completely unmasked and with at least somewhat provisional blessing from law enforcement, the New Green Arrow's (Shea Shimooka) identity was released to fans, we were introduced to Katherine McNamara's Maya tonight, and there was a pretty surprising twist about Ricardo Diaz (Kirk Acevedo) that will leave fans scratching their head for a little while.
There was even a pretty great tie back to Arrow's first season in the form of an unexpected villain of the week.
But all of these satisfying elements come with big questions, so we're breaking down some of the things fans are pondering tonight after "Unmasked" and what it means for Oliver -- and the future of Star City.
Read on for our top questions raised by "Unmasked".
Oliver's back! Time to get the gang back together, right? Not so fast. Oliver may be back, but Star City's anti-vigilante law is still in full effect and, more than that, most of the heroes of Team Arrow have moved on with other things. Dinah (Juliana Harkavay) is busy being police captain, Diggle (David Ramsey) and Curtis (Echo Kellum) are both working for Argus, and while Renee (Rick Gonzalez) is more than ready to get back on the street that doesn't seem to be in the cards right now.
But now that Oliver is working with the police, what does this mean for the team? Well, it appears that at least in some capacity it Team Arrow will be back protecting the city. Just from the law enforcement side of things, but as we saw tonight the line between doing things by the book and doing things the Team Arrow way. When an archer showed up at an event honoring Oliver and killed someone, Oliver and Renee teamed up with Dinah to try to determine if the killer and the New Green Arrow were connected. To an extent, this change in structure for the heroes is in line with what Harkavy told ComicBook.com back at San Diego Comic-Con about the heroes having to step up on their own.
"I think everybody kind of has to step up in their own way. In a large part I think that's what this season is really going to be about like how do we see ourselves as heroes without our leader," she said. "It's going to come in a lot of different forms for Dinah."
After seven seasons of the Green Arrow being on the wrong side of the law things changed in a major way for Oliver tonight: he started working with the Star City Police in a legitimate capacity. However, that wasn't the only shift for Oliver. The episode also showed Oliver struggling to adapt to life as a free man again as well as encounter some relationship challenges with Felicity.
Whatever is next for Oliver, we can expect that Oliver will continue to be a changed man, one with a little bit of a throwback to at least his pre-Green Arrow appearance, something Amell explained in when speaking about the evolution of things and how they've changed the focus of episodes a bit.
"[The] same thing happened when I read Episode 8." Amell continued. "I know they wanted Oliver back in the world, and he is and in a new and exciting way. Concurrently, it felt like we were treating my experience at Slabside like I spent a night in county jail. In actuality, even for Oliver, it was a pretty horrific experience. So I did want a change in him. I wanted a change in him in the way that he interacts with people, with the public, and even so far as his wardrobe. I went to [costume designer] Maya [Mari], and I’m like, 'Oliver’s in his mid-30s, he’s a former politician. I want him to dress a little bit more like he used to dress for Sunday brunch at the Queen mansion.' WASPy's the wrong word, but it’s not totally the wrong word. But that’s not what we were going for. In the first episode that I’m out, we had him going to a gala, and I was in sort of like the same suit that I would wear as the mayor. I didn’t like that. So we pushed that in a different direction."
Amell also teased that the effects of Oliver's time in prison will be handled in some creative ways.
"And part of the fun of this year is I’ve pitched a bunch of stuff." Amell revealed. "Not the opening scene of Episode 8, but the first time that you see Oliver, we came up with a really interesting way, I think, of showing what prison life did to him without really bashing people over the head with it."
Last week we saw Oliver and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) happily reunited outside the gates of Slabside prison, but this week things don't look quite so domestic for the fan-favorite couple. Felicity has clearly changed while Oliver was in prison, something that Oliver finds out firsthand when, upon being attacked by an arrow-wielding assassin Felicity pulls a gun -- and she's more than prepared to use it.
And, it gets deeper than that. Felicity tells Oliver that what's best for her may not be what's best for their relationship. It's a powerful and heartbreaking moment -- and we're sure Olicity fans are not happy about this at all.
So what's next? While fans are no doubt hoping the couple works things out sooner rather than later -- though to be fair, the flash forwards don't look promising -- Rickards did tease at San Diego Comic-Con that some relationships are simply broken.
"Going forward relationships are broken," Rickards said. "Somebody said we're going to be doing more fighting and I was like 'how [is that] possible?' but sure."
There were quite a few flash forwards in tonight's episode giving fans a bit more information about the fate of Team Arrow and Star City itself and that included a bit more information about the one team member we haven't seen yet: Rene.
Tonight it was revealed that whatever the situation between Star City and the Glades are, Rene appears to have some major authority with the residents of the Glades. Whatever that authority, Zoe (Andrea Sixtos) is protected by is which is why she's been volunteered as tribute to head to the Glades for help in stopping a bomb. But how did we end up here? We may have gotten a tease of that in present day.
While at Oliver's reception. Rene complains to Dinah that all the rich people there aren't serious about prison reform because if they were, they'd actually something to help the people of the Glades who often turn to crime because they have no other options. Dinah then asks him if he's ever considered getting into politics. Maybe future Rene did just that -- and somehow ended up at odds with those who were once his team in the process.
There was a surprise at the end of tonight's episode -- and we don't mean the one about the New Green Arrow. After running into connections between something Argus is investigating and the Longbow Hunters, Lyla (Audrey Marie Anderson) and Diggle turn to Diaz for help on the case.
How does Diaz go from being one of the most dangerous foes they've faced to an ally of sorts? Well, given his relationships with organized crime and the Longbow Hunters, Diaz really may be the only person with the information they need. But this is Diaz. It's probably going to come at a price -- and that price might just be some of the relationships between Team Arrow.
Tonight, we met Maya/Blackstar, Katherine McNamara's character, but there's a twist: Maya isn't a character in the present timeline, she's in the future.
William Clayton (Ben Lewis), Dinah and Zoe Ramirez found their way to an underground fight club in search for Blackstar, the mysterious person who appeared to be the last person communicating with Felicity before her death. As they quickly learned, Maya was Blackstar, a broker who moonlit as a member of a fight club to relieve stress.
Maya vaguely hinted that she and Felicity had worked together on some sort of illegal work in the past, and she was surprised to learn that she'd died. She revealed that Felicity had contacted her to get tools to build a bomb, which lines up with her plans to potentially level Star City.
But...who is she? A few fans have already started speculating that it wouldn't be impossible for Maya to turn out to be Felicity and Oliver's daughter, though if that ends up being the case there are a whole new set of questions that brings up -- the biggest one being why she doesn't know William and William doesn't know her.
The biggest surprise came at the end of the episode when the Asian woman we see in the opening talks to Robert Queen's headstone outside of the now-burnt Queen Mansion and refers to him as "dad". That's right, the New Green Arrow is Oliver's sister and while she doesn't say her name outright in the episode, fans of DC Comics know exactly what it is: Emiko Queen.
In the comics, Emiko is the child of Robert Queen and Shado, who gets kidnapped and raised by Simon Lacroix/Komodo as a baby. Emiko grows up under the tutelage of Komodo and the Outsiders, but ultimately kills her adoptive father while he is fighting Oliver. Emiko then returns to Seattle with Oliver, living with him and operating as his sidekick, Red Arrow. Over the past few years of DC Comics canon, Emiko has helped Oliver save the day on an array of occasions, almost sacrificing herself to save him, and went on to join the Teen Titans.
It's unclear exactly how Emiko's story will be adapted onto the small screen, as Arrow made Shado a (much younger) love interest of Oliver's instead of Robert's, and already adapted Komodo back in Season 3. And considering the fact that Oliver already has a half-sister-turned-vigilante in Thea Queen (Willa Holland), it definitely doesn't seem out of the question that her origin could be getting a bit of remix.2comments
Even then, it will be interesting to find out exactly why Emiko is suiting up as the new Green Arrow, and what exactly the crusade is that she's on. Depending on how the storyline shakes out, that could manifest in some interesting ways, both with regards to comic canon and with the show's recent focus on Oliver's legacy as a vigilante.
Arrow airs Mondays at 8/7c on The CW. After next week's "Elseworlds" crossover, new episodes will return on Monday, January 21st.