On The CW's Arrow, Oliver Queen owes his entire hero's journey to one defining event: the sinking of the Queen's Gambit. That single event led to the death of his father, Robert Queen, his stranding on Lian Yu, and pretty much every moment and experience that made him not only the Green Arrow, but the man he is now. It's the significance of that moment in the show's pilot that tonight's episode "Inheritance" ties back to in a major way and makes Oliver's journey a little more complex and heartbreaking, too.
Spoilers for tonight's episode of Arrow, "Inheritance", below.
Since he first learned of her existence, Oliver has been focused on doing right by his half-sister, Emiko. With Emiko and her mother having been abandoned by Robert Queen, Oliver takes it upon himself to make up for things, involving himself in her life and essentially trying to play hero to her. However, it's been hinted in previous episodes that Emiko isn't exactly what she seems and tonight Oliver's sense of duty and the real story of Emiko Queen collide.
Through a series of flashbacks, fans learn that Emiko was 11 when Robert Queen cut her and her mother off, forcing them out of their home. Due to the financial situation this presents, Emiko ends up a courier for organized crime, something that brings her into the world of Dante, the terrorist Lyla and Diggle have been chasing this season. As she gets older, Dante takes her under his wing, training her, attempting to bring her into the Ninth Circle. However, Emiko still holds out hope for her family and has a plan to somehow make it all work. After Dante tells her she will have to choose between family and the Ninth Circle, he gives her a black envelope of some significance.
It's the contents of that envelope that end up being an explosive tie between tonight's episode and the series pilot. Emiko meets with her father and shares with him an impressive proposal for a company called Queen Materials. She wants her father to, with her, make the proposal a reality but Robert balks. He still is unwilling to acknowledge Emiko as his child and, despite admitting that Oliver is the less impressive of the two -- she's the one with his mind for business -- he declares that Oliver is his heir, pushing Emiko aside once again. After telling her he's about to sail to China and the Queen's Gambit, he departs with Emiko keeping that black envelope to herself.
In the last moments of tonight's episode it's revealed that the black envelope contained a receipt of sorts, revealing the placement of the explosives on the boat. Emiko knew that Malcom Merlyn had arranged for the bombing of the Queen's Gambit. She had the chance to stop it, to save both Robert and Oliver and simply didn't. In a very real way, Emiko is responsible for Oliver becoming the Green Arrow.
With Arrow headed into its final season this fall and with the current season spending so much time on revealing what the future holds for some of the show's heroes, it's interesting to see the series go back to the beginning, in a sense. It also makes the stakes of finding and defeating Emiko that much higher. While Emiko being the leader of the Ninth Circle certainly makes her an enemy of Team Arrow (and possibly a huge future threat as she now knows about and is interested in the Archer program), she's also among the people who contributed to Robert's death. Despite everything Oliver now knows about his father, that sort of betrayal is unlikely to sit well with him, even as he still holds out hope Emiko can be redeemed.
Arrow airs Mondays at 9/8c on The CW.
What did you think about the way Arrow tied back to its pilot in "Inheritance"? Let us know in the comments below.