Arrow season 7, episode 2 recap: Why did William go to Lian Yu?

Arrow -- "The Longbow Hunters" -- Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW -- Acquired via CW TV PR
Arrow -- "The Longbow Hunters" -- Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW -- Acquired via CW TV PR /

An exciting new episode of Arrow saw Oliver make compromised to adjust to life in prison. And back in Star City, Team Arrow had their first encounter with the Longbow Hunters.

In last week’s season premiere, Arrow introduced a compelling new mystery. An unknown individual had taken up the mantle of Green Arrow unbeknownst to the rest of the team. And the show also revealed that some 20 years in the future, Oliver’s (Stephen Amell) son William (Ben Lewis) traveled to Lian Yu and met a grizzled Roy (Colton Haynes). Tying the two threads together, I posited that the future William had traveled back in time to uphold his father’s legacy. And while “The Longbow Hunters” didn’t confirm anything, it did offer more evidence that William is the new Emerald Archer. But is the show trying to mislead viewers?

I’m now wondering if the series taking a page out of Lost’s playbook and is presenting a red herring to distract viewers from the truth. Because while Arrow is never been the most subtle TV show, all the material clues suggesting that William is a potential legacy hero seems too obvious. I’m now thinking that the new Green Arrow is actually someone from the present. And is someone who wants to protect Star City and Oliver’s friends. But before getting into that, let’s deal with the present day events of this episode, which intrigue aside was very good.

 “I am going to stop Diaz, whatever it takes. Even if I have to do it alone”

“Longbow Hunters” began in the Slab with Oliver (Stephen Amell) demanded Brick (Vinnie Jones) tell him about his connection to Diaz (Kirk Acevedo). The gangster agreed to reveal all but demanded Oliver “remove” a guard named Yorke (Ryan Jefferson Booth) first. In Star City, Team Arrow reunited and vowed to take down Diaz (Kirk Acevedo) together. In another part of the city, the Longbow Hunters, Red Dart (Holly Elissa), Kodiak (Michael Jonsson) and the Silencer (Maranda Edwards), stole a high powered battery from an ARGUS facility.  Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) begged Diggle (David Ramsey) to let her be part of the investigation, but he refused.

Arrow — “The Longbow Hunters” — Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW — Acquired via CW TV PR
Arrow — “The Longbow Hunters” — Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW — Acquired via CW TV PR /

Felicity later convinced Curtis (Echo Kellum) and Rene (Rick Gonzalez) to help her bug a Longbow Hunter safe house but the group was intercepted by an ARGUS strike team. After a stern lecture, Diggle revealed that the battery was part of a WMD and told Felicity Team Arrow was finished. In the Slab, Oliver warned Yorke that he was in danger but his words fell on deaf ears. Black Siren (Katie Cassidy), who is a district attorney now, told Dinah (Juliana Harkavy) that she was planning to kill Diaz to avenge Quentin.

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Just as last week’s episode served as an acting showcase for Stephen Amell, this week showed what Emily Bett Rickards can do. Even more than last week’s radical hairstyle changes, this installment really showed how damaged Felicity was by the events of last season. Whereas the character previously served as Arrow’s bubbly comic relief, Felicity is now one of the show’s saddest protagonists. She’s understandably become obsessed with Diaz to the point that she is willing to risk her own life to get at him. And given that she’s now alienated from her entire support system, I think things are going get worse for her before they get better.

“Are you familiar with the phrase ‘famous last words?’”

In future Lian Yu, William told Roy Felicity gave him a tracking device that led him to the island. In the city, Diggle explained that he didn’t take up the mantle of Green Arrow because he didn’t want it to destroy his life-like it did Oliver’s. Diggle’s strike team set a trap for the Longbow Hunters on the train that was transporting the WMD. Unfortunately, the team was overwhelmed by Kodiak and Diaz, but Diggle prevented from them from taking the weapon with grudging last-second hacking from Felicity. Dinah saved Black Siren from being killed in a trap set by the Silencer.

While it’s still early in the season, it seems that new showrunner Beth Schwartz is dedicated to making the series a lot more character focused. This episode had a refreshing lack of inexplicable, plot motivated character decisions and a lot of open communication. The scene where Diggle explained why he didn’t keep his promise to Oliver to protect the city as Green Arrow was very well done. It not only answered a lingering question from last season but increased Felicity’s sense of isolation. And while you could argue that Diggle was being selfish by choosing his family over Team Arrow, he undeniably made the only sensible decision.

It should be noted that even with its apparent focus on character, Arrow still features some of TVs best action sequences. Director Laura Besley did a great job staging and filming the attempted train heist and the fight between Dinah, Siren and the Silencer was equally impressive. Both set pieces have the energy and visceral impact that is the series’ hallmark while also being totally visually coherent. Also, she also gave Diaz Mephistophelian vibe that really works for his character. Given the work she did with this episode, it’d be nice if Beasley was recruited by DC’s film division.

Arrow Season 7, Episode 2
Arrow — “The Longbow Hunters” — Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW — Acquired via CW TV PR /

“You ever stop to think maybe all you’ve done is make things worse?”

Believing that they weren’t focused enough on taking down Diaz, Felicity walked away from ARGUS and her friends. Siren thanked Dinah for saving her and earnestly claimed she wasn’t villain anymore. In the Slab, Oliver faked being stabbed by Yorke so he would be removed from the facility. Back in Star City, Felicity demanded FBI agent Samandra Watson (Sydelle Noel) uphold her bargain with Oliver and help her take down Diaz. In Lian Yu, William and Roy dug up a grave containing Oliver’s old bow and arrows. After reading a note he didn’t share, Roy told William they needed to return to Star City.

Returning to the question of the new Green Arrow, I’m now thinking that Ray his underneath the mask. As Oliver’s former protégé, he’d obviously be motivated to protect Star City in his mentor’s absence. Also, with the city’s new anti-vigilante ordinances, he’d have a reason to stay away from the heavily scrutinized Team Arrow. The only piece that doesn’t fit is that the last time we saw Roy in the present, he went off with Thea to destroy the world’s remaining Lazarus Pits. Right now, I’m thinking that loose end is actually what motivated Roy’s return to Star City.

If the couple broke up or Thea was killed, I could see Roy returning home to find a new sense of purpose. But seeing how grizzled and isolated Roy’s is in the future, I get the feeling his stint as Green Arrow didn’t go well. In his conversation with William, it was hinted at that Roy hadn’t been in contact with Felicity and company for some time as he didn’t know William was sent to boarding school. It was also notable that William said he had no archery skills.

More. Arrow S7: Shadowhunter’s Katherine McNamara joins the cast. light

Given Oliver’s love of his trademark weapon, I can only imagine that he didn’t teach his son to be an archer because he wasn’t in his life. And one reason that might’ve happened is that Oliver is killed, probably closer to the present than the flash-forward timeline. Losing Oliver and Thea in quick succession is the kind of compound tragedy that could’ve prompted Roy to become a castaway on Lian Yu. I’m sure next week’s episode will reveal more information that will complication my theory, but that’s my best guess right now.

Do you think Roy is the new Green Arrow?

Arrow airs on The CW Mondays at 8 pm.