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Spoilers ahead for the 150th episode of Arrow**, called "Emerald Archer."**
Arrow's seventh season took Oliver Queen and Co. into their 150th episode in primetime, and "Emerald Archer" was a blast from the past that also managed to advance the overall plot. Although the documentary format for half the episode was undoubtedly divisive among viewers, it did allow the show to bring back a whole bunch of long-gone characters without making them part of a false reality, like the 100th episode. Read on for a breakdown of the characters that returned and why they appeared!
The first lost character to return was one who couldn't have come back in the present without a resurrection: Quentin Lance. He died at the end of Season 6, and it was the conclusion of an arc that began with him hating the Hood and ended with him as an ally of the Green Arrow. He appeared in documentary footage from 2014, when he was SCPD Chief. He stated that he didn't condone vigilantes or vigilantism, but he admitted that the police weren't always enough to deal with the craziness.
Thea appeared in undated documentary footage, and she explained that Star City is an extremely dangerous place. Otherwise, her brother Tommy and her mother would still be alive, she said. If the police couldn't protect the people, then the people needed to learn to protect themselves, in Thea's estimation. Could we expect anything else from the former Speedy? It was certainly nice to see Willa Holland again, after her Season 6 departure with Nyssa.
Sara may be the leading lady of Legends of Tomorrow nowadays, but she got her start on Arrow, and it was only fitting that she got an appearance in the 150th episode. In the documentary, she began with the understatement of the century when she said that she "lost a lot," with her dad as the most recent loss. According to Sara, it shouldn't matter if a hero wears a mask and works as a vigilante; what matters is that people shouldn't lose their families or loved ones.
Cindy "Sin" Simone
Welcome back, Sin! She debuted as somebody who Sara had taken under her wing in Season 2, and she explained in the documentary that she owed the vigilantes a lot, as they had saved her on more than one occasion. She also saw the toll that the vigilante life took on them, telling the camera that "it takes everything from them" to fight the good fight. Anybody who watched the previous 149 episodes of Arrow know that Sin definitely isn't wrong with that particular statement!
Rory Regan, a.k.a. Ragman
Rory Regan: arguably the most popular member of New Team Arrow, but also the one with the shortest tenure on the team. The good news is that Rory was alive and well after leaving the team, and he revealed via documentary that he left his mask behind. He didn't stop doing good though, because as he said, people need help.
The reveal that Rory left his mask behind willingly should be a relief to any fans who were worried to discover the new villain had it in his possession. Now, that's not to say that Chimera didn't do something to poor Rory and take the mask the bloody way, but at least we can imagine that he's still alive and well, helping people without his mask. What about the other mask Chimera had in his possession?
Like Sara Lance, Barry leads his own show in the Arrow-verse nowadays, but he got his start on Arrow. He also stuck out like a sore thumb in "Emerald Archer," although not necessarily in a bad way. While doom and gloom pervaded most of the present-day scenes of the episode, Barry was goofing off with the documentary crew.
That didn't stop him from being sincere when the time came to answer questions, and despite sticking his foot in his mouth and calling Oliver "unbelievably damaged," Barry did make it clear that Oliver just wants to make sure that nobody else goes through the kind of darkness he had to endure himself. Barry also did an endearingly bad job of pretending that he hadn't known Oliver was Green Arrow before he outed himself. All in all, a more fun cameo than Sara got! Arrow Barry is my favorite Barry.
As much as I enjoyed the glimpse of Barry in "Emerald Archer" and felt that Sara absolutely deserved to have her past acknowledged in Arrow's milestone episode, I'm glad that the focus of the episode remained on Oliver, Team Arrow, and Star City. The 100th episode did the best that it could to showcase Arrow's accomplishments back in Season 5, but it was stuck in the middle of the gigantic "Invasion!" crossover.
As such, Arrow had to use its 100th episode to advance the plot of the big Arrow-verse story, and that limited how much of the episode could be used to honor its own legacy as the show that kicked off an entire universe of superheroes on The CW. In "Emerald Archer," a couple of cameos from the stars of other Arrow-verse shows didn't detract from Arrow getting its own story.
Now, what's next for Arrow? Well, after Oliver's former teammates (aside from Dinah) broke out their masks to help him take down Chimera, they were arrested for vigilantism. Dinah and Oliver were both prepared to resign in protest, and the mayor decided to instead deputize the rest of the vigilantes, just as Oliver had been deputized. She wasn't happy about it, but she could acknowledge what the vigilantes had done in taking down the baddie. By deputizing them, they won't be criminals.
I don't love that everybody else got the same honor that Oliver did, if only because Oliver put in a lot more time and work as a vigilante in Star City, and I'm not sure how well the show can sustain a crew of deputized vigilantes moving forward.