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Recap / Arrow S 7 E 21 Living Proof

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With Oliver trapped under tons of rubble, the rest of Team Arrow tries to find him. Meanwhile thanks to Emiko's machinations, Felicity is now on the run from the SCPD who have a warrant for arrest for her role in trying to coverup Roy's murder of those subway guards.


  • Adult Fear: Oliver's dream plays on his fear for his wife and child, and Emiko finding out about Felicity's pregnancy in the real world lends a lot of credence to these fears.
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  • All Just a Dream: Oliver's entire subplot was just all in his head the entire episode.
  • All for Nothing: The coverup for Roy is this now that Emiko leaked the tape showing him killing those guards — meaning the SCPD is now hunting them down, starting with Felicity, and their legacies and reputations are in tatters. Dinah bitterly comments they never should've covered up for Roy in the first place.
  • Almost Dead Guy: Sergeant Bingsley is gravely wounded when Team Arrow arrives, though we don't see him die.
  • Armor-Piercing Response: When Tommy presses Oliver on his decisions he blurts out that what's motivating him for these past seven years is that Tommy was killed by his own father.
  • The Atoner: In the future, Alena is naturally very distressed over what Galaxy One turned Archer into and wants to help stop it.
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  • Big Damn Heroes: Team Arrow comes to the SCPD's rescue when the Ninth Circle slaughters the officers.
  • The Bus Came Back: Tommy Merlyn, in Oliver's dream anyway.
  • Cain and Abel: In Oliver's dream, he kills Emiko with a gut shot from an arrow after she threatens his family. He has a chance to do it again in the real world (she even dares him to do it), but the experience in the dream convinces him to stay his hand.
  • Callback: The end credits reveal that the future stormtroopers working for Galaxy One are OMACs, recalling the O.M.A.C. project that led to the A.T.O.M. suit created by Ray Palmer in season 3.
  • Call-Forward: Alena suggests protecting Felicity's child in the same way they would a computer program; put up firewalls and take it off the grid. This references how Felicity raises Mia in the middle of nowhere and has Nyssa teach her to defend herself.
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  • Calling the Old Man Out: In the future, William calls Felicity out again for still treating him like a child and never coming back for him.
  • Cycle of Revenge: Tommy urges Oliver to break it in order to truly be a better man.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Even Emiko won't kill an expecting mother.
  • Evil Is Petty: Emiko reaches a new low in this episode: even believing that Oliver is already dead, she tries to kill his wife (who has even less to do with Emiko's miseries than Oliver did), slaughters police officers while disguised as him to further sully his reputation, then prepares to put Star City to the torch, all out of nothing but spite.
  • Frame-Up: Emiko dresses as the Green Arrow again and slaughters police officers.
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: When Tommy presses Oliver on how he doesn't feel any sympathy for Emiko considering what Robert did, Oliver responds that she made her own choices and he doesn't need to take responsibility for them.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Roy fully intends to sacrifice himself by throwing himself into the toxic mist to turn off the generators. Luckily, he survives. Dinah also tells him that dying is the wrong way to atone, he should live with his deeds.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Leaking the security tape was bad enough, but then Emiko decides to attack the SCPD in her Green Arrow disguise.
  • Honey Trap: William's plan is to flatter Keven Dale to get him to let his guard down. Sadly, it doesn't work.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: As is tradition, the penultimate episode of the season is named after a Bruce Springsteen song.
  • Idiot Ball: Oliver has a perfect chance to take down Emiko but lets her escape for no reason.
  • Imaginary Friend: Tommy, throughout the episode for Oliver.
  • Imperiled in Pregnancy: Emiko tries to kill Felicity while the latter is pregnant, although she backs off upon learning that she is expecting.
  • It's All My Fault: Roy naturally feels horrible about having ruined his friends' hard work by killing the guards.
  • It's Personal: It was already personal for Rene and Oliver, but by dropping a building on them, Emiko just made it very personal for the rest of Team Arrow.
  • Improvised Weapon: Dinah uses a steel pipe after her staff gets wrecked.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Tommy calls attention to the beard he has in Oliver's dream that he never sported in life.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Bingsley is completely in the legal right to arrest Team Arrow; they really did cover up the fact that Roy murdered two innocent guards.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Oliver assumes that Tommy is a hallucination from a concussion, but Tommy references things Oliver couldn't have known (though most of them were reasonable guesses and Adult Fear), acts much more like the original Tommy than Oliver's typical hallucinations, produces a vision to teach Oliver a lesson, and wakes Oliver up with a fingersnap once the team arrives. While angels and the like haven't explicitly shown up in the Arrowverse before, it's not impossible there was something supernatural in play.
  • Misplaced Retribution: Emiko, despite believing that Oliver is already dead, tries to kill his wife, then prepares to lay waste to Star City, having expanded her original grudge against Robert Queen to include anything Robert's favored child cares about.
  • Moral Myopia:
    • Felicity is astonished that the SCPD is rummaging through her workspace and trying to arrest her. Evidently, the fact that she's actually guilty of covering up two murders didn't occur to her.
    • Tommy chides Oliver for wanting to kill Emiko seeing it as a cycle of revenge. Only problem is that Oliver has made numerous overtures to Emiko and she's rejected each and every one of them; even learning that Dante betrayed wasn't enough for her to abandon her vendetta. It's not helped by her launching an attack on the SCPD precinct in her Green Arrow costume to further sully her brother's name.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: It was Alena who provided Galaxy One with Archer, after refusing to fully delete it.
  • Not So Different: As Tommy points out to Oliver if he does kill Emiko it'll make them exactly the same.
  • Papa Wolf: In his dream, when Emiko mentions going after his family, Oliver loses it.
  • Plot Armor: The reason why everybody comes out unscathed after the whole explosion, really. Also, it's clear from the get-go that Roy will survive diving into the poisonous mist, due to him appearing in the Flash Forward storyline.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: Lampshaded by Dinah on how trying to cover up for Roy was a very selfish and unheroic thing for Team Arrow to do.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: The reason the hallucination of Tommy Merlyn has a beard is because Colin Donnell needs it to play Dr. Connor Rhodes on Chicago Med.
  • Reality Ensues: Thanks to Emiko's machinations it doesn't take long for the SCPD to bring their wrath on the one Team Arrow member they can get their hands on — Felicity.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Tommy convinces Oliver of this at the end — if he kills Emiko in cold blood it'll mean destroying the goodwill with the city he and Team Arrow worked so hard to earn.
  • Title Drop: Tommy says to Oliver, "You are living proof that people can change."
  • Took a Level in Cynic: The future Alena has short blonde hair, no glasses and a hard attitude showing a massive change from the bright and eager woman of the past.
  • True Companions: This is apparently the episode where Roy becomes this with Rene and Dinah, who barely knew him before.
  • The Reveal: It was Alena who suggested that Felicity raise her child off the grid.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Everyone is very angry with Alena in the future for having sold Archer to Galaxy One behind Felicity's back.
  • Wham Episode:
    • In the present, the SCPD is on a manhunt for Team Arrow again and has them cornered on a roof with a helicopter.
    • In the future, Keven Dale exposes William trying to hack him, has him and Rene taken in, and then his forces corner the rest of the team in their hideout.
  • Wrecked Weapon: Dinah's staff and John's helmet get destroyed during the explosion. Oliver's bow is a subversion; it's wrecked in his dream, where he MacGyvers himself a replacement, but in the real world, it's fine.
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