This week saw Arrow reach its 150th episode, and in celebration of this massive milestone, the show packed in as many characters as it could from its seven-year run.
Way back in 2012, The CW’s Arrow definitively began what is now referred to as the larger Arrowverse. Now, halfway through season seven, Arrow celebrated its 150th episode, an immense achievement not often realized by television shows, let alone comic book properties.
Though Arrow has fallen out of favour with fans, with many flocking to the more joyful and entertaining series such as The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and the politically relevant and upbeat Supergirl, there is no denying the importance of Arrow in the pop-culture canon. Arrow revitalized comic book television shows and paved the way for the plethora of properties now gracing our screens.
The 150th episode, ‘Emerald Archer’, sees a camera crew take over Star City for a documentary on the Green Arrow. This change in direction gave the makers of Arrow the opportunity to bring back numerous familiar faces, many of them long forgotten in the Arrowverse.
We break down all the cameos in ‘Emerald Archer’, and why we loved them. Spoilers ahead!
Quentin Lance seemed to be a mainstay on Arrow, always managing to bounce back even from the most unlikely of situations. Which is why it was a shock to fans when Quentin was killed in season six to protect Black Siren, who was posing as Star City’s late hero Black Canary 2.0, aka Quentin’s daughter.
Unlike numerous other characters in the Arrowverse who have been resurrected, Quentin never stood a chance, so it was heart-warming to see him briefly again.
Helena only appears in ‘archive’ footage in ‘Emerald Archer’. In fact, actor Jessica De Gouw does not appear on the cast list. Having said that, Helena was an integral part of Arrow’s journey to becoming the show it is now, and it was good to see her represented in some form.
Oliver Queen’s kid sister grew up to be one of the most badass heroes on Team Arrow, before deciding to go her own way without her brother. Thea’s absence has been felt on the show, so it was good to see her brought back, albeit briefly, for the 150th episode.
Thea’s impassioned plea about the dangers of Star City and the losses she has suffered are a stark reminder of how far Arrow has come since its first few seasons, and how much Thea has grown from a lost and angry teenager to one of the city’s most upstanding citizens.
Where has Sin been all this while? In the earlier seasons of Arrow, Sin was a major part of the cast, both as the Black Canary’s associate and as a friend to Roy Harper. But with the departure of both those characters, Sin all but disappeared from the show, only appearing once or twice.
It’s good to see Arrow bring back an important secondary character for this landmark episode. Additionally, Sin makes some powerful points about the toll vigilantism takes on people, and how much their work means to the little guys, like her.
Another character most fans may have forgotten about is Rory Regan, aka Ragman. In the early days when Team Arrow was first being built, Rory was one of the quirkier members on the team – the rags he wears are enchanted and thus protect him, as well as doing other ‘things’.
But once Rory learnt that the missile that destroyed his hometown was unwittingly diverted there by Felicity, Rory left Team Arrow, never to be heard from again. Fans have often wondered what happened to him, and we finally learn in ‘Emerald Archer’ that Rory gave up his rags but never stopped fighting for the people.
Future Roy Harper is part of the season seven storyline, but the version we see in this episode is from the SCPD ‘archives’ the night Roy was arrested for being the Arrow. In the footage, Roy reiterates that he is the vigilante, and that he donned the hood to save his city.
Well, that’s partially true.
Colton Haynes’ Roy Harper never quite got the legs to stretch into the fan-favourite character, but that didn’t stop him from winning the hearts of Arrow’s audience. It was good to see the show’s 150th episode pay tribute to Roy’s defining moment.
Way back in Arrow’s second season, a young man named Barry Allen made his first appearance in the Arrowverse. He was goofy, and always late, but he helped save Oliver’s life. Then he got struck by lightning.
It’s amazing that that goofball is now one of the Arrowverse’s strongest and most popular characters. Grant Gustin’s Barry Allen changed the face of the Arrowverse with his depth of emotion and humour, and it is only fitting that he got a memorable cameo in the 150th episode.
Barry’s cameo is by far the best. While the rest of the Arrow cast are serious and stoic, Barry is at his disarming best, almost breaking a clapboard, and making an absolute meal of his answer when he’s asked whether he knew Oliver was the Green Arrow all along. “Big surprise! You think you know a guy.” Nobody’s going to believe you, Barry.
Sara Lance, aka the first Black Canary, now White Canary, paved the way for the phenomenal female superheroes on The CW. Despite being killed off, Sara was brought back to the land of the living and has grown from strength to strength, even becoming captain of the time-traveling ship, the Waverider in Legends of Tomorrow.
Sara rarely gets to make appearances in other Arrowverse shows, but seeing as she began life on Arrow, she more than deserved to be in the 150th episode.
In her short appearance in ‘Emerald Archer’, Sara talks about the losses she has suffered, and the very real need for vigilantes in Star City. Sara’s speech was incredibly moving and beautifully delivered by Caity Lotz, who even takes a moment to pause to prevent herself from revealing that her sister, the real Laurel Lance, is dead. That’s a secret she has to keep since Laurel’s identity has been usurped by her Earth 2 doppelganger.
Technically, Connor Hawke was never in Arrow – he is the Green Arrow in the year 2046, an era that the Legends visited in their show. However, Connor is shown to be working with a badly-injured future Oliver, played by Stephen Amell on Legends of Tomorrow, so it makes sense for the future Green Arrow to make an appearance in this milestone episode. It also looks like Connor might be donning the iconic hood soon, if the events of this episode are anything to go by.
Not an Arrow-related cameo, but one that was surprising enough to include on this list. A large part of ‘Emerald Archer’ is narrated by a voice that would have sounded familiar to many viewers. Turns out, it’s none other than Frasier himself, Kelsey Grammar! An unexpected cameo, but quite an enjoyable one.
The 150th episode of Arrow was unexpectedly refreshing and genuinely uplifting. Following an incredibly strong episode last week, directed by John Diggle himself, David Ramsey, it feels like Arrow has picked up the pace that it had lost so long ago. Here’s to hoping it continues for many more.