Black Siren is out to prove Emiko Queen is no good and convinces Oliver and the newly reforged Team Arrow to start investigating a lead that winds up leading them to Dante and his organization, The Ninth Circle! Oliver and Rene want to believe Emiko's story about being recruited at a young age and forced into their service but can she be trusted? Meanwhile, Dinah takes Black Siren to task for her losing her temper and nearly attacking the criminals she is meant to be convincing to plea-bargain.
The Green Arrow comics of Benjamin Percy (Ninth Circle, plotline regarding Emiko Queen not being trustworthy)
While it is certainly the most in character Black Siren has been in the last few episodes of Season 7, her sudden temper tantrums while interviewing suspects and threatening to kill people while trying to secure confessions has come out of nowhere. (Perhaps she's feeling new pressure now that Mayor Pollard isn't as focused on trying to catch Star City's vigilantes?)
The fight between Emiko and Oliver in the bunker is well blocked.
Dante's organization is finally confirmed to be called the Ninth Circle. First appearing in Green Arrow: Rebirth #1, the Ninth Circle are a sinister financial cabal with connections to numerous captains of industry and illegal enterprises. Deep believers in lasszie-faire capitalism, the Ninth Circle will back any business that can turn a profit, even if it involves unsavory things like slavery, terrorism or illegal medical experiments.
The Arrowverse version of the Ninth Circle seems to be cut from the same cloth as the organization in the comics. The key difference so far is that the Arrowverse version is not as flamboyant in their costuming, with their henchmen preferring black robes, hoods and masks to scarred, burned flesh. It remains to be seen if the leadership of the group meet in formal robes and masks, ala Eyes Wide Shut.
Felicity says that Archer has progressed from being a home security system to being a DNA-tracking surveillance system.
Oliver finds a jammer in the med bay of the Bunker that seems to be stopping Archer from rebooting. It is later revealed this also wiped the memory card which means Felicity has to rebuild the entire infrastructure.
Alena says they could reprogram Archer to scan for the DNA of people they don't have a record of, but that would require their hacking a medical or criminal database.
Ollie: So you were never under duress.
Emiko: Sorry to disappoint you, but that's what family does, right?
Ollie: You've been lying this entire time, everything about our father, your debt to Dante?
Emiko: It was all true, but I never needed you to put me back together. I just knew you'd try. Can't resist playing the hero, can you?
Ollie: You went looking for a family, and you chose the Ninth Circle?
Emiko: Better than living as a Queen.
Ollie: You don't have to be a part of this. You have a choice!
Emiko: I've made it!
(Diggle finds Oliver brooding in a corner of The Bunker)
Digg: You want to talk? Not even to the guy who found out his long lost sibling was secretly an evil double agent?
Ollie: Being reminded that this has happened before is not really making things better.
Digg: I get that, but I also know that despite what Emiko's done, you're not quite ready to give up on her.
Ollie: That obvious, huh?
Digg: Only to someone who knows you and who's been there. All I wanted was to bring Andy back over to the light. I don't have to remind you what having that blind spot cost us.
Ollie: No, you don't. But please, John, trust me when I tell you that I am seeing Emiko more clearly than I ever have.
Digg: Oliver, you're still trying to save her.
Ollie: John, my family is to blame for her current situation. My my father abandoned her and her mother. She was 11! She was 11 years old, and no one's gonna convince me that... that her life wouldn't be different now if that had never happened.
Digg: Andy tried to convince me that I was the reason for his bad choices, too. He made me feel so guilty that I was willing to trust him again even after knowing he worked for Damien Darhk. I held out hope, Oliver, so much hope that I put you, my family, my team at risk.
Ollie: John, if I abandon her now I'm no better than my father. If I can help redeem her, selfishly I feel like I... I help redeem my family, just a little.
Emiko: (To Black Siren) I thought I was punishing you for following me. Maybe I just set you free?
(Dinah tells Black Siren about the murder of Gustavo Hernandez)
Black Siren: You think I did this.
Dinah: I'm not exactly hearing a denial.
Black Siren: I shouldn't have to give you one! I think I've done more than enough to have earned the benefit of the doubt from you!
Dinah: I saw how you looked at that man, and it was the same look that you gave Vinnie right before you executed him.
Black Siren: I have busted my ass being a good DA, trying to play by the rules, but no matter what I do, you always just see me as the Black Siren!
(Yes, I killed your boyfriend, but have you ever stopped to think about how hard it is for me not to kill people who annoy me and get in my way?)
It is revealed that Emiko Queen did know her father and that he had been keeping her and her mother in a nice house before Moira threatened to take him to the cleaners if he didn't abandon his second family.
Oliver learned Taekwondo from Talia while he was in Russia.
Emiko says she has a good teacher who taught her how to defend herself, but does not elaborate.
Oliver says that Thea always wanted a sister. Emikio says she wanted the same thing.
Emikio catches Black Siren spying on her. Black Siren is able to get away after being grazed by one arrow.
Alena - Felicity's hacker friend from Helix, makes her first appearance since 613. She is given the full name of Alena Whitlock.
Alena has been in hiding since her on-line hacker identity was a known associate of Cayden James. She's currently working at Tech Village - the big box computer/tech support story Felicity was working at as Season 3 opened.
Alena never told Felicity her full name or gave her a DNA sample when they worked together previously.
Felicity offers Alena a job as CTO of Smoak Technologies. She accepts.
A wounded Black Siren shows up at Ollie and Felicity's apartment, looking for Felicity. When her bandage starts bleeding through, Ollie offers to help take care of it.
Black Siren tells Ollie his sister is not the hero he thinks she is. Oliver, unsurprisingly, does not believe her.
Black Siren says there's no records of Emiko's existence from after she was 15.
Oliver says that Emiko is good enough that if she wanted to kill Black Siren, she'd be dead, so the wounding shot was a warning to back off.
Oliver makes reference to actually shooting Barry Allen (F108) and Roy Harper (208) to make a point.
Oliver finally says he will look into it if Black Siren will promise to back off.
Oliver follows Emiko that night and finds her in the company of Dante and some hooded men who are breaking into Palmer Technologies.
The group meets a scientist who offers Dante and Emiko 8 military-grade drones in exchange for her family's safety.
The lab is blown up with C4 as Oliver is entering the building. He finds the scientist who tells him he must stop The Ninth Circle.
The Ninth Circle are a group so secret that even Felicity could barely find out anything about them on the Dark Web. Despite this, they have an insignia, which was stamped on all the weapons used by Virgil's goons in 714.
Digg confirms that neither he nor Lyla had heard the name The Ninth Circle in everything they did to investigate Dante.
The Ninth Circle has existed since the 14th century - the era of the original Dante.
The Ninth Circle's symbol has popped up on a number of artifacts connected to times of historical upheaval and regime change, including The War of the Roses, The Russian Revolution and the colonization of The Americas.
Black Siren botches a case by illegally coercing a confession out of the Halcones Kingpin Ramiro Gonzales.
Dinah Drake informs Black Siren she has a second chance with Gustavo Hernandez - one of the Halcones' lieutenants. She reminds her once again that she's supposed to follow the rules as District Attorney and that she's going to get fired if she keeps this sort of thing up.
Emiko claims she's been training with her fighting teacher since she was 11.
When Oliver confronts Emiko over seeing her with Dante, she admits that Dante was her teacher and that she was taken under his wing after Robert Queen abandoned her and her mother. She says she had no idea who he was as a child but now knows what a bad person he is.
Oliver offers to help Emiko get out of the Ninth Circle. Emiko says he will only make it worse for her if he tries and there is no way out of the Ninth Circle once you are in.
In a flashback, it is revealed that Dante first encountered Emiko when she was being employed as a runner by Frank Bertinelli. She tried to steal his watch. He noticed, but it was a good lift. He agrees to teach her how to fight but warns her that if she steals from him again he will slit her throat.
Digg is able to get a DNA sample of Dante from the dagger Dante used to kill ARGUS Deputy Director Bell.
Felicity is able to use the sample to track Dante to Szrek Chemicals' plant in Star City. This is the same company whose Central City branch employs Orlin Dwyer (aka Cicada) in The Flash.
Team Arrow is able to stop Dante from robbing the chemical factory and abducting Emiko after he accuses her of betraying him, but he manages to escape.
Emiko says that Dante was trying to steal enriched uranium. There are only two other places in Star City that have it - Dunkirk Power and Global Energy.
Rene tells Emiko he doesn't regret their partnership and he'll still help her take down Dante.
In the flashbacks, an older Emiko has some sort of plan to win Robert Queen's approval that causes her to skip combat practice. Dante admonishes her for abandoning the Ninth Circle, saying they are her family now. He gives her an envelope that he says contains their gift to her.
Black Siren nearly blows the interview with Gustavo Hernandez after he starts taunting her about how Quentin Lance was never able to convict him either.
Emiko reveals herself as a willing Ninth Circle agent rather than having been blackmailed into service.
Digg discovers a break-in at the waste-treatment site in Orchard Bay. The materials stolen there give Dante everything they need to make sarin gas.
Gustavo Hernandez is found dead one hour after being released by the DA's office. Luckily, this scares another Halcones' lieutenant into testifying.
Dinah accuses Black Siren of killing Gustavo Hernandez, though she admits she has no proof other than the fact that she came close to killing him during their earlier interview.
Dante has found who hired Andrew Thornton to make the gun that killed Emiko's mother.
Dante says Emiko can go and deal with her mother's killer but expects her to return and complete her mission once that is done.
In the flashback, Emiko approaches Robert Queen with a business proposal for a new business she calls Queen Materials Inc. She projects that it will be profitable in 6 months with a growth of 14% on the initial investment. Robert says he wishes Oliver showed this sort of interest in business, let alone an aptitude for it, but unfortunately says he has to give his company to Oliver and can't support Emiko in any way. This meeting is revealed to take place just before Robert and Oliver Queen's fateful trip on The Queen's Gambit.
Diggle makes reference to his brother Andy having been a secret double agent like Emiko.
Emiko is confronted by Rene at the drone release site. She uses an explosive arrow to knock him out of her way but doesn't target him directly.
Emiko refuses another chance to let Oliver help her escape the Ninth Circle.
Oliver is able to shoot down 7 of the 8 droves. Emiko shoots his eighth arrow.
Felicity was unable to stop the last drone from releasing its gas. Thankfully, it turns out its target was an abandoned building, as were the missed targets. It seems that this was the test for an eventual real terrorist attack to make sure the drones could release the gas as planned.
Someone releases photos of Black Siren with Ricardo Diaz to the press.
Emiko meets Black Siren in her office and admits to releasing the photos to the press and killing Gustavo Hernandez. She says that she had intended for it to punish Black Siren for stalking her, but confesses that maybe she set her free instead.
Alena is an opera buff and compares Feliicty's coding to a rondo finale. Felicity doesn't get the reference.
Emiko Queen is revealed to be the leader of The Ninth Circle and Dante her trusted right-hand.
The final flashback, to the night of the Queen's Gambit's sinking, reveals that what Emiko found in the envelope Dante gave her was an invoice from Malcolm Merlyn and a blue-print of the Queen's Gambit showing where the explosives were planted.
The Bottom Line
A game-changing episode that might be perfect if it weren't for how haphazardly karma has started to catch up with Black Siren. The stakes also seem remarkably low now that the Ninth Circle has finally been unveiled and one has to wonder why Dante is suddenly wandering around crime scenes in a suit. Still, at least the season seems to finally be going somewhere in the modern day.