Warning: spoilers ahead for the fourth episode of Arrow Season 7, called “Level Two.”
Arrow has not gone back to business as usual in Season 7, as Oliver Queen is still behind bars and the former members of Team Arrow are scrambling to find their places in the new Star City. The show has gone in some wild directions already with flash-forwards as opposed to the flashbacks that powered the first six seasons. The latest batch of flash-forwards revealed a major character died, the rise of a new vigilante, and a very grim future for Star City. Let’s start with the flash-forward death: Felicity.
“Level Two” saw future Roy and William make the journey back to Star City, which is a shell of what it was twenty years earlier. The landscape isn’t as awful as it was in the Legends of Tomorrow Star City that introduced the first new version of the Green Arrow, but it’s pretty bad.
The boys headed toward an abandoned building that once housed Smoak Tech, a company founded and clearly run to great success for a time by Felicity. (Interestingly, elsewhere in “Level Two,” Black Siren confirmed that Felicity built a tech empire on Earth-2 as well.)
Although William still showed bitterness about seemingly being abandoned by Felicity and Oliver, he revealed that Felicity got him interested in technology and drove him in his career. He also recognized some of Felicity’s designs and was able to activate some of the tech left behind in the derelict building. All signs seemed to point toward future Felicity making an appearance and perhaps having an emotional reunion with William.
Instead, “Level Two” dropped some news on William that clearly shocked and dismayed him, proving that his estrangement from Felicity (and confusion at the clues she’d left him) didn’t mean that he no longer loves her. Somebody turned up who dropped the bombshell that Felicity had died, and that somebody is a person William and Roy have reason to trust: Dinah.
Yes, Dinah Drake is still alive and in the mix in the future. Despite the fact that Dinah is currently captain of the SCPD and only slightly willing to bend the rules to accommodate vigilantes, she’s back in the mask and wielding a staff twenty years in the future. She turned up in the nick of time to save William and Roy after they were set upon by a group of attackers who just so happened to be cops.
The cops of the future are still anti-vigilante, but the SCPD is not even a little bit like it was before. Dinah revealed that everything changed for Star City when the people of the Glades built a wall that kept everybody outside from getting in, and the cops are corrupt. They work to protect the Glades from any who would attempt to get in, and they are willing to kill any vigilante they come across. That now includes Dinah.
The good news is that there’s hope for getting into the Glades and perhaps ending the bizarre blockade that apparently went up between the present timeline and the hellish flash-foward. They discovered a map showing routes in and out of the Glades when there were supposed to be none. Felicity was the woman William figured could help solve the mystery; unfortunately, Dinah’s news means she’s not an option.
That is, Felicity’s not an option assuming she really is dead and didn’t simply fake her death or go on an extended vacation to another Earth that resulted in her friends declaring her legally dead. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time Arrow fake-killed somebody, and I find it difficult to believe that Arrow would really drop huge news about the death of a character in only the fourth episode of the season unless she’s either not dead or not staying dead. Felicity fans shouldn’t despair just yet!
“Level Two” also revealed a new vigilante who will be active twenty years in the future, and she’ll be active with Dinah’s blessing. She may not be who anybody expected before a few minutes ahead of the reveal.
No, your eyes do not deceive you. Young Zoe Ramirez will grow up to become a vigilante, and she appears to more or less be Dinah’s sidekick. William seemed to recognize her when she emerged from the shadows, so either William is awesome at imagining what his childhood acquaintances will look like a couple decades in the future or he and Zoe will spend some time together.
In case you’re somewhat baffled by the sudden transformation of Rene’s daughter into a vigilante, it’s probably because Arrow really only dropped significant hints that Zoe could follow the vigilante path earlier in “Level Two.” Zoe nearly died in a fire after a meeting between Dinah and the folks of the Glades was set ablaze, and it was only thanks to the timely arrival of Green Arrow 2.0 that she was saved.
Dinah dropped by the Ramirez apartment later in the episode to check on Zoe and give her a little gift: a pin with a canary on it. Zoe was touched by the gift, which might have struck other kids as a bizarre pick-me-up after a near-death experience. We can now safely say that it was foreshadowing Zoe’s turn to vigilantism by the time the flash-forwards roll around.
There is also the point that Season 7 started with Rene giving boxing lessons to Zoe and other kids in the Glades, so there’s at least precedent for Zoe learning to defend herself. Also, bizarrely enough, there’s also precedent for characters being ready to put on a mask and hit the streets to fight crime after only a handful of boxing lessons. (Yes, I remember you, Season 3 Laurel!) Assuming Arrow continues with the flash-forwards, we’ll probably get to see more of adult Zoe in action.
At this point, I’m almost expecting John Jr. to show up as a vigilante to build a Team Arrow 2.0 with Zoe and William. We’ll have to wait and see. Hopefully the flash-forwards will begin to deliver answers to go with all the new questions.
In the present timeline on Arrow, Oliver was busy being drugged and tortured — physically and psychologically — by a mysterious head honcho up on Level Two, and Felicity was coming very close to crossing lines to try and catch Diaz. In an unlikely team-up, Felicity worked with Black Siren to try and get some info out of Silencer, who was ultimately allowed to escape in the hopes that she would lead them to Diaz.