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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Arrow: Lone Gunman

Okay, we’re getting into the swing of things now.

Once again the main plot is a little ho-hum: Oliver targets another corrupt millionaire on his list, only for an assassin to show up at the same time and shoot the guy dead. At first I thought this was going to be a typical Clear My Name storyline, with the hero struggling to convince the police that he wasn’t guilty of cold-blooded murder (even though he already is) and targeting the assassin in a bid to prove his innocence.

But it turns out that the police on this show aren’t quite as stupid as you’d expect, and they figure out pretty quickly that The Hood isn’t responsible. Instead the tension derives from Ollie learning the identity of the gunman and realizing that he needs police help if he’s going to prevent another shooting – this time of his stepfather, or so it seemed.

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A police investigator, being at least 90% less stupid than you'd expect.

I’ll admit I got a little muddled as to who exactly Deadshot was working for and why he was targeting those particular people. At one point Walter was held up as a possible suspect for bumping off his business rivals, but then the laptop Ollie found suggested someone else was responsible...? Does someone want to clarify this for me?

The story only vaguely touches on the differences that exist between Oliver and Deadshot, with the former considered justified in his killing of the latter by pointing out that a) he has a higher purpose in targeting the people on his list, whilst Deadshot is just a hired hit-man, and b) Oliver gives his victims a chance to make amends before he hangs them upside down and shoots arrows at their head. And though that’s not strictly legal, it’s also not lethal.
So you could argue the ethical implications of that one, but for now I’m just glad that there is a rudimentary interest in how Oliver defines what he’s doing, and how there are certain lines he’s not prepared to cross. Except for killing random Mooks, because I’m pretty sure some of those arrows are hitting the significantly-less-guilty hired bodyguards of all these millionaires.

So chalk up our first Not So Different comparison between Ollie and a villain. I’m sure there are more to come.

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Apparently this guy is a pretty well-known DC villain. In which case, he felt kinda wasted here.

Once again, the real interest of the episode lay in the multitude of human dramas strewn throughout: Thea’s teenage rebellion, Moira’s attempts to discipline her, and the emerging love triangle between Tommy/Laurel/Oliver (oh please, no). Even Diggle got to have a little moment to himself when we meet his sister-in-law; apparently the widow of his deceased brother.

I’m as sick of love triangles as the next person, but I’ll admit that if Laurel has to hook up with anyone, Tommy is the better match for her. He seems to be sincere about making himself worthy of her, and so far he’s the only one who’s made her genuinely smile. Plus he hasn’t cheated on her with her sister. And he’s not a vigilante whose lifestyle puts her in constant danger. But since Oliver is the Lead Character and Tommy is just the Goofy Best Friend, I know it’s already doomed.

Still, it was a nice little character moment when Laurel reads Oliver’s reaction to Thea spilling the beans on Tommy/Laurel and realizes that he already knew about them (just as Diggle concluded last episode that Oliver isn’t acting like a guy who lived on an island in isolation for five years). She’s an observant woman.

Speaking of observant women – here she is, Felicity Smoake. This girl has shown up regularly on my Tumblr dashboard, probably more than any other character on the show, and so it was nice to finally meet her. I can see why everyone’s gone gaa-gaa over her: she’s adorably nerdy, she’s an IT girl, she gets flustered in the presence of Oliver, she wears glasses, she’s clearly not buying the excuses that Ollie is trying to sell about the state of his computer... am I going to get in trouble if I say that her popularity may well be based – just a little bit – on self-insertion?

Still, she’s certainly charming and helpful, and I already know the story behind her extended inclusion in the show from here on out (writers got a note from producers that they wanted more of the IT girl; things snowballed from there). Looks like she’s the new Chloe Sullivan. I watch and wait.

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I half expected a choir of angels to herald her first appearance.

Miscellaneous Observations:

Please tell me that the exposition voice-overs end soon. Most of the time they’re simply narrating what we see on the screen.

Wow, that was some really dramatic music just for Oliver making a simple (if not graceful) climb to retrieve a bullet from a wall.

I’m hoping for some private Walter/Moira interaction soon, just to get a fix on how this husband/wife team really operate. Are they in love, or is their marriage more of a business arrangement? They certainly act affectionate and easy in each other’s presence, but I think a scene with just the two of them would help clarify their relationship.

There was a certain sense of irony in Oliver “officially” learning about Laurel/Tommy in the nightclub owned by the man whose fiancée he slept with, and one that I doubt was a coincidence. In which case, it was a nice touch.

But I’m very thankful that Laurel didn’t feel the slightest bit of guilt about her dating habits during Oliver’s absence considering a. he was dead, and b. he was cheating on her. Tommy seemed more apologetic about than she did since this apparently goes against the “bro-code” or whatever. Dude, you did not commit a crime here.

Flashbacks reveal that Oliver was most definitely not alone on that island, but that the arrow shot through his shoulder was actually an attempt by Mysterious Hermit to protect him – presumably from the armed professionals that we get only a glimpse of. Seriously though, there’s got to be an easier way to protect a man than shooting him through the shoulder.

It didn’t take long for Diggle to be let into the secret. I just wish that he’d discovered it on his own instead of Oliver being forced to reveal himself. Still, looking forward to watching his reaction tonight!

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