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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Arrow 1x5 - "Damaged"

The big difference between Arrow and its first cousin, Batman, is the theme of killing. The whole undercurrent of Arrow is about the significance of Oliver killing bad people, which he has. Who taught him to kill? The Chinese Green Arrow on the Island. Why does Oliver kill? For survival? Out of necessity? Out of revenge? The whole series seems to be an extended treatise on a superhero willing to kill; it's a new idea for a superhero TV series that Arrow is still slowly exploring, in a somewhat unassured way. But it's very interesting. Speaking of the Chinese Archer:

Oliver Queen seems to be a forward-thinking, scheming mastermind who sees all the angles, but Arrow has been savvy in throwing curveballs his way. Whatever his reasons were for wanting Laurel, the daughter of the police officer who arrested him under suspicion of being the hooded vigilante, to defend him, he wasn't expecting her to ask the judge to make him wear an ankle bracelet. Nor was she expecting him to decide to submit to a polygraph test just to convince Detective Lance he's not the vigilante.

The polygraph scene was the best scene in the episode, one of the best in the series so far. We know Oliver can beat a polygraph but he told a lot of truth, chiefly that he was tortured on the Island. Laurel didn't know Oliver's body is 20% covered in scar tissue, nor did she know about his abs. But when she found out - SMOOCH, of course. We also learn that Oliver considers himself her sister's killer, enough so that the polygraph backs it up. There's that undercurrent of remorse and guilt Oliver feels towards the entire Lance family because of Sarah Lance drowning when Queen's Gambit sank.

Confined in Queen Manor, Oliver can't be Arrow so while he throws a house party, he gets a reluctant and again, pleasingly rational John Diggle to wear the hood. "Anyone can be the vigilante." Gosh, that sounds awfully familiar to something some other billionaire vigilante said this past summer. I love that with Diggle knowing who Oliver is, Oliver can be real with him and not put on the BS act he puts on with every other character on the show.

"You know us billionaire vigilantes. We do love our toys." Diggle getting access to the Arrow Cave and giddily getting to play with Arrow's arsenal was the funniest stuff in the episode. He was like a kid in a candy store. Plus Diggle doesn't look half-bad in the Arrow suit. It was kind of like in the old Batman TV show when Bruce Wayne would be captured and Alfred would wear the Batman suit and pose as Batman in the most hilariously unconvincing manner possible. This was all to break up a weapons deal with some Boyz in the Hood gang bangers happening in Starling City, and the fact that the hooded vigilante was sighted by witnesses while Oliver Queen was home partying was enough to acquit Oliver from suspicion of being the vigilante.

In the Flashbacks on the Island, Oliver was rounded up by the mercenaries in black, tossed in a pit, and meets a European man named Edward Mueller, who's looking for the Chinese Green Arrow for some reason. When Oliver won't admit he knows him, Mueller brings in Deathstroke (never named in the episode) to beat the crap out of Oliver and torture him before Chinese Green Arrow arrives for the rescue. Obviously, we'll be seeing more of Deathstroke in the future but this appearance was a bit of a letdown. Deathstroke didn't say anything and acted mainly like a henchman thug; outside of the mask, you'd never know it was Deathstroke.

This week's DC Universe shout out besides Deathstroke: Laurel once wore fishnets for a Halloween party. Laurel thought they were horrible. Oliver thought they looked good.

Arrow episodes are so densely plotted, there was a ton of other stuff going on: The reveal that Quentin Lance is an alcoholic (not surprising), a little stuff with Thea this week, tension between Moira Queen and John Barrowman, who tried to have Oliver killed, and Walter revealing to Moira that he knows about the Queen's Gambit wreckage before leaving for Australia. Arrow packs the storylines in tight and it's only been 5 episodes.

My biggest question coming out of this week: What does Tommy Merlyn do for a living? Who is this guy? We know so little about him besides he used to do Laurel, wants to again, and he hangs out at Queen Manor an awful lot.