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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Arrow 1x15 - "Dodger"

Roger, Dodger. No one says that in the episode, but it wouldn't have hurt any. "Dodger" is a little Battlestar Galactica reunion on Arrow as Dr. Gaius Baltar himself, James Callis, guest stars as this week's DC Universe guest villain, the Dodger. Rekha Sharma, who was Tory the Cylon, also shows up as a fence looking to... fence... the famed Sherwood Ruby (snicker). They have a nice little scene together for a few moments before Starling City Police shows up to remind them their show was canceled years ago. Also, Starbuck was an angel? What? 

As villains go, the Dodger is no great shakes. The Dodger is a European jewel thief who uses hostages to do his thieving. He likes to snap explosive collars on his hostages and blow their heads off if they don't steal correctly. The Dodger also uses a little electric baton, but he'll shoot you with a gun if he has to. The Dodger does live up to his name by dodging a couple of arrows the Hood fires at him, but James Callis practically falls asleep while playing such a banal two bit heavy. The Hood doesn't even need to all his gear to nab the Dodger; with the help of Felicity's Microsoft Surface, Oliver does it in a tuxedo and motorcycle helmet and one "explode the wheel of a car" arrow. All this after baiting the Dodger with the Queen Diamonds (Oliver's "family jewels", says Felicity, who was forced to get hot under the Dodger's explosive collar) in a gambit that Adam West's Batman would have found a little obvious, old chum. The chase for the Dodger does allow for this week's other DC Universe reference, the streets named after (Neal) Adams and (Denny) O'Neill.

This episode aired a week late for Valentine's Day but love was in the air. Well, not love, but the awkwardness of going on a date with someone you kind of like was in the air. At the schoolyard urging of Felicity, both of her new testosterone-heavy crime fighting compatriots Oliver and Diggle went out on disastrous dates. Diggle finally asked out Carly, his dead brother's wife, and Oliver took Detective McKenna Hall out to dinner. Neither of these boys got game. Diggle immediately starts invoking the ghost of his brother, while Oliver walled up when McKenna starts giving him the third degree about his five years lost on the Island. Both Oliver and Diggle got a re-do and fared better. In fact, isn't there some kind of police rule about detectives lip locking billionaire playboys in the station?

The most interesting stuff in "Dodger" was Felicity's desire to quit after observing Mr Adrenaline Oliver Queen hellbent on killing someone on the list, though he insisted and ultimately proved he was just going to give the bad guy a warning. Felicity is steadfastly against killing people and making orphans out of bad people's children. However, she isn't at all above violating privacy; she conjures up a listening device to bug McKenna's Windows Phone to get the inside scoop on the police's intel against the Dodger. This is kind of like when in The Dark Knight Bruce Wayne used Wayne Tech to bug the cell phones of everyone in Gotham City to create a city-wide sonar net to find the Joker. When it comes to ethics, superheroing is all a slippery slope.

Speaking of The Dark Knight, Mr. Lau showed up this week in Moira Queen's house. The Batman nabbed him from Hong Kong but he just can't seem to stay away from the DC vigilante superheroes. Mr. Lau, now calling himself Frank Chen, was asked by Moira to help her get out from under Malcolm Merlyn's thumb. Staring an arrow from the Hood in the face has shown Moira the error of her ways and she needs help in finding Walter and in doing something about Merlyn. We get some long awaited background on why the evil Starling City syndicate came together and it all has to do with the Glades. Moira says it's about saving it, but maybe she's been ill-informed or naive all this time. Chen arranges a meet with China White of the Triads and before anyone can cough "racist!", Moira asks China White to kill Malcolm Merlyn. This isn't going to bode well.

Meanwhile in those very Glades, Laurel teaches her new office intern Thea about the deliciousness of street meat when Thea's purse is nabbed by some street meat in a red hoodie. The meat's name is Roy Harper, of course, and he was very speedy in his escape. Thea uses the power of Windows Phone to call stores that sell a wallet chain Harper left behind to find out enough info for Detective Lance to collar the perp. In what seems to be a huge waste of police resources, Detective Lance brings Harper into the interrogation room and gives him the third degree over a purse snatching. Harper, Starling City's prettiest, studliest, squarest-jawed and best-groomed eyebrowed street urchin, feeds Lance and the observing Thea and Laurel a sob story about his mother being hooked on Vertigo. This hits Thea right in her soft spot of out-of-luck studly guys her age whose moms are Vertigo addicts and she has Detective Lance let Harper go. Later, Thea pays a visit to Harper's abode in the Glades to get her purse back and you could just feel the manufactured sexual tension between Speedy and Speedy. Green Arrow love is in the air.

Finally, we got some business on the Island involving Hard Choices. Some time after their daring escape from Fryers last week, Slade Wilson got sick from a gunshot wound in his arm. Oliver remembered the magical healing herbs of Asia Yao Fei used on him way, way back in like, episode two or something, so he goes back to Yao Fei's Arrow cave to get them. There he runs into a beaten up, tied up kid. A student with a sob story of being shipwrecked on the Island two days ago. Oliver nearly unties him but decides not to because who knows if this kid's story is true. It was probably the right call. He was able to heal up Slade, and maybe we'll find out if that kid in the cave turns into a DC comics character some day.