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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Arrow 1x16 - "Dead to Rights"

"Dead to Rights" can also be called "Malcolm Merlyn Must Die". Moira Queen, playing innocent the whole episode, put the hit out on Malcolm Merlyn and the Triad is on it. Curiously, the Triad decides to outsource the hit to a South American hitman, Guillermo Bererra (kind of like when Mr. Burns hired Fernando Vidal, the world's most devious assassin, to kill Grampa Simpson for his key to the Hellfish Bonanza). Bererra arrives in Starling City via flashy helicopter with the cops already on his tail, and he runs right into the Vigilante, who hand delivers an arrow to his chest and steals his cell phone for Felicity to decrypt. Sigh, says China White. If you have to kill a one-percenter in Starling City, she'll have to do it herself. Well, not entirely by herself. She also hires one-eyed Floyd Lawton, Deadshot, to do the actual shooting of Malcolm Merlyn.

Two recurring themes in this episode. One is Tommy Merlyn finally learning some major, important stuff while also not finding out even more important stuff. It's Tommy's birthday and his sexy double date with Laurel, Oliver, and McKenna is interrupted by Malcolm showing up at Laurel's door with an invitation for Tommy to attend Malcolm receiving the Humanitarian of the Year Award. The other recurring theme is "unwelcome parents showing up at Laurel's door". Malcolm was the first, the second was Laurel's mother (Dinah Lance, the elder?), who dropped a bombshell, yo: Laurel's sister Sarah might still be alive? How? Why? How?! We'll get to that some other time.

Oliver and McKenna seem to be going hot and heavy, but also start and stop. She has to bail on their dates whenever Detective Lance calls about apprehending the Vigilante. He has to bail because he has to go be the Vigilante. It's a classic scenario. Oliver's so good at lying and acting like he's a bad liar. McKenna is also all about the low cut tops showing off her cleavage so SCPD is pretty lax with their professional dress code for detectives.

Felicity (whose middle name is Megan and not Hacker) eventually cracks the cell phone and finds out Malcolm Merlyn is the target of the Triad. Wouldn't you know it, Tommy softened on his "I hate my dad" stance enough to attend the Humanitarian of the Year. Moira momentarily feels guilty about how she's about to make Tommy an orphan, but them's the breaks when your dad is a super villain. No one at the ceremony notices anything odd about how suddenly all of the waitstaff are sinister-looking Chinese, but we live in PC times. China White goes disguised as Kelly Hu (Hu not wearing a wig, which is China White wearing a wig in storyline) to oversee this hit going well, and it doesn't. The Hood interrupts the hit and takes down a bunch of the Triad, while Malcolm doesn't go running outside in a panic. That Malcolm Merlyn is so uncooperative to his unknown assassins. China White gets a rematch with the Hood, which McKenna interrupts. The Hood shoots an arrow into a fire extinguisher which allows for two things: to cover his escape and to get McKenna looking cool walking through white fog. He's such a considerate boyfriend.

The Hood is also a considerate best friend. Oliver takes Tommy out for authentic Chinese and commiserates with him about the pros and cons of their respective fathers, but it was really a cover for Oliver to sneak off into the back room of the restaurant and smack around some Triad to get intel on who the target is. As the hit takes place, Malcolm and Tommy escape to the panic room in Malcolm's penthouse office and Tommy witnesses his father kill a Triad in cold blood. But Malcolm was right; in that situation it's kill or be killed. The Triad aren't there to be reasonable or to negotiate. Tommy also seemed very confused as to where his dad got skills, but Tommy knows his father fences and is trained combat. Malcolm opens up his panic room with all of his Dark Archer paraphernalia but it doesn't seem like Tommy saw the hood and black arrows inside the room before Deadshot opened fire on them. Luckily, Malcolm was wearing a bullet proof vest (does he always wear one?), but unluckily, Deadshots bullets are poisoned.

The Hood arrives to find a Tommy gun pointed at him but he convinces Tommy that his father needs a battlefield blood transfusion. Then the Hood drops the Hood to reveal his true identity! It's a good thing Deadshot left and wasn't looking through his targeting scope. Oliver enables the blood transfusion from son to father to save Malcolm's life and it seems like Malcolm didn't hear any of Oliver and Tommy's incriminating conversation before he came to. Or did he? Probably not.

Oliver breaks it to Diggle that Deadshot, the man who killed his brother (not kicked his dog, Felicity), is still alive. At the hospital, Tommy gets to reconcile with his father and learns a little about what Malcolm did when he left for two years after Mrs. Merlyn was murdered. Malcolm went to a place called Nanda Parbat, a mystical DC Universe location in the Himalayas, but then Moira arrives and interrupts the nerd easter eggs. (The other DC comics reference this week is Bludhaven Apartments where China White and Deadshot met up, named for Nightwing's adopted home town. Also, the most important DC reference is Geoff Johns, the writer of this episode.) Oliver and Tommy meet up at the hospital and Tommy asks him if he'll ever say what happened in the five years Oliver was missing. Oliver, for the first time, told the truth: "No."

Five years ago on the Island, Oliver fixed a radio when Slade didn't think he could. Slade also shows Oliver how to do the pull ups Oliver would eventually be the greatest ever at.

All this slam bang action happened so quickly, we didn't even notice Thea and Roy Harper weren't in the episode. No new Arrow until March 20th.