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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Arrow 1x20 - "Home Invasion"

This week, Oliver committed the cardinal sin: Hos before bros. Oliver was torn between two targets. Floyd Lawton remained on the loose in Starling City and Diggle wanted Oliver's help in putting Deadshot in a bodybag once and for all. I mean, it's all Diggle thinks or talks about anymore. Deadshot, Deadshot, Deadshot. Kill, killy, me kill killy Deadshot. Meanwhile, Laurel found herself in mortal peril, targeted by a new assassin named Mr. Blank. Oliver's heart and loins demanded he protect Laurel from this new killer. That makes two world class assassins on the loose in Starling City in one week. How's tourism in Starling doing?

The cool, cruel Mr. Blank is played by this week's more-than-welcome guest star, J. August Richards. Mr. Blank is basically Angel season 5 Charles Gunn in a suit (and often posing as a lawyer), but also shooting people with a gun. Don't look Mr. Blank in the face, or he'll shoot you. He hates when people see his face. Mr. Blank was hired by another of Starling City's odious business tycoons, Edward Rasmus. (Who may or may not be on Oliver's List, it was never clear.) Rasmus paid Blank to kill a family who witnessed something or other, shady dealings by Rasmus. The family had come to Laurel as their legal representation. It doesn't take long for Blank to take out the parents, leaving their little son an orphan, whom Laurel takes into her custody. Mr. Blank, under the guise of Lieutenant Castle (a tip of the hat to The Punisher? Or maybe to his fellow Whedonite Nathan Fillion), tries to kill the boy at Laurel's apartment but is foiled by the Hood.Tommy has the great idea to hide Laurel and the boy at Stately Queen Manor, which has the best protection Diggle could arrange and vouch for. Tommy's more than a little disturbed when the actual best protection, Diggle and Oliver themselves, quickly bail to handle their other pressing business. (It turns out neither Oliver nor Diggle are on the same page, nor on the same book.)

Diggle is totally jonesing for Deadshot dead. Felicity hacked into A.R.G.U.S.' database, despite her own fears about being sent to Guantanamo as a cyber terrorist (Big Scoop: Felicity isn't a natural blonde!), and learned of A.R.G.U.S.' schemes to trap Deadshot. Diggle wants in on this, but got shut down by his friend and contact Lila, who calls him "Johnny", and threatened to have Johnny arrested if he interferes with A.R.G.U.S.' operations to carry out his own blood vendetta. And Diggle's like, "Why is Oliver the only one allowed to have blood vendettas around here?" (Dig has a point.) So to nab Deadshot, A.R.G.U.S. sets up The Most Blatantly Obvious Sting Operation Ever. I mean, it was so contrived, even if Deadshot were Helen Keller, he'd know it was bullshit. A.R.G.U.S. agents hanging around a hotel lobby all clearly undercover, no one acting remotely natural, plus Diggle lurking behind a pillar in black clothes wearing a baseball cap? Deadshot must have felt insulted. So he shot the target anyway, nearly killed Lila were it not for Diggle, and then beat the crap out of Diggle in a stairwell, thoroughly embarrassing him. Oliver, who was supposed to be there, was nowhere to be found.

This is because Oliver chose to follow up on the menace to Laurel. Diggle and Felicity teased Oliver mercilessly about being pussy whipped by his ex-girlfriend who is now his ex-best friend's current girlfriend, but Oliver jumps when that invisible whip is cracked. Instead of having his boy's back, Oliver and Felicity track down Edward Rasmus and the Hood put the fear of arrows in him. So much so that Rasmus ran to the cops and made a full "I Am A Starling City Criminal, Here Are My Dirty Deeds" confession. Rasmus even asked Mr. Blank to call off the hit on the little boy, but Mr. Blank doesn't call off hits on little boys who have seen his face. That is not how Mr. Blank operates. Mr. Blank murderizes Rasmus at police headquarters then heads off to Stately Queen Manor to murderize this little boy. This time, Oliver is home, and goes Hood-less, battling and killing Mr. Blank with all the parkour and fireplace pokers in his arsenal. It's a pretty great fight.

In the backdrop of all this murder and mayhem is the ongoing soap opera between Oliver and Tommy. Tommy is one insecure motherfucker. He's already dating and practically living with Laurel (something Detective Lance didn't want to know ever) but because Oliver's hanging around, Tommy's 100% positive she's just biding his time until she decides she wants Oliver after all. Mind you, if either Oliver or Tommy actually watched what Laurel says and does, or even showed the slightest concern about what Laurel says, does, or thinks, there's no actual evidence of this. Laurel seems totally into Tommy and into her work, maybe not in that order. Yet, this doesn't stop Tommy from having private raspy accusatory conversations with Oliver around the corner from Laurel's earshot. Tommy is still a stand up guy for going out of his way to protect Oliver's secret, and he even rose to the occasion as a substitute father figure for the little orphan boy, but when Oliver killed Mr. Blank to protect Laurel, that was it for Tommy. Tommy broke up with Laurel and walked out on her. Somewhere, Malcolm Merlyn is slow clapping.

By the way, that orphan kid. Watched his parents brutally gunned down. Spent the night in a billionaire's mansion. If that kid had Oliver Queen's money, he'd probably grow up to become... nah. That's silly.

Because Oliver chose to take out Rasmus, thereby choosing Laurel over Diggle, Diggle also broke up with Oliver. Hos before bros. Diggle walked out on the Hood operation, leaving just Oliver and Felicity in the Arrow Cave. How long until Felicity quits? I mean, her condition for joining was originally to find Walter Steele, which they've made zero traction on. She was also steadfastly against murder, and just this week, she sat there while Oliver and Diggle gleefully plotted to murder Deadshot. Felicity really should join Diggle out the door. Seems like she's gotten nothing out of being Oliver's Girl Friday thus far (except for when Oliver saved her life from the Dodger, which was danger he put her in.)

Five years ago on The Island, Shado tries to teach Oliver archery. Slade thinks it's a waste of time and he probably didn't want to hang around to watch how Shado obviously wants to kissy face young Mr. Queen. But see, those two have some chemistry. Oliver is not a quick study with the archery but doesn't dive into the Shado because he's still got the hots for Laurel (cue Tommy from the future: "See! I knew it!"). Returning to their crashed airplane hangout, our three rebels are shocked when Yao Fei strolls in. And he's not alone, he brought Fyers' men with him. 

Meanwhile, there is the romantic tale of the Speedys. Thea is off in her own little world with Roy Harper, who decided this week to stroll into SCPD HQ and steal Detective Lance's radio. And he would have gotten away with it too, if Detective Lance were a dummy. But he didn't get to become Detective by being a dummy. Lance quickly apprehends that dummy Roy by baiting him with news of the Hood, who is Roy's new obsession, much, much moreso than Thea. I mean, at the drop of the Hood's name, Roy will bail on his date with Thea at Big Belly Burger. Thea still goes to the SCPD to bail Roy out, and Detective Lance decides to take the two kids to the morgue to meet the Hood's 26th victim on a slab to scare them straight. Instead, it made Roy want to meet the Hood even more. "It's like my destiny is tied to his," he tells Thea, as every comic book nerd at home watching suffers from involuntary eye-rolling. Thea then pledges to find the Hood with Roy. Oh, these two kids. So unaware the Hood is closer than they think.

You know what? I'll just say it: There is zero chemistry between Thea and Roy. Obviously, they're supposed to be romantically bonded and they're clearly both attractive young people, but together, they're as sparky as a mud patch. Who else totally gets a Renly-Margaery vibe from Thea and Roy? Roy barely even looks in her direction. This would totally be the opposite of, say, me. I'd love to take Thea on a date and giddily explain to her how every Targaryen died. I bet she'd be into it too. Plus archery.