Arrow Season 1 Episodes 7 and 8: The Ones With The Huntress

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Helena Bertinelli may be out of the DC Universe proper these days, but that doesn’t mean she can’t appear in Arrow. These episodes weren’t a proper two-parter, but thematically they book end each other.

It all starts with Oliver’s mother almost being the victim of the attempted murder of mob boss and occasional business partner Frank Bertinelli. Concerned about what happened, Oliver decides to take it upon himself to get a closer look at Bertinelli only to find himself loosely dating the mobster’s daughter Helena. Unfortunately the two become a couple, only to find out that they both have extracurricular vigilante activities. The only difference is that Helena’s are more vengeful; she was the one who targeted her father, as he had her previous fiancée killed.

So the couple does everything you expect they would; fight the Bertinelli crime family and the Triad gangs (from earlier in the series), and winds up running awkwardly into his previous girlfriend Dinah (now dating his best friend Tommy). The relationship, well, mutually implodes as Helena wants to be more lethal in her approach.

They officially break up when Oliver won’t let Helena kill her father, instead wanting to turn him over to the police. This was officially her “deal breaker” moment, as she dumps him and threatens to kill and expose his identity if he should ever cross her in the future. If I were Oliver, I could be content with this break up. The episode ends with Tommy asking Oliver for a job, since he’s a broke debutante late 20s/early thirty something. If life were only that easy.

There was a lot going on in this episode with the introduction of Huntress, who seems like an appropriate character to add to the show since she’s only tangentially associated with Batman. I like that they introduced her in a way they can use in following episodes, since she knows Oliver’s secret and is a bit of an enemy.

Arrow Season 1 Episode 9: “Year’s End”

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“Year’s End” should have been re-titled “Oliver Has The Worst Christmas Ever.” With stepfather Walter missing (presumably abducted by the mysterious cabal that the Queens were involved with since he found the wreckage of the yacht), Oliver decides he wants to bring the Christmas spirit back to Starling City, starting at his own home.

To cheer up his mother Moira and sister Thea, Oliver organizes an over the top Christmas party at the mansion. Great ideas like this never seem to ever turn out just right; Moira is just too depressed to deal with this, Thea is too busy trying to make out with her creepy boyfriend, and best friend Tommy is there with his new girlfriend (and Oliver’s ex) Dinah.

So needless to say, a spotting of a copy cat archer (who has also been targeting people on the list) is reported Oliver is more than happy to duck out on the party. Unfortunately, this new archer (who has taken some fashion cues from baseball pitcher Brian Wilson’s pal the Machine) is not only more lethal but far more brutal than Oliver expected. Thanks to some help covering up what happened with Diggle, Oliver is admitted to the hospital to spend the holidays recovering and pondering how he’s going to stop this new uber-archer.

This episode originally aired in the middle of December, right before the Christmas hiatus most shows go through. It was a great point to have a break in the story, as it sets up a new direction for the series.I’m still wondering if the antagonist is none other than Tommy taking up the Merlyn character from the comics. I guess we’ll find out.

Arrow Season 1 Episode 6: “Muse of Fire”

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This just might have been the best episode of the show to date. It’s awesome even though it has the Royal Flush Gang paying a visit!

The episode starts out with Diggle urging Oliver to expand his extra-curricular activities in Starling City to things that are not necessarily stated on the list. And a highly skilled team of bank robbers wearing a deck of playing card inspired body armor seems like the perfect thing for a bow-and-arrow carrying archer to get involved with.

Because this is an action/drama, it can’t be that similar. It turns out that this gang is a family of former Queen Corp employees at a factory that was outsourced and left them unemployed. How they all became extremely well trained para-military types escapes me, but that’s beside the point. But still, they mentioned to put a twist on the villains that would make sense.

Oliver is torn with what to do. He feels partly responsible for what has happened to them, since his father screwed them over royally. Oliver even tries—as himself and not the archer—to track them down and talk some sense into them. And unfortunately they don’t heed his words. The father is killed during a robbery by a security guard who was saved by the vigilante. So at least Oliver’s Q rating went up.

What I liked about this episode was that it showed that there is a bit more to Oliver other than his vengeful side, that he legitimately wanted to help the Royal Flush Gang since his family prospered at their expense.

Arrow Season 1 Episode 5: “Damaged”

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I’ve finally gotten a chance to catch up on everything I’ve missed in Arrow! Aren’t DVRs amazing? This episode starts out with Oliver on trial for being the archer vigilante. And who does Oliver choose to be his lawyer? None other than Laurel, his ex-girlfriend whose father happens to be the lead detective on the case and blames him for the death of his other daughter.  That sounds like a great idea.

This episode is pretty funny to me, in the sense that Oliver  is so calm during the whole proceedings. I mean, he is the vigilante and everyone is convinced he is but he couldn’t care any less. He’s also plotting to take down a European weapons dealer at the same time.

How does he do it?

Oliver is much smarter than everyone gives him credit for, helping Laurel build a partially true defense that he is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder from his time on the island as well as revealing that he was tortured by what appears to be Deathstroke the Terminator (whose costume doesn’t look as good as I was hoping) as well as him being too inept to do be a vigilante.

He better give Laurel a nice thank you gift, as the combination of his bodyguard Diggle posing as the archer while he was in court and him being able to beat a lie detector test with her defense gets him off the hook. There’s an odd scene at the end where Laurel insinuates that she knows he is the vigilante, but I don’t know if it was just me.

On the Queen family front, relationships between Moira and stepfather Walter keeps getting strained, as he wonders about all the shady activities she has been involved with of late.

Arrow Season 1 Episode 4: “An Innocent Man”

arrow-episode-4 “An Innocent Man” was a good episode. Probably a great episode just for the Moira subplot alone, but we’ll talk about that later.

This episode had Oliver as the Green Arrow teaming up with Laurel to get an innocent man off of death row, as he was framed for a crime by one of the businessmen on Oliver’s father’s vengeance list. This accomplishes two things for Oliver: another target can be dealt with and somehow he can start rebuilding his relationship with Laurel, albeit as a vigilante. As this goes on, Laurel’s detective father tells her she shouldn’t get involved with the archer, as he’s just as dangerous and violent as the criminals on the street. And unfortunately for Oliver although he did free the wrongly convicted guy, he did prove Laurel’s dad right about how prone he is to violence. Unfortunately, there’s some grainy video footage of Oliver armed with a quiver that leads to his arrest for allegedly being the vigilante terrorizing the criminals of Starling City.

The episode also dealt with the fallout from the previous episode, as Diggle has recovered and wants nothing to do with Oliver’s archer vigilante-ism. Diggle winds up quitting working for the Queen family as a result, but doesn’t snitch on Oliver. There’s also a bunch of flashbacks in this episode to Ollie’s time on the island, where the Asian man who was protected him forces him to kill animals to survive. These scenes were a little creepy and unsettling.

Throughout the episode, Oliver’s stepfather Walter is investigating some weird financial records in the company. It turns out that his wife Moira (Oliver’s mom) had purchased an aircraft hangar. When Walter goes to investigate it, he finds the wreckage of the sunken Queen family yacht that was assumed to be lost at sea. The ending cuts to Moira on the phone with an unnamed man about how all the business men that are being targeted and wonder if it has anything to do with her deceased husband turning over the list of evil business people to the vigilante.

If this isn’t a cliffhanger ending, then I don’t know what is. Oliver is in jail for being the vigilante and his mother is responsible for the shipwreck that killed his father. And the next episode has Deathstroke in it!

Arrow Season 1 Episode 3: “Lone Gunmen”

arrow-deadshot-episode-3The third episode of Arrow (titled “Lone Gunmen”) brings in the highest-profile non-Green Arrow character into the series to this point. We’re talking about the master assassin Deadshot.

Without his trademark goofy costume, Deadshot is in town and murdering various business people attempting to buy out a company. Things get extra personal for Oliver, as Deadshot has turned his sites on his stepfather Walter. Oliver now has to find a way to work alongside Detective Lance and the rest of the police, in order to not only stop Deadshot but to protect his family as well. Green Arrow stops Deadshot, but along the way his bodyguard Diggle gets shot. This forces him to reveal to Diggle that his disappearances are in fact him going out as the archer vigilante of Starling City.

It was a good episode with a lot of action. But what’s best about this episode is that it’s planting seeds for future issues, and I’m not just talking about Oliver’s reveal to Diggle. There’s a lot of other stuff being sent out. Oliver’s sister Thea seems to be building to some sort of personal crisis, between the drug abuse and legal woes. Their mother is also up to something. But the biggest reveal has to do with Oliver’s ex-girlfriend Laurel an his best friend Tommy–while he was presumed dead, they were hooking up. In short, his best friend was sleeping with his ex. Eep.

And this brings me to something else I wonder about. Tommy is loosely based on Thomas Merlyn, a villain from the Green Arrow comics. I guess it’s only a matter of time before he and Ollie have a falling out. Now that I can’t wait for.

 

Arrow Season 1 Episode 2: “Honor Thy Father”

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The series Arrow starts picking up steam in the second episode. In “Honor Thy Father”, they really get across how much Oliver is sacrificing in his own personal life to avenge his father’s legacy, as well as how intertwined everything in his world really is.

The episode starts with the Queen family going to a very public court hearing to have Oliver’s death certificate revoked, as he was assumed to be dead for the past five years. On the other side of the courthouse, his former girlfriend-turned-prosecutor Laurel is in court trying to get a business man convicted of murder. This gets Ollie’s attention; the man is on the hit list.

Things get even more complicated, as the business man not only puts out a hit on Laurel but gets in contact with her father, Detective Lance, about being harassed by Starling City’s archer vigilante. It’s up to Oliver to save her, get the businessman behind bars and keep Father Lance out of his hair.

The Queen family subplot is pretty interesting, as everyone—his mother, stepfather and sister—is having a hard time reconnecting with Oliver, as he’s been extremely distant since his return. You get the feeling he wants to be more involved in their lives, and even the family business, but he can’t due to his obligations he promised his father. He figures out how to completely lose all signs of competency, showing up drunk to a press event for the Queen Foundation and embarrassing himself in the process.

If there was any must see segment in this episode, it would be the last five minutes. Oliver’s mother is taking a phone call in private, where the conversation pretty much says that she was part of a conspiracy that sunk the Queen family yacht and that there is no way that Oliver is aware of the list. This scene is followed up with a flashback of Oliver’s time on the island, and him being captured by an archer.

That last part is why I like this series so much. I’m enjoying how each episode is interconnected, and especially how they seem to be building towards something in a slow burn fashion. I don’t seem to be the only one happy with Arrow; apparently it’s the hightest rated new show on the CW.

Arrow – “The Pilot”

I finally got around to seeing the first episode of the new Arrow series on the CW. This is the Green Arrow’s first solo television series, starting with a late 20s/early 30s Oliver Queen returning to his home of Starling City after being shipwrecked for the last five years.

Oliver was on the family yacht which sunk in a typhoon, possibly with some foul play hinted at.

The Oliver that everyone remembers has now been replaced by a darker brooding one, who has returned home to save a city that has become increasingly more corrupt. He has sworn to his father–who killed himself to allow his son to survive–that he will do everything in his power to fix the city. The older Queen told his son about all of the corrupt business men and government officials that he had the displeasure of dealing with.

But just as Ollie is found to be different, he finds his circle of family and friends to have changed as well. His mother Moira (played by Susanna Thompson, an actress who looks and sounds eerily like Jan from the Officehas remarried one of his father’s business partners, as well as plotting to abduct her son to find out what his father told him. His younger sister is a coke head party girl.

The pilot has Oliver going out on his first mission as a vigilante, targeting a Bernie Madoff-type white-collar criminal who has bilked millions of dollars out of the common folk of Starling City. To complicate things, Oliver is being chased by a police detective who happens to not only be the father of his ex-girlfriend Laurel (who seems to be a stand-in for Dinah Lance, better known as Black Canary) but of his other daughter who died during the yacht accident. To make that clear, Oliver was cheating on his longtime girlfriend with her sister (who died on his yacht) and is now being chased by their father when he goes out as a bow-and-arrow toting vigilante.

The resulting show is a lot of fun, with all the characters intertwined on multiple levels. The only problem is that they haven’t made Oliver all that likable yet and why he has undertaken such a public crusade still isn’t clear. It’s also not really explained how he has become such a bad ass archer and street fighter as well.

On the whole, it’s a pretty interesting concept and I can only assume my questions will be answered as the series progresses. Stephen Amell is believable in this role, which is more inline with the New 52 version of the character or even Connor Hawke than the traditional Green Arrow. The show works on the whole and is worth checking out future episodes. I’m already much more interested in it than I was with Smallville.

 

Green Arrow TV Show Is A Go!

CW’s new Green Arrow is a go! CW’s new prime time drama Arrow is about rich guy Oliver Queen turned vigilante after being stuck on a deserted island and learning to fend for himself. This preview is fairly grim and tone, but did you notice the cameo appearance towards the end?

There was a shot of the mask of Deathstroke the Terminator with an arrow through it. I guess that means we will be seeing him in Arrow at some point this season. The show airs on Wednesdays starting this fall.