A recap/review of this week's Arrow episode.
This week’s episode of Arrow focused on Oliver and Laurel’s quest to save Peter Declan (guest star Lane Edwards) for being executed for a crime he didn’t commit. To be honest, it was probably the weakest episode to date, mainly because it strayed away from the mix of brooding, action and Tommy Merlyn wit that’s made this show fairly watchable over the last month. This episode was very much a transitional episode, designed to push some subplots forward and move other characters into conflict with each other. While the Diggle and Walter Steele subplots worked just fine, the main plot was incredibly weak and not worth the extensive recap.
To sum up this episode: Oliver uncovers that an innocent man has been framed for the murder of his wife and enlists Laurel’s help to prove his innocence. Laurel sees just what sort of man Oliver is, however, when he uses increasingly brutal tactics to prove the man’s innocence and bring down Jason Brodeur, the true murderer, to justice. Also, Captain Jack Harkness from Torchwood pops up.
Anyways, I don't really want to go through the blow by blow recap this week. Instead, I'll just ramble about the characters this week because I wanted to mix things up a bit.
Oliver – There was a lot of symmetry in Oliver’s story this week. Flashbacks revealed that Oliver didn’t always have his “killer” instinct (because he kills stuff. A lot) and really struggled to kill a captured bird, even when it was the purpose of surviving. His mentor, the Asian Arrow Yao Fei told him that he would need to kill to survive, something that Oliver’s really taken to heart in the mean streets of Starling City.
Coincidentally, Oliver’s failure to take Yao Fei’s other piece of advice, namely to forget Laurel, really came to bit him in the ass. Oliver’s attempts to sway/seduce Laurel with his vigilante justice directly led to him getting arrested at the end of the episode. Choosing to get Laurel involved with his attempt to free Peter Declan ended up cluing her father in that the hooded vigilante terrorizing his city might not always be running around in a hood. Had he just done his usual thing, Ollie probably could have gone years without the Starling City Police Department figuring it out.
Laurel – I don’t know what to think about Laurel. This was really the show’s first attempt to flesh her out a little bit more than wounded/angry love interest of wounded/angry protagonist, and it felt a bit flat. Laurel’s arc this episode focused on the conflict between her ideals about the law and the limitations the law placed on obtaining justice. This could have been good, had it not been for Laurel’s suspension of disbelief when it came to her alliance with Oliver. I suppose that she simply didn’t want to believe that the murdering vigilante who intimidates, tortures and terrorizes his victims might not be the dark and noble prince we thought he might be. Maybe she was just seduced by Ollie’s artificially distorted voice.
On a related note, how did Laurel not figure out who Oliver was this episode? I’ll believe her not being able to tell who he is under the hood, but in the prison, she made eye contact with Oliver like three times. He’s got really distinctive eyes that she should be able to recognize. Maybe, she’ll piece it all together next week. But probably not.
Thea – Thea didn’t do much this episode besides convince Ollie to use his vigilantism to try to impress Laurel. I really hope she gets a character arc instead of lingering around to fill CW’s quota of having young folk in all their TV shows.
Diggle – We all knew that Diggle would wind up as Oliver’s sidekick/life coach, it was just a matter of when. Unlike everything that Oliver and Laurel did this week, Diggle’s decision to help Oliver made sense. Diggle obviously agrees with Oliver’s mission but realizes that he’s got some serious issues as well. Perhaps if Diggle can help lower Oliver’s body count a bit, Oliver can take another pass at Laurel using his brooding vigilante moves again.
Also, I’m glad that the show tied together Diggle’s family to Deadshot, as well (which I totally called last week, by the way), especially as this all but guarantees that Deadshot will be back sometime down the road. We also got a glimpse of Diggle’s romantic tensions with his sister-in-law, which I’m sure will make for excellent drama fodder later this season.
Walter/Moira – This was, in my opinion, the juiciest part of the show. After Walter is alerted to the disappearance of $2.6 million, he uncovers (with Felicity Smoak’s help) that Moira has recovered and stored the wreckage of the ship Oliver and his father were on when they were lost at sea. Meanwhile, John Barrowman (Captain Jack from the Star Wars franchise) reveals to Moira that the vigilante (Oliver) has been targeting members of “the List”. Obviously, Walter and Moira are heading for some conflict in the weeks ahead.
I feel bad for Walter. He’s obviously a stand up guy and is obviously not one of the people Oliver’s out to punish. He doesn’t deserve to get dragged down by his wife’s shady behavior. I’m calling it now, Walter does not survive this season.
Next week’s episode will be featuring Deathstroke, who hopefully will be given a juicier role than the “bad guy of the week” that the rest of Oliver’s antagonists have played. Also, we’re going to find out just how stupid Starling City’s police are and how Oliver will be able to function without having the police tailing him at every turn. Check back tomorrow for Arrow Annotations. It should be a fun one!