So it has recently come to my attention that I have not been reviewing the CW’s great TV show Arrow. I’m not sure why, as I love the show so far, I guess it’s just slipped my mind. Anyways, I’ve decided to just briefly review all five of the episodes in chronological order: Pilot, Honor Thy Father, Lone Gunman, An Innocent Man, and then last night’s episode, Damaged.
“Arrow” got off to a decent start with it’s pilot episode. It introduced us to the character, and gave us some of his back story. Starting off with Oliver Queen’s rescue from the island, it wastes no time in jumping straight into his story as Arrow. After some brief reconciliation with his mother, here new husband (Who happens to be in charge of Queen Consolidated), his sister, and best friend Tommy, he goes to visit Laurel. Those of us who are DC comics fans know that this is Black Canary, but at this point, their relationship has fallen apart. Maybe that’s because of the fact that Ollie was sleeping with her sister on the Queen’s Gambit before it went down.
Anyways, Tommy and Ollie are kidnapped by men in masks, and Ollie is interrogated. He breaks free relatively quickly though, and takes out all the masked men, telling the police that it was “a man in a hood”. Meanwhile, he decides on his first target: Adam Hunt. Diggle is then introduced, but Arrow gives him the slip a few times, and attacks Hunt, transferring 4 billion dollars to bank accounts of those whom he stole from.
“Pilot” was a solid episode. It provided a solid introduction to the characters and story of Arrow, and showcased the show’s excellent acting and terrific casting. However, this episode has some weak flash backs, though they were necessary. Adam Hunt was also something of a one dimensional villain, and some of the voice overs fell flat. And Deathstroke’s mask? Awesome.
2. Honor They Father
The second episode of Arrow was surprisingly similar to the first episode, which kind of annoyed me. At this point, it seemed as if the show was setting a trend: Millionaire steals people’s money, Arrow sweeps in, intimidates him, the cops go after him, and Arrow takes them down. This episode’s billionaire of the week was Martin Somers, who deals with the Chinese Triads. A case was just leveled against him by Laurel, and Arrow moves in to intimidate him. This comes across well, though I’m not a fan of Arrow’s voice staying the same as Oliver Queen and arrow.
This episode adds a little more dynamic, as Oliver takes his younger sister’s advice and attempts to reconnect with the world, by, of course, bringing Laurel ice cream. The build up to that scene is genuinely funny, actually. Their moment is soon ruined by China White’s appearance, though Diggle shows up relatively quickly and deals with the threat. Arrow quickly shuts down Martin Somers afterwards, and gets his confession on tape, giving it to the cops. The episode closes with two key events: The first being that he gives a speech, saying that he is not his father, and the second is a flashback of him being shot by a mysterious man.
This episode improves on the flashbacks a great deal. Other than that though, it’s very similar to the previous episode, and can get a little dull at times. It also feels a little repetitive at times, but his conversation with Laurel adds a new dynamic to the episode. Martin Somers isn’t a much stronger villain than Adam Hunt, and even the inclusion of China White isn’t enough to create a strong villain for the show.
3. Lone Gunmen
This episode begins with Arrow going after evil billionaire number three. I sighed when that happened. But then the episode takes a turn for the decidedly better. The billionaire is taken down by a mysterious sniper, who also shoots at Ollie. This is where the episode gets a lot better, adding Deadshot to the mix. He is a much stronger villain than either of the two previous ones. Furthermore, this episode avoids feeling as repetitive because of an added element. Deadshot seems to be going after bidders for another company, and Detective Lance automatically assumes he was hired by Luther.
After Deadshot takes out two potential buyers, Ollie travels to the Russian mob and reveals that he is a captain before asking what they know about Deadshot. After asking Diggle’s and Tommy’s opinion of building a club above his base, they go to scope out the competition, at which point two things happen. First, Thea reveals that Laurel and Tommy have bee sleeping together, and second, Ollie is attacked by the owner of the club before Laurel takes him down. Diggle takes Ollie and Tommy to a burger joint where Ollie forgives Tommy and then goes after Deadshot. He then discovers Deadshot is planning on taking out all the buyers, and enlists the help of Detective Lance. He then goes after Deadshot, and kills him. However, Diggle is shot in the process, and Ollie reveals his identity in order to save him.
All in all, this is the best episode of Arrow so far. Deadshot is slightly underplayed, but is a much better villain than any of the previous villains we have seen on this show. “Lone Gunmen” also adds some great character development, and the action and flashbaks are awesome, revelaing the man was trying to help Ollie.
4. An Innocent Man
I wasn’t sure how they were going to follow up Lone Gunmen. I hoped that they would add a new villain to the mix, or perhaps reveal that Deadshot survived. But no. Instead, they added an entirely new dynamic to the episode. While Arrow is still going after an evil billionaire, Jason Brodeur, he is also attempting to save an innocent man from the death penalty. Also, he attempts to get Diggle to join his cause, who declines at first, but, later, decides that joining would be the best for the city. Also, he enlists the help of Laurel, this time as Arrow, and not as Ollie. Laurel agrees to help, and becomes Declan’s attorney. Declan was framed for killing his wife after she gave sensitive information about Brodeur dumping toxic waste illegally.
Arrow gets evidence from Declan’s wife’s supervisor against Brodeur, and gives it to Laurel. The mention of Bludhaven was nice, and – perhaps – a certain Batman sidekick may show up in the future. But, from there, Brodeur orders his men to infiltrate Iron Heights Prison – and kill Laurel and Declan. Arrow goes in with a ski mask and police uniform, and saves them both. His brutality towards the last prisoner who tried to kill Laurel was astounding, and yet made complete sense. And the end – in which they discover Arrow’s identity – is cool, though I wish that they had waited until the mid season or even season finale. This also was a turning point for Ollie in the flashbacks, as he finally learned how brutal life really is.
Overall, this was a great episode. It takes the old formula of a boring, one dimensional villain, and adds a new twist and sense of urgency to it, with the inclusion of Declan. The work that Arrow and Laurel do together offers an interesting dynamic, and the flash backs are truly awesome. Plus the astounding ending is handled extremely well.
Damaged is the first episode I was really, really hyped for. Why? Because I knew that Deathstroke would be making his first appearance on the show at this point. I originally thought that perhaps those men could be League of Shadows (and I’m not taking it off the table), but as of right now they are simply mercenaries. Deathstroke was slightly underplayed, though I’m sure he’ll have a bigger role later, and his fight with Ollie’s mentor was by far the best action scene in the show up to this point.
So, back in the present, Ollie has been taken into custody by detective Lance. He convinces Laurel to advocate for him, but, at the same time, an arms deal is going down while he’s confined to house arrest. I have to say, his plan at getting caught was ingenuous. And Diggle under the hood? That was pretty awesome, and he is a great Arrow. And meanwhile, Ollie and Laurel have a very personal moment before there is an assassination attempt on Ollie’s life, which is thwarted by detective Lance. Also, we learn more about Moira and her mysterious buddies. It turns out that they attempted to kill Ollie, and Moira gives them a piece of her mind. It’s nice to finally see her stand up for her family. Meanwhile, Luther continues to investigate Tempest, but Moira and her friends put a stop to that.
“Damaged” is a great episode. It easily has the best flash backs of the entire series, especially with the introduction of Deathstroke, though he is a little underplayed. Furthermore, the story in the present about Ollie’s arrest is awesome, and the standard one dimensional evil billionaire villain seems to be adapting, with a new twist added every episode. I still wish that there some more tangible villains in the show.
Well, there they are. Brief reviews for each of the episodes of Arrow so far in season 1. As a series, Arrow has done a really good job making a name for itself, and has clear positives and negatives. The work that they do with the characters is consistently solid, and often one of the strongest aspects of the show. Ever since the first episode, the quality of the action sequences has also increased, and the action is always good. The plots are generally pretty good, but are held back by the one thing the show struggles with: creating a dynamic villain. In the flashbacks, we get this, but in the present, despite all the added twists, the antagonists often aren’t great, bar Deadshot.
So if you haven’t watched this series, I would definitely have to recommend it. It’s executed extremely well. And for those of you who have watched it, I’m interested in your opinions. What do you think of it? Let me know in the comments below!