I like the theme of this second episode -- that, in the struggle to find our place in the world, sometimes our family can't see us the way we want them to. Oliver and Laurel are both condemned to follow their parent's legacy but realizing they can't do it the way they wish. Perhaps the producers drove home this theme a little too literally, but this is already shaping up to be a fairly blunt show.
I think I was a bit unfair with the Smallville comparisons last week. Although I found this episode rife with them, I found that they didn't bother me nearly as much this time, most likely because this show isn't focused on teenagers. The dark and mature revenge theme paints things with a wider moral and emotional palette, using more than just black and white.
Which brings me to the somewhat sticky subject of Oliver's behavior as Green Arrow. He feels like a wild animal recently released from a cage back into the wilderness. He doesn't seem to have any moral compass, and in fact he isn't much better than a common criminal at this point. So maybe I was wrong and he didn't start off as a hero right out of the box. Which is probably why they focused on the idea of bringing someone in on his secret.
Diggle and Thea stand out for me as potential allies for Oliver, whereas his best bud Tom keeps giving me villain vibes. (Maybe it's because he looks like a younger version of Paul Ryan, no offense intended towards the actor). Not that I think Laurel won't eventually find out Oliver's secret. I mean, her character is based on Dinah Lance, aka Black Canary, so the superhero path is probably in her future. But I think it's a bit early for her to find out.
The mob plot was a little bit of a throwaway, yet it was a nice framework to display the important family dynamics being built up. Plus, I was really surprised how they handled China White (which is a really horrible name IMO). In the previews for this episode, they built her up to be the villain of the week. But she turned out to be almost a secondary player, and her appearance served more as an introduction. That probably means that the producers are thinking more long term, which I like. I think starting a rogues gallery of reoccurring villains is a good idea. I'm always for complex arc building. Let's just hope that the plot and the growing catalog of baddies doesn't devolve into something convoluted and silly.
Papa Queen's little black book of secrets was written with invisible ink? Talk about paranoid.
Very Revenge-esqe saga sell.
I'm really finding the whole mother-is-evil plot line to be obnoxious. Maybe later it'll get better, but Mama Queen is no Lionel Luthor.
Laurel and Quentin could turn out to be this shows version of Lex and Lionel, well except that they're good guys for now.
Are the producers building up Diggle to be a parallel hero, rather than some kind of sidekick for Oliver? His skills seem to be almost on par with Oliver, which would suggest he could hold his own. I guess it's just a matter of time before we get multiple heroes. Until then, I'll hold off judging whether or not the show can handle it.
I loved the green marble floors in the Queen corporate office.
Is Walter a good guy? I sort of like him, which may be because I watched him get cubed in the first Resident Evil movie.
Generic Female Lawyer #10: "The Queen family is only entitled to one miracle, I'm afraid."
Laurel: "What are you doing here?"
Oliver: "They were bringing me back from the dead. Legally speaking."
Laurel: "Oliver just got back from five years on an uncharted island. Before that, he was cheating on me with my sister. He was with her when she died. Last week, he told me to stay away from him. It was really good advice."
Oliver: "Sorry to give you so much grief."
Diggle: "I served three tours in Afghanistan, Mister Queen. You don't even come close to my definition of grief."
Thea: "Dead people don't want anything. It's one of the benefits of being dead."
Oliver: "I was dead, and I wanted a lot."
Thea: "Except for your family. You've been home a week, and all you do is avoid Mom, ignore Walter, and judge me."
Detective Lance: "No arguments."
Laurel: "I'm a lawyer. I live to argue."
Detective Lance: "I'm your father. I live to keep you safe."
Laurel: "Protective custody? I seem to recall you trying that once I discovered boys. It didn't work then, either."
Oliver: "I'm a jerk. Before the island, I was a jerk. And now, I'm just a... I'm a damaged jerk."
Oliver: (to his father's gravestone) "I didn't know how painful it would be to keep my secrets. You asked me to save the city, to right your wrongs. I will. I swear. But to do that, I can't be the Oliver that everyone wants me to be. Which means that sometimes, to honor your wishes, I need to dishonor your memory. I'm sorry."
Despite this episode being flawed, I liked it a bit more than the pilot.
3 out of 4 Daddy issues.