Arrow: Betrayal

Tommy: "I just can't believe that Laurel of all people would lie to my face. I guess that's the way that it is with people that you're closest to."
Oliver: "I know."

Why didn't I like the David Anders (Vance) plot so much? His character was sufficiently nasty, proven by the fact that he brutally killed a colleague in the first few minutes. All our central character's wanted to put him back behind bars, but for some reason I never got a big threat vibe from him. Even his plan to unite the remains of the Triads and the Bertinelli gangs, which was a good nod to continuity, felt a little hollow. I think it's because he was basically just used as a plot device.

Vance's kidnapping of Laurel was such a comic-book cliché. Along with Quentin's phone fiasco, her rescue further set up how Arrow is starting to come between Laurel and Tommy. Sure Tommy and Laurel made up, but she was pointedly looking up towards rooftops for her valiant hero. Maybe they used this plotline now because she isn't going to be a potential victim for long. Even so, Oliver watching her from afar, and the villain using Laurel as bait to capture/kill Arrow were totally blatant shades of Superman.

Quentin is losing me. His single minded crusade against Arrow has now netted him zilch, except for a fractured relationship with his daughter. If he doesn't learn to back off, he will officially be off my list of favorite characters. Funny how he keeps turning to Arrow for help though. I can totally understand why Laurel was still pissed at him, even after he helped rescue her. Why am I not surprised that his phone bugging would blow up in his face, at least they didn't string that plot thread out for too long.

On the Island in another mirrored plot line, Slade Wilson (Manu Bennett) asked for backup reluctantly, while Quentin reluctantly backed up Arrow. Slade Wilson is Deathstroke's real name in the comics. He says that he has a partner that wears the same mask. Does that mean the other guy is or isn't Deathstroke? Or is he lying to Oliver? At least Oliver's training has begun, I'm surprised that it is going to be Slade that teaches him to be an unstoppable force. How much do you wanna bet that Slade will regret training Oliver down the line.

I don't tend to talk about fight scenes, but there were two great ones in this episode. Laurel was pretty bad ass against Vance's men. Too bad about the tazer though, you really can't block something like that. Arrow also got to be bad ass with that attack on the compound. I don't think we've seen him unload quite like that before. Is it just me or have they gotten a better stunt coordinator, the action last week was better too.

Interesting turn around with Dig asking Oliver to get past a personal bias. A couple of episodes ago it was Oliver working behind Dig's back to reveal an old military buddy's bad guy status. Dig's turn to spy was fun, and he even had a bit of flair while doing it, that cigarette cover was an old one but a good one. It led to the one of the best endings in the series so far. Arrow crashing through Moira's window felt so satisfying, and I really didn't think the writers were going to go there yet.


Thea had a single scene, being introduced around Laurel's office. At least her character moved forward a bit, no matter how marginally.

The Undertaking must be Malcolm Merlyn's big plot for the Glades that'll kill thousands of people. So Moira is his muscle, that's kind of sad.

All pretense is over, they've totally ripped off Lost now. Dilapidated crashed airplanes deep in the jungles and mysterious deadly natives, check. What's next a smoke monster?


Moira: "The only way to keep this family safe is fore everyone in it to stop asking questions." Oliver's eye roll said it all.

Arrow (to Quentin who was about to shot Vance in cold blood): "I'm the vigilante, you're the cop."

Tommy: "Can I talk to you about something?"
Oliver: "Tommy. Every time you want to talk to me about something, and that something is Laurel, you look like you're about to tell me you have a terminal disease."

Even if the bad guy didn't work for me, the rest of the episode was a lot of fun. I hope this trend of quality episodes continues, and perhaps they'll start getting even better soon.

3 out of 4 Micro recorders used to deliver information no one wanted to hear.

J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related. He reviews Arrow and Farscape and cool new movies that strike his fancy.


Patrick said...

I sincerely hope they have further plans for David Anders' character, because otherwise they completely wasted a very talented and popular actor. But overall this was a pretty fun episode.

Quentin Lance's choices caught up with him, and Laurel was right to remain angry with him. I'll be curious to see where he goes from here. Is he going to soften his stance on The Hood, especially now that he knows it was almost certainly a cop who sold out his daughter, and the vigilante who helped save her?

They sorta glossed right over the issue of Laurel keeping secrets from Tommy. If Laurel tries to make contact with The Hood again, I hope they revisit this issue. Not so much because I want to see the melodrama, but because I don't want to see Tommy played for a chump.

In my mind, the whole episode was worth it for that very last scene. Seeing Oliver crash into his mother's office as The Hood and telling her she's failed the city felt like one of the show's big milestone moments. I know some folks thing that line of Oliver's is hokey, I happen to think he's gotten better at delivering it. But in this episode, you could feel so much more weight behind it. It wasn't "the city" that she'd failed, it was her son.

I gotta say, the writers on this show have definitely learned some lessons about pacing from the 10 years of Smallville. The story on this show is moving long at a pretty good clip. I don't know what it will mean for the show's longevity, but I would much rather have 5 really good years than a show that dragged on and on without a clear narrative.

J.D. Balthazar said...

Lots of really good points Patrick. The pacing does seem deliberate, although I wonder if maybe those first ten episodes were a bit too slow.

Oliver confronting Moira does feel like a turning point, maybe things will change after this. And you were totally right about the weight behind his "You've failed the city" line.

At least they didn't kill off David Ander's character, unlike Ben Browder. So he could return, and I hope if he does they do a better job with him.

ChrisB said...

The past couple of episodes have really picked up for me. Like you say, a lot of improvements all the way around.

The final scene was really exciting. It felt almost like a season ender, but we've still got a way to go. Very cool!

Patrick said...

I wouldn't call those first 10 episodes "slow". Look at what we've gotten so far. He brought Dig into his plan, he tried to bring in Helena, he had the police arrest him on suspicion of being The Hood. We've met Deadshot, China White, Count Vertigo, the Dark Archer, Huntress, Firefly, the Royal Flush Gang, Deathstroke, I'd say we're moving right along. :)

Oh, one other note from a comic geek. There was a reference to a D.A. named Kate Spencer in this episode. That's the same D.A. assigned the prosecution of Oliver back when he was arrested for being The Hood, and in the comics she was also the her known as "Manhunter"(not the Martian one). I love how this show drops in little nuggets like that. :)

Morgan India said...

Whoa whoa whoa whoa! Manu Bennett, one of my favourite guys from Spartacus, was in this episode and I missed it?

Josie Kafka said...

I'm so many episodes behind on this show that I've been avoiding your reviews, JD. But I've gotten glimpses of some fun actor names and I can't wait to see Sark! soon.

CrazyCris said...

Argh! They did not make good enough use of Sark! Sorry Anders! :p Thankfully he's alive, but after this there's no way he's getting out on a "technicality" so unless he breaks out of jail I doubt we'll see him again... :o(

The ending was definitely the best part! About time we had an honest face to face between mother and disguised son! :p

Morgan India said...

Cyrus seems to be the slightly-less-adequate brother of Sark. Weirdly I was really hoping that he'd have his fake!Brit accent, but no.

If he doesn't take out two people with a shot gun at some point, I'm going to remain unsatisfied.

Patrick said...

Ok, one more thing I noticed, can't believe it didn't occur to me before. I'm rewatching the scene at the end when Ollie checks on Laurel as The Hood outside the police station. From that distance, how the HELL does Laurel not recognize him? She can see his face from the bridge of his nose down, and there's enough lighting to make out his 5-o'clock shadow!(Of all the flaws in the Green Lantern movie, one of the things they got right was Carol recognizing Hal so quickly even behind the mask)

J.D. Balthazar said...

Unfortunately David Anders was underwhelming... which sucks.

Patrick, I keep noticing how clearly his face can be seen beneath the mask, they've tried to use the shadow trick several times to somewhat iffy success. That being said, from Laurel's point of view, he might not have been that visible.

PlatinumRosebud said...

Nice review, J.D.
I think you are quite right about the story line in this ep.
It's not so much about the villain of the week but of the relationships in the series.
The good news is - David Anders' character is still very much alive; he can come back with a bang.

Patrick, i'm with you regarding Laurel recognizing Ollie during their last scene together.
It was obvious that Laurel is somewhat trying to see The Hood's face while talking with him.
With the angle of her head and Ollie's profiled stance, she should have identified him already.
I'm wondering if this will be touched in Laurel's point of view in the next ep/s.

Digs is really my man!
The adlib guy. Hahaha.

I wonder about Moira.
There's something about her that's not selling me the fact that she's 100% for Merlyn's syndicate.

Missed Felicity. :)

Austin said...

Weird, for some reason the info on my cable box for this episode said something about Thea being bored at her new job at Laurel's office. Huh?

Lamounier said...

Ever since Oliver as Arrow decided to use Laurel’s help, I was expecting this episode to happen. They did a good jog around the concept of Laurel being kidnaped, but I agree that the villain plot was hollow. What a great cliffhanger, though.

Marianna said...

I'm confused about the phone. If I remember correctly, when Green Arrow first gave Quentin the phone he called with a blocked number. So how are they calling him from the phone without knowing his number?

On the subject of Laurel figuring out Green Arrow's secret identity, I think even if she realizes he looks like Oliver she might not be willing to believe he is Oliver, especially since it's already been "proved" that Oliver is not Green Arrow and her dad looked like an idiot saying it was him. In any superhero story involving a secret identity you have to have a certain amount of suspension of disbelief and just go with it. Whenever I watch any Superman story, I always laugh about how Lois doesn't figure out that Superman is Clark Kent when she sees them both up close on a regular basis and he doesn't even wear a mask and has the same enormous build. I'm pretty sure that makes her the worst investigative journalist ever. ;)