Arrow: Dead to Rights

McKenna: "Our lives are complicated."

Okay, in one episode we got Dark Arrow, Deadshot, and China White, all coming together. This was the first taste of the buildup we've been getting hints of since the beginning of the series, and I have to say it was almost worth it. We're not talking Lost levels of intricacy, but this show is now officially getting complicated, even if you can still just drift on the surface and enjoy it.

Tommy's issues with Malcolm seemed to be insurmountable, but somehow Malcolm managed to bridge the gap in their relationship in one episode. It was convincing, but forced. Not that I care that much about Tommy, so it wasn't a plot point that was going to carry much weight for me to begin with. Malcolm getting shot was interesting, it was the right plot point to garner sympathy from Tommy. Although that blood transfusion scene was simply absurd. It was as good a contrived excuse as any to get those characters into that situation, but I'm not sure it was a worthy enough moment for Tommy to find out about Oliver. The final bit of irony was fun though, with Malcolm asking Moira to root out the traitor in his organization, when she's the one that hired the Triads who contracted Deadshot to kill Malcolm in the first place, what a tangled web we weave... sheesh.

Laurel had an odd little side story involving her sister Sarah. They introduced none other than Alex Kingston, who plays River Song on Doctor Who, she may never shared screen time with John Barrowman, but she represents the second alum from that show. I'm so not surprised at this plot development, although I have no idea where it's going to go next. I wonder if the picture of the Black Canary with Sarah was an indication that perhaps this Laurel isn't going to be the first Black Canary, and that maybe she inherits that title from Sarah. Much like I imagine Tommy will eventually inherit the mantle of Black Arrow from Malcolm.

I'm not sure where they're going with the Slade plot, this week there only few token scenes set on the Island. They focused on Oliver's resistance to physical training, some good banter between him and Slade, and the introduction of a radio. As plot devices go it's not a bad one. A radio can deliver all sorts of interesting information. It already lead to the fact that Fyres has a ground to air missile which can reach a whole mess of targets. At least Fyres is a solid threat, and taking him down will be a good thing to focus on for at least the rest of the season.

One final note; Nanda Parbat is a DC Comics version of Shangri-la that has connections to a bunch of stuff, including the League of Shadows, Lex Luthor, Bizarro, and Grodd. Batman even trained there. The fact that Malcolm said he went there brings in a whole bunch of potential larger DC Universe connections. What kind of characters are we going to see moving forward? Honestly this one little comment indicates that the sky is nearly the limit. Of course that is dependent on whether the producers are going to keep to their no superpowers mantra.


I want to mention how consistently excellent the casting is on this show. I would list all the great actors that have already guest stared but that would take up too much space.

I really liked that they addressed the need to give Felicity some defensive moves, so they showed Dig training her. I guess when Oliver starts training her she'll be officially bad ass.

At one point there is a sign in a shop window for Bludhaven Apartments. Bludhaven is a fictional city in the DC Comics universe that Nightwing (Dick Grayson, Robin) operates out of, and is fairly close to Gotham. Was this just a nice little nod to DC comic-book fans, or along with the Nanda Parbat reference, was it a hint at something larger.

Oliver has a perfect Chinese accent? Fun moment though as he sits down and the guy he just interrogated walks right past him.

China White was stunning in this episode, and a lot of that had to do with the much better wig, it looked like hair for once even though it was pure white. I liked the black wig thing too, it was a fun nod to the fact that she wears an obvious wig. Also, that white dress was amazing.

So McKenna saved China White's life, that's interesting.

I totally forgot that Deadshot was presumed dead. Also Deadshot got a new artificial eye from China White, bringing him closer to his comic-book look.

Scylla and Charybdis (synonymous with "between a rock and a hard place", or more simply "having to choose between two evils"). Greek mythology, specifically the Odyssey again, interesting.


Felicity: "It's not going to be easy to break, but code breaker is my middle name, actually it's Megan."

Oliver: "My father was a pilot and he used to do his own maintenance."
Slade: "So you're hoping aircraft maintenance is genetic?"

Malcolm: "They're bestowing me with their humanitarian award."
Tommy: "What, they ran out of actual humans to give it too?"

They are doing what I hoped they would do, they've built up a gallery of villains and now they are starting to use them. I wonder how many more will be introduced? Either way I'm pleased that we aren't going to get someone new ever single week, I hope.

2 1/2 out of 4 Cybernetic eye patches.

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.


TJ said...

I am so loving this show. This ep was intense to say the least.

- I was almost sure it was Angel coming out of that chopper at the beginning. He was a dead look-a-like!
- Yay for the Felicity training. Loving her.
- Yay for all the bonding between Malcom and Tommy.
- Yay for not killing off John Barrowman. I was a bit worried there for a while.
- Yay for Manu Bennett. He's still around and I'm loving it. Isn't he huge though? Stephen Amell looks like a hobbit next to him...

I'm still having Moira/Borg Queen issues, so I kinda looked at the whole Chinese Mob as drones. So what happened to Seven of Nine? - ehmm...sorry China White? Did the cops get her? She escaped, didn't she?

This is turning out to be one of my fave shows right now. I'm just loving it. All I'm concerned about is that there's so many plots going on around so many characters (hey Laurel's sister is alive!), that they would need a Yay-budget to get all those recurring characters in, and resolve the whole damn thing...

I so expected this to be a pale Smallville-like show. Turns out - it is so much better!:)


Patrick said...

Some parts of this episode were meh, and some were AMAZING. And no I'm not talking about seeing Felicity in gym clothes working up a sweat. :) Though I think they struck just the right tone with that scene. It makes total sense that Dig would want her to have at least some basic self-defense training, especially after what happened with on the Dodger case. But she's not gonna be a martial arts badass anytime soon.

Honestly, the stuff with Moira, Malcom & The Undertaking is getting a little dull for me. The bright spot with Malcom was when he revealed to Tommy that he'd been to Nanda Parbat and met a man who apparently inspired The Undertaking. It sounds an eerily similar to Ra's Al-Ghul's plans for Gotham in Batman Begins, and Ra's has connections to Nanda Parbat. I gotta think they'd stay away from Ra's and The League Of Assassins though, it's too closely associated with Batman, and might even be tied up with the Batman rights.

The mention of Nanda Parbat suggests we'll be dealing with more martial-arts type characters in the future, though. Which means as great as Kelly Hu has been as China White(and I agree JD, she looked STUNNING in this episode, plus the fight she & Steven Amell had was great), I almost wish they'd saved her. She would have been PERFECT to play Lady Shiva at some point. I suppose if Nikita ends this year they could try to get Maggie Q, though at this point my dream choice would be Michelle Yeoh. Even nearing 50, she could probably still pull it off.

Very interested to see what happens with Tommy going forward, now that he knows. Besides his conflicted feelings about Ollie, he's gonna be keeping this from Laurel, of all people. Not really sure where they're planning to take it. They're definitely moving some aspects of this story along at a pretty good pace, I'm really hoping they have a plan, at least in broad strokes.

J.D. Balthazar said...

Patrick, I guess that's the big test. If they are just throwing plots and characters at the wall to see what sticks, or if they have a genuine plan for how to use them in a coherent way. My first thought when I heard Nanda Parbat was Ra's Al-Ghul... but I didn't think they would go there.

That being said, it isn't the first reference they've made to the Batman fringes. Heck they even have Huntress who is a secondary Bat family character... she was even a Wayne in another timeline. Plus the Bludhaven reference was totally a nod to Nightwing. So they very well could be adding the League of Shadows and/or Ra's Al-Ghul.

TJ, China White escaped when McKenna showed up. I'm also totally surprised at how little resemblance this show has to Smallville. They really are trying for a different tone. Still there are some similarities that I'm not fond of, like the semi-cheesy dialogue.

Patrick said...

JD, I'm a little worried about that too, that they're actually just winging it and have been able to keep us from noticing so far, but I'm going to be more hopeful than that. The guys in charge of this show aren't newbies, and they aren't dumb. I'm still willing to believe they have a plan.

True, they did bring in Huntress, so they've certainly touched on the fringes of the Batverse. But Ra's Al-Ghul was given quite a bit of exposure by Christopher Nolan's movies, so it would seem odd for the writers to go there. Then again, I can't really think of anyone else from DC Comics who could be that guy. :)

I will grant you, there's still some semi-cheesy dialogue like there was in Smallville. But like the pacing, it's a big improvement over that show. Even the "You have failed this city!" line got better over time, and they even managed to make it a highlight once or twice. For me, I see two primary flaws I wish they'd deal with. One is Detective Lance. He's an ass. Which is a shame, because I'm a fan of Paul Blackthorne. And they COULD make the character more sympathetic, but instead he's just so darn thickheaded. I mean, he uses his daughter to set a trap for the Vigilante, and is for some reason surprised at how mad she is at him? The other is Walter's disappearance. I know Moira's being pressured to keep quiet about it, since it's being used as leverage against her. But he's the CEO of a major corporation. When someone like that disappears into thin air, it's a BIG DEAL. And yet, nobody seems to be looking for him! And nobody's asking Moira why she's not harassing the police to DO something about it. Everyone's just being way too blase about him being missing.

CrazyCris said...

Between this one and The Americans I'm having trouble deciding which is my fvaourite new show this year!

Another fabulous episode! (even if we were back to weak island scenes)

My main worry about Tommy finding out is -if it is as you say- if he one day inherits "the Black Arrow" from his father, then Ollie's cover is blown! But I know nothing of the Green Arrow comics (only ever saw him on Smallville) so I don't know... But it looks like a repeat of the Lex-Clark situation on Smallville. And what happens when Ollie finds out Malcolm is the "big bad" and has to take him out? Tommy would know the "Hood" did it and how would he deal with Oliver then? :o(

Michelle Yeoh on this show? YES PLEASE!!!

And yup, loved the irony of Malcolm asking Moira to look into the traitor! :p

I've been wondering if Laurel's sister could somehow be alive since episode 1. She was swept away by the ocean... and on TV you can't assume someone's dead unless you've seen the body (and sometimes even then).

celticmarc said...



Yoo for Michelle Yeoh


Yééé pour Michelle Yeoh



PlatinumRosebud said...

Maggie Q and/or Michelle Yeoh in Arrow?


{clapping gleefully}


PlatinumRosebud said...

Btw, down note...

I agree with the forced admittance by Ollie being The Hood.
The circumstances wasn't even authentic. Tsk, tsk, tsk.
What a waste of bomb to blow.

I liked the Digs and IT Queen training scene, too.
I'm excited to see Ollie training Felicity as well. :)
Water and towels from Digs; band aids and elastic bandage from Ollie. :D

Moira, Moira....
Queen of Twisty scenarios, that lady.

Whadayouknow, I missed Thea.

ChrisB said...

As I know nothing about the comics, I miss all those allusions. One of the fun things about reading your reviews, J.D. is to see what they all are.

This show has certainly ramped up its game and I am becoming more interested in it every week. A bit of a slow start, but they are not holding back now.

I thought the scene at the end when Oliver told Tommy the truth about never wanting to tell him the truth was excellent. The look of sadness on Ollie's face and the look of betrayal on Tommy's were both very well done. I am excited to see where this goes.

TJ said...

ChrisB - totally agree. That final scene when Oliver told Tommy was very intense. And Ollie's and Tommy's relationship could never be the same again...

But there was honesty there - and I hope the show would go for an approach that honors that, instead of some unnecessary confliction.
I don't see that happen though, we're probably up for an intense Ollie/Tommy conflict.

J.D. Balthazar said...

Chris B. Thank you so much for mentioning the details I try to put into the reviews. That's a big part of why I'm reviewing the show to begin with. I totally left out the wonderful acting Stephen Amell did for that scene, the emotions were so clearly expressed and absolute that he deserves the gold acting stars for the week. My bad for omitting that detail.

TJ said...

Darn, there's 2 more weeks to the next ep. So what to do?

Well, this show has been great in its casting so far. Why not wish for some great characters turning up??

My wish-list: (CW standard adjusted)
- Eliza Dushku - because she should be in everything. She could play the big protective sister to Roy Harper. She's a hard working girl that you don't want to mess with - she will kick your *ss.
- Matt Bomer - as the long lost brother Tommy never knew he had. Complications arise when Laurel starts to take an interest in Matt, but it is all resolved when it turns out he's gay.
- Lena Olin - as the empress of the Swedish mafia. Never heard of the SM?? Well, Lena is it! She is also Moira's arch-nemesis, and things gets even more complicated when it is discovered that Lena had an affair with Moira's late husband.
- Some of the Spartacus-guys. As Manu Bennett is such a great addition to the show, why not try a few other gladiators? I can totally see Agron, Gannicus and even Spartacus himself as potential villains in this show. The actors' names? Daniel Feuerriegel, Dustin Clare and Liam McIntyre.
- Matt Lanter. As 90210 is now cancelled I'm sure this guy will turn up on this show come october. That was not a wish, more like a bet.
- Shannen Doherty, as Felicity's rich mother. A woman who is used to have her way, and is unstoppable when she gets her mind on something. And this time, she is convinced that Felicity should marry Oliver.
- Eliza Dushku
- Enver Glokaj, as the mafia boss of the WORLD. Because he deserves to have worldwide recognition.
- Tahmoh Penikett, as...oh, he has already been on this show? Did he die? Well, revive him for Gods sake!!
-Eliza Dushku
- Amy Acker, whenever she has some sparetime for not being over at PoI, she is very welcomed here. She could be just anything!
- Teddy Sears, as Felicity's geek brother. He has the mind of an Einstein, but his sexiness totally makes Thea fall...
- Eliza Dushku...did I mention her?

It would be fun wouldn't it? My visions are going crazy what these characters can bring to the table.
Any other suggestions??

celticmarc said...


You brought a smile upon my face ! A few of these names were in Dollhouse, sigh....

Sweet memories.

Anonymous said...

Oh fun..
Reed Diamond as some evil mob boss or a good cop. He was in Dollhouse of course.
Sarah Michelle Gellar as Lady Blackhawk. A kickass lady who loves to drink and check out guys.
Alexis Denisof as anybody. A corrupt politician?
James Marsters as a sexy bad guy.
Summer Glau as Black Alice. A dark magical girl. Might not fit with the realism but what the hey.
Michelle Yeoh as suggested before. Lady Shiva? Oh yeah..

Patrick said...

As the next episode approaches, I think the scene I'm most looking forward to(no, not Huntress dressing like a stripper. Well, ok that too) is Oliver and Tommy having a real talk about everything. These writers have done a pretty good job giving characters fairly believable reactions to things, so I doubt Tommy's gonna be all "You lied to me, I never want to see you again!" Sure, hearing Oliver tell him that he hadn't planned on ever sharing his secret hurt. But I think on some level, he understands why Oliver would keep it to himself. And there is WAY too much history between them for him to walk away from his best friend without hearing him out.

Bea said...

Hello there. I reported some time ago, around episode 5, half desperate because I wanted to like this show and I was just bored out of my mind. I did ask for advice on the future of the show, and decided to stick with it after all.

I have to say, those first seven or eight episodes were a little bit too slow for me, but as of now, I'm basically marathoning this show.

The cast gels well, I love how they've included more of the characters I loved early on (hi, Felicity!), I like the conflict, it has gotten funnier, and the action is fantastic. So, yey, Arrow!

I was happy with this episode because I actually quite like Tommy. I have a feeling that they're gonna turn him into a baddie eventually, maybe after the both inevitable events I see in the future: a Black Arrow/The Hood showdown and Ollie and Laurel hooking up again. I do hope they don't force the issue too much, though.

Felicity is still one of my favorite parts of the show, and I love the dynamic she brings to the Arrow Team. For me, she feels like a mix between Buffy's Willow and Criminal Minds' Penelope, which is always good. I know a lot of the fans ship Ollie/Felicity, but their dynamics feel more like brother/sister to me as of now. I guess we'll see.

I'm not liking Quentin very much, and agree that he should be made more symphatetic. I actually feel kind of meh about Laurel as well, but I am interested in that whole Sarah might be alive plot.

Thea has grown on me as well, but I do hope they give her character some more consistency.

Colton Haynes hasn't taken his shirt off yet. They're not trumping Teen Wolf's random male nudity at this pace.

Anyway, just wanted to stop and say thanks for the great reviewing. It always makes for a more fun experience of the show, and with me not being much of a comic buff, actually helps a lot with the knowledge of the origin of some of these characters. :)

Lamounier said...

Oh My God! I did not expect Tommy to find out this soon. Are they going Green Goblin from Spider Man on Tommy and his father? What’s going to happen? Oliver will kill Malcolm and Tommy will suit up as Dark Arrow? I mean, Malcolm was about to show his big secret to Tommy. Please, let it not be so, that would be such a cliché. Also, I agree with you guys that the development of Tommy and Malcolm’s relationship was rushed.

Moving on, Moira is kind of good, then, right? She just got caught up on the wrong business and doesn’t know how to get out. Was Oliver’s dad part of the Undertaking too? Why isn’t Malcolm on the list?

I’m annoyed at detective Lance. Arrow freaking helped him to save Laurel, but he’s still determined to capture him? Dude, chill up a bit.

Marianna said...

I'm getting annoyed with people telling Tommy he should make up with his father. Some parents are actually bad people. Also who is Laurel to talk when she blew her mom off when she called?

Thanks for the comic book explanations! I'm a fan of comic-book shows and movies but not the comic books themselves as weird as that is so it's nice to find out the references I missed.

J.D. Balthazar said...

Lamounier and Marianna, I wanted to sends thanks to both of you for your recent comments. They have been thoughtful and fun to read and reflect back on the series.

As for this episode, I'm not entirely sure what to say without spoilers. But I'll give it my best.


I remember very specifically I thought that they were going Green Goblin with Tommy. My hope was that the characters would continue to grow and change as the series progressed. I can say they do without going into anymore detail. Lance especially drove me nuts during his Arrow witch hunt.

Marianna, yeah that whole Tommy make up with your father nonsense was annoying. As for Laurel, I know she has her reasons but I was never super happy with them.

I take time with every episode to organize what I know and what I can research (without resorting to spoilers). I am fairly fluent in DC Comic Fandom, but I'm far from being an authority. I am glad to impart what I can to fill in the details and point out the Easter eggs as best I can. I just wish I was able to spot them all, this show is so full of references that it's kinda of amazing.