Arrow: Home Invasion

Oliver: "I wear a hood and I put arrows into criminals. So when it comes to complexity, I grade on a curve."

I think the title (Home Invasion) kind of sums up this episode, but not entirely in a literal sense, although there was plenty of literal home invasions going on. I'm talking more about the concept of home, or rather the breaking or destruction of what a person thinks of as home. The concept is a tricky one. Is it where we grew up, or is it where we finally settle? Oliver, Tommy, Dig, and Roy all struggled with that concept this week, asking themselves where they all belonged. The result was some partings, some revelations, and a couple of betrayals.

I'm not sure which was most important break up; Oliver and Dig, or Tommy and Laurel. Oliver and Diggle have had a very up and down relationship, and now that I think back on it, it was never really all that stable. Dig joined up with Oliver because he felt responsible for him. Over time that responsibility has morphed into something else, as Oliver has grown into something almost resembling a hero. Has Dig gone the other way? Oliver chose to protect innocent lives, over going with Dig to exact revenge. That's kind of telling, that our hero actually chose to be a hero instead of doing what he's always done before.

It does leave Oliver with one less ally going into whatever horrible scenario Malcolm has in store for the Glades. Will Diggle walking out play a part in that, or will he return to help when Malcolm drops the proverbial axe? If we go by the cliché, then yes Diggle will come back at the last moment to save the day. If you asked me at the beginning of the series if that would happen, I would've said yes. Now, I'm not so sure. I will admit I wasn't surprised, but I didn't see this one coming.

Oddly enough. this brings me to Tommy. Oliver tried his hardest to show Tommy he was still someone that could be trusted, and Tommy accepted that trust, albeit reluctantly. Whether that trust was based on Oliver saving his life, or a partial conviction that Oliver was the only one capable of protecting them, wasn't entirely clear. Unfortunately, it was clear that during course of the episode Tommy came to the realization that Laurel doesn't want the kind of man that Tommy has become, she wants the kind of man that Oliver has become. Honestly I'm not sure if he's right, but I could understand his jealousy, even if I rolled my eyes at him several times. If Tommy's relationship with Laurel is the method being used to push him down the dark path, I think I'm for it. Although, somehow over the course of the season I've come to care about the character. That's a far cry from the comment I made at the beginning of the series, he is definitely no longer a meh character.

Speaking of a character I actually care about, I realized I actually like Oliver now. Who knew I would actually grow to like him, since he was such a hard character to like earlier in the season? It is clear that Stephen Amell has committed himself to the role, and he literally throws himself into it. I'm not sure how much of the stunts were really him in that awesome staircase battle, but damn, the action on this show is just getting better and better.

Which brings me to the villain. I love J. August Richards, and I thought his villain (Mr. Blank) was creepy and an effective foil against Arrow's physicality. His aggressive, almost steamroller approach to his assassinations was well done. Although if he was really worried about his face getting seen by people, would he have let his employer see him? Or was he just that bloodthirsty? Did he always intend on killing his boss? Or was it just a response to the fact that his employer confessed?

Mr. Blank's attack on Laurel's apartment was kind of awesome too. I really loved that Tommy was the one hiding under the couch with the kid, and Laurel was the one with the shotgun. I have to admit, she's been kind of pushed aside for most of this season, but she shines through in moments like that one. They've also built up the love quadrangle between Laurel, Tommy, Oliver, and Arrow pretty well. Although at times I'm not sure what Laurel is feeling, I guess I could say the same for all of the characters involved.

Lastly, I think the Island plot, although very tertiary this time around, had some really cool stuff in it. We got the start of Oliver's bow and arrow training, the first sparks of romance between him and Shado, and a massive unexpected betrayal by Yao Fei. I was also right that the dynamic between the three of them is great, although I wonder if Shado is going to cause some friction between Slade and Oliver.

Bits:

So Felicity confirmed it, the agency that Lilah works for is A.R.G.U.S. That's a big DC connection right there. (I've mentioned it before, but think of it like DC's version of S.H.I.E.L.D).

Someone at the network was drunk in my area because the episode cut out twice for local commercials in the middle of two important scenes. Sigh, cable sucks.

So I didn't mention Deadshot in the main review. Even though he was a big plot point that drove a wedge between Oliver and Dig, he wasn't really that central to the episode. I wonder, though, was it rational of him to let Dig go like that, especially when he knows Dig wants his blood? I guess his reason is that he doesn't kill unless he's contracted to, and that's interesting. Does that make him evil, or just a tool for evil?

Arrow has 26 kills, mostly henchmen. Which I think is about the same number of security guards that have died during the season as well.

I'm glad I was right about Roy feeling inspired by Arrow after his rescue a few episodes back. What I love about it is that he is pursuing Arrow so that he can possibly do good in the world. What's even better is Thea is along for the ride.

Quotes:

Felicity: "… Which means I just hacked a federal agency. Kinda makes me a Cyber-terrorist, which is bad; I really don't see myself fitting in well at Guantanamo bay."
Oliver: "Don't worry, Felicity. They don't send blondes there."
Felicity: "I dye it, actually. I keep your secret."

Shado: "Set your sight. Hit the tree." (Swish, Oliver's arrow flies into the woods missing the target.)
Oliver: "I probably hit a tree."

Thea: "Do you have a police radio in your pocket?"
Roy Harper: "No, I'm just happy to see you."

Another really strong episode.

3 1/2 out of 4 Dead security guards.

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.

4 comments:

Austin said...

Another solid episode. The action in this show is really top notch. And I just recently found out a very fun fact. My favorite college professor, whom I'm friends with on Facebook, shared one of Stephen Amell's status updates and said something like "that's my boy!" I asked her if she knew him. She said yes, he's a family member. A quick google search revealed who she is to him. Her daughter, who I met while in college, is something of a mini-celebrity. She was on a season of America's Next Top Model and has done some minor TV roles. Well, my google-fu revealed that my professor's daughter recently got married to Stephen Amell! How freaking cool is that!

Freeman said...

To Austin: Wow that's cool!

But on to the episode. Strong episode. This show is becoming very consistent. If only it could have some consistent villains. We finally get a pretty bamf status villain in the form of Mr. Blank and he's just bites it at the end. A pity. Well, at least Deadshot's still around. He's pretty cool. Though in retrospect him threatening Diggle that he has a spot on his body for him seems kind of backwards since he also states in the same breath that he only kills for money. Is he gonna try and coerce someone to ask him to kill Diggle or something?

I will admit i was nervous at first when i saw there was a kid in the mix because TV shows are so fond of doing episodes where the hero has to watch the mischievous child while trying to do their jobs, and i generally hate those types of episodes. But they didn't, so we're cool Arrow.

But come on Ollie! You're swimming in fine ladies here and you're still hung up on boring Laurel!? Shado is all types of fine and Felicity is a delight. Laurel is terrible man, she's like, emotionally cheating on 3 different guys at the same time (even though one of them is the same person). Is she gonna fall in love with Tommy's alter-ego if he becomes a supervillain too? I'd rather it if they made Ollie pulling all this torn between love nonsense since that's supposed to totally be Green Arrow's thing.

Anonymous said...

At last it's out -- Laurel is a drip.isopplo
Ollie, please don't go there!

ChrisB said...

Fantastic review, J.D. I loved your concept of home, which I had only picked up on a bit. You made me re-think an episode I wasn't that thrilled about and I watched it again. Much better the second time through.

Thanks!