Arrow: Identity

"No island, no place, can make you something you're not."

Everything was about duality this week, dual personalities, dual personae, and dual methods for being a hero. Oliver is finding out the hard way that being non-lethal has some disadvantages. Of course, his old way of doing things is causing him grief, too.

He's also learning what it is to be human again. Oliver is smiling more, asking about Diggle and Thea, and taking an interest in Roy. He's taking baby-steps towards being a good man, which is probably the whole point. How can he be a hero, a true hero, if he isn't a good person first? It's clear now that the destruction of the Glades is a metaphor for Oliver's path, how his list of targets and narrow focus was more destructive than restorative, that ultimately the cost was the lives of 500 people that had their homes literally fall down on their heads.

That's what Alderman Blood thinks -- that Moira's actions, and by extension Oliver's, created the horrible situation in the Glades. To a degree he's right. Moira was complicit, but she did the right thing when it mattered most and saved hundreds if not thousands of lives. Oliver nearly gave his life to stop the destruction, and still lost a lifelong friend. At least we got some interesting depth with the fact that Oliver can't help the Glades as Moira's son because anything he does will be seen as an act of contrition, and he can't be there as a face for the victims because his other role as the Hood takes up too much of his time.

Unfortunately, I don't think Oliver is able to see the big picture, not like Diggle and Felicity can. Their support, their friendship should be the compass that Oliver uses to judge his actions. They know what he's done, and their opinion should be all that matters. Unfortunately, Laurel's opinion matters too, and she's gone crazyballs with grief. She's so torn up about her affair with Oliver and about Tommy that she's taking things to an extreme.

Laurel blames the Hood for everything that happened in the Glades. She blames him specifically for Tommy's death. Which is ironic, because she actually saw how he died, and saw the Hood leave the scene. Did she think he ran him through with that rebar? How could she possibly believe anything except that he had to watch Tommy die, and there was nothing he could do about it? This isn't making Laurel more likable.

Still, every scene with Oliver and Diggle and Felicity was great, the scenes with Laurel were at least dramatic and well written, and I'm liking Roy and Thea more with every episode. I just wish I could say the same for the B plot involving the Triad stealing supplies off FEMA trucks. Really, stealing much needed supplies from disaster victims? Wouldn't there be troops involved after the first shipment was hijacked?

The bad guys weren't all that impressive, either. I did like the Bronze Tiger (Michael Jai White), but he didn't really have much of a part beyond being a badass, much like the earlier China White appearances. As for China White, I think she's better off without much dialogue. She came off as wooden and not nearly as cool as she could've been, despite her awesome moment stopping a truck with two knives.

Thankfully, Roy and Thea are finally getting a chance to shine. Roy in the red Mustang waiting for a police call was a lot of fun. (Although wouldn't he have been hurt badly from that car flip?) We also got the first significant scenes between Oliver and Roy, and Roy has officially joined team Arrow as a Glades informant. At least that's some progress. I also really liked that Roy got in Oliver's face twice. Thea is also acting like an adult and I really like what she's doing, but I think she's teetering a little close to being the bitchy girlfriend. I get it, what Roy is doing is dangerous, but from an audience standpoint, we have to root for Roy, and that's not fair to Thea. I also don't like that Roy is lying to her now.


Again not too much on the Island flashback front. We got the aftermath of Oliver killing that guy with a rock; he spent half of those scenes literally with blood on his hands. The love triangle got played up a bit, but I'm starting to wonder if Slade's jealousy is more about Oliver than Shado. Is it a romantic thing? Or is it that he feels Shado makes Oliver weak? It's clear he didn't approve of the love scene by the lake. I really like Shado, though. She's smart, compassionate and wise. Her saying to Oliver that the place doesn't make the person felt very true, and her washing his hands felt restorative

Comic Book Bits:

Bronze Tiger has been a DC character since the mid 70's. His real name in the Comics is Ben Turner, and he has worked with the League of Shadows and the Suicide Squad. He's been a bad guy and an anti-hero, and has even bested Batman in a fight.

The red arrow that Oliver gave Roy is a nice little nod to the Roy of the comics. He started off as the sidekick Speedy, and eventually became a hero of his own called Red Arrow.


I just re-watched the first episode of the series, and Oliver has a dragon tattoo in the exact same place that Shado has her rabbit tattoo. Coincidence?

The final fight between Arrow and Bronze Tiger had some interesting photography, with the crates and the plastic.

Sebastian Blood. What a name.

China White's real name is Chien Na Wei.

Diggle broke up with Carly because his need for revenge was too great and he couldn't love her like she deserved. That's sad

I loved the Felicity plot thread about not wanting to be an executive secretary, even though she needs to stay in close proximity to Oliver so they can maintain their cover. That final moment where she brought him coffee was wonderful, especially when she mouthed; "One."


Oliver: "I'm sorry I wasn't there for you because I should have been. I got wrapped up in my own suffering and I forgot that some other people might be suffering, too."
Diggle: "You know, we're getting dangerously close to hug territory, so I'm going to fall back."

Oliver: "Oh, I'm just lucky Oliver Queen has a reputation for not showing up on time."
Diggle: "You know, I've been meaning to tell you it really weirds me out to no end the way you refer to yourself in the third person like that."

Oliver: "Miss Smoak, would you get my guest and I some coffee?"
Felicity: "You know, I would, Mister Queen but it seems that someone's broken our coffee maker. Violently."

Felicity: "I worked very hard to get where I am. and it wasn't so I could fetch you coffee."
Diggle: "Well, it could be worse. My secret identity is his black driver."

Oliver: "I need a girl Wednesday."
Felicity: "It's Friday! And the answer is no!"

Roy: "Just so you know, the real bad guys are getting away."

Thea: "I didn't see you come in."
Oliver: "I had a secret entrance installed when I ran the club. Kidding."

This was a good one, and continues the quality I've come to expect in this series. The writing is better, the plots are dense and well thought out. I just wish there wasn't a need to throw Laurel under the bus. I hope that this direction with her character will resolve, and soon. Oh, and damn that was a super duper cliffhanger.

3 out of 4 Red Arrows.
J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related. He reviews Arrow, The Originals and Farscape and cool new movies that strike his fancy.


Morgan India said...

The whole Shado/Oliver/Slade thing is interesting, mostly because I love Manu Bennett , but I really, really want to know what happened to Shado and Slade and why they didn't get off the island with Oliver. I'm going to just assume that they're either dead, or Oliver believes they're dead.

I'm also really liking Colton as Roy, so much so that I don't really miss him as Jackson on Teen Wolf anymore. Maybe because Roy is almost the polar opposite to Jackson, I don't know.

I may be the only person in the boat with this, but is anyone else hoping that they continue the relationship between Oliver and Felicity, without having to make it romantic or sexual?

Also Diggle needs more snarky lines. They make me smile.

Patrick said...

I really don't like this path they're taking Laurel down, it doesn't hold up logically. And yes, I get that she's overcome by grief & guilt about Tommy, but I still don't buy it. Malcom had a plan in motion for YEARS to destroy The Glades to avenge the death of his wife. The Hood shows up 8-9 months before the quake, faces off AGAINST Malcom, but somehow he's just as responsible for the quake as Malcom is? Now, it might make some sense if she just said, "after all that chaos, this city doesn't need any more costume nutcases running around on either side" and used that as her reasoning why she's after The Hood, but no. She had to go and blame him for the quake and for Tommy. Sorry, that's a step too far.

Now, to be fair, Oliver as The Hood could have said something that might have helped a smidge. Instead of vaguely talking about losing a friend, he could have said specifically that he went into CNRI and tried to rescue Tommy, but his injuries were too severe. Maybe even told Laurel that he was with Tommy when he died. It would have hurt for her to hear, but in time it might've helped her deal with her anger & guilt. Of course, I suppose he could've also just ripped off his hood and told her the truth, but we all know it's too early for that.

Quick survey, whose reaction would you most love to see to Oliver revealing his secret identity? Laurel, Thea, Moira, Walter, Quentin or Roy?

Freeman said...

I'm with you 100% concerning that Pat. Laurel is just aggravating. But sometimes I wish Oliver would defend himself properly. He lets everyone talks smack about him when he really doesn't need to.

I'm gonna be honest, I'm a huge Michael Jai White fan. He's one of my all time favorite martial artists. I really think he was underutilized in this episode. Not character-wise, but choreography-wise. I thought him and Ollie were really gonna come to blows, but they just had that awkward fight in between the trucks (watch Unleashed/Danny the Dog, that fight could've been so much more) and that Enter the Dragon homage fight. Pretty disappointing stuff. Luckily, I'm pretty sure we'll see more of Bronze Tiger, and maybe Michael Jai White will get a chance to really cut loose in a later episode. I'm guessing this is more of an issue with Stephen Amell's fighting chops though, which is understandable.

No Morgan! I need my Oliver x Felicity to happen! You can't have that much heat without it culminating into something!

Lastly, Diggle, you magnificent man. That line with the driver paired with Ollie's distant reaction shot was pure gold.

ChrisB said...

A fantastic episode, with all of my favorite scenes revolving around Felicity -- again. I love the way she stands up to Oliver and tells him what he needs to hear. Sorry, Morgan, but with Laurel being such an unsympathetic character this year, I am firmly in the Felicity/Oliver (Olicity? Foliver?) camp.

I agree with Patrick's assessment of Laurel. The story has taken a step too far with her blaming the Hood for Tommy's death to such a degree. I'm finding that her scenes, while dramatic, are slightly over the top for me.

Billie Doux said...

Patrick, I personally want to see Thea's. Closely followed by wanting to see Roy's. I bet Roy is next, when actually it should be Thea.

While I think Oliver and Felicity have some romantic chemistry, I've started shipping Felicity and Diggle just a bit.

I honestly don't know what they can do to save Lauren as a character. And it's not Katie Cassidy's fault. They're making the wrong writing decisions. What can the actress do, but do her best with them?

Patrick said...

Billie, while I think all of them would be very interesting in a lot of ways, I think the one I'd most love to see would be with Moira. Not necessarily for story reasons(even practically speaking, where would they get the privacy to talk about it?), but because I think Stephen & Susanna are so good together when they're given weighty material, the two of them would just knock it out of the park. And of course I want the moment when Moira realizes she shot her son. Enough time has passed that I think Oliver would have a little fun with that moment. :)

CrazyCris said...

I'm with Patrick in wanting to watch Moira's face as she does the math and realize she shot her son!!! :p

Has anyone else noticed how Shado and Slade sometimes appear to be two sides of the same coin? Like they're the angel and devil on Oliver's shoulders. Not to that extreme, but still... they kind of give me that feeling! I mean, they both said opposite things about the island and Ollie in this ep. Shado saying "No land or place and turn you into someone you are not" (or smthg to that effetc), whereas Slade points out the opposite "Look at what the island has already made you do"... (referring to Ollie bashing that guy's head in with a rock).

And I think they both died on the island before Oliver got off...

Freeman said...

Yeah Chris they're definitely playing the angel and devil thing with those two. But Slade is definitely not dead because it's been confirmed that Deathstroke/Slade will appear in modern times. Shado is still up in the air though. It'd be interesting if they played the baby angle from the comics though.

Honestly I wanna see Roy's reaction. I'm fairly certain it'd be pretty funny considering he's sure Ollie is a wimp. It would be cool to see Moira's though.

Bea said...

I'll say I'd love to see Thea's reaction the most, even if I'm pretty sure she's going to be one of the last ones to find out. Or maybe they'll go for a Roy + Thea reveal at the same time? Or they'll subject Thea to discovering that her brother is the vigilante and that her boyfriend has been helping him? Because I see a long future of not trusting a guy ever again in her life if that's the case.

I agree with most of you about Laurel, although I'm pretty sure they're going to go with "deep down blames herself for Tommy's death and chooses to blame the vigilate 'cause he's the easiest target for her rage" kind of thing. I have faith that they're going to make us like the character.

I'm also starting to see the Ollie/Felicity chemistry, even if during season 1 they felt more like siblings to me. I do wonder if they're gonna go there if they intend to keep Laurel/Ollie as the One True Pairing of the show, though.

Anonymous said...

No District Attorney (especially brand new ADA) goes on high danger calls like Laurel did in the beginning of the episode. She was practically leading the charge. It's a stupid way to keep her in the plot.

Tyler said...

watching this episode again...

That ending scene was just ridiculous.

Are we supposed to believe an ADA gets a large swat\police team to just wait around indefinitely? She would have no way of knowing if or when she would be contacted again.

guess she was also lucky it was in the exact same place as before too.