I make my first post in the Maryland Sports Blog, but I won’t be posting about sports. Instead, I’ll be exploring a new ‘uncategorized’ section where we’ll simply be writing about various things.
The CW Network is known for picking up shows that might not necessarily guarantee a great amount of views, but will guarantee a consistent following. Shows of theirs like Smallville and Supernatural have been tremendous successes for the network. 2012 saw them welcome in a brand new show, entitled ARROW (we’ve posted a bit on it before). Based off the Green Arrow comic; the show stars Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen-a playboy millionaire shipwrecked on an island, and discovered 5 years later to be alive. Queen received a book from his late father that contained names of corrupted high-ends of his residence, Starling City. Determined to make his city a safe place, he clothes himself as an arrow-wielding, green-hooded vigilante that will purify those who have “failed the city.”
Now, this series has been airing since its debut back in early October of 2012. But, as I’m new to the MSB, I’ll be starting with the current episode; which aired on April 24th, 2013 entitled “Home Invasion.” When the season concludes, I’ll be delving into the previous episodes.
We’re at the point in the show now where a lot of things are being placed on the line and being set up for the (apparently huge-budgeted) season finale. “Home Invasion” upped the ante even more as this hour began to light the fuse for either ends, middles, or triumphs for the ensemble. Overall, the episode followed what seems to be a tradition of this show to give an overlying problem that will help drive the episode. While the overlying problem may be solved in the end, other things may not. This episode’s “overlying problem” was the introduction of the Mr. Blank character; an assassin who insists that those who see him kill won’t live. Mr. Blank’s name can also refer a bit to his personality; as he really doesn’t contribute much to the overall story, as in he doesn’t have much of a character. This was good though, as his character was more of a scapegoat; something to distract us and keep us focused on the whole episode to find the resolution.
On the Arrow-team (consisting of Oliver Queen, bodyguard/war veteran John Diggle, and computer expert Felicity Smoak), their priorities were initially to take down the assassin, Deadshot. For those just jumping in now; Deadshot is an assassin that is infamous for his exceptional accuracy…and also murdered Diggle’s brother. Ouch. Lore wise; he’s known to sick around. I’m not sure as to where ARROW intends to take his character, but his character is really beginning to wear thin. The essential ‘costume’ that he donned this episode was a nice touch, but it still didn’t help.
Of course, taking down Deadshot wouldn’t be an easy task, and this time around…it’s not due to locating the guy. Playing into the Mr. Blank overlying problem, Laurel (friend of Oliver’s/attorney) is tied up within the case involving the assassin. She’s protecting the child of the two parents Blank murdered. As the child saw who murdered his parents, Blank intends to get rid of the child. This prompts Tommy (friend of Oliver’s/Laurel’s current boyfriend/knows about Oliver’s other identity) to stay at the Queen mansion, so they’ll have guaranteed protection from a certain someone who lives there.
It’s here where the episode really begins to throw a lot at the viewer. The man who hired the assassin is attempting to flee town, and Oliver is forced to make a decision to either assist Diggle in tracking down Deadshot (in which Oliver ensured Diggle he’d back him up), or take down the contractor. As Oliver only has one shot in taking down the contractor, he goes after him…and Diggle is forced to fend for himself (and ultimately fail). A decision like this would seem to make sense, but as addressed in previous episodes, Oliver and Diggle always get each other’s back. Because of Oliver’s decision, he honestly doesn’t come across as the reliable gent we know him as, but more of a “one-track minded” individual. Granted, that is a mindset that he had at the start of this season, but we’ve seen a bit of an evolution from this character about humanity and commitment…and something like this seems like a step backwards. Regardless, Oliver was successful, but his attempt was futile as the assassin continues to pursue the boy.
We’re then pitted with the final conflict of the episode: Mr. Blank vs Oliver Queen (not suited up as the Green Arrow). This fight scene was actually quite brilliant. Though it still uses the ‘shaky cam’ that the series has been consistently using, this time around it played with the lighting to highlight a better fight. Whether it was beginning the fight in the dark to leading to the fireplace (the brightest place in the house), it was interesting symbolism to highlight the start of the fight to the finish. Oliver’s response to Mr. Blank’s question was hilarious.
“What happened to you on that island?” “You’re about to find out!”
We’re then of course, given the fallout of the episode. Mr. Blank is dead. Laurel, Tommy, and the boy are fine. Diggle is irritated with Oliver and quits (I can’t blame him at this point, but I’m sure he’ll be back). Roy Harper desires to find the “hooded vigilante”. This is a point I didn’t really address, because there’s not much to address with this. Simply put, Roy Harper (a teenage delinquent who’s dating Oliver’s sister Thea) was saved by the vigilante (Oliver) and wants to find him, because he wants to have purpose. His dialogue with Thea towards the end was actually really great, but Thea’s response to it all was a bit unbelievable. Unbelievable of course, being used as its true definition of “un-believable”. This is a relationship that has been brewing in which we as the audience really haven’t seen much of. So with a line, “you mean the world to me”, is uttered…it’s very hard to believe. It’s nice, sure. But it just feels a bit awkward. Now that ARROW has a second season guaranteed, I hope they explore this relationship a bit more in future episodes/seasons.
The final aspects of the episode are Tommy breaking up with Laurel. He breaks up with her citing “he just doesn’t want to be with her anymore” to her face, but we’re shown that he really has a brewing resentment towards Oliver. If Laurel knew who Oliver REALLY was, she would easily be with him over Tommy.
This brings me to one point I’d like to address: the character the audience tends to relate with most. With this show, it’s really starting to be Tommy Merlyn. In the past couple of episodes, actions he’s taken are the actions that are the most reasonable and make the most sense. Whether it’s quitting a management position because of Oliver’s distrust towards him, or insisting to stay at the Queen mansion, this is a character that most audience members can relate to. While he’s not the given “protagonist”, it’s insignificant because his character is so likable. If their aim is to eventually make him fall into a villainous/antagonist role, it’s something can be sympathized with. At least though in the present time…he’s the relatable character. But…don’t worry about Oliver’s importance; he’s still the relatable character in the flashback scenes.
ARROW constantly flashes back to the island where Oliver was stranded on for 5 years. Some of these scenes can be the best in the show, as they’re the most intriguing and mysterious. This episode provided minimal flashbacks, but at least the flashbacks ended on a solid cliffhanger.
“Home Invasion” can easily be viewed as one of the tensest episodes of the series thus far, aside from “Pilot”, “The Odyssey” (an episode with 90% of flashbacks) and “Year’s End”. There are only 3 episodes left of this current season, and we’re still due for an episode which will showcase things before Oliver’s shipwreck on the island. So there are a lot of loose ends to finish up, such as Roy Harper’s destiny, Diggle’s role, Deadshot, Tommy, the flashback scenes, and more. Let’s just hope the show stays as consistently great as it has been.
Final Score: 9/10.