Arrow delivers mostly a dud episode with “An Innocent Man’ as characters pontificate about the necessity of vigilantism. Thankfully there’s a doozy of a pay-off, proving that no good deed goes unpunished.
Let’s bitch it out…After four episodes, I suppose it’s expected that we some speechifying about the role of Arrow as a crusader, a vigilante and a man of the people serves in a corrupt place like Starlight City. Considering this pops up within a few minutes into the Batman mythos, I’m surprised it took Arrow quite so long. Unfortunately that doesn’t make it interesting as the show has nothing new or fresh to add to this, which means long passages of ‘An Innocent Man’ are dedicated to Stephen Arnell and Katie Cassidy’s pretty mouths spouting the same stuff Christopher Nolan has been feeding us for years. Yup – we get it. We know why the city needs him (even though it looks pretty sparkly clean); it’s why we watch the show.
Unfortunately for us, this kind of context is a necessary evil, so let’s just hope that now that Diggle (David Ramsey) and Laurel have done their soul-searching, the show can put these kinds of discussions to rest. It was never much of a debate whether Diggle would join forces with Oliver, nor was it a given that Laurel would have to draw back from supporting Arrow (she is a lawyer, so she kinda has to believe in the power of the law). Let’s just hope that the show doesn’t waffle between her support for Arrow’s methods and for the legitimate methods employed by her father, Detective Lance (Paul Blackthorne). As much fun as it is to watch her tell her policeman father that he should have done his job better, this is not a well I care to visit on a weekly basis.
- The prison riot seems designed to wakeup those who went into a coma from the self-righteous talky-talk bits. I imagine it was a bit of a controlled situation (I doubt that the bad guys wanted the entire prison to escape), but that CW budget really kicked in when the riot looked to consist of around five guys. In the span of around three minutes the whole thing is contained, making it the most anti-climatic prison riot evah! On the plus side it does allow for a climax, in which Oliver is spotted on camera changing into a guard’s costume and later arrested. Obviously there’s a quick fix (he denies being Arrow, insisting he was only there to protect Laurel or Diggle commits an act in costume while Oliver is in custody), but it’s fun that the series is already demonstrating that Oliver isn’t immune or that the police aren’t complete idiots (here’s looking at you, Elementary)
- Possibly the most interesting storyline of the night concerns Walter’s (Colin Salmon) discovery that wife Moira (Susanna Thompson) more or less bilked the company for $2.6 million to fund a shell company. After assigning socially awkward nerd Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) to follow the paper trail, he turns up at an abandoned warehouse that’s concealing the wreck of Oliver’s boat. Didn’t expect that!
- The Walter storyline suggests that he doesn’t know about his wife’s nefarious schemes, including her meeting with a mysterious new baddie played by John Barrowman (yay!). I feel like Walter should have known considering his wife’s Hilary Clinton-esque hurricane-proof hair. Just screams: hiding secrets under this ‘do!
- Also, the password to get into the warehouse is your wife’s dead ex-husband name? Burn!
- Nice moment between Thea (Willa Holland) and Oliver on the couch when neither can sleep. Sure some of it is exposition-y setup to introduce the case of the week, but it also helps to re-establish their failed relationship, which is especially important if we’re going to move Thea beyond the “whiny, indulgent party-girl” role she’s been playing the last few episodes
- No Tommy (Colin Donnell) this week. Guess all those prison rioters really did break the bank!
- Also hilariously low budget: Stephen Arnell’s impersonation of Christian Bale’s Batman voice and any shots of Arrow flying like Spiderman off a roof-top. Can we get a vocal coach and and an editor to take care of these issues, asap?
- Finally, the flashbacks this week prove entirely useless as Oliver learns that the Chinese word for survival equates to breaking a bird’s neck and stop staring at his girlfriend’s picture. And that, my friends, is how you become a crack-shot archer who has no qualms about killing. Killing a bird and not mentally-masturbating to pictures of significant others…it’s like the gateway drug to vigilantism
- Oliver (rationalizing his role as Arrow to Digg): “Starlight city…is being…poisoned”. Wow… a really bad line reading by Arnett
- Laurel (when her friend questions how she knows she won’t be hurt by Arrow): “I don’t. I can feel it.” That’s probably not a good rationalization.
- Laurel (to Arrow): “I always thought the law was sacred.” Oh grow up, Laurel
- Felicity (to Walter, about Moira’s last name): “Does she hyphenate? She seems like the type”
What did you think of the first talky/preachy episode of Arrow: too desperate to be Dark Knight Rises for you, or just the right touch? Were you surprised by Diggle’s decision to join Oliver in his quest to bring safety to the city? (If so, please hand in your TV viewing card because you’re dismissed) Who is Moira’s mysterious new friend and why is he reader dannyagogo’s favourite new character? Hit the comments below with your thoughts and theories
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8pm EST on The CW