After an extended break, Arrow returns with a fairly simplistic, mostly standalone plot that is saved primarily on the strength of a key guest star.
Let’s bitch it out…
After giving it some thought earlier this week, I’m ready to declare Arrow one of the most successful new series of the season. It has a self-assured, confident swagger and its ratings make it an out-of-the-gate hit for The CW. This is not to say, however, that the series hasn’t had its ups and downs over the course of this first season. ‘Home Invasion’, unfortunately, marks one of those downs.
In theory this close to the end of the season, we should be setting up the major arcs that will carry the series through to S2 (perhaps involving the Dark Archer, the war on Vertigo, and someone else finding out a certain vigilante’s identity?). Instead we have a very simplistic standalone case involving a corrupt businessman who hires an assassin who has the misfortune of targeting Oliver Queen’s (Stephen Amell) ex-girlfriend.
I’m pretty sure we all know how this will end.
The only saving grace of this predictable case is the performance of guest star J. August Richards (aka Angel’s Gunn). Richards was never my favourite cast member on the the Buffy series – primarily because he was the most woh-woh character of the bunch. Here he’s practically a revelation as an eloquent assassin with charisma to spare. He’s a charmer, and even though we don’t even learn his name (much less his background), Richards brings plenty of colour to an otherwise predictable hour.
In fact the sole reason to resist jettisoning ‘Home Invasion’ from memory is because it marks the end of two significant relationships: one romantic and one platonic.
Yes, folks, the end has come for Tommy (Colin Donnell) and Laurel (Katie Cassidy). After struggling to bear the burden of Oliver’s secret, Tommy’s insecurities begin to affect his relationship with Laurel when he realizes that Oliver still has feelings for her. And so he abdicates Laurel’s bedchambers, secure in the knowledge that she would dump him in a heartbeat if she ever learned her smoking hot ex was also a kick-ass crime fighter. If you’re keeping track at home, Tommy will now blame Oliver for the loss of both his job and his girlfriend, which means he’s thisclose to joining his father on the dark side.
The second relationship that comes to an end is the platonic bromance between Oliver and Diggle (David Ramsey). As soon as Oliver has to choose between Diggle and Laurel, you know what the outcome will be. I’d be sad, but the writing has been on the wall for this one for weeks and, if we’re being perfectly honest, I dislike Diggle (he’s nearly as insufferable as Tommy). Referring strictly to this matter, however, I have to side with Diggle: Oliver totally makes the wrong call pursuing Rasmus instead of going after one of the most dangerous men in the world. You reprioritized Oliver? Umm…you got ’em wrong, bud!
And so, Diggle is gone, which means that only poor Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) is left to manage Oliver’s mood swings. Have fun with that!
- One of my biggest frustrations with this episode is that the plotting went to shit. Why does everyone think that the danger has passed when Rasmus turns himself in? The assassin hasn’t been caught. And how does the assasin gain access to Queen Manor? Does he just walk in behind the delivery boy and mutter “I’m with him”? Dumb
- On the island, things are finally starting to come back on track. After locking lips with Shado (Celinda Jade) during an archery class, island master Yao Fei (Byron Mann) returns home…to give them up. Turncoat! And yet, there’s clearly more going here than meets the eye. Anyone want to bet that Slade (Manu Bennett), Shado, Oliver and Yao Fei assemble into some kind of super team in the next two episodes?
- I’ve waited until now to mention Roy (Colton Haynes) / Thea’s (Willa Holland) B-plot, mostly because it just doesn’t work for me. And it seems too obvious. This is a case of the source material interferring with your enjoyment of the show since everything that occurs seems designed to *SPOILERS propel Roy into the role of Speedy *END SPOILERS. Unfortunately the dialogue is just too fake to be taken seriously. Roy “means the world” to Thea? Umm…since when? Arrow has spent so much time on forgettable throw-away cases that it has forgotten to make us invest in this relationship, which makes these kinds of statements hard to believe. If we’re meant to take Roy and Thea seriously as a couple and invest in their pursuit of the vigilante, we need to spend more time with them…preferably sans cheese
- Finally, oh yeah…Deadshot (Michael Rowe) is in this episode. But that hardly matters. He’s nearly as disposable as the little boy everyone seems desperate to protect
- Felicity (after admitting she’s become a cyberterrorist): “I won’t fit in in Guantanamo”
Your turn: did the episode bore you or did you enjoy the ‘Home Invasion’? Were you expecting more from the return of Deadshot? Are you glad to see Tommy down and out? Do you care about Roy’s search for the vigilante? And where the hell is Susanna Thompson’s Moira – shouldn’t she be involved in the run-up to the season finale? Sound off below
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8pm EST on The CW