The second episode of The CW’s Arrow suggests that the fall-out from the destruction of the Glades will continue to drive the narrative for some time as ‘Identity’ explores how crime festers in the areas most devastated by tragedy.
Let’s bitch it out…There are really two kinds of conflict present in this second episode: 1) the FEMA heists perpetrated by China White (Kelly Ku) and her new Triad partner, Bronze Tiger (Michael Jai White) and 2) Oliver’s (Stephen Amell) struggle to become a different kind of hero than he was last season. This means that he’s rebranding himself as a CEO-type, a concerned citizen who’s interested in the welfare of the poor and a masked crusader who has converted to non-lethal means. He wants to be a hero, not a vigilante.
Naturally since this is the second episode and only the second season, Oliver more or less fails to accomplish the latter set of goals. Good thing there’s twenty more episodes to give it a whirl!
Thankfully he’s most successful at catching crooks, so once he and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) figure out the schedule for the aid delivery trucks, they take care the Triad goons fairly easily – with some help from Diggle (David Ramsey), of course. I do feel bad for Hu and Jai White, though; the screen time dedicated to the hijackers is so minuscule that the role could have easily been played by a generic villain, making this a pretty unspectacular showcase for both actors. Of course, since Starling City seems to attract a larger roster of colourful criminals than usual, perhaps there aren’t any truly generic villains.
It’s the interpersonal, not surprisingly, that proves to be much more challenging. Oliver may be more present in ‘Identity’ than he was in the season opener, but that doesn’t mean that he’s picking up the signs that things changed while he was away on Skull Island. In addition to missing the signs that Roy Harper (Colton Haynes) is practically killing himself on a nightly basis, Oliver fails to notice that Diggle has broken up with Carly (Side Note: I know that we’re meant to care, but this reveal elicited little more than a shoulder shrug from me; who cares about her or Diggle’s personal life?).
And then there’s Laurel (Katie Cassidy), who after only two episodes has already staked her claim as most annoying character on the show this season. We now have a better understanding of why Laurel is so bent on vengeance against the Hood and we know that she has been grieving for Tommy (and blaming the Hood for his death) for five months. Unfortunately this can’t help but feel out of the blue. Like Ollie, we’ve just returned for a fairly lengthy sabbatical, so although in the world of Arrow Laurel has spent many months grieving and being angry, for us she just seems like a huge beyotch. The result is that Laurel seems irrationally upset and even when her reasoning has been explained, it’s not really convincing because it feels too sudden. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that I was never really fond of Tommy, but Laurel’s whole obsession with her dead ex feels disingenuous to me and makes me dislike her character (whom I was already passively dissatisfied to begin with).
Will the cliffhanger ending with the Hood surrounded by police officers prompt me to change my mind? Perhaps if the resulting storyline merits it, but for now Laurel just kinda seems like a dumbass.
- I realize that I made a mistake in last week’s review suggesting that Laurel’s new boss, Adam (Dylan Bruce) was Alderman Blood. It quickly began apparent that I was mistaken when the real Alderman (played by True Blood‘s Kevin Alejandro) shows up tonight to begin a smear campaign against Oliver. As far as introductions go, Alejandro comes on pretty strong as the abrasive politician, so I’m interested to see how viewers respond to the man who represents the interests of the Glades?
- Also, is there any chance that this guy isn’t either a white knight/saviour type or a villain? It’s gotta be one of the two, right?
- Thea (Willa Holland) still exists, but since she’s doing nothing useful aside from being the frustrated girlfriend to Roy, there’s basically nothing to say about her. Note to Arrow writers: characters are more interesting when they’re not solely defined by their romantic relationships
- I wouldn’t be surprised if people who aren’t a fan of Bett Rickards’ found the running gag about being Oliver’s assistant and fetching coffee annoying, but since I’m fond of her sass, I kinda liked it. Admittedly the bitchiness regarding how much Diggle is hurting felt a little overboard, though. Dude doesn’t look too broken-up about the break-up, so let’s not get hysterical, mmkay?
- On the Island, Oliver and Shado (Celina Jade) make house while Slade (Manu Bennett) stares on jealously. This island ain’t big enough for this love triangle! Meanwhile they discover a cave full of bodies from the Japanese Imperial army. This scene is clearly meant to be meaningful, but isn’t (Oliver found the engraved rock he gave to Thea! Who cares?!)
- Bronze Tiger: Poor man’s Wolverine?
- In the plus column, I’d like to thank Arrow for the return of Amell’s shirtless work-out montages. Whew…it’s been a long summer without those
- Finally: your drinking game word for this episode is ‘vigilante’. Good luck surviving that one!
- Ollie (when Thea asks where he came from): “I had a secret entrance installed when I owned the club” Thea looks confused. “Kidding.”
- Diggle (when Felicity rebels against being Ollie’s Admin assistant): “Well it could be worse. Right now my secret identity is black driver”
- Diggle (tossing a bad guy in the garbage): “Health care has enough problems without you punks” Ugh – stick to being the silent muscle, Diggle
How did you feel about the second episode? Are you digging Oliver’s new conflict? Is Laurel already super annoying? If Thea died, would anyone even notice? Should Marvel sue for this weak Wolverine imitation? Comment away below
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8pm EST on The CW