Arrow Season 1, Episode 8 & 9
This might be my least favorite episode thus far. It just doesn’t make sense at times. Before we get to the bad, let’s talk about the good.
Probably the most insightful scene in the whole episode was when Oliver was teaching Helena how to shoot a bow and arrow. It had the only semblance of chemistry between the two of them and it showed off Oliver’s teaching skills. We saw a little bit of this when Oliver and Diggle were sparring, however this scene really helps him come across as a knowledgeable mentor, a role that he’ll be very familiar with later in the arrowverse. Whether this was clever foreshadowing or just coincidental, it’s a nice touch. More importantly, we get some insight for why Oliver uses a bow and arrow rather then guns.
“Control. To use a bow and arrow requires patience and discipline.”
To Oliver, using a bow and arrow is a state of mind, something to keep his emotions in check. It could be interesting to start taking a look at his fighting style changes if he ever loses control…I’ll look out for that.
First off, Tommy and Laurel. Laurel thought Tommy should work for Oliver at his new nightclub, which is honestly a very good idea. Tommy is very invested in the club scene and he could use the money now that he’s cut off. Tommy says he’ll talk to Oliver about it. Without confirming that he did talk about it, Laurel brings it up to Oliver during the incredibly awkward dinner. Tommy gets VERY upset about this but then suddenly starts bringing up his frustration for Laurel still being in love with Oliver. Both of these character decisions don’t make any sense! Laurel is very much over Oliver (she is dating Tommy) and her only real fault is her lack common sense not confirming that Tommy spoke to Oliver. To top off this argument that they have, Tommy immediately apologizes and the matter is resolved so quickly you’d think they didn’t have an argument. It’s just a mix of bad writing and awful pacing.
Speaking of the dinner scene, Helena is pissed off because Oliver made her have dinner with his ex (which was Helena’s idea by the way). Because of this “betrayal” and her under the impression that Oliver is still in love with Laurel…she decides to follow through on revenge and kill her father! Yeah. That’s why she goes evil folks. It’s just such a weak reason for her to turn.
Which brings up a big issue with this show: Oliver’s chemistry with his love interests. It always feels forced. I see no scenario where Laurel could possibly forgive Oliver to the point where she’d want to be with him and Oliver’s only real attraction towards Helena just seems like her beauty and a desire to add someone to his team. Diggle was right: Oliver was lonely and wanted someone he could be himself with. He was so desperate that he held on to the first woman to learn his identity…I really hope that’s not going to be a trend…
Overall, not a great episode. Though we do get some nice conversations with Oliver and Diggle as well as some much needed Felicity Smoak screen time, it’s not enough to save this episode.
CHRISTMAS! IT’S A CHRISTMAS EPISODE! Not only that, but it’s pretty good too!
We finally get a character that can go toe to toe with Oliver, and having it be Malcolm is great choice. It raises a ton of questions on how he became such a proficient fighter as well as his plans. The Hood was causing him so much problems for his organization that he finally decided to enter the fray himself, teaching him a lesson in the process. Their fight is great; ending in stalemate that Oliver barely survived with a promise of another fight soon. Pile that on with Malcolm kidnapping Walter and the reveal that he has plan that will kill thousands of people, and we finally have an intimidating antagonist. Also, he had a great suggestion for the hood’s new name that Oliver thought was lame.
“How about Green Arrow?”
Got to love a well placed joke here and there.
Detective Lance starts undergoing some change this episode as well. In a typical story, Lance would assume that the hood was responsible for the killings. However in a refreshing and very intelligent way, Lance quickly determined that this was the work of a copycat. He also begins helping the Hood by providing him with evidence to track down the Dark Archer and even goes against his superior officer to prove his beliefs. We finally see him take his first step towards understanding the good that this vigilante can do.
Other then that, we get some repeated yet still enjoyable good stuff: Laurel and Tommy moments, Diggle and Oliver moments, and Oliver asking Felicity for help. The flashbacks on the island don’t serve much thematically, but further Oliver’s story on the island.
If I had to note one flaw in this episode, it would be the Christmas Party subplot. Oliver tries to get his family to celebrate Christmas again to bring them all together. They keep saying how Oliver is having trouble connecting with his family, yet we haven’t exactly seen that in awhile, so it comes out of nowhere. We see him at the dinner party and having lunch with Thea in this episode alone. It just feels like a forced issue at this point in the show. We do get a nice bit between Oliver and Thea where Oliver realizes he has to stop treating Thea like a child.
Overall it’s a great episode with plenty of big reveals and a great fight in the end. How will the show progress from here? Well tune in next week as things start heating up in a literal sense. Figuratively? We’ll see.
Until next time, this is Xander signing off.