Is it just me or is it getting deep in here? As this episode of Arrow developed I was faced with the realization that this show continues to surprise me with its depth. But wait, isn’t it supposed to be fun? It is! Can it be a good time and somewhat introspective about the relationships among the characters? Yes! Can we have peanut butter in our chocolate and chocolate in our peanut butter? Yes we can! As I continue to revel in my wonder for and appreciation of the writing for this show, let me summarize the latest episode to provide some validation.
In last week’s episode appropriately titled Damaged, we receive insight into the pre-and post-island Oliver psyche. A cleverly arranged charade between Oliver and Diggs results in the charges against Oliver being dropped. But we see that his ordeal has left its scars, and I am not referring to the scars on his body (and a smoking hot scene with Laurel). This week we got a more detailed look at the father-son dynamic from multiple perspectives. As a gang of bank robbers terrorizes Starling City, Diggs nudges Oliver into taking them down, but something happens along the way. It seems that bank robbery is a family business. The criminal crew is a family who was displaced by Oliver’s dad when he shipped some jobs overseas. As a result, Oliver feels responsible for the actions taken by this group and performs his due diligence in attempting to turn them back from a life of crime. When that doesn’t work, the father ends up dead in a shootout and Oliver, in that moment, contemplates the influence of his own father in his life and the legacy of that relationship. We can see in Oliver’s face all of the conflicting emotions he has concerning his father and the incredibly demanding responsibility his father placed on his shoulders. In fact throughout the episode, we see flashbacks to a time on the island when Oliver, left alone by his mentor, drifts in and out of reality from starvation and has one of those imaginary arguments with his father that I think everyone has at some point. Can he live up to the task? Can he change his father’s legacy? For Oliver, it is a constant battle.
But this episode is about more than Oliver’s relationship with his father. We also see how his relationship with his mother has suffered since his return. His drive to be the entity he now needs to become results in an almost continuous stream of broken promises to her. Small ones, mind you, but nonetheless important to his mom. Of course, you and I know she is a lying scheming witch but Oliver doesn’t know that yet. So we sympathize yet also scream at the top of our collective lungs, “Don’t be nice to her and for goodness sake, don’t let her find out!!!” In fact, this whole show could have been just as easily named “Relationships” (you are right, too many syllables) because we continue to see the tangled web of interaction between Laurel and Tommy, Diggs and Oliver, Thea and everyone. The continued growth among these characters promises all kinds of excitement in episodes to come, although Tommy is starting to get on my nerves.
On the lighter side, I have made a short bulleted list highlighting some DVR-replay moments for you:
- Oliver and Diggs sparring with muscles glistening (thank you and kudos to Diggs’ guns)
- Witty repartee with Thea
- Diggs one-upping Oliver at his own manipulative game
- Oliver continuing the cat-and-mouse routine with Diggs
- Cool scene of Arrow hanging from the ceiling like a spider
- Oliver’s occasional pop-culture blunders
- Cool bow shots and action moves (always)
- Moira trying to eat a burger with a knife and fork.
While character development has been good lately, I am longing for more ninja-esque awesomeness in future shows soon. It looks like next week may be good for it as we see a new hot chick villain in the mix. In the spirit of preparation I feel I must warn you about future episodes. According to Stephen Amell’s Facebook page, the next few eps are gonna be stellar, “…episodes 7, 8 and 9 might actually set your television on fire.” Set your extinguishers to “Oh My!”