This was an episode of ‘firsts’. The one that surprised me the most was Oliver watching a person from his List get killed right in front of him. Don’t get me wrong; I liked that they weren’t going to follow a formula, with Arrow being very ‘crime-procedural’ in execution. I just didn’t think they were going to throw a wrench in his mission quite so soon. Very well done.
This was also the first appearance of Deadshot, and by extension, the Bratva. Little nuggets that help us see what Oliver did during his time away. Even after Season 3, we still haven’t had follow-up on the Bratva angle, but I know they’ll get to it. When it comes to Deadshot, I love how they made him so easy to hate, and later made him so easy to love. Not in this episode, but you know what I mean. Great character, wonderful execution.
Speaking of Deadshot, the laptop he had was a great lead-in for the first appearance of Felicity. Upon meeting her, my first reaction was, “Oh, she’s his tech person. They’re setting up his tech person.” I was really surprised to find out she was supposed to only be a one-off later, but Emily was so good, I can see why they changed their minds. Her look of ‘Dude, really?’ when he tried to sell her that line about his coffee shop being in a bad neighborhood made me so happy. Even the day they met, she was taking none of his garbage. Good for her.
The Thea/Moira storyline this episode was very well done. There were moments that reflected the established disapproving Oliver, but I want to touch on the mother/daughter dynamic. Obviously, these two love each other, but Moira wanting to do right by her child and Thea wanting to push her bounderies made for some moments of tension and truth in this episode. The story about Robert was a great peek at the family in happier times, and by the end, it looks like they’re mending fences. I really liked that.
Am I the only one who misses Joanna? She gets featured heavily in this season, but I don’t think we ever see her again (due in large part to what happens at the end of the season, I’m sure), but I would have loved to see her stick around. As it is, her urging Laurel to go out and have fun has consequences. Such as a drunken Thea spilling the beans about her and Tommy to Oliver, and our seeing her self-defense skills (for the first and only time). Great best friend, really could have used her in Season 2.
Speaking of the nightclub visit, this is our first introduction to Verdant, though it’s far from being that in this episode. I love that Oliver chooses this as a way to cover his night activities, and it shines more light on his life pre-Island (“I slept with his fiancee.”). And Diggle’s commentary on the club being used to ‘gentrify’ the Glades was great. I’ve always loved Diggle.
Speaking of, this was an episode of firsts with him. Him being ditched at the club (which Oliver, I’m willing to bet, kinda regretted), the first appearance of Carly post-beatdown (missed her in season 2, until we met someone else), the first consult on the target (though he didn’t know that’s what it was at the time) and the first time he sees Oliver in the Hood. I admit, Oliver’s behavior toward Diggle bolstered my early theory on Felicity, simply because we really can’t have Oliver be a Jack-of-All-Trades, Master-of-None and still be able to say he’s not Batman. 🙂 Diggle winds up being his conscience, something he desperately needs. So the heavy use of Diggle was welcome.
Lance recognizing that using bullets on his target really isn’t like the Hood kind of redeems his behavior a bit. He’s not as blinded by his rage as he is in *ahem* other seasons, even if he didn’t appreciate the surprise tip he got later (though one can hardly blame him, pinned to the cop car as he was). His behavior with the Queens could use a little work…
Tommy finding out Oliver was cool with him and Laurel (and her pointing out he already knew, by how he acted) was one of the best pieces of acting from Colin Donnell. Again, happy that he appears to have gotten another job, but I miss him on Arrow. Tommy asking for a relationship and wanting to be a better guy for her really got my vote, so far as shipping goes. Oliver wasn’t going to step up, so this was a viable option. Good job, Tommy.
Last first of the episode: The introduction of Yao Fei. We quickly find out that his shooting Oliver actually saved him a lot of trouble, what with Oliver ‘finding’ the net when he ‘escaped’ Yao Fei and our seeing that they aren’t alone on Lian Yu. I wonder if maybe they could have left the audience in a bit more suspense as to his intentions, but it made the scenes kinda funny, that we knew he wasn’t a bad guy but Oliver had no idea, so I guess we needed that levity in the flashbacks.
Wrap-Up: Plenty of firsts, but we got more story, too, so it wasn’t entirely about setting things up. I found my new favorite character in this episode, so I was happy overall. So far, I’m having fun on my journey. Hope that continues.