TV Rants & Ramblings: Arrow 1.4 – An Innocent Man

Arrow headerThis week Arrow calls on the help of others in order to take down the villains of Sterling City, asking both Laurel and Diggle to come to terms with how he fights for justice in order to fix the corrupt state of their home.  For better and for worse.

The Chicken

I’m just going to go ahead and come to terms with the fact that had I been the one lost on this island there is no amount of yelling this Chinese gentleman could have done to change the probability that I would starve to death.  I can’t even cut into animals during dissection labs.  Don’t get me wrong, once it’s open I can poke around and see what’s going on; it’s just the feel of the blade going in [shivers].  So suffice it to say snapping a chicken’s neck will escape my skill set for as long as I can help it.

In these flashbacks Oliver is given his first lesson to surviving the island: Give a man a roasted chicken and he is fed for a day, teach him to rip a chicken’s head from its body and he is fed for a lifetime.  There is probably some deeper meaning to this step in his journey, as if he is tiptoeing towards understanding that he has to do what is necessary to survive, which makes it a little rickety as a parallel to the present day story in this particular episode (if this was the goal, as opposed to a generalized flashback that was simply trying to fill in more answers about the missing five years).  If anything, the placement of these flashbacks feeds more into Laurel’s journey tonight as she gains a better understanding of what needs to be done, whereas Oliver mostly just raged-out on someone’s face.  Sure, he was fighting for her survival, but mostly he was just seeing red.

Hi, I’m Arrow

Oliver really was all kinds of fail tonight when it came to his secret identity.  Diggle doesn’t count since that paid off in the end, though the risk should be factored in to an extent.  And he did get swung at.

So let’s move on to Laurel.  Mistake #1: it would have been really polite of Oliver to consider the recent events that have occurred to her before choosing to stage his introduction in the way he did.  She was just attacked by armed men in this apartment; so maybe don’t surprise her there!  Think of all the psychological issues this could lead to!  Prozac costs money, Oliver!  Mistake #2: Do not rage out on someone’s face in front of witnesses when trying to make a good impression.  Laurel had just come around to understanding that Arrow’s actions and productivity are not hindered by the restrictions of the law that can often work against the innocent when manipulated, with her saying that more people should be as caring towards others as him as a nice little cherry on top (you know that had to feel good considering the first conversation between the two).  But then in one swift blow, or ten, she is forcibly pushed back into the mindset that Arrow is a villain all on his own as her fear towards the man that was attacking her is transferred to Arrow because he somehow managed to be scarier.

Last but not least: Detective Lance.  I know Oliver is new at this, but considering how much he likes to mess with everyone’s electricity when he makes his sneaky appearances, you’d think that he would consider security cameras.  Then again, he was in a time crunch to stop a sniper, followed by the need to save the wounded Diggle.  But when a body is found on the roof of a building after an attack, chances are the police are going to be interested.  The arrow to the eye is just added incentive.

The Righted Wrongs of the Week

Working alongside Laurel, Arrow’s goal this week is to get a man wrongfully found guilty of the murder of his wife off death row.  I don’t know about you, but I still find it a little challenging to get behind the crime-fighting side of each episode.  So far, each plot seems to involve an attack on Laurel because she is always poking her nose into the business of bad people, and then they’re always wrapped up so nicely in ways that I can’t always tell you how we got there.  Like tonight: the bodyguard to the guilty party just suddenly decided to confess?  Can someone explain how we got to this point?  Because I have no idea.

There are plenty of reasons to come back to this show, from intrigue towards Oliver’s time on the island and his slowly building origin story, to the characters that fill Sterling City.  Walter is coming around to being a key player to watch as he digs into his wife’s “business ventures” (Tempest is a great code name for the recovery of the boat that she had a part in sinking, though I doubt Prospero will be stopping by anytime soon), Thea is finally becoming more than just her bad habits as she and Oliver actually have some decent sibling moments, and as per usual, there’s Diggle.  How can you not love this man!?  I about died when he told Rob Scott “That boy’s long gone, man,” and it is lines like these that make me even more excited for how the working dynamic between he and Oliver will shift now that they’re more partners than anything.  But if Diggle doesn’t bring the humor, there is always Felicity Smoak.

Sheesh, I got off track with the characters.  The point I was trying to get at was that the show has a lot of great elements, but the things that are still lacking often are within the story of each episode and the action that accompanies it.  Here are some of the problems that I had with tonight’s episode, in addition to the abrupt wrap-up.

  • After the first meeting between Arrow and Laurel on the rooftop, he shoots an arrow of the roof, cut to something moving past the camera, cut to Arrow swinging away like Spider-man.  This editing job appeared as if to cover the awkwardness of this exit because it doesn’t actually make sense when considering physics.  If he shot a building and jumped off the way he did, he would have swung straight into the building.  Splat.
  • This exit dethrones the exit in the pilot when he jumped out a window and somehow managed to zip line away as the most awkwardly filmed and carried out exit yet.  Another in the running was after the second meeting on the roof between Oliver in Laurel when he just stepped off screen.  Awkward, but it ranks lower than the other two because of its simplicity.
  • But enough about exits, how about entrances into scenes.  When Arrow finally decides to take his anger to Jason Brodeur to get a confession, the scene simply opens with Arrow screaming at the man.  Where was the set up!?  The same could be said about Matt Istook being handcuffed to the train tracks, but as a lesser evil in the path to taking down the big bad of the week, not as much time needs to be spent with this moment.  Whereas Brodeur could have used more set up to actually make him appear as a man worthy of being on that list.  He was just so weak…
  • What was with the disguise in the prison?  If Oliver is going to put a ski mask on and carry his bow around, he might as well just wear his Arrowform.  Both draw an equal amount of attention, making the only explanation that this device was needed is in order to get Lance to the mindset that he needs to look for other costume changes.

Final Thoughts

These problems may seem nitpicky to some, but if I’m being pulled out of an episode numerous times because of them then I’d say that some work needs to be done to smooth out these edges so that each episode can be working at its strongest.

So what did you think of tonight’s episode?  Even with all its flaws, it was still a decent episode as it progresses some rather interesting storylines with Walter and Diggle.  Not only that, but ending on Oliver’s arrest has excitement levels high for next week.  How’s he going to get out of this!?  Obviously he will, but now that the connection was made in the minds of many between Oliver and Arrow it is going to be rather hard to forget.

ArrowEp4

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