jedi_of_urth: (jaime)
[personal profile] jedi_of_urth posting in [community profile] tori_reviews
Arrow 1x11: Trust But Verify

Thea
Thea’s whole plot is really to set up the next episode, and be super awkward in retrospect. I do kind of think that even at the time I had the thought that, ‘I’m sure they’re not sleeping together now but that doesn’t mean they never did.’ Malcolm is predatory and manipulative enough when he isn’t getting weirdly touchy, which he hasn’t really been before but he is in this episode. Yes it’s largely to give Thea something to react to that she wouldn’t have if they would stand with a couple extra feet between them, but since they are standing that way he comes off as even more creepy.

I think I also wondered at the time if the story Moira tells Oliver was even mostly true since it clearly wasn’t entirely true. The idea that Robert was a cheater had the ring of truth to it and was a logical continuation of the sins of the father theme the show has going on, since Oliver was so bad at loyalty before the island. And yet even if that was true (we know now it was), that didn’t mean Moira didn’t also cheat (which we know she did at least once).

This episode definitely continues the implication Moira was in on the sinking of the Gambit that I’m not sure is ever confirmed or denied though I still mostly only have a problem with it that she let Oliver go along. I’ll have to pay attention when we get to the farther flashback ep and see if she could have done anything to stop that or if she hadn’t expected it to happen.

Kind of interesting to me is building on what I said a couple episodes ago about Thea perceiving things as if she’s on a normal drama; Moira cheating on her father and step-father is the worst version of things she can think of. She could have taken the next step and wondered if the reasons her father and step-father have been lost is because Moira’s cheating with Malcolm, and she still wouldn’t be all the way to what’s actually going on.

Merlyns
This episode is pretty important for establishing the Merlyn family as it was. More so Malcolm since it’s only about Tommy in relation to Malcolm, but it’s important stuff to keep in mind about Tommy. Every time he so clearly wants to be part of the Queen family it’s because they’re the closest thing to family he’s ever had. He lost his mom at eight years old and effectively his father within a few months afterward. We don’t actually know who raised him while Malcolm was away (someone must have, even Malcolm and his terrible parenting choices couldn’t have left an eight year old completely alone), and even after he came back from the League he can’t have been a very involved parent.

(You know, you could argue Thea has a similar story, although at least Moira never completely left. I do wish there was a way Tommy could come back.)

What especially important long term is that we’re getting Malcolm’s origin story. What made him into the man we’ve been seeing without understanding all season, and we’ll find out that it’s why he’s doing the things he’s doing. We’re not told about the kind of man he was before Rebecca’s death, and it’s not really important, but the implication that he was not unlike Tommy, fundamentally decent if a little naïve about life, and then Rebecca died and it taught him the harshness of the world. And then he went off to the League (though we’re not exactly told that yet, though the hints are starting) which gave him a way to handled that truth but not exactly a good one.

Blackhawks
For once most of my notes are about the actual plot of the episode, even if I’m not sure they amount to a whole lot to say. Several memories of how I reacted to seeing Ben Browder show up at the time (wait, that’s Crichton; wow he’s getting older; and the accent was always there but it’s getting more pronounced with age; I’m pretty sure I always assumed he was the bad guy of the week since he was an actual known actor as opposed to his chief henchman).

Also, how did Gaynor get on the list in the first place? The list was compiled going on at least six years ago; what was Gaynor doing six years ago that brought him to the attention of the conspiracy? I will say that I totally believe Gaynor and Andy hung out and ran in the same circles, but for some reason Andy got pulled into HIVE and apparently Gaynor didn’t. And on the flip side, seeing the list validated feels really awkward from the long view because the list is not a valid tool for Oliver to use. At least we have been consistently shown that he does research into the people on the list to make sure he knows why he’s targeting them beyond them being on the list, but being on the list is enough for him to be quick to judge that they’re going to be guilty of whatever crime he suspects them of (which is actually something of a parallel to Thea’s plot the next couple episodes from different sides, she’s quick to assume the ‘worst’ about Moira and Malcolm, other people will be quick to judge her because she’s on a list of privileged young people).

How long does it take Oliver to use the voice modulator whenever he’s in the suit? I remember why it was so ridiculous that his identity was kept secret through the first season, no voice mod and just the grease paint around the eyes. This episode does confirm that he’s using tranq arrows of goons at least; he may straight up kill Gaynor at the end but at least we know he isn’t killing everyone around. Also I notice this episode that in Oliver and Felicity’s scenes the music seems to be creeping towards the shippy, not something I usually notice but it seemed that way for a second; I still don’t think the acting is portraying is as shippy exactly, it is friendly and easy in a way it shouldn’t be considering they’re relationship is entirely based on lies at this point, and in a way things definitely aren’t between Oliver and his designated love interest (or his best friend for that matter).

Also, for once things are actually paced in such a way that I can believe Oliver made it from the mansion in time to fight the bad guys. When it was say the Royal Flush Gang and he left the mansion twenty minutes from town after the robbery was reported one just has to go with it that he could show up in costume in time to do anything, but this time I think I can actually buy it.

Lian Yu
The flashbacks weren’t took bad, but I only really have a couple thoughts on them. One is that the scene where Oliver finds the bad guy camp is well done; there’s only so much that can be done explicitly to remind us that Oliver hasn’t had even a bad full meal in a long time so he really wants to eat that food but he has to leave it behind to continue searching for Yao Fei, and yet it does all come across. So kudos to Amell and the director for pulling it off.

The other is right at the end with Fyers bit about why they wear balaclavas, hiding everything but the eyes. And it throws me back to Laurel at the prison, that all she could see was the eyes of a killer without mistaking it in the face of a friend. I don’t suspect that was the point in the writing, but I think it works; though only when you watch the series fast enough to have that still pretty clearly in mind between these episodes.


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