jedi_of_urth: (marian grin)
[personal profile] jedi_of_urth posting in [community profile] tori_reviews
Arrow 1x15: Dodger

This is sort of a weird episode for season 1 of Arrow, because this season is very much about the interplay between the three leading families on the show (the Queens, the Merlyns, and the Lances) and this only really involves the Queen family characters; Malcolm gets mentioned and Quentin shows up briefly to continue interrupting Oliver and McKenna scenes, but they’re basically not around.

Lian Yu
This is actually an episode where I really like the island story. It has just the right amount of scenes to tell the story it offers and it’s an important story to show. While Oliver is very much in the process of changing at this point in the flashbacks, this clearly shows how much he has already changed. I do wonder how much of it could be said to be Slade’s influence, since Yao Fei initially helped Oliver with no real idea that Ollie wasn’t a danger but Slade definitely wouldn’t have; but Ollie hasn’t known Slade that long so it’s really just a culmination of what he’s been through in the (alleged) six months since he washed up here.

And the fact that this is eventually shown to be the right choice doesn’t negate the weight of the choice Oliver makes here. They’ve deliberately had him not outright kill anyone until now (especially noticeable in the previous episode) even though he’s definitely thought about it; and while that isn’t really even considered here, he definitely holds the power of life and death in his hands and he chooses to leave the potentially innocent person to die. In my memory he at least gave him the knife with the implication that once Ollie was gone the guy could free himself and try and find a way to survive, but that’s not what happens, he just leaves him to die. And in the end he lies and tells Slade there wasn’t any trouble, which is also a noticeable step towards the person we know he becomes who doesn’t tell people anything if he can help it.

The Dodger
I suspect part of the reason I like the island stuff better this time is because the A-plot of the episode is pretty weak. The villain uses interesting methods but is a very weak adversary and quite easily thwarted. Granted this is also probably the least important part of the episode and would be very easily ignored if not for the fact it’s got Baltar in the titular role.

The plot is mostly important as a backdrop to Felicity’s first mission with the team. About her finding a way to be okay with what they do and well establishing her place within the team. And as I’ve said before, with the three of them it starts to feel more like a team than it did before she joined up; while Oliver and Digg were working on becoming partners already, they weren’t actually much of a team, but with their third member they suddenly all become a team.

Question for people who are better judges of attractiveness, is Felicity more attractive dressed up or normally? To me she looks kind of weird and trying-to-hard when she’s dressed up, especially in the early seasons; which fits the character but makes her occasional ‘She’s All That’ moments fall flat with me.

Date Night
Considering we’re not that far away from the introduction of Lyla I don’t know if Diggle/Carly was supposed to be a lasting ship that just didn’t last or if it was never likely to work out. I do notice that they have a lot of the same issues as Tommy/Laurel with starting a relationship with a lot of history and baggage to overcome, but then so do a lot of ships on this show (and in this ‘verse) some of which work out and some of which don’t.

It’s debatable if Oliver/McKenna fall into the same class, because she did know him before the island; but even with some pretty clear hints that they were involved at some point, their awkwardness isn’t really about their history with each other. Their awkwardness has to do with the fact that Oliver has been through some major shit in recent years that he has a hard time talking about and she considers him being closed off about and because of it as being a jerk. There is a comparison to be made with Oliver and Tommy’s relationship as I’ve been observing for a while, of not really knowing how to deal with the extraordinary circumstances that have changed a persona and a relationship.

Ollie and McKenna have decent chemistry and at the time I was in favor of Oliver/anyone-but-Laurel and with McKenna being a cop and now on the Hood case it provided some very interesting story prospects; but being a little more objective, this episode shows they probably could never have worked out. I wish they’d gotten a little more story and a much better ending (we’ll get there in a couple eps) but I don’t think they had any real staying power as a couple or a story point.

Red Hoodie
To show how much I’ve changed since this first aired, I’m pretty sure I remember spending much of this episode trying to remember why I knew the name Roy Harper at all. I was sure I remembered it was someone but I couldn’t manage to recall why. Chalk it up to Thea being ‘Speedy’ on this show that I failed to connect Roy with the original Speedy for quite a while.

Right from the start Roy is so obsessed with wearing his red hoodie that it’s the key piece of information for Thea to track him down with. Thea is also very much her mother’s daughter here; for someone who has usually been portrayed as a slacker, when it comes to something she wants she does a lot of work, presumably with the intention of ruining someone’s life for daring to take her stuff. It’s also there to highlight her willingness to bend in the face of someone’s sad story (though it’s ultimately gullibility) because this episode is very concerned with showing Thea’s better side after having her in a pretty bad light for a while.

Though Roy did a lot of the work by putting together a sob story specifically designed to get under her skin. That was his intent right, it’s never been entirely clear if he was playing to her as his specific audience or if it just worked out that way.

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