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[personal profile] jedi_of_urth posting in [community profile] tori_reviews
Arrow 1x20: Home Invasion

This is an episode I mainly remember for two things: starting well (J. August Richards!) and ending bad (huh, Tommy, why?). It’s not that I forget about the Diggle plot, I quite like the Diggle plot, I almost like it too much to fit it into my otherwise decreasing opinion of the episode.

26 and counting
The Hood’s official kill total is at 26 right now and that doesn’t count Oliver’s kill this episode. I still say that seems a little low probably, but it’s nothing to write off either. I may stand by the opinion that Oliver doesn’t like killing the way the show decided to go with for a while in s5, but I do agree that he has red in his ledger that hasn’t been wiped out.

Why Lance decided Thea needed to be in on the ‘the Hood is killer’ lesson I’m not sure, maybe he was trying to put her in charge of making Roy back off, and if so that didn’t work at all; she was pretty disapproving before Lance made a scene. Also, interesting, Roy will end of taking the fall for all of these kills when he goes down as the original Arrow in a couple seasons.

Ghost Fox Goddess Rises
Felicity continues her path to becoming like Oliver (she’s been like him a lot longer than either of them would admit to). Admittedly she was only out of the hacking game for about three years, and here it’s taken her six months to get back to hacking government systems. Retroactively, I don’t want to ignore the fact that she knows the risks of getting caught as a cyber-terrorist, she’s barely avoided the fate once already; so I think that her making jokes in the face of that shows that she’s regaining her confidence with the keyboard (if we’re pretending Felicity’s backstory ever had planning, but I’m mostly pretty Watsonian at heart). This isn’t the Felicity who shied away from anything sketchy just a few episodes ago, and she’s picked up a lot of new first aide skills to boot.

The dumb triangle
Up until the end, none of the characters in the triangle are doing anything wrong and then suddenly Tommy’s choices take a turn for the ‘well, we have to set up the end of the season’ nonsensical. In this case I’m not going to do a ton to try and justify it outside story needs...and writers.

I look over my writers list and realize that the ones credited with this episode have between them had a hand in most of the Oliver/Laurel heavy episodes of the season (not all, the earliest credit either have is 1x05, but that one sure counts). I do feel like firstly it was deemed necessary for where the final run of episodes were meant to go, but I also kind of think there were writers who were more dedicated to the idea of Oliver/Laurel than others. I’ve never done an examination of it before but I feel like it comes up again as their weening their way away from Oliver/Laurel toward Oliver/Felicity, some writers were more on board with that than others.

A lot of the problem with the end of episode turn is that the rest of the episode had spent so much time focused on how much Tommy has grown all season. While he and Laurel are nowhere near ready to have kids, the fact that he’s good with kids is something she likes to see in him as well as the fact that he’s willing to open up about his mother’s death; it’s all growth and thinking about where the future might take them. And while Timmy isn’t ready to be okay with Oliver as the Hood, he is able to make room for the more useful, protective side of the Hood if not the murdery side.

And yes, part of Tommy’s turn at the end makes sense, he had issues with Laurel hanging out with the Hood before he knew that was Oliver; and that element makes it clear she does not and would not have the same issues with learning the truth that he has. She wouldn’t see it as a reason that she and Oliver couldn’t be together; that doesn’t negate all the other reasons they shouldn’t be together though.

And yeah, I’m focusing a lot of Tommy’s random turn of character towards the end, but Oliver becomes a terrible friend at the same point. It’s about him not pursuing Laurel rather than the fact that Laurel chose Tommy, and again there’s all those other reasons why Oliver and Laurel should not be together.

The actual triangle
In the Diggle-Oliver-Laurel triangle though, Oliver makes the wrong choice. I always kind forget that he does because in my head he runs off needing to protect Tommy, Laurel, and the kid (and probably the rest of the house), while leaving Deadshot to the ARGUS agents. You can still argue that there were plenty of agents working to the Deadshot case while Oliver was the only real option for taking down Rasmus at that point. And there was the assumption being made that stopping the man at the top would stop the assassin hunting them (which would have worked with a less dedicated assassin) so there was reason to take on Rasmus.

So maybe logically I don’t disagree with Oliver’s choice as much as I think I do, but emotionally it sure seems like he chose Laurel over Digg so I definitely understand why it seems that way to Diggle. It doesn’t help that Oliver doesn’t say it was an analysis of the risks on either side and he took the one that didn’t have ARGUS agents at it; nor does he look at the results and say he might have made the wrong choice, he looks abashed to some extent but doesn’t offer anything outright, he’s defensive the way he is when he blindly does something for Laurel without considering the effects of that choice. Though I’m also not sure I agree with the idea that he’s always been choosing Laurel over other matters; sometimes yeah, but I don’t think it’s come up as often as a statement like that would imply.

Though really, why they don’t at least text Digg with the change of plans is a mystery.

Now this episode has two different assassin plots in it, and I’m glad they didn’t use Deadshot for Rasmus’ hired gun, that would have been too easy (and probably been harder to write themselves out of). On the other hand, still no sign of the actual League of Assassins, this guy even knows about Oliver and the island so is probably local. I really feel like there could have been some actual setup for the League outside of Malcolm. Also what does the League actually do since they don’t seem overly involved in assassinations?

Also, how does Deaddhot know Digg? They’ve never met. They act like it’s personal on both sides when it’s really personal on Digg’s end at this point.

Lian Yu
As with everything else this episode, this plot is trying to prop up the Oliver/Laurel ship, and it still doesn’t work. Oliver and Shado have way better chemistry than Oliver and Laurel and it’s still kind of forced...or at least clichéd ‘get all close and sexy while teaching you something’ sort of chemistry here. Shado is plainly really into Oliver, and not particularly put off by his behavior here; and maybe she’s a little put off by Slade so she’s making herself very clear in her preference.

I’ll go so far as to say that Oliver’s discussion of Laurel there might have even worked in another episode that wasn’t doing so much to force its Oliver/Laurel agenda. Because yes, Oliver still has feelings for Laurel (obviously – sometimes – since he will until the present) and it’s a mess of a situation; and he’s still in a place where there’s hope this will get them off the island so he can go back to his life and start figuring out if the mess it too much or he should be moving on.

The continued willingness to not make Oliver a natural with the bow was something I liked. Although I think that had more to do with Robin Hood where they eventually decided that Robin was a prodigy with the bow and basically chosen by god to be an amazing archer. So this show making Oliver work for it was a relief in a way the writers of this show weren’t responsible for providing me.


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