jedi_of_urth: (wwjsd)
[personal profile] jedi_of_urth posting in [community profile] tori_reviews
Minor apologies for late posting, I apparently need to get back into the rhythm of this project.

Arrow 2x02: Identity

I feel sort of weird about this episode, I like it; I think a lot of it’s good, but I don’t have a lot to say about it. What I do have to say is all character related as there’s very little plot to this one.

Seems maybe fitting that the first time I’ve ever called a section after the main character it’s an episode about identity, and that so much of that is about Oliver continually recreating his. It seems to me that Arrow is the only one of these shows that has ever had much to say about dual identities, probably because both identities are always shifting and changing, and where the balance between them sits has to change with it.

Oliver can no longer just ignore his civilian identity this season. Last season he had pieces of a life outside the Hood, but the stakes of sacrificing those parts were small, as he intended them to be so that he could make those sacrifices. But now people (from individuals he cares about to the city at large) need *Oliver Queen* to be part of the solution, but people also need the hooded hero, and so the sacrifices are going to much harder.

He can’t, as Oliver Queen, tell people what he is doing to help; just as he can’t, as the vigilante, tell Laurel that he knows *exactly* the pain she’s dealing with. I’m pretty sure this isn’t the first time Oliver has referred to one or both of his identities in the third person, but as the division causes more conflict within him, it’s fitting for Digg to point out that it’s not exactly healthy. He’s trying to redefine the vigilante, redefine Oliver Queen, and establish any meaningful balance between them all at the same time, and none of those are easy.

Though as a side note, and not saying that I would expect the angry mob to recognize this fact, Queen Consolidated didn’t actually design or develop the earthquake machine. They bought out the company that did and finished the development of it, and Moira certainly knew to what end that was being done, but the tech was being worked on for years before Unidac has to be bought out (did Malcolm somehow arrange things so Unidac would need to be bought out just in time for them to gain the earthquake machine? The whole Unidac situation keeps causing me to ask questions).

I can’t tell if the writers thought we would think Laurel was the new lady hero of the city. Her dismissal of Roy talking about the Canary, could certainly have been meant to make us think she was out there fighting crime herself. But it doesn’t really come off even as a red herring, it just comes off as Laurel’s vendetta making her miss the forest for the trees.

As noted last time, Laurel’s reason for being so angry with the Hood doesn’t really work, but in that it does work well enough. Grief and survivor’s guilt are not logical things, they’re just emotions that feed of themselves, and make for blind-spots and lashing out, which is what we have. I don’t know that either the writing or the acting really know how to portray that in a way I get behind emotionally, but to a point I’m able to look into it sympathetically.

I feel like I had a lot in mind regarding how the writers are doing the setup for Laurel as Oliver’s blind-spot, though here it’s more a defensive trigger but it comes from the same place. But I apparently didn’t actually note what those thoughts were.

Anyway, why and how is she there at the crime scene? And how do they set up the sting at the end? How did Oliver come in without having to get past the cops exactly?

At the end of the last episode we had a situation where I was definitely on Roy’s side. There’s a difference between ignoring problems and not going out looking for them. I don’t even think Thea really wants him to turn a blind eye if he happens to be out walking and sees someone being hurt that he could do something to stop (or at least if she really thought about it she’d have to understand that idea). But what he’s doing through most of the episode is a lot more difficult to handle. Mostly he’s going out looking for trouble, and it’s big time trouble.

There is a lot of Oliver trying to control the terms of how other help him here. He decided what Felicity’s day time identity is going to be (Digg’s is basically just what it always was) and makes it so he has control of how involved Roy is going to be. You can already see how that’s doomed not to hold; Roy wants to do more, and even as Felicity acquiesces to what needs to happen she does so only as much as will help the cause.

But while that’s what he’s trying to do, at the same time it continues to become even clearer that he couldn’t do this without the team. Roy fills in a specific gap in his abilities, knowing what needs to be done, but this wouldn’t have worked without Digg and especially Felicity. So again, Roy was always going to get pulled deeper and deeper in, just as those two have.

Lian Yu
Slade is continuing to seem like he was already a little unhinged about Shado even before the Mirakuru. He’s not gone around the bend yet obviously, he’s able to see the right thing to do for Oliver in the aftermath of the previous fight, and in spite of clear love triangle sickness at the sight of Oliver and Shado together, he keeps his head on and backs up and gives them a chance to get dressed.

I think the more interesting thing in this is how much Slade’s advice not to get too emotionally attached in their situation, that the distraction has to be avoided, clearly sticks with Oliver. Throw it in with all the other crap in Oliver’s head and of course he doesn’t think he can be with anyone he actually cares about, and has a hard time with any form of emotional attachment.

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