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Arrow 1x03: Lone Gunmen

I barely pay attention to the episode titles on shows anymore, they’re never on screen and often not obvious, so in my head they end up with more direct titles, this one is ‘Deadshot’ obviously. But looking at the title of this one for once, I actually find it...interesting. I never considered it on X-Files (because the Lone Gunmen were a barely-separable team) but ‘Lone’ and ‘Gunmen’ are contradictory words. One would have expected Lone Gunman to refer to Deadshot, but with Lone Gunmen it must be Deadshot and Oliver, both of them acting as lone agents against each other.

Aside from that I’m going to break this down by character mostly.

This is sort of building on a point I didn’t actually make last time and only briefly proposed in the pilot, but Tommy’s role so far is rather interesting next to Oliver; because Tommy’s faking his personality just as much as Oliver is. They’re both acting like they’re still the dumb kids they were five years ago because those are the safe personalities they know how to have around each other. But you see around Laurel, and even sometimes around Oliver like when they get hauled in by the brute squad, that Tommy has grown up more than he’s letting Ollie see. He’s not a full-fledged adult either, but he isn’t the frat boy of five years ago either.

We’ll keep an eye on whether now that I’ve seen it this way I continue to think so throughout the season, but I’m also going to keep an eye on Oliver’s attitude towards Tommy. Because I don’t think Ollie has any concept that the people around him might be wearing their own masks same as him.

It’s hard to not watch Felicity’s intro scenes here and not see it as “Hello, future love of my life” but I know it didn’t strike me that way at all at the time. Looking back, they sure seem to be flirting, and Ollie’s terrible lies seem like stories they’ll tell they’re grandkids but I can’t say I saw it coming at all until at least late this season and certainly didn’t have me from a bullet-riddled laptop.

I’m mostly going to get into how Felicity’s introduction was handled in coming episodes, because she has one of the more interesting character intro-developments I can recall. Looking at it now, it probably could or even should have been obvious to me that she was going to be important as Oliver’s tech friend; but in these early episodes Oliver is actually pretty competent at tech and computers so it wasn’t obvious that that was a needed addition to the team...

Of course for that matter, I know I was surprised by how early there was any kind of team. Oliver was presented as very much the lone hero (or hero-adjacent figure) and yet in the third episode we have Diggle brought into the know; in a world where at this point memory wipes didn’t seem likely to happen. Of course, looking back, Oliver is just crap at keeping this a secret so no wonder it happened so soon. And this episode has a meta signpost at Digg joining up, Oliver’s monologs are really awkward and need to be said to someone; enter Diggle.

Thea, Moira, and Walter
The Thea/Queen family plot of the week isn’t exactly good, but it is important with the way the series starts off. We never get that much of Thea and Walter’s relationship (or even really Moira and Walter’s for all they were my first ship on the show on principle of not initially caring about the younger characters’ CW-drama), but this is a view of the family the Oliver came back into. Moira’s not a great mom, she cares certainly but she doesn’t really know how to help her children grow up; Walter is a loving husband, and caring step-father to Thea and would be for Oliver if given a chance; Thea is a brat, spoiled rich princess, for all she does have legitimate problems; nobody talked about Robert and probably Oliver for years because the loss hung over what remained of the family.

That said, Oliver lecturing Moira on her parenting (or lack thereof) with him...awkward considering Samantha. Also awkward, Moira’s joke that Thea is moving up the ladder in terms of criminality; considering this family of criminals, Thea never stood a chance.

I do have some questions regarding the actual plot going on here. Am I misremembering or doesn’t Malcolm claim later that he made sure QC would buy out Unidac? Which would mean Malcolm was behind Deadshot here rather than Patel. It actually jumped out at me early on that when Moira talks to Lance she assumes that Lance is there accusing them of some kind of deadly corporate game; which actually seems sloppy and incriminating, since if they weren’t involved in a deadly corporate game she could have been scared that they would be targeted rather accused. But at the end Deadshot does target Walter and not apparently to injure rather than kill. So I’m left kind of confused, but only in terms of the long term plot rather than in the episode.

On the other hand, if you look closely Andy’s name is on Deadshot’s chest, so they were at least planning that.

I think a lot of my early dislike of Laurel had to do with her...destiny. Laurel was saddled with two destiny elements to her character, the Black Canary and the hero’s designated love interest, and so much of her early writing is done as sign posts towards those things. The BC element would have plenty of problems later, but for here I was especially against the designated love interest part; designated love interests, especially on CW shows, and double especially at the time (while I was still dealing with TVD) are a hard sell for me. And in the case of these two, it was a huge problem because the best moments for Laurel’s character were all about her rejecting Oliver.

Because she’s absolutely right that he doesn’t have a right to judge her. He left with another woman, who was her sister, on top of which he (and Sara) died; she absolutely doesn’t owe him anything or need his blessing. While Tommy may have gone against some elements of the bro code and Laurel was probably making a mistake to get involved with another guy so much like Oliver, they didn’t do anything wrong by any means. Laurel has made herself quite clear to Oliver, and really she and Tommy aren’t actually together, so even the element of them not telling Ollie is at most a little uncool of them.

I have one important note for Oliver, and that’s that he needs to do something about his voice when he’s in the hood. I’ll have to keep an eye for when he figures that out, because it’s bad enough when he goes up against bad guys (since he rarely kills the guys he actually threatens) but then uses his own voice when talking to Quentin? That’s just dumb.

Also Oliver responds to Deadshot’s “We’re very much alike you and I” comment by saying that he only kills for the good of others. I’m not sure how to treat that one; is it poor on the writers here to think that was true; is it further proof how the s5 plot doesn’t quite work with Oliver’s previous characterization, or is it self-delusion on Oliver’s part even now? Because while I still think saying Oliver likes killing is going too far, even by this point here I’m not sure how much I believe his defense of his actions. There is a difference when it comes to killing for money like Deadshot, but we also already know Oliver’s in the Russian mob (as little explanation as we get for it yet) so he doesn’t have a ton of moral high-ground.

Lian Yu
I do at least have a couple notes on the flashbacks this time. For one, I think they shouldn’t have subtitled the flashbacks until Oliver actually speaks the language. For two, I don’t think I’ve ever understand why Yao Fei shot Oliver and then healed him; if he thought Ollie was an enemy sure, to protect him from Fyers doesn’t work considering he probably should have died from the arrowshot he took. It’s not a bad ep for flashbacks, but do raise questions.

Date: 2017-05-02 01:13 pm (UTC)
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I'm one of the mods at [community profile] tv_talk and I'm compiling a somewhat regular round-up of active TV things found on DW and am including your community. I hope that's okay and enjoy your (re-)watch!/reviews!


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