jedi_of_urth: (arya)
[personal profile] jedi_of_urth posting in [community profile] tori_reviews
Arrow 1x04: An Innocent Man

While I’m going to address several issues I have with this episode, I do want to say that the actors by and large seem to be settling into their roles and getting more comfortable with each other. It’s actually kind of remarkable that Rob sticks out as so uncomfortable when the rest of them haven’t exactly been doing this very long either (yes I know that’s combining actor and character, but if the other actors were less comfortable an uncomfortable character wouldn’t stick out so much). Felicity also sticks out a bit but I can’t remember if I thought anything like that at the time and now it seems more like part of her charm that she’s out of step with all the doom and gloom of the rest of the show.

Lian Yu
Let’s get the island stuff out of the way, because I’ve only got a couple things to mention. For one, Yao Fei continues to be very confusing; Oliver isn’t getting the message about killing the bird, maybe a word or two in English would make him realize what you’re trying to tell him. Why even pretend not to speak English unless Oliver learning Chinese was the point, in which case why start speaking English at the end?

Secondarily, Oliver is made way too unwilling to kill the bird for the sake of contrast. I’ve never killed an animal larger than a large moth before in my life, but I think my concern then would be that I don’t know how to get it from alive to edible rather than afraid of the killing stage. There might have been something in the idea of having to kill something with one’s bare hands to highlight Oliver’s behavior at the prison, but it works too hard for that highlighting.

I seem to recall that this was an episode that soured Laurel somewhat for me at the time, and it’s not like I had been particularly keen up until here. And it’s not that Laurel is doing anything terribly wrong in this one, but her role is so...bland. So many superhero stories have to do the love triangle with two people thing, and it’s so forced here. Laurel hates Oliver for very legitimate reasons and having her drawn to the masked vigilante so quickly doesn’t work. Oliver using his alternate persona to get closer to Laurel is also pretty iffy (especially with the s5 reinterpretation of what the hood was meant to signify for him). And yet her swing back to being against the vigilante in the end also feels too sudden and poorly executed. She looked in his eyes well enough to see that he’s a remorseless killer ( debatable to start with) but not enough to see that it’s Oliver looking back at her.

Also Oliver and Laurel’s interactions here are *so* CW, especially the music cues. Also the fact that she’s at the mansion at the beginning makes no sense (though, yes, Laurel he is that selfish about not thinking of how him being hurt/killed would affect people who care about him).

At least Oliver finally got a voice least for some scenes.

A part of me wishes they had let Diggle’s reactions play out longer, and maybe they should have given him more time to feel like he knew Oliver before finding out the truth, because a lot of his reactions...aren’t quite right. Him finding out is well enough handled for all it feels a little more betrayed angry than it reasonably should, and calling Oliver a murderer at this point is just true but makes me sad from where I’m at now. And his main conversation with Carly is good where he’s clearly talking himself around to joining up with Oliver. But all through it he kind of undervalues what Oliver’s been through in the last five years which makes the end both a little off and a little soon. As evidenced by the fact that he doesn’t go into this seeing that the last five years have already scraped off tons of little pieces of Oliver that he’s never going to get back, why would he think he can be the one to keep it from happening for the next five years?

Oliver is also lying (big shock) because he is totally looking for someone to save him, and I think he even knows that to some extent already.

The List
One note, because I got so confused by the conspiracy plot last time, Malcolm mentioned the Hood took down Patel that wrong from both their perspectives? Because Oliver never directly went after Patel, he was trying to stop Deadshot from killing people at the auction; and Malcolm may or may not have really been the one behind Deadshot. Oliver didn’t go after Patel because of the list, we weren’t even told Patel was on the list.

It does raise the question of why these people are on the list; Oliver looks into them and finds reasons they’re bad people but why were they on the list originally? And considering apparently every other rich guy in the city was on the list, did Oliver ever question why Malcolm wasn’t? I guess maybe he just assumed Robert didn’t judge Malcolm as needing to be on the list since they were friends, but since the whole list premise is so short-sighted of Oliver this seems like another element of that.

For the record the Gambit salvage took place in 2009 according to this episode, so it might have been after Oliver left Lian Yu for Hong Kong. I was also trying to decide if Moira’s cover story made any sense at all, but since it didn’t fool Walter for any time at all I’m guessing not. And now that Walter has trusty sidekick Felicity (who’s not his girl but will always be Oliver’s) we got a B-cast investigative duo.

I’m mostly going to talk about Oliver’s rather ridiculous plan going on here next episode, but I am going to be more forgiving of one thing than I think I have been before. Namely that I always thought it was weird that Lance hadn’t done a more thorough search of the video before this, but it has only been a couple days so while it’s still a little silly that the video techs didn’t think there was anything weird about Oliver’s actions on the recording it doesn’t seem as much an oversight as it might have been.


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