Yay consistently good shows, yay. It is not very often that you get a show that is consistent in terms of delivering a solid hour of entertainment as well as building towards a larger world. Honestly I can only think of like three shows right now where when I tune in I know that I will have a good time and Arrow is definitely earning it’s way onto this list. Now lets be real, “Identity” was by no means a perfect episode, especially when compared to the premiere, but it has managed to expand the universe in such a way that Ollie’s enemies are not only physically more competent, but mentally as well. With the introduction of Sebastian Blood, Oliver now has an opponent who will motivate him to become the billionaire philanthropist we all know and love. Of course physical threats are always welcome and luckily Ollie is gaining enemies by the butt load. So lets dive in shall we.
I will say, “Identity” was really on the nose in terms of what the theme or moral of the episode was supposed to be. Ollie is continually searching for a solid work life balance and as he is trying to organize his network better we are seeing that everything is not going to be roses. Yes the opening scene between Ollie and Felicity arguing about how her new role as executive assistant is not an ideal job was funny but it brought up a very important argument. Ollie’s team needs to have consistent identities in order to function as the bad ass unit they are, but they still need to be believable in those roles. Ollie can attempt to be the great philanthropist we know him to be from the comics, but if he does not put his money where his mouth is then it will all be for nothing. This delicate balance was dealt with in the recent Batman films and it feels like Arrow is possibly trying to match that tone to much. The show has it’s own identity and feel, and although it is great to have groundwork built upon another series, it is up to Arrow to grow as the series moves forward.
This series is growing on some fronts, especially in terms of the side characters like Thea and Roy. Yes Roy has now become Ollie’s eyes and ears in The Glades but what will this really entail and will it help stop Roy from getting into fights he can not win. Ollie clearly made the right move on many different fronts, he is looking out for Thea while at the same time assuring that he has some real understanding about what is going on in The Glades. Even the much maligned Laurel is developing, granted not into the hero we all want but more into an early Commissioner Gordon-esque character. Yes she wants to hunt Ollie down, and she unlike her father has put the plan into action. She understands that she is clearly a weak spot in The Hood’s armor for some reason, and is exploiting this to capture him. I am happy with this progression as it gives Oliver an opponent whom he wishes truly like him. Speak of people Ollie wishes like him Sebastian Blood showed up and he is not behaving lie the Blood we know and love, rather he is acting like Harvey Dent in Dark Knight before half his face gets blown off. I can’t tell if he is plant yet but Kevin Alejandro definitely nails Blood’s ability to manipulate the masses.
If anything I would say the downside of this weeks episode was that we really did not get a lot of mileage out of our villains, especially Michael Jai White’s Bronze Tiger. Tiger is a well known anti-hero and the show made him out to be a second rate mercenary who spouts really cheesy dialog. I would have really preferred building out his character more instead of making him seemingly plink and plunk fodder for Ollie to fight. What troubled me even more was the fact that China White fought Diggle and clearly saw his face. How does this not create issues latter in the season is beyond me as Diggle appears on TV as much as Ollie so it is only a matter of time until she puts two and two together. Similarly the island plot bugged me a lot, not because there is a seeming love triangle in the group, but that Slade is being played like kind of a love struck dumb ass. He tires to show off to Shado as well as telling Oliver that she is a dangerous distraction, the problem is that it is more Slade telling himself that he should not fall for the girl anymore than he already has, which seemed mildly forced to me. I want Slade to be the Slade we know and love, not some weird puppy love assassin..
Overall another really enjoyable episode.
FInal Grade B+
+Blood is fantastic
+Laurel is not insufferable
+The identity plot was well played
-The Slade stuff is not in character
-Villains poorly used.
-I think Diggle has a better cover than “Black Driver”
-Ollie busting out the trick arrows was awesome.
-For anyone who was keeping count of how many episodes it would take to show Ollie training shirtless the answer was one, not all of them. Stupid buff Stephen Amell making the rest of us look bad.