Arrow: An Innocent Man


by Noor Alnaqeeb (@nooralnaqeeb)

Warning: Season One: Episode Four Spoilers.

This episode’s flashback:

Arrow’s flashbacks serve a central purpose in the storytelling aspect of the series. We are taken through the steps that Oliver, a spoon fed, feeble minded playboy, had to take in order to transform into Arrow, the justice-seeking killing machine. This personality switch is easily believed by audiences thanks to Stephen Amell’s ability to portray both characters seamlessly. In this episode’s flashback, we are shown an encounter between Oliver and his savior, who only speaks Chinese. The mysterious man cryptically hands Oliver a bird in a cage and something tells us dinner isn’t going to serve itself. Back in Starling City, when Laurel begins to believe that Arrow is a ruthless killer, we are shown that it wasn’t always so. On the island, Purgatory, we see a defeated and starved Oliver with tears in his eyes, making his first kill – the bird. He’s now one step closer to becoming Arrow. It is revealed that his savior does speak English, and the Chinese word he had been repeating throughout the episode to Oliver meant one thing that symbolizes Oliver’s stay on the island. It meant survive.

Last week, we were left with the image of Diggle waking up and facing Arrow in his secret crime-fighting den. Now, Diggs fully understands the kind of man – or machine – Oliver is. After a fistfight and a few moments of disbelief, Oliver tried to explain that he might’ve lost his mind on the island, but he found something else. “Archery lessons?” Diggle asks. No… clarity. Unfortunately, Diggs doesn’t see Oliver as the city’s savior, but as an unhinged criminal.

With his head hung low and his tail between his legs Oliver returned home to find Laurel worried about his wellbeing after the shootout last episode. His lack of compassion for his family’s feelings left Laurel no choice but to lecture him on how he might want to start caring about the lives of other – ironic huh? Disappear for a night after saving a room full of people and suddenly you’re the bad guy. Now, that Oliver’s motives and morals were being questioned, he turned to his sister Thea. She informed him about the “psycho” Peter Declan, a man who killed his wife, Camille, and put on death row. As the news carried on in the background Thea gave Oliver a pep talk in her own way, pointing out that his chances with Laurel were obstructed by him “sleeping with her sister, her sister dying and her father hating your guts.” Thanks for summing that up Thea, very inspirational. Thea did give one word of advice that seemed to ring true; although Oliver had changed in the past five years he should simply be himself.

The next morning, Mr. Diggle had “tendered his resignation,” thankfully, without hanging Oliver out to dry. Oliver’s new body man, Rob, had a firm gripped handshake but a loose grip on everything else in the rest of the episode as Oliver dashed and ditched Rob throughout the rest of his career as the playboy’s guard. Ditching bodyguards – sounds like an up and coming iPhone app.

Our villain of the week was Jason Brodeur. His toxic-waste-dumping activities had landed him in a situation that had rendered toxic for Pier Declan, his wife and Laurel. Camille had blown the whistle on the mounds of toxic waste and had been killed in turn for her civic duties. Arrow realized Declan’s innocence and sought the help of his very own Lois Lane to prove Declan’s innocence.

Mr. and Mrs. Queen’s relationship was more central than it has been in previous episodes – and not for good reasons. They seem in love, but the Queen bee seemed to be hiding something from Steele. I’ve always wondered, they’re partners in life, but are they partners in crime? This episode uncovered that very answer. $2.6 million was missing from accounts and upon mentioning it to his wife; Moira explained that she used it as a “startup investment” in her friend’s company. And courtesy of the bubbly blond from I.T. Ms. Smoke we discovered it’s a company that doesn’t actually exist. Steele also discovered an offshore account and the location of a warehouse in Starling City purchased by his wife. Go through a door where the password to unlock it is her dead ex-husband’s name and what do you expect to find? The shipwreck, of course. Surprise, Mr. Queen Bee. Seems like your marriage isn’t based on trust after all.

Speaking of romance, Arrow and Diggle’s bubbling bromance is one we want to see flourish throughout the season. Oliver tried to mend his relationship with his bestie, confessing about his own past and delving into Diggle’s. Oliver brought up the fact that the killer of Diggle’s brother Andrew, had been taken care of. Oliver’s speech about justice seemed to make Diggle consider joining forces with Arrow, “If it’s not going to be the courts, and it’s not going to be the cops, then it’s going to be me.” And Mr. Diggle, hopefully.

Arrow’s method of inquisition and Laurel’s differ in the greatest ways. Laurel might venture forth with the good cop/bad cop routine but Arrow seems to opt for the “if you don’t tell me what I need to know, I’ll ram your face in with a train” approach. Well, at least results were achieved. A witness who falsely testified against Declan’s alibi handed over a file with Camille’s toxic waste report. Laurel and Arrow’s relationship this episode has consisted of meeting on rooftops in the dark and whispering sweet legislative words in the shadows. Laurel evens called him her “guardian angel” to her co-worker at one point. But, despite their best efforts and Laurel’s best game face the judge does not budge and the inmate is still on death row. Meanwhile, Daddy found out about Laurel’s new playmate and didn’t like it one bit.

Unfortunately, we’re still not seeing much of our villains except for their ability to crumble under pressure. Their usual step forward is to kill Laurel. Laurel, who had come face to face with a room full of dangerous inmates during a staged rebellion while visiting Declan in prison. Thankfully, and as usual, Arrow was there to save his damsel in distress. Laurel looked dead into Oliver’s eyes as he saved her, and we were sure his cover was blown but what we thought was realization of his identity was actually the realization of the lack of remorse in his eyes.

Back at the house Diggle approached Oliver and shook his hand agreeing to be partners in crime – or crime fighting. Diggs explained that Oliver is unprepared for the war he’s fighting, he’s going to lose pieces of his soul on the way and Diggs will be there to remind him of who he is and not what he is becoming.

As the triumph of the duo’s pact sunk in, so did something else – the sound of police sirens in the background. Something Laurel mentioned earlier to her father made him realize that the masked vigilante wouldn’t walk into the situation as Arrow, but as someone else. And that someone else just so happened to be Oliver Queen. On the biggest cliffhanger of this series, Oliver was arrested and taken away on the suspicion of obstruction of justice, aggravated assault, trespassing, acting as a vigilante and murder. Things just got very real, very quickly.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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