by Noor Alnaqeeb (@nooralnaqeeb)
Warning: Spoilers: Season One Episode Six.
John Diggle (partner, not pushover) drove this week’s episode home with a successful new direction for the CW’s show Arrow. With a different villain every week and not enough time spent clarifying their wrongdoing, this week’s episode has shaken things up a little by introducing us to a whole other level of crime in Starling City, and it’s all thanks to Diggs.
After a bank robbery involving an injured off-duty police officer, Diggle took it upon himself to convince Queen that there are other cases worth pursuing that go “beyond the scope of those pages” his father left behind. The same pages whose origins were finally explained in a flashback to Purgatory. We watched as a delusional Oliver spoke to his dead dad dejectedly explaining that he is not a hero. In his final moments of weakness, and attempting to stay warm by burning an empty book’s page it was revealed that the book contained hidden names – Arrow’s hit list.
After Diggle convinced Oliver to pursue the bank robbers, Queen decided to do a little digging without Diggs into the history of the thieves. In an ironic turn of events, Oliver found out that the same people harming his city had themselves been harmed by his father, unrightfully losing their jobs and turning to crime in order to survive. This episode’s focus allowed audiences to relate to Oliver as he emotionally connected with the villain/victim as opposed to the usual money-thirsty corrupt businessmen.
Diggle proved to be more than just Oliver’s training partner as he broadened Oliver’s capacity of crime-fighting making him see that the “symptoms” of Starling City’s disease extended beyond “street crime”. The Royal Flush Gang hit Starling City’s banks. Three times. In an attempt to be the hero his father wanted him to be, Oliver tried to give the criminals, a family of four, the chance to walk away. Oliver’s sympathy and attempt to fix what his father broke could be the path Arrow takes with what kind of hero Oliver could become. During the final heist, a guard shot the family’s father who jumped into the line of fire to save his son’s life. Reminiscent of Oliver and his issues with his father, the result is resonant as well: the father died. The message of the moment seemed to be that heroes sometimes fail while trying to do the right thing, but whether or not they prevail afterwards makes or breaks them.
Amidst all the crime-fighting scenes, Thea, Laurel and Tommy found themselves in an awkward entanglement of emotions and alcohol. Tommy, a changed man yearning for Laurel’s attention, asked for Thea’s advice in order to woo Laurel. Thea confused his predicament with an attempt at grasping her own attention, and did not take it lightly when it was obvious who Tommy was actually going for. During Tommy’s fundraiser for Laurel’s legal service CNRI (still love that it phonetically spells out Canary) Thea got substantially drunker than anyone should and while Tommy cared for her, he also won over Laurel’s affection.
In other news including characters that don’t wear green hoods, Mother Moira found herself in a vulnerable and lonely place after Walter left for Australia. Keeping with the theme of the episode and showing Oliver’s more compassionate side, he reconnected with his mother in an adorable “let’s be classy and eat burgers with our hands” scene. It’s enjoyable to see Arrow delve into the character’s psyche a bit more, adding depth to their personalities. We were shown a more “stripped back” version of Oliver Queen’s life where the connections between people were finally more important than his mission to save Starling City.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars