With the success of Smallville and its 10 season run, it isn’t really surprising that The CW would take advantage of the superhero boom in entertainment once more by bringing in another DC hero to carry a new show. Is Green Arrow capable of doing what (pre) Superman did?
[Disclaimer – though I am a fan of superheroes and comics, I will never claim to have an extensive database in my brain to pull from on the subject. My only exposure to Green Arrow was Smallville really, so I will not have the insights that those who know more about the character do, and thus there is no need to really worry about spoilers in my write-ups. If you know more on the subject please feel free to share in the comments, but I will ask that you mark it with “Possible Spoilers” or something to the effect. Thanks!]
Hints of the Origin Story
What is it with islands and Purgatory? Shows realize these two things don’t really have to go hand in hand, right?
But that’s beside the point. No matter the island’s name, the five years Oliver spent there were full of plenty of trials to overcome as he fought to survive. For now all we really have to go on are some scars on his abdomen, so his time on the island will probably be a recurring part of the season as we learn exactly what he went through. What we do know is that he wasn’t alone. Right before he is rescued we see an arrow going through the eye of a black and orange mask (possibly foreshadowing a flashback with Deathstroke? Yes I Google searched to get the name, but at least give me minor credit for recognizing the mask!), which can only mean that this was an opponent he had to deal with at some point during the 5 years. So that’s at least one person who was there, plus all the tutors that must have swung by to teach him Russian, Buddhist symbols, how to sculpt a bow, etc. Seriously, we need a better explanation for his knowledge base.
I’m Not Batman
…He said while doing a Batman impression. Let’s face it, these two DC characters are ridiculously easy to compare thanks to the party boy lifestyles they led/present and their lack of superpowers. And it does seem that they’re trying to move away from the campier feel that Smallville often suffered from to move more towards a darker feeling. A good way to do this? Have the hero kill people.
The first man we see the character kill is during the kidnapping, while Oliver is not hiding behind the hood (referring more to the idea that he isn’t hiding behind this figure, or ideal, he is himself when it happens). I will never understand why this kidnapper decided to bring a real gun to a tranq gun fight, but it does provide this baddie the opportunity to kill a man who just so happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, which lends itself to being enough of a reason for Oliver to snap his neck. Up close killing like that? This man means business.
In the episode’s action sequences Green Arrow is blending parkour, close quarter combat, and the obvious arrow here and there as he moves through all the thugs that stand in his way. Though it should be noted that there was a line thrown into the show to clarify that a lot of the human pincushions were recovering in the hospital, at this rate there will be more bodies piling up as the season advances. My guess? At some point Oliver is probably going to have some soul searching moment with himself to understand what this means about who he is as a person, but it probably wont happen anytime soon.
The other commonality between these two DC boys is that they’re trying to clean up their cities (seriously, the way Queen talks about his city is very reminiscent of Batman talking about Gotham), but this time instead of having parents that were constantly working towards the betterment of their hometown before their demise, Oliver must right his father’s wrongs. After all, you can’t say no to a request like that when the man making it puts a period on it by shooting himself in the head.
With the list of criminals in hand (where’d he get all those names from? Google local bad guys?), Green Arrow starts his purging of the evil in the city by taking on Adam Hunt, eventually stealing 40 million from him to Robin Hood out to the people whose suit he beat in court. Take that Laurel since you couldn’t do this in the courtroom.
Speaking of Laurel, I’d say the biggest wrong Oliver needs to right is that with her because she is clearly holding on to some resentment: “I couldn’t be angry because she was dead. I couldn’t grieve because I was so angry. That’s what happens when your sister dies while screwing your boyfriend.” Boom. Bomb dropped. There’s no real way to make up for leading to the death of her sister, but let’s face it, she’s going to have to get over it eventually since this is where the romance is going to be happening. Eventually. But for now he is just going to stick with White Fanging her (New Girl reference) with his whole “I’m just going to end up hurting you because I have so many ladies to do” speech.
The Supporting Cast
Because there are so many new faces (What!? In a pilot episode!? Who’da thunk it!), I find it slightly necessary to list off the supporting cast and break down the initial presentation of these characters. So here we go!
Tommy Merlyn – First things first: what kind of last name is Merlyn? There is no way someone can be given a name like that and not eventually gain magic based powers. It just can’t be done. And he’s definitely going to be evil, fighting against the man who used to be his best friend after a falling out of some sort. For now he is just one of Oliver’s friends who already seems to be putting the pieces together about Oliver’s new pastime. Granted he might be too busy getting it on with Oliver’s ex to put too much thought into it (I’m kidding; no way he’s going to let this go).
Thea Queen – Originally dealing with having a dead father and brother, Oliver’s sister is not quite ready to move back to happiness with the reappearance of her brother as she is content with turning to the drugs she probably turned to years ago. Though maybe not at first, she would have been 12 at that time… Eventually these issues are going to become a real problem, and the show better not suffer by dipping into the realm of after school specials. For now, I’d say the first step is getting her to stop saying: “Let’s bounce.”
Mrs. Queen – Like with Smallville, looks like Arrow will have its own horrible parent that does not really care about their child so much as getting what they want in terms of money, power, or whatever it is. She was willing to hire thugs to kidnap her son already, and I doubt we have seen the lengths to which she is willing to go to learn whatever she thinks her husband told Oliver.
Detective Lance – I didn’t catch his name if he gave it, but all that really matters is that he is Laurel’s dad. The combination of this and his status with law enforcement means two things: 1) Along the way of trying to catch the Green Arrow he is going to discover his true identity, and he will be forced to decide between keeping the secret or not. 2) He is going to die, possibly forcing him to keep the secret whether he intended to or not.
Though there are plenty of gaps left that I wish this pilot episode had filled in, it’s reasonable to assume that we wont have to learn more about Oliver’s time on the island, how he knows all he does, whatever information his father had, etc. I know I am more than willing to stick around for when it happens.
So what did you guys think of the episode? Which line was the worst line of the episode: Oliver pledging to “bring justice to those who have poisoned my city” considering how weak of a set up it is, or “He told me to kill you” as a threat to the kidnappers from his dead father? My vote goes to the latter. And speaking of lines from the episode, what did he mean when he said: “No one can know my secret” before snapping the guy’s neck? It’s not like they had gotten any information out of him or anything, so he must really want his free running skills to remain a secret. Did you like Green Arrow’s makeup? It’s at least a step up from the hair he was rocking on the island, but it looks like we are going to have to just play along with another disguise that doesn’t really work considering there is no way no one will recognize his face considering how exposed it is under the hood. Let me know your thoughts on the episode below!