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ARROW Needs to be Just a Bit Sharper

Episode 102 “Honor Thy Father”

So wait. How long between Robert Queen telling Ollie about the corruption and his pulling the trigger?

In this episode, we get more conspiracy, more Melrose Place style smoldering looks between Ollie and Dinah Laurel, more scenery-chewing from Paul Blackthorne, and some suspicions start to brew.


The corrupt businessman of the week is Martin Summers, who’s covering for a drug smuggling operation down at the docks. When one of the stevedores threatens to expose him, he’s killed by China White (Kelly Hu, with not much to do). Stevedore’s daughter sues, with Dinah Laurel working the case, which of course, makes her a target.

And that puts Summers in Ollie’s cross hairs. Now, is this show going to really be doing this every week? The guy Green Arrow targets just happens to be the guy Ollie’s ex-girlfriend is trying to pursue and bring to justice? How long before someone — like, say, her cop dad — makes that connection. This is two in a row now. We need some variety here, writers.

(But at least Blackthorne pronounces “stevedore” properly. Script supervisor, you let Katie Cassidy down this week.)

The show is also taking a cue from Batman Begins, as Ollie decides to go the whole “irresponsible billionaire playboy” route very much like Bruce Wayne did when his girls got into the pool that wasn’t a pool. This seems like the lazy choice to make. I don’t want to see a Bruce Wayne clone. I want to see the Denny O’Neil/Neal Adams Oliver Queen. And this ain’t him.

Granted, he could get there. But he’s not there yet. And the dual identity is already showing cracks, as both Thea/Speedy and Diggle are figuring out that Ollie isn’t exactly what he wants people to think. Dig figures it out when Ollie throws a dull, unbalanced butter knife across the room with pinpoint accuracy, taking out one of the thugs China White sent to attack Dinah Laurel.

And Thea gets a clue during the dedication of the new Robert Queen science building, where Ollie makes an ass of himself in front of … well, pretty much everyone. But no fountain diving.

China White’s plan to kill the lawyer suing the criminal kingpin is also a bit of lazy writing. You guys don’t think that it wouldn’t be a little suspicious? But at least we get to see Kelly Hu throw some kicks and such. That’s always fun, even though the fight choreography could have been photographed better…

Oh, my. I sound like I’m nit-picking, don’t I? Well, yes. Because the devil’s in the details. And the details are what’s going to make or break this show. For instance: how much time between Robert Queen confessing his sins and the moment he killed himself? Did he give up every detail he had about the corruption in Starling City? If so, how did Ollie remember all of it long enough to write it down in the blank book in Robert’s pocket?

The alternative is to figure that Ollie has just been coming up with all sorts of details in his head, speculating based on a few snippets his father may or may not have told him. If that’s the case, then how much data in the book is wrong?

On the third hand (as Lt. Arex may say), how much of the stuff in the book is from Ollie’s experience on the island? What secrets did he bring back with him? And was China White there, as she was in Green Arrow: Year One (written by Andy Diggle), which serves as a strong influence over this particular version of the story?

Some decent character bits in this episode, especially between Dinah Laurel and Dad, in which they discuss the whole notion of justice outside the law. This feels like the very scratching-the-surface beginnings of her arc to become Black Canary. I’m calling it now. Either she or Speedy (or both) put on spandex in the season finale.

And the reveal that the yacht was sabotaged isn’t much of a surprise, given that Mom is involved in this conspiracy. But now one wonders if Walter is involved, or if he’s just a pawn in a bigger chess game? And who’s the mysterious figure Moira meets? Could it be Rev. Billy Miggs? Mayor Bolt (Steelclaw)?

The flashbacks give us a little more about Ollie’s first days on the island — with narration, oy — during which Ollie fights off birds trying to eat Dad, Ollie buries Dad, and Ollie gets shot with an arrow by someone wearing a green hood. Wait. What?

Next week: Deadshot!


[Official Show Site at CW]     [Previous Recap: “Pilot”]

Jason P. Hunt

Jason P. Hunt (founder/EIC) is the author of the sci-fi novella "The Hero At the End Of His Rope". His short film "Species Felis Dominarus" was a finalist in the Sci Fi Channel's 2007 Exposure competition.

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