Welcome back, DC fans, to what will hopefully be a weekly review column by yours truly. It has been three months since I originally saw the pilot episode of Arrow, so needless to say my anticipation for the second episode of the continued story of Oliver Queen’s origin was quite high. This week’s installment, “Honor Thy Father,” was a mixed bag but helped set up some very intriguing stuff.
The episode spent a lot of time recapping the pilot and the relationships established in it, making it easy for new viewers to jump in without missing much. Oliver’s shady mom spent much of the episode trying to convince Oliver to take a lead role in Queen Industries, to which Oliver hilariously responded by asking if she thought he had time to get his MBA while on the island. Ha! Quit infringing on vigilante time, mom! Geez.
Ultimately, it took Oliver making a spectacle (intentionally) of himself at a public dedication to his father to make everyone back off and realize he’s not CEO material, thus freeing him up to continue cleaning up the streets as Green Arrow. This was followed up by a nice scene at his father’s grave where he swears to finish his last wishes, but in doing so he might have to disgrace his memory and he was truly sorry for it. Emotional stuff.
Oliver’s target from his father’s list this week was a generic mob character named Peter Summers, but more interesting were the people associated with him, most notably the Chinese Triad China White (Kelly Hu) from the pages of Green Arrow: Year One. White was a fierce and dangerous character in the funny books, but she felt a little cartoon-ish in this episode and more like a visually interesting character to fight rather than a well-rounded, complex villain. Hopefully they have some fiendish things in store for her to do in future episodes.
Oliver continues his mad rampage of massacring bad guys left and right, and that still feels a bit odd and weirdly cold, but I suppose it adds a raw element that makes Oliver unhinged and scary. Also, if Oliver is just taking people out on a whim, I’m getting a little tired of the ol’ “arrow through the chest” and waiting for him to use some specialty arrows. Where are the exploding or acid arrows? Is the boxing glove arrow too tame for this show?? Well…yeah…it probably is…
One of the strong points of the episode were the revelations and mysteries introduced this week, most of which revolve around the island. The topics covered continue to surprise me with the level of darkness they are willing to go to in a network TV superhero show. One that stuck with me was Oliver fighting off seagulls trying to eat his father’s corpse in the life raft, making for an extremely sad and disturbing moment.
We’re also introduced to a strange circular symbol that Oliver’s dad had in the empty diary that would eventually hold Green Arrow’s “list.” Why was the book empty after his father was already dead? Shouldn’t he have written that stuff? And why was that symbol on a book that an unseen man was holding while talking to Oliver’s evil Mom, who had just revealed the doomed yacht that shipwrecked Oliver’s was intentionally sabotaged and would have went down regardless of the storm?
And whoa, that cliffhanger! We see an island flashback of Oliver burying his father in rocks as he is shot through the shoulder with…wait for it…an arrow by a man in a hooded green outfit and bow! What the-Who the- Huh? The hooded man certainly doesn’t look like Deathstroke, who was teased in the first episode with his mask on a pike as Ollie was rescued from the island. So as we suspected, Ollie was not alone on the island and seems to have possibly had a mentor? How else could he learn his skills and and acquire a seemingly vast knowledge of other languages?
This was a solid enough episode, but followed the format of the first episode a little too closely. The island flashbacks all happened around the same time, Green Arrow tracked down and intimidated a generic criminal, and his mom dropped a bombshell reveal in the closing moments. Yup, been there done that last week. But the action was solid, plot movement was good, and there were some nice character moments. While the episode was a bit sloppy, I still found it quite fun and the sophomore installment has only expanded my intrigue for Arrow.
FINAL SCORE: 3.5/5