Welcome back to me talking about Arrow season 1! Last time we talked about the pilot episode where we learned that Oliver Queen was shipwrecked on an island for five years, has recently come back home, and is a superhero vigilante on the downlow. With the pilot out of the way and a couple plot threads for the season already showing, the next couple episodes build up the main characters. But this is a show for the CW network, so there will be action sequences to go with over the top drama. So, pretty much like a comic book.
Episode 2 is titled “Honor Thy Father” with a theme of, well, how Oliver plans to honor the memory of his father. His mother, Moira Queen, and her husband, Walter Steele, want Ollie to take a role at Queen Consolidated, but that would really cut into his vigilante time. Meanwhile, Oliver’s lawyer ex-girlfriend, Laurel Lance, is going after this week’s scumbag, Martin Somers (Mr. Ty Olsson, AKA Benny from Supernatural or the guard Magneto pulls the iron from in X2). He’s responsible for the death of Emily Nocenti’s father, but she’s basically an inconsequential character I mention only for trivia later on. Oliver bonds a bit with Laurel, but the moment is ruined when Triad goons attack, trying to kill Laurel and therefore the case against Somers. One of the assassins is white haired Chien Na Wei (Kelly Hu, AKA Deathstrike from, again, X2), who I’m pretty sure is never actually named; that’s going to happen a lot in these early episodes. Oliver’s bodyguard, John Diggle, saves the day, but notices that Oliver has hidden combat skills. As the as-yet-unnamed hooded vigilante, Oliver takes down Somers and leaves his confession for Detective Quentin Lance, Laurel’s father. Oliver later acts drunk at a public function and says that he’s not up to continuing his father’s legacy. At least not that way while he’s secretly righting the wrongs in Starling City, all a part of his father’s final wish. We the audience then find out that Moira was aware that her husband’s ship was sabotaged. Dun dun DUN!
Next up is “Lone Gunmen,” the episode that introduces Floyd Lawton, AKA Deadshot (Michael Rowe). As Deadshot picks off people bidding on a company, Oliver has to step up his game to stop this exceptional assassin. Ollie demonstrates to us that he’s a member of the Bratva–the Russian mob–and a captain no less! He uses his contacts to get info on Lawton and passes it on to Detective Lance, who is very unhappy to get help from a vigilante he and his partner are calling “the Hood.” Meanwhile, Oliver’s sister, Thea Queen, is acting up, forcing Moira to actual flex her mom muscles. And we also learn a bit more about Diggle’s personal life when we meet his sister-in-law, Carly (Christie Laing). Back with Oliver, he gets help from IT nerd Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards), a character who is very important to the series later on. Ollie gives the worst cover story to get Felicity’s help, which is more amusing than it should be. At the auction, the guy who hired Lawton is arrested, the assassinations are foiled, and it appears that the Hood kills Deadshot (he gets better). Unfortunately, Dig gets shot in the crossfire. Since Deadshot uses poison on his bullets, the Hood takes Diggle to his secret base under the nightclub Oliver is opening up in order to deliver an antidote. Oliver just exposed his secret identity!
The fourth episode, “An Innocent Man,” features the Hood getting Laurel’s help to save the titular innocent man from death row. But before that starts up, Diggle refuses the offer to work with the Hood due to the whole criminal vigilante thing. Back to the main story, the villain this week is Jason Brodeur–not to be confused with the Florida State Senator who is associated with Matt Gaetz. Brodeur got caught dumping toxic waste by one of his employees, so he had her murdered and framed her husband, Peter Declan. The Hood contacts Laurel to get her legal help in freeing Declan, but she ends up a target yet again and nearly gets killed. The Hood saves her, but the brutal way he takes down her would-be-murderer shakes her. While this is going on, Walter notices money is missing from Queen Consolidated and doesn’t believe Moira’s cover story. He gets Felicity to look into the situation and she discovers an organization called Tempest. While checking out a warehouse bought by Tempest, Walter finds the dredged up wreck of Robert’s ship, the Queen’s Gambit. Once Brodeur is arrested, Moira meets with an unnamed man (John Barrowman), and they realize that the Hood is going after people on “the list.” The episode ends with Dig’s desire to help people winning out, so he accepts Oliver’s offer. We have the first member of Team Arrow! But then Oliver is arrested by Detective Lance on suspicion that he’s the vigilante. Turns out Ollie got caught on a security camera while rushing to take on Deadshot last episode. Oh no, I’m leaving this post on a cliffhanger!
The flashbacks during these episodes shows Oliver burying his father’s body, only to get immediately shot with an arrow by a Chinese man that still hasn’t been named as of episode 4 (Byron Mann). Told you it was a recurring trend. Ollie tries to escape, but the island is full of traps and some SWAT lookin’ guys, too. The archer gives Oliver his first lesson on how to survive on Lian Yu: you will have to kill, but they start with a bird. Gonna work their way up to people eventually.
So let’s get into those comic references! For “Honor Thy Father,” Triad member Chien Na Wei, AKA China White, first appeared in Green Arrow: Year One #3 (2007) as the leader of a drug cartel operating on the island Oliver washed up on. She’ll be a recurring character, especially this season. Martin Somers only appeared in one issue–Green Arrow #31 (2003)–but remember how I mentioned last time that Laurel’s friend Joanna was based off Joanna Turner, cousin to Black Lightning? Somers was the man responsible for her death, and he was pretty quickly killed by Black Lightning (although it was actually Deathstroke fucking with Black Lightning because comic books run on over the top drama). And while Emily Nocenti was a nothing character, her name is a reference to Ann Nocenti, long time comic book writer who had just started a Green Arrow run earlier in 2012. She’s partially responsible for the creation of characters like Longshot, Mojo, and Typhoid Mary (AKA Mary Walker from the second season of Iron Fist). Cute little reference! I’m sure I missed a dozen more.
For “Lone Gunmen,” we get the introduction of Carly Diggle and talk around the death of her husband and John Diggle’s brother, Andy. She’s an original character, but Felicity isn’t! Debuting originally in Firestorm #23 (1984), she met and fell in love with a man named Ed Raymond, meaning she became the step-mother of Ronnie Raymond. That name sound familiar to The Flash fans? It should, because he’s one half of the hero Firestorm! Felicity was reintroduced to a rebooted comic landscape in Green Arrow #35 (2014), now looking much more like her TV counterpart. And then there’s Deadshot, a long-time DC villain/anti-hero. Like, really long-time, as his first appearance was in Batman #59 (1950). He’s a core member of the Secret Six (a series I highly recommend), but he’s also been a recurring member of the Suicide Squad, as seen with Will Smith playing the character in 2016’s Suicide Squad. This episode also features Lawton hiding out in room 52 of a motel; long story short, DC Comics loves the number 52 and it’s going to appear everywhere for the next forever.
There weren’t many Easter eggs in “An Innocent Man.” Blüdhaven is mentioned, which the Hood pronounces “blood” even though it’s supposed be more like “blewed.” Either way, Blüdhaven is a city in DC Comics close to Gotham and usually associated with Nightwing (Dick Grayson, the first Robin), but there’s no mention of the Batfamily in this episode.
The question that kept coming to my mind while rewatching these early episodes was, “Why is Diggle a good person?” I don’t mean why he believes in helping people and all that, but why isn’t he involved in whatever Moira is involved in? Her goal at the end of the first episode was to find out if Robert told Oliver anything before he died, and we know that she can use co-conspirator contacts to hire thugs, so why hire a bodyguard completely removed from her conspiracy? The short answer is “because the show needed David Ramsey to be a good guy and an ally to Oliver,” but still, it seems like an oversight to not have the person watching over her son be in on the Und–I mean, whatever Moira and the mystery man are up to. So many mysteries that I definitely don’t know the nature of!
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