On Tuesday night, around 11:30 PM EST, CNN announced that Mitt Romney had lost the general election for President of the United States. Thus, Big Bird had earned a reprieve from certain death. So, I guess Arrow, in anticipating this turn, decided to pardon all fowl and pick on bunnies instead. A former vengeance demon otherwise known as Anya Christina Emmanuella Jenkins would have gleefully embraced this development and probably sent the writers a fruit basket for their bold stand against the hoppy little vermin. Me? Well, I can’t even watch those ASPCA commercials without being reduced to a blubbering mess. Kill all the people you want (except Tommy!). Leave the cute, furry animals alone.
“Damaged” saw developments in two mother-centric stories. Oliver’s mother got some much-needed fleshing out (she’s not 100% evil after all – more like 95%), while the missing variable of the Lance equation was finally factored in.
Moira Queen’s husband, Walter, decides to send his head of security to retrieve the salvaged remains of the Queen’s Gambit from the warehouse. Conveniently, the head of security is then killed in a “car accident.” Walter, being far too logical for his own good on a CW program, confronts Moira and she warns him to not dig around in her business as it gets people killed. So, he takes off. On the surface, this is a business trip. But, clearly, Judge Lynn has a new case pending on her docket. I hope he’s not in a “plane accident.” I like Walter. No wonder his screen time has been drastically reduced (see: Tommy for details).
Meanwhile, Moira’s creepy consort sends an assassin after Oliver after he is arrested for being The Hood (or so they’re referring to Starling City’s vigilante). Moira threatens to burn his world to ashes if he ever hurts anyone in her family. Um…I appreciate the mama bear routine, but it rings a little hollow considering, you know, she was in on the boat sabotage that killed her husband and left Oliver stranded on a deserted island. Oh, and because she kidnapped him and had him tortured in the pilot. Is this one of those “Do as I say, not as I do” things that parents do that never ever makes sense?
Laurel, on the other hand, revealed that she does have a mother, she is very much alive and bailed on Laurel and her father after Sarah died. Laurel is quickly becoming the Lemon Breeland of Arrow. Father who’s in the business of saving people and doesn’t like the new people-saver in town? Check. Bratty sister? Check. Mother who ran off? Check. “True love” disappeared for a while so she hooked up with his hotter, cooler friend? Check. If Laurel starts dressing like a housewife from the fifties and talking like Scarlett O’Hara on speed, remember I saw it first.
The Lying Game
Being arrested for a litany of crimes ain’t no thang for Oliver Queen. In fact, he wanted it to happen and knew that the camera that caught him was there the whole time. Figuring folks would get suspicious that The Hood showed up just as Oliver was rescued, he decides to pull a Billy Loomis. “See? I can’t be the mysterious killer person because I’m in jail and the mysterious killer person is still mysteriously killing!” This might be a smarter plan if, you know, people had actually questioned why Oliver and The Hood’s appearances coincide. But, I’m beginning to learn that hitting beats isn’t really this show’s strong suit after all (more on that later).
With Laurel acting as his attorney, Oliver volunteers for a polygraph test. No, Maury Povich was not involved, nor were any sexy decoys. He passes with flying colors, though it’s not enough to convince Detective Lance of his innocence. So, how did Oliver become such a good liar? For that, we return to Flashback Island.
After the unnecessary slaughter of a cute little bunny, Oliver gets captured by the operatives. They’re looking for the man who rescued him (okay, and shot him with an arrow and turned him into a wanton chicken-killer). They have a picture of him in a military uniform. So, who is this guy? Oliver claims to have never seen him, even as he endures torture at the hands of … drumroll please … Deathstroke! Oliver keeps his mouth shut and is rescued, again, before being left in a sealed-off cave.
But, while Oliver is able to fool the machine, he doesn’t get off scot free. Turns out, Laurel has caught him in a lie. He said he’d never been to the prison from the previous episode, but she knows better. Their school went on a field trip there (not sure why a school would go on a field trip to a prison, but what do I know?). My school went to lame places like a dairy farm and a space museum. The only time we got any face time with prisoners was when a few of them came to an assembly to tell us not to do drugs or join a gang or kill anybody because we’ll go to jail and have to take communal showers and barter certain favors for extra pudding at dinner.
Laurel is onto him, but the guy who already knows Oliver’s secret is none too pleased to be jerked around. Digg warns Oliver not to play him again, then agrees to don The Hood and take down this week’s baddie – an arms dealer. With The Hood menacing across town while Oliver is showing off his scars and going to first base with Laurel, Detective Lance has no choice but to drop the charges. Clearly, he learned absolutely nothing from Scream.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Last week, I wrote that I was a bit disappointed with how formulaic the show is becoming. This episode did a lot to break away from the formula. Unfortunately, putting someone else in The Hood and moving 90% of the formula off screen doesn’t really count as breaking it. Digg threatens the baddie of the week, he doesn’t repent, Oliver kills him. Rinse, repeat.
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