TV REVIEW: ARROW Season 2, Episode 2 Identity

arrow-tvreview-logosmallSky 1 treated us to two episodes tonight, City of Heroes was a fantastic return to Oliver Queen’s Starling city and the second episode, Identity has a lot to follow on from. Below, you’ll find my review for the episode. Click on to see what I thought.

Synopsis (From TV.com): Oliver goes after China White and her new partner, Bronze Tiger, when they interdict shipments of medicine intended for a hospital in the Glades. Meanwhile, Officer Lance captures Roy and Thea gives her boyfriend an ultimatum, while Laurel continues her hunt for the Arrow.

This episode sees the return of China White (together with a new underling) and features an amazingly shot opening action scene in which, once more, Roy’s inexperience gets him into trouble. It’s this week that Oliver starts to become less oblivious to the concerns of those around him. Clearly he’s decided it’s time to become more human as well as trying to be less lethal in his vigilantism.

Speaking of less lethal, it seems Oliver is still willing to use pointy arrows (though not sticking them anywhere too important), but has also started to edge into the trick arrow territory. Admittedly, these are mainly variations on the stun / exploding arrows of last season but we are also treated to a nifty handcuff effect arrow (well, a noose that tightens over hands at least) which one cannot help but admire the skill necessary to utilise it. From the back of a Motorcycle. At night.

One element of Arrow that I always liked (especially given the end of last season) is that things don’t always go Oliver’s way. In this episode we see him try and do right for the people of the Glades. A consequence of this is that (naturally) his public and night-time identity ultimately come into conflict and a choice has to be made. I was in some ways disappointed that the obvious happened, but I’m not sure the Drama would have worked otherwise. Especially moving forward.

The bond between the three mains (and I genuinely can’t imagine the show without Felicity and Diggle right now) is excellent. Oliver is really having to re-find himself. While he is the top-dog when it comes to night-work, it’s clear that he still has a ways to go before he is as close to either of the others as they have become to each other while he hid away on the island. Diggle and Felicity have been thrown together, but they have clearly become true friends over the last year. Oliver realises there’s more to life than his crusade and is trying to re-connect with Diggle especially.

Speaking of re-connecting, we see how naïve Oliver can be. Even when face to face with Laurel and looking her in the eye, he ignored the warning signs. Frankly, he walked right into the episode climax and he blooming well deserved what happened for pure stupidity. Roy manages to retain an idealism that Oliver just can’t help Thea break. Despite his better judgement, Oliver has to find a compromise that benefits himself, keeps Roy as safe as possible and doesn’t break Thea.

The island subplot (I didn’t mention last week, but I really love how the writers manage to juxtapose the events Oliver experienced there with his current activities in Starling City) really starts to bring in a new mystery. The Fyers plot from last year is well and truly wrapped up, but there has clearly been more to the island than we were previously made aware of. Indeed, I was reminded of elements of the game far Cry 3. Oh, and yes. When playing that game, I did sometimes jump out of bushes with my bow drawn and shout “Random Pirate dude – You have failed this island!” at the screen. Sue me!

In amongst the drama and action, there were some excellent funny moments this week. As usual, these were from Diggle and Felicity (have I mentioned I love those two at all?). Particularly the “secret identity” discussion (Diggle’s deadpan delivery was superb) and Felicity’s constant railing about being a secretary which made her eventual coffee-making (and muttered “one”) all the more heart-warming.

Here’s something I don’t often comment on. The soundtrack on Arrow is superb. It doesn’t suffer from being too loud as soundtracks in some shows do and it really helps get the mood for a scene. Last episode this was evident in the scene where Oliver returns to the basement and this week, the scene where Oliver chooses which activity takes priority for the night (juxtaposed with him being ripped a metaphorical new one behind his back) was awesome.

Another fine episode from the Arrow team. I really hope the series remains so strong. Last year, I often found the show to be fun enough but not really the top show of the week. These opening episodes have really raised the series a notch for me. I’m really impressed with how well my favourite comic hero has translated.

Rating: 4 /5
Reviewer: Wedgedoc

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