Saturday, February 16, 2013


Episode 14: The Odyssey
By: Carlos Uribe

Arrow is a show about the Green Arrow, a vigilante who seeks justice. It is based on the DC comic superhero Green Arrow.

Spoilers Ahoy!

That opening scene was awesome. Oliver has gone to question his mother as the hood. What happens next is Moira uses her kids to beg for her life. This convinces Oliver that his mother isn't a terrible person and he lays his guard down. This allows Moira to get a gun out and shoot him. He does take a bullet but he's able to escape before security can show up. He enlists the help of Felicity to take him back to his secret base so that Diggle can save his life. He blacks out for the rest of the episode as they try to remove the bullet and stabilize him. There's a lot of parts where the show tries to create tension by pretending that he might die. It doesn't really work because this isn't the kind of show that's actually going to kill it's main character. It was also unnecessary since the flashbacks had enough tension to drive the narrative. At the end, Oliver is able to wake up and start his recovery. Felicity has temporarily joined the group because she wants to help them rescue Walter. She's not convinced about their crusade but she wants to help her former boss. Oliver has decided that his mom is no longer a suspect since they're not sure she's involved and because she used her kids to beg for her life. That's basically all the plot development in the present day we get this episode: Oliver gets shot but he decides to stop treating his mother as a hostile. This is a plot decision that makes sense since it reverts the plot to the status quo but it's a disappointing one. At least it made actual sense rather than forcing the decision on the character for the sake of the plot. So not a lot actually happened but this episode concentrates on the past. It makes sense that having the main character be blacked out would be a perfect excuse for the episode to concentrate on developing the flashback plot.

I haven't really paid that much attention to the island flashbacks recently because the developments have been moving too fast but only over a few scenes. We had learned that Yao Fei has joined the mercenary group but he keeps looking out for Oliver. Oliver was sent to an airstrip where he discovered a man named Slade. This man provided Oliver with the opportunity to leave the island by taking over an airfield. This episode basically picks on that plot thread. Slade tries his best to prepare Oliver before they have to go on the mission. The tension in this flashback works for a simple reason. It's obvious that Oliver isn't going to die because he's alive in the future. His survival isn't what's at stake here. What is at stake is the possibility of him leaving the island. We knew from his off-hand comment to Diggle that he might not have spent the five years on the island. This opens up the possibility that he might actually get off the island at some point. This possibility means that the two might actually be able succeed in his mission and leave the island. This doesn't happen because Slade reveals his plans to firebomb the island to defeat the mercenaries. Since that would involve killing Yao Fei, Oliver decides to try and warn him. This basically results in the two missing the plane and getting stuck on an island. Oh, did I mention that in Oliver warning Yao Fei, they managed to piss off the mercenaries? They're life is now in danger but there is one difference. Oliver was able to prove that he's picking up skills when he takes out a guard and aims a gun at the mercenary boss. They might just have a chance to defeat these mercenaries. The real question is what they're doing on the island. They clearly have a nefarious plan because somebody is paying them for their mission.

The Odyssey was a pretty exciting episode of Arrow. The flashback plot dominated the episode and it kept me engaged. While I was always interested in what happened over the five year period that Oliver spent on the island, this is the first time where I'm finding what happened to be truly engaging. Seeing the character be forced to transform from a selfish playboy billionaire into a cold soldier is turning to be one of the most compelling elements of the show. The decision for Oliver to not treat his mother as a suspect is a disappointing one but it makes sense and is actually justified through the episode. Overall, a solid entry.

Other Notes:

The actual conversations between Diggle and Felicity was some of the best work this show has done in regards to developing characters. Diggle's story about the warlord helped justify what he's doing helping Oliver while we got closer to understanding the awesomness that is Felicity.

Arrow has been renewed for a second season. I'm happy with this news. The show isn't where I would want it to be in terms of quality but it's a fun show to watch. It's a bit difficult to review so there's a small chance the second season won't be reviewed.

Felicity is a recurring character this season but the actress playing her will be promoted for the second season. That's pretty amazing news.

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