Episode 13: Betrayal
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.
It's easy to be in denial about someone you know. It can be difficult to accept that somebody you know and trust isn't who they are. A couple episodes ago, Diggle refused to believe that his old friend had turned into a criminal. This week spends a significant time where Oliver refuses to believe that his mother is a bad guy. It makes sense that he wouldn't want to accept that his mother is on the wrong side. His father gave him the task to right his wrongs and he's started to fall into being a hero as the series has progressed. He might be a nightclub owner to the public but his real trade is to be a vigilante. If his mother is someone that he has to take down, it complicates the situation because of the murky stakes. On one hand, Oliver loves his mother and doesn't want to lose her. They might have had some difficult connecting throughout the series but he still has a relationship with her. On the other hand not being able to stop her is failing his job and might end up having negative consequences that hurts people. The two being on opposite sides isn't ideal for Oliver because it plays into his conflicting loyalties. He's forced to accept that this is the case when Diggle presents evidence that Moira is involved in some nefarious plan that involves threats. Oliver might have been in denial but Diggle realized that Moria having a copy of the book was suspicious in it's own right. Diggle is able to get the evidence he needs to convince his partner that Moira is not a good guy. It makes sense that Oliver's initial response is denial but he's forced to accept the reality. This is good for two different reasons. The first is that it finally catches Oliver up to speed with the audience. We've known Moira is not good for the last thirteen episodes and allowing Oliver this knowledge will allow the plot to truly develop. The second is that Oliver is made aware that there's an evil plan out there. He might be as clueless about the plan as we are but cluing him in allows the writers to finally get him involved in the story. It's kind of hard to have him stop something he knows nothing about. He doesn't just know about a plan but that his mom is involved gives him an opening to find out more.
That was all in the background of the episode as most of it was on the weekly case. A criminal named Cyrus Vanch is released from prison and his first act is to kill his defense lawyer for botching up the case. The reason that Oliver gets involved is because Laurel uses the phone and asks him. She has represented the victims of Cyrus' crimes and she's hoping that Oliver will be able to help put Cyrus behind bars permanently. This all gets complicated because the phone had been bugged by the police. Quentin is able to ambush the two when they meet to exchange a recording but Oliver is able to get away. This move does draw Cyrus towards kidnapping Laurel. Cyrus has big plans now that he's out as he plans to take over the triad and the Bertillini mob. He decides that the best way to get the respect of both organizations is to take out the Hood. This is similar to the Joker's plan to get rid of the Batman but it does lead to his downfall in The Dark Knight. He uses Laurel to draw out Oliver because a police informant reveals that the two have a working relationship together. The only reason the informant even knows this is because of the ambush. Cyrus fails in his plan to kill the Arrow due to one reason: Quentin tags along. Quentin is able to temporarily put aside his problems with the Hood in order to rescue his daughter. The weekly case was surprisingly strong for a couple of reasons. The first is that David Anders is able to have a lot of fun in his over-the-top portrayal of Cyrus Vanch. The second has to do with all of the relationship conflict that the weekly case is able to bring out as they all revolve around the Hood. It also helps to explore the shifting perception that Quentin has on the vigilante. He might not like the guy or his methods but this is about the second time that the Hood has helped save Laurel. The weekly case might have had a stand-alone villain but it played into the serialized aspects of the show.
The most prominent detail of the relationship conflict revolves around Quentin. The cop is obsessed with bringing the vigilante in justice even as he's quickly being isolated by his desire. There's a scene in the episode where the lieutenant practically admits that nobody really wants Quentin to catch the guy in the Hood because he's started to be seen as a hero. The Hood might be breaking the law but the people don't want to see a hero fall. Quentin's own view of the vigilante’s danger is challenged when he realizes that someone in the police is feeding information to Cyrus and he must rely on the vigilante to save his daughter. His obsession isn't just starting to separate him from the rest of his peers. When he uses the bug to ambush the meeting between the Hood and Laurel, his own daughter loses any trust she had in her father. She might understand that he was doing his job but he not only lied to her but used her as bait. Quentin's desire to bring the Hood in is so great that he actually thinks that Laurel's refusal to distance herself from the vigilante is justification for what he did. This ambush and Laurel's kidnapping had a ripple effect where the Hood realized the danger that Laurel was in by associating with him so he decides to cut off all ties with her. Finally, there is some conflict between Tommy and Laurel because he learned that she had been working with the Hood for a couple of months now. That's not only a huge secret but Tommy doesn't share the view that the Hood is a hero. He views the Hood as a murderer. The two work it out in the end but Tommy's jealousy of the vigilante is planted in this episode. The ripple effects that the weekly case and the actions within it were pretty substantial to the characters.
Betrayal is a pretty good episode of Arrow. The weekly case and how it managed to play out into the lives of the main characters was solid work. The background development of Diggle making Oliver realize his mother was a bad guy might have been a bit rushed at the end but it's an exciting one to make. Bringing Oliver up to speed with what the audience knows will finally allow him to start playing a role in the plan story arc. It did lead to an exciting cliff-hanger where Oliver shows up as the Hood to his mother and states that she failed the city. If the previews are any indication, the next episode is going to be an exciting ride.
The flashback story continue to be developed at a brisk pace but it sadly didn't have a jaw-dropping twist. The reveal that the island wasn't a prison was a nifty development-if it's true.
The previews have Moira shooting Oliver. I felt that would have served as an even bigger cliff-hanger to the episode-it would have been exciting and unexpected.