Currently showing on Sky One is Arrow, the story of Oliver Queen/Green Arrow, a superhero from the DC comic Universe. After being stranded on an island for five years because his ship crashed at sea, Oliver is picked up by a boat and taken home to his family. It transpires that whilst on the island he learnt some pretty damning things about the billionaires in his city, all of whom are corrupt in some way or another, and so vows revenge for the father he lost during the course of the accident. Mix Smallville and Revenge and you pretty much have the idea. Except it’s a hot blonde guy doing all the vengeful things. The reason for the vengeance is because the billions of dollars that the Queen family has accrued was at the cost of the people of Starling City, and so Arrow is sent out to right the wrongs of his family’s past.
In the first episode of Arrow, we found out a few things about the main character, Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell, Dante’s Cove and The Vampire Diaries): that he is good at balancing the secret identity and the superhero powers; he looks REALLY good naked (torso only, but we are hopeful for more); he is finding it hard to distinguish the island and back-to-reality life; he watched his dad, Robert Queen (Jamey Sheridan, Homeland), kill the third man on their raft after the crash and then turn the gun on himself to make sure that Oliver survived; and that he has some serious party skills. We also find out that his sister, Thea Queen (Willa Holland, The O.C. and Gossip Girl), is addicted to pills and that his mum, Moira Queen (Susanna Thompson, Star Trek Voyager), not only had something to do with the accident, but is banging the guy in charge of his dad’s company, Walter Steele (Colin Salmon, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day). Oh, and the first corrupt billionaire to get taken down was Adam Hunt, who scammed millions from the residents of Starling City. An excellent opening to the series, with personal relationships and social interactions gone nuts, as well as fast-paced action sequences and jaw-dropping physical exertions
In Episode Two we discovered that Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy, Gossip Girl and A Nightmare on Elm Street [2010 remake]), whose sister Oliver was sleeping with on the boat and subsequently died, is now a lawyer trying to take down Martin Somers – a man who killed the man who uncovered his drug trafficking with the Chinese Triads. Instead of buckling to Arrow’s threats, he sends China White to assassinate Laurel. Arrow saves her, picking up a recording of Somers’ confession along the way to deliver to Laurel’s father, Detective Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorn, 24 and Lipstick Jungle) who has been investigating the case, alongside the mysterious adventures of Arrow. Oliver embarrasses himself and his family at the opening of a new Applied Sciences division to make sure he doesn’t work there, knowing he can’t work for the company like his mum wants and complete his dad’s mission. His mentor on the island is also seen for the first time. The plot thickens, and yet the drama is ramped up when China comes in as she appears to be well-matched to Arrow. Obviously he kicks her in the privates, but still – drama.
The third episode sees the arrival of an assassin trying to take down some of the millionaires for profit rather than justice, so Arrow goes after him, enlisting the help of Detective Lance. Meanwhile, Oliver finds out his best friend Tommy Merlyn (Colin Donnell, Pan Am) has been sleeping with Laurel, and in order to save his bodyguard, John Diggle (David Ramsey, Dexter and Ghost Whisperer), he has to reveal his dual identity. The whole assassin vs. superhero conundrum raises interesting ethical and moral issues, whilst highlighting the pseudo-Batman and Alfred style relationship that seems to exist between Oliver and Diggle.
Review: Episode Four ‘An Innocent Man’
Now that Diggle knows Oliver’s secret, he spends the fourth episode contemplating his offer of helping Arrow with his mission. Arrow finds out that one of the people on his list, Jason Brodeur, is connected to a man awaiting execution for his wife’s murder. Working with Laurel to find out he is innocent, she tries to get him freed but ends up being intercepted and taken down during a prison riot, only being saved by Arrow dressed in a prison officer uniform and ski-mask. Things get complicated for Oliver’s secret identity as Detective Lance trips over some CCTV footage that implicates him. Also with his detecting hat on is Walter, who investigates the company finances to find out that Moira has used $2.6 million for something that turns out to be housing the ship that was meant to have sunk with her first husband. And then an ominous meeting with a well-dressed man occurs (John Barrowman, If we really need to tell you what he has been in then you need to hand over all of your gay cards immediately) highlighting a prior knowledge of Arrow’s hit list. Oh, and then Oliver gets arrested. And we get a cliff-hanger.
This episode is very much central to any double-identity character game, regardless of the genre it is found in, although it is doing well to take multiple ideas on for a singular episode. If you are comparing this to any other Superhero series, then you will note the discovery of Arrow’s identity – this occurs with the detective, not unusual is the fact that it is connected with the police, and so it makes sense that poor Oliver gets arrested and left to some untold fate (although the specific list of crimes made us giggle). However, the hiring of the sidekick usually occurs far earlier in the series, so it makes sense that the person in question is Diggle, as he has already been prepped for the role.
What we enjoyed most about this episode is that it is the first time that you see the role of the mentor in the flashbacks – although it has been obvious from the get-go that he is going to be playing a mentor-role, he hasn’t really demonstrated the whole Yoda aspect too hard. The painful part was watching Laurel falling in and out of love with Arrow.
We like where this series is going, and can’t wait to check the next instalment next week.
You can catch Arrow Mondays at 8pm on Sky One.