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TV Episode Review: Arrow – Damaged

Jake Basford reviews Episode 5 of Arrow – Damaged

For a recap of what has happened already, please see the previous review

Oliver has been arrested for murder, amongst other things, and is placed under suspicion of being the ‘Green Arrow’. Of course, he now has his trusty sidekick to help prove he isn’t, but is fitted with an electronic tag for now.

The evil-doer this week is a man who is importing machine guns. After finding out that the ring-leader is one of the names on his list, Oliver attempts to spring into action, but obviously because of his ASBO tag he is confined to his mansion (quelle domage). To cover ‘Green Arrow’, he throws a big getting-out-of-jail party with a ‘cops and robbers’ theme, naturally, and invites all his friends to party in the garden. Managing to scare the imposters successfully, and reinforce the fact that Oliver Queen ‘is not’ the Green Arrow, (or ‘Vigilante’ as he is now known), the bodyguard affirms his new position as the sidekick.

With minor romantic suggestions between Oliver and his ex-girlfriend, Laurel, things get very ‘PG’, with some brief nudity; although we blame the prisoner outfit he is sporting, she rushes away on account of the fact that she has been seeing his best friend, due to the ‘missing on an island’ plot line. Add to this the fact that Oliver’s step-father walks away after discovering that he has been lied to by the notorious Mrs Queen, having gone on a ‘business trip’. All things are go, it seems.

There is certainly a lot going on in this episode, and between the familial disputes, a reoccurrence of the suited-and-booted John Barrowman as an unspecified character who seems bent on helping cover something up, and mysterious flashbacks to the island where some Russians are hunting the official mentor of Oliver Queen, we are left a bit head-spun towards the end. So very many questions. Yes, we get to see some more naked Oliver, but as the viewer is constantly reminded, it is all scar tissue as a result of what happens in this episode.

This episode is the stereotypical ‘I have been caught and now someone needs to pretend to be me so I can continue to get away with this’ – a stalwart of the masked-hero series. Although it is clearly more complicated than that once all of the other elements are combined, this is the essential storyline. You can ‘smell’ it from a mile away. This is also evident with the obvious ‘come-on’ that occurs with the lawyer/ex-girlfriend, but what still makes this watchable are the unknown factors that are still in play.

Arrow, as a character and as a series, is following a tried and tested path, and will likely continue in this manner until the first series ends; what is happening at the moment are standardised stages in the superhero mythology, and scars on the torso or not, unfortunately these need to be established for the viewer who is unfamiliar with the territory. It is nice to see the occurrence of another character from the comic book series (we will leave you to do the Google-search, but the masks are usually a good way to go), but since this series is still establishing the boundaries of the show itself, we may have a while to wait before we see something ground-breaking. Until then, we have mysteries to unravel.

Essentially samey, but the mystery is spinning this out until we find something more interesting to focus on – the suited man, the mentor and his role, and what the hell is going on with the mother? Yes indeed, there are questions to be answered. Until they are, show us more of Oliver naked please…

You can catch Arrow on Mondays at 8pm, Sky One

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