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Episode Review: Arrow – Home Invasion & The Undertaking

An Arrow double bill leaves Jake Basford confused when he realises that the comic references and predictable plot are covered by effects and drama.

Due to server issues from last week, we have a double review this week – the last episode review is still live if you want to catch up on what happened last time.


In ‘Home Invasion’, the victims in a lawsuit against a corrupt businessman are taken out by a hitman, all except the son, and Laurel, who has been representing them, takes him home to stay with her rather than farm him out to a foster carer. When the hitman comes for her, Green Arrow saves her, and Tommy suggests staying with Oliver due to his high-security presence. Diggle stalks a special ops mission to take down Deadshot, which goes belly up when Oliver runs off to save Laurel and Tommy, who the hitman goes for, after killing the businessman who hired him, leaving Diggle upset. Tommy decides to leave Laurel as it is clear that Oliver fancies her and he realises that should she learn he is the Green Arrow, he would never be able to compete. Thea also agrees to help Roy seek out the vigilante. In the flashback, Shado teaches Oliver to shoot a bow, but he doesn’t get the opportunity to use it as Yao Fei brings people to capture them all.

Following-on was ‘The Undertaking’, where Arrow goes after an accountant and grabs his laptop, which Felicity decodes to find a link to Walter via an underground casino, which she agrees to help get Arrow into. He manages to interrogate the owner who says Walter was killed, which Oliver explains to his family, causing Moira to contact Malcolm who proves Walter is alive. Oliver, who was listening in, discovers that Malcolm is heading the organisation who kidnapped Walter, and gets Felicity to hack his phone and find out where Walter is being held. Arrow frees Walter and reunites him with Moira and the Queen family. Laurel, however, tracks Tommy down to find out what really happened and he tells her that he believes her and Oliver are meant to be together because he thinks Oliver loves her. Flashbacks this week were about Robert Queen disagreeing with Malcolm’s ‘undertaking’ to level the Glades and kill its inhabitants to reduce crime, showing that Malcolm planted a bomb on the yacht that Robert, Oliver and Sarah left on.

As Arrow heads towards the end of the season and the dramatic conclusion, the drama and the mystery is brought to a conclusion in many fantastic ways. Especially in ‘The Undertaking’, the clues as to who is involved and what the plan was were great. Destroying a whole area of a city is reason enough to hate a corrupt secret organisation.

Having criticised Arrow all season for not being unique enough, but loving the fact that the story has involved increasing amounts of comic-book references, it is annoying that the drama ramps up and no more DC characters appear. The tale of Diggle getting disheartened as Oliver left his side to help Laurel was inevitable, as was Tommy leaving her because he felt like the third wheel in his relationship; we can predict that there will be a frank discussion between Oliver and Laurel that ends in either her not accepting him back for cheating on her originally with her sister, them having a big reunion, or, as the finale episode is called ‘Sacrifice’, we could predict that his relationship with her may be sacrificed for the greater good.

The flashback scenes have been increasingly inventive, and superhero mythology is always the thing that draws in readers and viewers – knowing how and why Oliver turned into such a strong person is absolutely brilliant, and Shado’s role as the person who teaches techniques of archery was unexpected, as is Yao Fei’s betrayal (again). We love this glimpse into the past, and it is very interesting to see how it plays out.

In short, these two episodes of Arrow have us perplexed – the reasons that we loved this show seem to have dissipated almost entirely, falling back on stereotypical American values for TV and Film: special effects. This is, besides the soap opera-like drama, the only reason we remain watching, because it feels like the sort of trashy TV that you watch when you want your mind to melt.

Although it has been commissioned for a second season, we aren’t sure we will be tuning in.

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



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