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Arrow Rewatch: Season One – Episode Two: Honor Thy Father

Plot:
We open with Oliver tooling up, Schwarzenegger-style and taking down another failure of the city, Marcus Redmond, who’s been scamming pensioners out of their hard earned cash. This leads neatly on to Oliver watching details of his night’s escapade on the morning news, on the day he’s due to be legally resurrected. Oliver isn’t so keen on the publicity, which is a shame as every journalist and their dog turns up for the occasion. On the way out, he bumps into Laurel, who is there to prosecute what turns out to be another name on Oliver’s hit list, Martin Somers.

Image via The CW

Image via The CW

Somers, it turns out, has been getting cosy with the Chinese Triad, to the extent they are paying him to use his port as an entry point into Starling City. Dockworker Victor Nocenti had twigged what was going on, and threatened to report Somers to the police, so a brief non-island flashback shows him being murdered by an unseen assailant on Somers’ orders. Laurel is therefore determined to get justice for Nocenti’s daughter Emily and shut down Somers’ operation. Oliver decides to step in as The Vigilante, threatening Somers to come clean in his trial or face the consequences.

After some brief scenes where Oliver gets a dressing down from his mother about leaving Diggle in the lurch, and Thea (Willa Holland STILL looks better with long hair) showing her rebellious streak by swanning off to an all nighter, we’re back on track. Detective Lance is questioning Somers, who brushes off Oliver’s involvement  and maintains all is well – and legal. Lance isn’t convinced, and his determination really shines through here, sceptical of Somers’ innocence and his denial over Oliver’s presence. He also makes thinly veiled threats on Laurel’s life, which gives Lance a moment’s pause.

We switch to Queen Consolidated, where Moira and Walter reveal their plan for Oliver to take control of his father’s company. Given Moira’s duplicity in the previous episode (which you can read about here), it’s obvious she’s trying to position Oliver in a high profile position to make him an easy target for whatever she has planned. Oliver doesn’t see that at this point, and is more concerned with escaping the public eye so he can continue with his evening activities. After a heart to heart with Diggle, Oliver begins to realise that hiding who he really is will be far from easy.

Image via The CW

Image via The CW

We’re then introduced to Somers’ Triad contact, Chien Na Wei, more commonly known by her comic villain name China White. She’s played here by the gorgeous Kelly Hu, who unfortunately has to go around with the world’s worst blond wig. She is in favour of knocking off the Nocenti daughter and carrying on as usual, but Somers is worried about the extra scrutiny that would bring – so they agree to kill Laurel instead.

Back at the Queen ranch, Thea discovers Oliver’s plethora of scar tissue, the first indication of what he went through on Lian Yu. She then reveals how much she’s been through in the last five years, with her mother gradually withdrawing from her interaction with the rest of the family, and Thea wanting her brother back. Oliver naturally decides to think about this deep conversation by going to hit on Laurel, and they have a long candlelit chat. They’re rudely interrupted by The Triad, as China and the wig she stole from Halle Berry in X-Men try and put them in an early grave. Just when things look bleak, Diggle shows up and blows away China’s two henchmen, before engaging in hand-to-hand combat with her. He’s outmatched, and some quick thinking from Oliver (throwing a knife halfway across the room with pinpoint accuracy) is the only reason he doesn’t end up with a broken neck. Lance and the cops arrive, to find that the protection they’d arranged had been gutted by The Triad, while predictably blaming Oliver for the whole thing. Diggle gets more suspicious about Oliver’s past when questioning him about where he learned to throw a knife that well, urging him not to take him for a fool. Lance then has an almighty row with his daughter, who doesn’t want his police protection if it’s going to be this effective (and you can’t blame her after last time), but it’s a father/daughter row where you can’t help think Quentin is in the right. Thankfully it doesn’t last too long, as the detective is called away to the docks where The Vigilante is knocking seven bells out of Somers’ men.

Image via The CW

Image via The CW

After some brief fisticuffs, Oliver puts the frighteners on Somers, who confesses it was he who ordered Nocenti’s death. China White, having waiting to see how tough Oliver is, decides to weigh in, and they proceed to have a pretty impressive fight. Before we can see how it concludes though, the police arrive, and the two decide to scarper. Lance has a brief exchange with The Vigilante, who disarms him while supplying him with Somers’ confession on a tricked out arrow.

On arriving back at his lair, Oliver decides he can’t be the person his mother wants him to be. At the ceremony where he is supposed to become head honcho at Queen Consolidated, he arrives in typical Bruce Wayne-distracto fashion by slurring his words and acting irresponsibly. He says he can’t ever be what people wanted him to be and can’t be like his father – the sense of disappointment from his family is palpable.

We’re then treated to the resolution of Quentin and Laurel’s row, where Laurel praises The Vigilante’s actions, much to Quentin’s chagrin. All this happens against the backdrop of Somers’ arrest, with the evidence provided by Oliver being the clincher. A brief flashback showing Robert Queen’s journal and the symbol contained therein, is echoed by Moira and another mysterious meeting with a man in shadow. She claims that Oliver knows nothing of their plans – but doesn’t look very convincing at all. The episode ends with an emotional address by Oliver at his father’s graveside, telling him he’ll have to dishonour his memory (hence the episode’s title) for him to carry out his wishes.

Image via The CW

Image via The CW

For Five Years (Flashback sequences): Multiple flashbacks in the opening few moments, and these will eventually morph into the series opening monologue over the next few episodes, and on these occasions it’s Oliver looking bedraggled on Lian Yu, and brief images of his and Sara’s last few moments before the Queen’s Gambit sank.
We’re nearly twenty minutes in before we get to the next one, with Oliver waking up on Lian Yu and fending off hungry seagulls who want to feast on his father’s remains.
Towards the end of the episode, as Oliver peruses his father’s journal, we see a flashback of him burying Robert on Lian Yu, and discovering the book. Only here the pages are blank – save for a mysterious symbol, which will become relevant by the end of the season.
Our final trip to Lian Yu ends just as Oliver has laid his father to rest, only to be skewered by a man with a bow, arrow and green hood. It’s all the rage this year – green is this year’s black.

You Have Failed This City (Mistakes and WTF moments):
Oliver and Laurel bumping into one another at the courthouse, along with Tommy’s awkward “not-sure-where-to-put-myself” mannerisms are a little bit too Dawson’s Creek for our liking. We appreciate it’s setting up the long running romance between the two, but at this stage, it’s a period we want to be over quickly.
Why on Earth would Vincent Nocenti go to the very man he was going to report to the police for being complicit in drug smuggling and tell him he was going to do so? We could believe this if Nocenti was trying to blackmail Somers, but it’s shown that he finds out about Somers’ operation and immediately disagrees, so telling him seems a bit of a dumb move.
Kelly Hu’s wig is terrible.
Lots of time is given to Oliver and Laurel trying to mend their relationship, before an attempt is made on her life. Maybe it’s just us, but this goes on too long. You know something is going to happen, but it’s delayed for a while as they try and reconnect. It just drags.
Diggle isn’t stupid, but even he takes a long time to join the dots about whether or not Oliver is The Vigilante. His client takes off unannounced, frequently comes back with injuries, and is an expert in fighting and weaponry. At the same time, there’s a hooded archer running around Starling City with expert fighting skills and knowledge of weaponry. Come on John, you’re never going to qualify for that Green Lantern ring at this rate.
During the final showdown at the docks, Somers’ men have worse aim than Imperial Stormtroopers. Oliver isn’t exactly flying around the place supernaturally, but they still can’t hit him for toffee.
How would a recorded confession, obviously made under duress and by a vigilante, be admissible in court when it came to Somers’ trial?

Image via The CW

Image via The CW

Give That Man a Mirakuru (Brilliant bits):
The opening sequence of Oliver suiting up always gets the blood pumping, and is especially relevant to later episodes when his persona and equipment take on a greater meaning.
Oliver recounting the events in court of the Queen’s Gambit sinking, while glimpses of the lies he’s telling is pretty powerful, but in some ways diminishes any sympathy you have for him. Yes he’s disguising his mission and his father’s admission of guilt, but it shows Oliver, at this stage, as a pretty cold individual who’s willing to lie publically to further his goals.
Paul Blackthorne is once again excellent as Detective Quentin Lance. His drive, and determination to stop The Vigilante is based solidly in his belief of the law. While it might be great that Oliver is teaching the rich and corrupt a lesson, he is still killing people at this stage to do what needs to be done. Lance believes that’s wrong and wants to stop Oliver simply because he’s breaking the law. It’s an effective contrast to how Lance behaves in later episodes, particularly in the next season.
There’s some nice moments between Oliver and Diggle, as the foundations of their relationship begin to be laid, based on mutual respect. It’s nice to see something done in stages instead of being automatically receptive of one another.
Thea’s exchange with Oliver over his gravestone is genuinely touching and some great acting from Willa Holland. It fleshes out her role and also how, at this point in her life, she’s without direction or hope. While Oliver thinks he has his own crosses to bear, Thea has her share too, and this is a great way of opening up more of her story.
The fight sequence between China and Oliver in the finale is well choreographed and well shot. It puts across both characters’ skills impressively and gives a good indication that Oliver isn’t going to dominate every scrap he gets into.

Robert Queen’s Notebook (Comic Easter Eggs):
Chien Na Wei, or China White, is a relatively new DC comics villain. She first appearing in Green Arrow: Year One in 2007, as a drug lord who planned to kill Oliver Queen. He’d been unknowingly funding her operations for years, but when his involvement threatened her organisation, she tried to have him killed. The attempt failed and Oliver set about destroying her operation.

Arrows Out of Ten:
6/10 It’s a bit of a come down from the opener, but that’s to be expected.Oliver comes across as a bit of an impersonal, aloof snob at times, but that is of course to maintain the illusion that someone like that couldn’t possibly be a vigilante with Starling City’s best interests at heart. Thea and Oliver share some nice scenes, and the beginnings of the trust between Oliver and Diggle are good, but the episode still lacks something. China White isn’t a well known villain, and her haircare isn’t the best, and the overall plot seems a little weak and could have been resolved much quickly if Oliver had put his mind to it. There’s better to come, but this one isn’t one of the greats.

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