Arrow Ep 1.10 “Burned” blows a lot of smoke, with a few sparks

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Arrow TV Burned

Arrow, Season 1, Episode 10 ‘Burned’

Directed by Eagle Egilsson

Written by Moira Kirland & Ben Sokolowski

Airs Wednesdays at 8pm ET on The CW

“Our feelings, our fears control us… not the other way around.” – Laurel

‘Burned’ picks up six weeks after the events of ‘Year’s End’, which left Oliver in the hospital after getting his ass beat by the Dark Archer (later revealed to be Malcolm Merlyn), and smartly spends the first half of the episode dealing with the mental fallout of their first showdown. Unfortunately, the episode nose dives in the second half as it tacks on a crappy Bad Guy of the Week plot involving a suicidal fireman – which thankfully wraps up in time to toss us a few interesting bones to chew on until next week’s ‘Trust But Verify’.

The episode opens on the usual abs and man nipples montage of Oliver training and doing some hard thinking (like any good super hero). However, insecurity has found its way into his brain, and when the fireman drama starts unraveling, he does everything he can to deflect the problem onto the authorities. When that doesn’t work, we get to see what happens when a superhero doesn’t have his head in the game: he gets whooped on by the killer fireman, letting another guy fall to his death.

It’s certainly not a new thing for us to see Oliver shook – its a constant state of mind for him in flashback sequences – but getting beat within a few inches of his life would make any man question the reasons why he wore green eye make up at night. I didn’t really need Digg’s overwrought speech to spell out what was missing when Oliver donned the Hood – but seeing Oliver struggle with his identity and purpose in the real world (not just fighting bad guys in Starling City or in flashbacks), is the kind of material Arrow can always use more of.

What the show can use less of, is the inexplicable series of events I like to call ‘Bread Crumb Cases’, where characters move from spot to spot, talking about a situation or mystery until they mysteriously come up with some inexplicable answer that can only BE the answer, because the two people in the scene have talked each other out of every other possibility (although never really investigating it). This happened A LOT in ‘Burned’ – and begin with one of the show’s lamest plot kick starters, when Joanna’s fireman brother is murdered. When did she become a character on the show?

I guess the question doesn’t matter – by the time the plot finishes, she’s out of the show ‘for the next couple months’, while she goes and takes care of her mother, in whatever city she came from. What happened in between is some of the show’s worst material, centered around a fireman who got left in a fire, survived, and would show up to fire sites in his fire suit and throw fire grenades at people for revenge. No explanation why he was killing random people – the only thing we’re given is that he was pissed at his supervisor for leaving him in there. And we’ll never find out why (or how he made those fancy grenades) because he lights himself on fire after Arrow stops him.

Yes, he lights himself on fire. While Arrow watches.

Out of the flaming wreckage that was the Case of Burning Fireman, came the show’s first interesting plot thread between Quentin and Laurel. She takes the cell phone Arrow gave Quentin to contact him for help – lying to her father twice in the process. What is his response? Use his daughter as bait to catch Arrow – a man he truly believes to be murderous and dangerous. I really hope the show digs into Quentin’s desperate attempts to catch this guy; at this point, I really don’t understand why he’s still trying to set him up. After all, isn’t he the one who makes the connection that the guy in the hood is constantly saving his daughter’s ass? I smell more to it than just cop going after vigilante, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Other thoughts/observations:

– in the flashbacks, we see the beginning of how Oliver got those Bratva contacts he mentioned to Digg. After killing one of his captors, he dons his military-like gear, finding a bunch of keys in one pocket (in a painfully obvious display of “HERE IS SOMETHING IMPORTANT FOR LATER”), and a map of the island marking out important areas.

– All Tommy wants is a drawer… a long way from the man who wanted a football stadium rented out basically to have an orgy.

– more of Thea complaining! This week, she’s mad at mom for not being a good mom.

– “This is not a fancy term for your underwear.”

– Joanna’s reaction to her brother’s death was right out of the worst episodes of Law and Order: SVU : “no… no no no… no… No… NO!” *cue tears and hug*

– Who Is Ned Foster?

 

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