Arrow, Ep. 1.02: “Honor Thy Father” In desperate need of a better villain

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Arrow, Season 1, Episode 2: “Honor Thy Father”

Directed by David Barrett

Written by Andrew Kreisberg and Marc Guggenheim

Airs Wednesdays at 8pm ET on The CW

The CW’s new superhero series debuted to big ratings last week, and while the pilot was not without problems, Arrow showed much promise. Whereas ‘Pilot’ had a lot of ground to cover in such short time, episode two, “Honor Thy Father” had the luxury of pacing itself. The second episode of any series is always a critical one and often makes the mistake of repeating much of what we’ve already seen. Sadly, “Honor Thy Father” is somewhat disheartening. Aside from introducing an underwhelming, albeit well-known DC villain, China White (played here by Kelly Hu of X-Men 2), episode two doesn’t do much to expand the mythology of the universe.

Thankfully “Honor” featured far less narrative exposition finding better ways to delve deeper into Ollie’s (Stephen Amell) headspace. With that said, there is still the problem of multiple flashbacks. The best TV series rarely, if never, make use of flashback sequences throughout the entire episode. The creators of Arrow should perhaps take notes from AMC, specifically Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead. Juxtaposing the scenes on the deserted island with those in Starling City disrupt the pacing. Perhaps the writers could consider the use of bookends instead? And how many times do they need to show us the same few shots of the ship sinking – a sequence already seen five times in the pilot?

The duality of Oliver Queen is in the forefront of “Honor Thy Father” and Ollie must find ways to balance his everyday life with his alter ego’s crime fighting mission. The best coda of the episode is Oliver’s farewell to his father. “Honor” offers a nice parallel between Roger’s stone burial on the island and his empty grave back home. Oliver swears to abide by the promise he made even though it requires him to dishonour his father’s name. It’s a no win situation as with every decision and sacrifice Oliver must make.

Dig’s (David Ramsey) role as the bodyguard is a problem Oliver needs to cope with, but a blessing for viewers since he offered the episodes two highlights; first by participating in the action that unfolds in Dinah’s apartment, and second, in his monologue addressing Ollie’s knife throwing skills. David Ramsey is a fine actor but he’s also given some great dialogue to work with. Unfortunately that cannot be said for the rest of the cast which is a mixed bag. Susanna Thompson as Moira is fine as the overprotective mom, but when she turns heel and shows her true colours, her performance falls flat. In fact all the villains are problematic thus far. Apart from China White’s martial arts skills, every criminal has been a shady white businessman. Like any comic book film or television show, Arrow needs a memorable villain at the forefront before viewers lose interest. “Honor” promises the appearance of Death Shot (a famous assassin from the comic series), but let us hope he arrives sooner than later.

-Ricky D

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