Arrow, Ep. 1.03: “Lone Gunman” shows further improvement

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Arrow, Season 1, Episode 3: “Lone Gunman”
Directed by Guy Bee
Written by Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg
Airs Wednesdays at 8pm ET on The CW

This episode sees Green Arrow pursuing the ruthless assassin know as Deadshot, who ironically has been taking out the same criminals Oliver wants to bring to justice. Arrow begins snooping around as he suspects a connection with the Russian mafia. Although Queen is one of the most recognizable men in Starling City, the heir to a vast fortune and recently spotlighted in the media, none of the Russian gangsters recognize him? His fake identity checks out and Oliver discovers the whereabouts of Floyd Lawton (Deadshot). Later, when Walter becomes one of Deadshot’s targets, Ollie has no choice but to turn to his unwanted bodyguard, Detective Lance, for help to protect his family. We also learn more about Ollie’s past on the island, and Ollie ensures that someone will learn his secret identity. But does Deadshot prove to be a strong adaptation of the source material and more importantly a much better foe than last week’s China? The answer is yes.

It might be a bit early to delve deep into the mythos of Deadshot (assuming he is still alive), but at least “The Lone Gunman” gave us an antagonist that not only provided some great action, but also played a key role in the central element of the plot. Fans of the comic series are surely pleased to see the Tattooed assassin (his tats are the names of people he kills) and showcase his classic firearm wrist gauntlets. This is a very different take on the Deadshot fearured in Smallville. Here, the character sports his traditional eyepiece and Michael Rowe’s performance makes him a definite threat and a worthy adversary. It might not be much, but it is just enough to whet our appetites and leave us wanting more.

Apart from the sporadic action, “The Lone Gunman” focuses on some good character work, particularly between the ever growing love triangle. Oliver may have already been fully aware of Tommy and Laurel’s romance, but having it publicly announced could only lead to a falling out between best friends. And we all know how those stories unfold in super hero comics: somebody becomes a villain. Whether you like it or not, the ménage à trois reveals a lot about how much Oliver has changed, and gives us a better understanding of the close bond he and Tommy share. Their bromance will prove to be far more interesting than any level of romance Ollie will experience this season.

Once again the best developments of the night came with John Diggle, everyone’s new favourite bodyguard. Amidst many hilarious one-liners, we learn a bit about Diggle’s backstory, as his sister-in-law informs us that his current profession led to the death of a family member. Oliver and Diggle continue to share great chemistry and their interactions always feel genuine. The a major cliffhanger concerning he and Ollie was a wise choice on the part of the writers. Arrow already turned to Detective Lance earlier on, knowing he can’t protect the city on his own. Dig constantly watching his back is only making it harder, and it was only time that he would learn his secret. Oliver’s decision to reveal his alter ego to Diggs only makes sense, especially after saving the man’s life.

We once again get a few glimpses of Oliver back on the island. While I’ve grumbled about these flashbacks, they do serve some purpose. First, they show us what skills Oliver acquired while AWOL and how it helps him in present day (e.g. the herbs used on the island to treat wounds). And secondly, the flashbacks also set up future stories and reveal Oliver’s character growth. As I mentioned last week, I just wish the writers would incorporate these in bookend form instead of sprinkled throughout the entirety of the episode.

Arrow still needs to work on the family-relationship-drama portion of the show. The Queen family dynamics, central to the series, are poorly written and a bit clichéd. Fortunately, there is no denying it succeeds with its high-octane action scenes. The good news is that Arrow has officially been picked up for a full season of 22 episodes, which is no surprise, given that it’s currently The CW’s highest-rated series.

– Ricky D

Other Observations:

Laurel gives us the first taste of the hero she might be destined to become.

I’m convinced that Stephen Amell’s contract requires the actor to take off his shirt at least once every episode.

It would appear to be Deathstroke’s henchmen that we see lurking about on the island. I’m looking forward to Slade Wilson showing up.

It was a pleasant surprise to see Emily Bett Rickards guest star as Felicity Smoak. Rickards and actor Stephen Amell share great chemistry, and in such little time, their relationship shows more promise than that of Arrow and Dinah.

The Dark Knight influence was even more apparent this week; not only was Oliver adept at playing detective but he seems to be forming a relationship with Detective Lance similar to Commissioner Gordon’s relationship with Batman.

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