Arrow: Trust but Verify
By Noor Alnaqeeb (@nooralnaqeeb)
Spoilers! Season One, Episode Eleven.
This episode presented us with somewhat of a turning point in regards to Oliver’s flashbacks, and it’s about time. Before this episode aired, I was ready to carry on an endless rant about the flashbacks that went something like this: Oliver was on the island for five years so why are they concentrating on what seems to be five days? Is the cat-and-mouse chase between the convict and army ever coming to an end? And can we please get somewhere with this before it’s been another five years?
I wanted them to fast-forward the flashback and vow that the climax they were leading to is the biggest climax in the history of television. With hardly any rapport built between the characters except for the challenge of surviving, I found it difficult to see this going anywhere good. But this week, Arrow thankfully proved me wrong. This episode, Oliver infiltrated the enemy camp to save his ‘friend.’ And finally, the climactic moment was reached. In a very Ra’s al Ghul and the League of Shadows kind of way, Oliver’s friend turned out to be part of the group they were running from. I’m still confused, but at least it’s getting somewhere interesting. Another moment that caused confusion and curiosity was the conversation with Diggle about the island. Oliver had stated that he received a set of instructions and an explanation from his father about the hit list. Diggle kindly pointed out that Oliver took the hit list from his father’s dead body so how could he have discussed the intentions of the book with him before he died? Oliver’s rebuttal: his father left him a message. The catch: it wasn’t on the island. Which begs the question: how, why, where, when, and will someone for the love of Arrow please explain what on Earth is going on.
One thing can definitely be said for the series: the cinematography improves with each episode. This week’s heist was a very SWAT/Dark Knight Rises-esque in the presence of military tanks and heavy artillery. And although the episode was riddled with speculation, we were presented with a few facts:
1. Walter is still alive.
2. Tommy still hates his father.
3. Tommy’s mother was murdered when he was eight.
4. Thea thinks Moira is having an affair with Mr. Merlyn.
5. And Oliver always eats apples while watching the news.
Now for more speculation: news has come through the interwebs to the attention of audiences less aware of the comic book’s history as to who Thea ‘Speedy’ Queen really is. Oliver never had a sister in the comics. Oliver’s sister in Arrow happens to be somewhat of a drug addict. “Speedy” just so happens to be the alter ego of Green Arrow’s sidekick, Roy Harper, who just so happened to be written in the comics as a drug addict as well. So Thea’s nickname, Speedy, seems to be an homage to Roy Harper, superhero turned heroin junkie. Another nod in Thea’s direction was the mention of Mia (three guesses what that rhymes with) the ‘newer’ version of Speedy in Judd Winick’s version of the Green Arrow comic. This episode, Thea was arrested for driving under the influence of a drug called Vertigo on her eighteenth birthday. Good timing, kid. Now that you can be tried as an adult, go ahead and drive while high. I smell a good minor plot arc.
This week gave us an episode filled with drama, void of any disappointment. Every plotline from the presence of Oliver’s scars while he works out to the will-they-won’t-they romance between Diggle and his brother’s widower are being followed through, creating a believable world that is enjoyable to watch. Next week, there better charge forward with the flashbacks and explain a lot more than they were willing to this time.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars