Thursday, October 25, 2012

'Arrow' recap: 'Lone Gunmen' face off

Arrow Lone Gunmen screencaps Oliver Queen Deadshot Stephen Amell

The third episode of "Arrow" amped up the pressure on our hero, Oliver Queen. With a deadly assassin targeting his own hit list, a wayward sister getting busted for shoplifting, and his bodyguard getting way too close, Oliver realizes it's all too much even for a budding superhero to handle alone.

The threat
Arrow visits another villain on his list to offer up a chance at redemption, but a sniper takes out the target before he gets a chance. Grazed by the deadly bullet, Oliver heads back to his hideout to nurse his wound, only to realize the bullet was also poisoned. Luckily, he learned about some herbal antidotes from his mysterious hooded friend back on the island. A friend, we see in flashbacks, who helped protect him from some other, scarier dudes in the jungle.

Once he's recovered, Oliver does his own investigation of the crime scene, and the clues lead to the Russian mob. Because he speaks Russian and has the right tattoo, the famous playboy is somehow able to pass himself off as one of their own -- including a background check into his false identity. One of the mobsters gives him a lead on the assassin Deadshot (Michael Rowe), a lethal killer for hire that tattoos his victims' names all over his body.

Family and friends
Oliver is still struggling to help his troubled sister and decides to enlist his mother's help. Thea doesn't seem too interested in Mom's new discipline, until the two finally have a heart-to-heart chat and share a memory about Dad. Both agree to try to have a better relationship.

Meanwhile, Oliver decides to build a night club over his secret Arrow base to provide cover for all of his late-night outings and an excuse for his being in the run-down neighborhood. While scoping out the competition at a former rival's club, Oliver learns about Laurel and Tommy -- and decides to be totally cool about it. After a fight breaks out with the owner, he also learns that Laurel can kick some serious butt, thanks to her dad's insistence on self-defense classes.

Acting alone
Arrow gets the jump on Deadshot at the murderer's favorite hotel, but with a little help from his arm cannon and swift moves, Deadshot escapes. Our hero does manage to snag the bad guy's laptop and learns his next target: An auction, where businessmen bid to buy another company, that his own family is attending. Knowing he can't protect everyone from his deadly adversary, Arrow sneaks up on Detective Lance and forcefully passes along the information about the possible hit.

Despite their best efforts, several people are shot, though Detective Lance manages to save Walter's life, and Digg gets Oliver's mother and sister out of the building. Oliver dons his Arrow gear and heads up to the sniper's perch, confronting Deadshot in an arrow-to-bullet showdown. A well-placed arrowhead plunges into Deadshot's elaborate strapped-on monocle, but the bad news is that a snooping Digg has gotten shot with one of those poisonous bullets.

Oliver makes a bold decision, taking Digg down to his Arrow lair to get him the antidote for the poison. As the episode "Lone Gunmen" fades out, we see that Oliver has decided to reveal Arrow's true identity to his bodyguard.

More Season 1 Recaps here!

PHOTO: 2012 "Arrow" screencap, "Lone Gunmen", CW, fair use.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

'Arrow' recap: 'Honor Thy Father,' Dishonor His Memory

Now that "Arrow" has introduced many of the main players in the pilot, the episode "Honor Thy Father" gives us a deeper look into Oliver Queen and the new duality of his life. We also get more of an understanding of what happened to the former irreverent playboy on that island. Throw in a new villain, family drama, and two shadowy figures, and viewers have another entertaining installment of the comic book series.

Dead to me
While Oliver is nursing his own emotional wounds from five years on the island, Thea lets him know that he wasn't the only one who suffered. When he once again refuses to open up to her, she takes him to the back of their property to show him the two grave markers that were put up for her father and brother. While he was gone, she used to talk to Oliver's grave in a way that she feels she can't now that he's here.

Rather than confiding in her, however, he visits his ex, Laurel, to try and mend fences. He tells her his previous brush-off was meant to protect her, not hurt her. The two share an evening of conversation and ice cream, and Oliver lets her know that no amount of apologizing from him will ever make up for her sister's death. It turns out to be lucky that he's there, when several assassins burst in to kill Laurel and prevent her from continuing a civil case against their murdering crime boss.

Digg is catching on
To appease his mother, Oliver finally concedes to having bodyguard Diggle at his side. The ex-military man lets his slippery charge know that one more escape and "your mother won't have to fire me." Having Digg around comes in handy in the attack on Laurel, and fans got a fantastic fight scene where Oliver's bodyguard really shows his mad skills in the combat department. Martial artist and ruthless assassin China White gets the jump on him, however, and it takes a precise knife throw by Oliver to scare her off and save Digg's life.

Oliver tries to shake it off as a "lucky throw," but Digg isn't buying it. We can also see him carefully appraising his client's every move, not convinced when Oliver turns on his "useless playboy" act to fool everyone into thinking he hasn't changed since his ordeal on the island. It's a good bet that Digg is eventually going to be an important ally in Oliver's quest.

Honor thy father
In dual poignant scenes, Oliver says goodbye to his father. We see him in flashback, alone and scared on the island, dragging his dad's body farther onto land and then covering him with stones. Back at home, he talks to the grave marker Thea showed him, promising his dad that he'll continue on the quest to right the wrongs his father and others committed on the city. In order to honor Mr. Queen's wishes, however, sometimes he'll have to dishonor his memory. No one can know what Oliver's up to, and he's forced to accept that he can't be the responsible heir his mother wants him to be until his mission is done.

We learn in the flashback that the little book Oliver carries, with the names of corrupt people his father gave him, was originally his father's. The front inside cover of the book carries a circular symbol, one that we see later with a shadowy figure Mrs. Queen is speaking with at a secret meeting. She nervously tells the mystery villain that it's quite clear now that Oliver knows nothing about them and that he doesn't know that the boat was sabotaged. We're not sure if she's merely a frightened pawn in a larger game or willingly a part of the murder plot on her family.

Future dangers
Oliver is always in danger of getting caught and nearly gets nabbed by Laurel's policeman father. Though his daughter feels The Arrow is helping fight crime, Detective Lance doesn't like vigilantes and vows to bring the archer to justice as soon as possible.

Both Oliver and his alter ego now have to be cautious of a return from China White, who escaped from Laurel's apartment. There's Digg's suspicions, and his mother and Walter's watchful eyes. Then there's his friend Tommy, who's keeping the secrets of Oliver's fighting skills for now but doesn't appear to be all that comfortable with his friend's new incarnation.

Then there's the mysterious man in Oliver's flashback, a hooded archer who looks a lot like Arrow does now. In his first day on the island, our hero is struck through the shoulder with an arrow from this cloaked figure. Is he the reason for all of Oliver's scars? Is he still out there?

More Season 1 Recaps here!

PHOTO: 2012 "Arrow" Screencap, "Honor Thy Father", CW, fair use.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

'Arrow' Premiere Recap

In the "Arrow" premiere, we're introduced to Oliver Queen, a looking-worse-for-wear wild man on an island, who lights a bonfire to catch the attention of a passing ship. The horribly scarred refugee gets rescued and brought back to civilization, where it's revealed he's a well-known playboy who was famous mostly for partying and irresponsible behavior--five years ago.

What happened in those five years? We're not sure, but somehow Oliver picked up some badass military/martial arts/superhero skills that he's hoping to use to wipe out all the corruption and violence in the city. He quickly readopts his useless trust fund boy persona as a cover for his nightime jaunts of scaring/killing bad guys with his mad archery skills.

Oliver has a plan, but it's not easy readjusting to being back home. His mother has remarried and his step-father is running the family business. His kid sister is angry and rebellious and turning to recreational drugs. He's happy to see everyone again, but doesn't yet know how to let them in on what happened to him.

Mom's happy he's home, but Oliver is giving serious side-eye to her new husband.

As the pilot unfolds, we learn that Oliver was on a boat trip with his father, and his girlfriend's sister Sarah. Apparently he invited Sarah for a little cheating rendezvous, but it ends in tragedy when the boat breaks apart in the storm. Oliver, his father, and another man survive, but Sarah is sucked down into the water.

Their hope in the lifeboat diminishes, and so Oliver's father decides his son is the one who needs the food and water that remains to survive. He shoots the other raft survivor, then himself, but not before revealing to his son that he's been a bad person in his life. He has a list of people that have been complicit in ruining their city for personal gain, and wants Oliver to get back home and right the wrongs he's committed.

Needless to say, Oliver's ex Laurel has conflicting emotions over her boyfriend's return. She clearly still has feelings, but considering how he betrayed her and was indirectly responsible for her sister's death, it's tough to feel happy that he's back from the dead. Her father, police detective Lance, hates him even more. He's also extremely determined to hunt down the vigilante with the bow and arrow that he feels is just as dangerous as the bad guys he's taking out.

Home sweet castle...the Queen family mansion.

Oliver's best friend Tommy tries to get him back into the fold of partying and enjoying life, doing his best to conceal the secret that he got hot and heavy with Laurel a few times. Oliver attempts to reintegrate to help with his cover, but he's not in town long before he's kidnapped and interrogated for information on what he knows about his father's business.

This is where we get to see Oliver turn assassin, taking guys out left and right, and Tommy catches a glimpse. Luckily he backs his friend up in the story to police that the hooded guy with the arrows saved them from the kidnappers. Tommy doesn't seem to know exactly how to handle this new side of his bar buddy, and we're left wondering if this will come back to haunt Oliver later.

After the kidnapping, Oliver's mother insists he have a bodyguard, which makes life a bit more difficult for carrying on Arrow's secret work. Though Diggle is an ex-military man, Oliver manages to give him the slip a number of times, in order to sneak off to one of his father's old factories that he'll be using as his superhero lair.

The final big twist of the episode comes when we learn that Mrs. Queen was the one who had her son kidnapped and questioned. Clearly she's hiding some part of the family secrets Oliver's dad warned him about.

Watch "Arrow" on the CW, Thursday nights at 8/7c.
Catch up on all the recaps here!

PHOTOS: Screencaps of "Arrow" pilot, c2012 CW, fair use.


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