Speedy Recap: CW’s Arrow: Honor Thy Father (Season 1, Episode 2) Spoilers & Review (Stephen Amell)

We’re into week 2 of CW’s Arrow starring Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen / (Green) Arrow in the title role.

Spoilers follow. You have been warned. 🙂

The debut episode last week called “Pilot” set up the premise for the show very similar to the comic book history in the broad strokes. Playboy rabble-rouser Oliver Queen has a yachting mishap and is stranded on deserted island presumed dead. He learns to fend for himself, has some kind of unknown battles over the years on the island with unsavory characters. He is rescued and goes back home to put his new skills to good use by acting as a Robin Hood of sorts protecting the weak and righting wrongs.

In CW Arrow the mythos is expanded by having Oliver atone for his father Robert’s sins, who had a deathbed confession (in a life raft) with his son. Oliver returns to Starling City (the renamed Star City from the comics) going after the evil elite who have somehow built up Starling City in nefarious ways. Arrow is guided by a book of names showcasing who this longbow hunter needs to go after.

Turns out Oliver’s mother, Moira Queen, may have had more to do with the yacht mishap and the evil goings on in Starling City too.

In CW’s Arrow episode 2, season 1, called “Honor Thy Father”, Oliver looks after his ex-girlfriend Laural Dinah Lance, a legal clinic lawyer, from mobster Mr. Summers who is in bed with the Triads, an asian drug mafia. Laurel is suing Summers, who gets help from a triad assassin named China White, played by Kelly Hu. Oliver goes toe-to-toe with her and has impressive moments throughout the episode.

We also see Oliver’s bodyguard Diggle, played by David Ramsey last seen as the NYC Mayor in Tom Selleck’s Blue Bloods, in action as he kills a few assassins while protecting Oliver in civilian garb and Laurel Lance in her apartment. While this scene allows Oliver to keep his special skills under wraps, he does need to save Diggle at the end from a lone assassin by throwing an unbalanced kitchen knife with pinpoint accuracy to disable the assassin. Diggle thinks something is up, but doesn’t pursue it in this episode.

In his efforts to bring Summers to justice, Arrow coerces a confession out of him that unknown to Summers was being recorded by a tech arrow. Later, our hero uses that arrow to disarm Detective Lance, Laurel’s dad, who gets the added benefit of using the recording to convince the District Attorney to press charges against Summers.

We have a few flashbacks to Oliver’s time on the island. He buries his father and the episode ends with Oliver being shot by an arrow, by someone who looks like the hooded weapons expert that Oliver became. This likely is who Oliver gets his longbow from, but we’ll see.

In episode 1, we saw the Deathstroke mask on the island and it is implied that Oliver cost him his eye as there is an arrow where one of Deathstroke’s eyes should be on the mask. Deathstroke will also be showing up in November’s “Damages” episode in modern day (pretty cool preview pics of Deathstroke here).

We also have Deadshot, of Suicide Squad infamy (preview pics here), coming up as well as the Huntress.

Is this hooded island assassin we see at episode’s end one of them? Likely not, but we’ll find out soon.

Overall, this was a solid episode. It is accessible to viewers not familiar with the Green Arrow mythology, focussed on strong character interactions that are the hallmarks of such a large ensemble, and brings more street-level dynamic yet gritty action that does not seem cartoony. It also continued to reveal bits of Oliver’s past on the island as well as advances the evil conspiracy plot with Moira Queen.

In ensuring folks don’t make the connection between Oliver Queen and this new Arrow vigilante, he must play the narcissist playboy, a la Bruce Wayne when not in Batman costume, to cast off suspicion. As Oliver himself says, I’m paraphrasing, to honor his father’s dying request to save Starling City, right his father’s wrongs, and hunt down its villains, he must dishonor his father’s memory by playing the fool. A tried and true plot point, but executed well here. Stephen Amell also shows a fair bit of range.

While I thought the Pilot episode was decent, I was lukewarm to it. As with debut issues of comics it had to accomplish a lot in an hour no less; basically set up the whole premise of the show and introduce the key characters and display some action.

This second episode, unfettered by all that, really hit the ground running and was a lot fun.

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