ComicsAlliance Recaps ‘Arrow’ 1.18: Salvation
The CW’s new superhero series Arrow re-imagines Green Arrow for a TV audience as a tough, often ruthless vigilante bent on setting things right in his home of Starling City by punishing the wicked. ComicsAlliance’s Matt Wilson will be following along all season to see how he fares.
In this week’s episode, Roy Harper goes for a ride, a goose is chased and Moira performs shocking acts of self-preservation!Previously: Laurel’s mom came back with a crackpot scheme to find Sarah Lance alive, Ollie’s Secret Book had a crazy symbol in it, and Moira botched an assassination plot.
Dig and Smoak are down in the Arrowcave watching a Starling City’s One Channel report on a tenement fire that the building’s owner, a shady slumlord named John Nichel, slipped the noose on. Meanwhile, Ollie does pull-ups directly over Smoak’s computer setup because he likes to live in the danger zone.
Ollie determines that Nichel should be the next name on The List to be crossed off. His system for this really seems to be based on whoever he sees on the news, doesn’t it? It’s a very reactive way of dealing with people who are all pretty objectively bad, is all I’m saying.
Nichel’s hanging out in his all-glass penthouse apartment (being a slumlord is lucrative these days) when he hears rustling, goes downstairs and grabs a knife. A shadowy, distinctly not-hooded figure tackles him and drags him away. Arrow shows up to find an empty, ransacked apartment while Nichel’s being crammed into the back of a van. This is what happens when you base your system on the news! You’re not the only one who gets the only channel in Starling City, Ollie!
Ollie goes back to the cave to regroup and figure out where this new vigilante is, so he can tell this new kid on the block to do as he says and not as he does.
In the Glades, Thea’s engaging in some class tourism by making out with Roy on his filthy couch, lit by his weird red Christmas lights and neon puma. A knock comes at the door and Roy answers; it’s a guy with a crumpled paper bag talking about something going down at 11 the next night. Seems legit.
Thea Knows Best opens the bag to find a revolver inside and Roy pretty quickly gives up his plan to knock over a liquor store. Creative. Thea freaks out and says her getting him a job at Ollie’s club should have been enough for him. He says he owes money to some nasty people–how else could he maintain this opulent lifestyle–and Thea storms out.
At Laurel’s place, Dinah has gone full-on Carrie from Homeland and tacked a phone book’s worth of records to the wall.
These would mostly appear to be flyers for missing persons cases where whomever was lost got found, not anything directly relating to Sarah. It’s like a collage of nothing but proof that people who get lost also get found sometimes. You could have just said that, Dinah. Your husband and Laurel both work in legal fields. You didn’t have to put 100 holes in your daughter’s wall to make your point.
Laurel quickly comes to the conclusion that both her parents have lost their minds when it comes to this whole Sarah-might-be-alive thing, though she has yet to decipher that they both also have fake American accents. Laurel tells Sgt. Lance that she hoped he’d convince her mom that Sarah’s really dead, but he’s deep, deep into the search. Why? Because the girl in the grainy photo has the same baseball cap Sarah did. What are the odds two people would have the same baseball cap, after all?
Ollie’s chowing down at Big Belly Burger with Dig, who’s looking for the right way to cautiously tell his pal he may be heading down the road to being a psychopath, what with his isolating himself from everyone and killing people. Ollie’s answers are not encouraging, but before the two can really explore it, everyone in the restaurant’s phone chirps. They all get a link to a live video of the shadowy vigilante from before questioning, then shooting and killing a restrained Nichel in a Dexter murder room. (The director this week must be a big Showtime fan.)
The Big Belly Burger patrons have a particularly subdued reaction to seeing a man get murdered live on their phones:
The emotions range from “mild concern” to “switching back over to Words With Friends.”
Smoak sends Ollie a link to the video, saying, “This came up on every screen with an IP address originating from The Glades.” There’s a lot more Internet BS like that to come, so brace yourself.
Dig and Ollie meet with Smoak in the Arrowcave. Dig says he talked to a contact of his in the NSA, who said the “website code” (what?) matches that of a former Glades resident who uses the name The Savior to “hack into fringe sites.” Before anyone can ask why The Savior would hack into fringe sites instead of sites anyone cares about, another live video starts up. This time, The Savior’s got an assistant district attorney in his Dexter room.
The master hacker lets loose that this particular assistant DA didn’t file any charges when his wife was killed in a Glades bodega a year ago. This gives Smoak enough to go on to figure out the guy is former transportation worker Joseph Falk, a.k.a. Some Guy. For the sake of the plot, The Savior gives his latest victim 10 minutes to make his case while Smoak types away to try to track him down.
Out at some undisclosed location, Moira meets up with Chen to discuss their failed attempt on Boe’s life, and how he’s kind of mad about it. Chen insists he went to great lengths to distance himself and Moira from it, but Moira’s got that look in her eye. I’ll just come out and say it: Moira has gradually become the most interesting character on the show. I’m as surprised as you, but her duplicity and vicious machinations make her an actual, unpredictable force. She’ll do crazy stuff like hold an umbrella over her head on a cloudy day where it’s very clearly not raining.
Laurel is letting her parents’ rabbit-hole hunt seep into her brain. She’s so deep into it at CNRI that she rudely shrugs off Thea’s sincere request for help before coming to her senses and asking what’s up. Thea essentially asks if it’s bad she’s dating a criminal. Laurel warns her off, but before the discussion can continue, the Chinese embassy calls and tells Laurel the girl from the photo is in the country. In Starling City even! So I guess Sarah came back and just never contacted her family even once. Bad form!
Smoak pinpoints The Savior’s IP to an address in The Glades and Ollie takes off on his motorcycle to get there. He gets to the building and searches six floors while the camera shakes all around him to make it seem suspenseful. He comes up empty. Then, wouldn’t you know it, the guy’s location moves to a different address! Ollie parkours his way to that spot, only to find a vacant lot. The Savior shoots the assistant DA. Smoak flips out.
Ollie comes back and consoles Smoak, who, unlike everyone else in Starling City, has an actual human reaction to watching someone die. How novel!
Flashback time! Young Ollie and Slade parley with Fyers about trading that missile-launcher circuit board Ollie stole for egress from the island. Of course, Fyers changes the terms of the deal, because we know Ollie stays on that island for five years. His men drag out Proto-Arrow’s daughter (who is, at least nominally, Shado) and he threatens to kill her unless they bring the circuit board back.
Thea arrives on Roy’s doorstep to give him a talking-to about doing all that thieving. He replies with some dialogue he practiced in the mirror about how life’s tough out on these streets, but before he can finish with a performance of an NWA song, a guy comes out of nowhere and jams a syringe in his neck. It’s great. Roy goes in the back of The Savior’s van and is off to Dexter land while Thea lays knocked out on the ground.
Merlyn and Ollie are at Verdant, watching The Only News Channel in Starling as it switches over to The Savior’s live feed. The anchor offers a warning that he’s not sure what will happen on this feed in which two guys have been brutally shot dead for everyone to see. Sure. How could you know, right?
The Savior introduces Roy and talks about how he and his hair full of product are bad elements in The Glades. Thea bursts in and explains what happened. Ollie stops just shy of saying “I am Arrow and I will save him” in his reassurances to her.
Moira answers a call from Boe. He informs her that a recently arrested member of the triads is willing to give up who hired his organization to kill Boe in exchange for a reduced sentence. Can Boe do that? Does he own the Starling legal system? That would explain a lot of its idiosyncrasies. Moira looks concerned, which is about as emotional as anyone around here gets.
The Lance family has it out in Laurel’s apartment. Dinah says she knows Laurel and Sgt. Lance don’t want to keep looking, but she’s sure Sarah’s alive out there. Then Laurel asks how her mom knew Sarah had her hat with her, like that’s a question anyone would ever ask. Dinah says she saw Sarah the day before she left with Ollie for the yacht trip and blames herself for Sarah’s death. Everybody cries and it’s supposed to be powerful but it’s all based on a hat that literally thousands of other people would own and it just doesn’t quite hit like it should.
In the Arrowcave, Smoak has decided to isolate the ambient noise — which, I’ll note, we haven’t actually heard any of in the background — from The Savior’s videos. She finds a rhythmic rattling that Dig’s sure he’s heard before. He looks at a map and discovers all the places they’ve tracked The Savior to were stops on Starling City’s now-shuttered subway system. Smoak puts it all together: The Savior was moving because he was in a subway car.
More on that in a minute, but back to Flashback Island for a sec. Slade doesn’t agree to Fyers’ terms, so Fyers orders Shado dead. But then Shado busts out some martial arts prowess and takes a whole bunch of guys down, including Fyers, who she hurricanranas (they really love that move on this show). Ollie, Slade, Shado and Proto-Arrow all take off running, but before they get away, Proto-Arrow takes a bullet to the leg. So they leave him. Proto-Arrow’s got no luck, man.
Ollie heads into an old subway station and quickly comes face-to-train with Starling City’s fabled CGI subway. He looks at it like it shoplifted something.
This subway thing. It just doesn’t make any sense at all. How could one guy, even if he did work for the department of transportation, make an entire subway system run again? How’d he get power down there, when Ollie, who’s got to be in his late twenties, didn’t even know there was a subway? Wouldn’t someone notice the spike in power use? How is he broadcasting internet videos that somehow ping everyone in the city’s cell phones from tunnels that haven’t been used in at least 20 years and almost definitely don’t have Internet service of any kind? Why is it so damn quiet inside the trains? How was there a still-operational train down there? HOW IS ANY OF THIS HAPPENING?
Like the assistant DA before him, The Savior gives Roy 10 minutes to explain why he should live. But didn’t The Savior start this broadcast, like, hours ago? Did he take a dinner break? Anyway, Roy elects to waive his 10 minutes and tells The Savior just to kill him. The Savior’s taken aback by this, but he still feels pretty strongly that Roy is basically a waste of organs.
It’s here we get our first decent look at The Savior, and he’s just some dude in a denim jacket with a bluetooth thing in his ear.
The Savior points his gun at Roy, but just before he can get a shot off, Arrow makes a noise elsewhere on the train. The Savior drops his camera and goes looking for him. Arrow crashes through a window, pops off an arrow at Roy’s restraints and insists The Savior let Roy go. The Savior offers a “We’ve got to work together” argument, but Arrow insists he’s a good murdering vigilante, while The Savior is a bad murdering vigilante. Roy struggles to release himself while Arrow stalls for time with some fake sympathy. The Savior turns around and takes a shot at Roy, which he ducks. Arrow arrows him through the chest. See, ’cause that was a good murder.
Dinah wheels a suitcase toward the door of Laurel’s apartment, saying she’s got to get on the redeye to Central City. “Should be home in a flash,” she says, before lighting a cigar and shuffling offstage to peppy ragtime music while a giant DC logo lights up in neon above her head.
Thea and Roy reunite at Verdant while Ollie looks on with a blank, emotionless stare. Yeah, I’m sure he’s fine. Thea goes to the bathroom to wipe all the smeared makeup off her face and Roy pulls out the arrow Ollie used to free him to look at it with a certain degree of wonderment.
Outside the club, Ollie and Laurel run into each other and share in some chit-chat before Laurel opens up about how her mom almost convinced her the sister Ollie more or less sent to her watery grave was still alive. Good talk! Ollie asks if they can get together as friends sometime soon because otherwise he may be a for-real sociopath, just FYI.
On Flashback Island, Ollie and Slade discover the circuit board is gone — Fyers had his guys take it while they had their little fake meeting. Shado chimes in that Fyers would never have helped them. Ollie is somehow surprised she speaks English, even though her dad does, too. She tells them she knows what Fyers’ plans are for the missile launcher. Wild guess here, but I bet he’s going to shoot some missiles.
Moira and Chen meet up again, and Moira just puts it all out there: She gave Chen up to Boe because she is stone cold. Just like that, two arrows go sailing through his chest and Dark Arrow thanks Moira for her loyalty. He says Chen’s family is next, but Moira talks him out of it. Dark Arrow disappears and Moira gets back in her car to do a bad job of spit-washing Chen’s blood of her hands and cry. She may be an opportunistic backstabber, but she isn’t heartless, like some people, Ollie.
Down in the Arrowcave, Ollie notices a transit map of the Glades on Smoak’s screen and notices it’s got the same design as that crazy symbol from his dad’s Super Secret Book.
Ollie proclaims that all the stuff with Dark Arrow, “the undertaking” and his dad has something to do with The Glades, as if that hasn’t been patently obvious since this show started making a big deal of that particular neighborhood in the pilot. I feel like we’re regressing.
This episode was dumb. Nearly everything about it was dumb. The subway stuff was dumb. The Internet stuff was dumb. The whole thing with the baseball cap was dumb. The Savior’s ever-lengthening trials for his victims were dumb. The symbol being a map was dumb and disappointing. Even the flashbacks weren’t particularly compelling this time out. And they had Slade!
The only parts I thought were even marginally good were the Moira scenes. The thing where Moira was wiping the blood off her hand was really well-acted. So good work, Susanna Thompson! Roy getting syringed in the neck was also good for a laugh.
Everyone else, you’re on notice.