ComicsAlliance Recaps ‘Arrow’ Episode 1.3: Lone Gunmen
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.
On this week’s episode, our verdant hero takes on the single-goggled but sadly unmustached TV version of Deadshot while getting to the bottom of a power struggle over an energy company. Also: A secret is revealed! Find out what and to whom after the jump!
For anyone wondering about Arrow‘s future and, more importantly, the future of these recaps, it looks like it’s going to be here for quite some time to come. The pilot episode was the highest-rated show the CW has aired in three years (Eat it, Hart of Dixie!), and they’ve been holding relatively steady in the two weeks following.
So it looks like Arrow is life now. Where y=n, and y = Arrow and n = Arrow, life = Arrow, love = Arrow, self = Arrow. In that spirit, let’s allow ourselves to be consumed by the Arrow-Life Equation and dig into this week’s episode, “Lone Gunmen.”
Like last week, the episode opens on Ollie doing preparatory things in his Arrowcave as his voiceover reminds us of his deal: Name is Oliver Queen, lost at sea for five years, he’s not who people think he is, bring justice to the city, targeting the corrupt cancers on the city, and on and on. I wonder if every episode is going to open with a voiceover like this, and whether we’ll eventually turn from finding this tiring and repetitive, which is what it’s becoming, to it being strangely reassuring. We can hope.
The preparatory thing Ollie is doing this time, by the way, is lifting cinder-block weights, which he just lets crash to the ground when he’s finished.
I have to wonder: Did these cinder blocks fail the city somehow? If not, what does Ollie have against perfectly good cinder blocks? Add Ollie’s weird distaste for cinder blocks to this show’s ever-growing list of mysteries.
The “cancer” in Dad Queen’s Book of Names Ollie is after in this week’s cold open is a guy named James Holder, who equipped low-income housing with faulty smoke detectors. “Cancers can be fought and conquered. All it takes is a surgeon and the right instrument,” Ollie tells us, indicating he knows a lot about fighting evil businessmen but not so much about treating malignant diseases.
Out by a rooftop pool, Holder’s talking some skeezy talk about a lawsuit and focusing on Unidac Industries when Arrow shows up to shoot a beer bottle out of his hand and tell him his security has been disabled. But before Arrow can launch into a “You have failed this city” speech, the targeting reticle of a sniper rifle held by a red-goggled mystery man focuses in on Holder and a bullet sails through his chest.
How a guy who can shoot a moving beer bottle with an arrow from across a rooftop in the dark can’t notice a big red laser sight on a guy’s chest from a few feet away remains unexplained, but a bullet does graze Arrow in the shoulder as Holder collapses into the pool.
On the other side of the title screen, Ollie patches himself up back at the Arrowcave, but opts to bleed through his shirt rather than use a bandage for no good reason whatsoever. He marks Holder’s name off his list as he starts to feel a little woozy — even the voiceover gets woozy, which is just delightful — and realizes the bullet that grazed him was laced with poison. He treats that by chewing on some grass-looking stuff from his Mystic Arrow Box and flashes back to the Isle of Purgatory.
And, oh man, it’s Proto-Arrow! Ollie’s in a cave somewhere on the island with the arrow he got shot with last week still sticking out of his shoulder when Proto-Arrow enters to answer Ollie’s question, “Why did you shoot me?” by saying “To protect you” in Mandarin, even though it’s fairly clear Ollie only knows English and Proto-Arrow answers the question so he definitely knows English. Proto-Arrow is a dick.
Proto-Arrow feeds Ollie some of the grass-looking stuff and yanks the arrow out of Ollie’s shoulder. We kick back to the Arrowcave where Ollie’s mad that being poisoned has eaten up all his valuable time.
Ollie arrives at Queen Castle to find the police returning Thea home after a drunken night of breaking into stores. But who among us didn’t break into some stores in our teenage years, right? Ollie has a quick conversation with Dig about giving him the slip, even though Dig absolutely threatened to quit last week if that happened again. Mom Queen ineffectively tries to give Thea a talking-to and Ollie says she’s being too lax in her parenting. “Maybe you should be shooting Thea with arrows to teach her lessons,” I wish he said.
Oh, here’s Detective Lance, checking out the scene where Holder got capped. His partner, which the Arrow wiki, but not the show, tells me is Detective Hilton, thinks Arrow (whom he calls “The Hood”) is the clear culprit, but Lance doesn’t buy it. Maybe it’s the lack of arrows in the body? Just a hunch.
Arrow’s at the Arrowcave figuring out who really did it — a guy who has “killed all over the world” using bullets laced with curare, a poison that isn’t all that rare but apparently is in the Arrow Universe. Interpol calls him Deadshot.
Which is weird, because the guy tattooing Holder’s name on his arm is pretty clearly Leonard Shelby from Memento. He has really branched out with his murders!
Of course, as Ollie’s voiceover informs us, the nightclub is really meant to give him an alibi so he can go out and shoot guys in suits with arrows. Not a bad plan, except putting your super-trendy nightclub right above your secret headquarters, which were already in an abandoned factory no one ever went to, seems kind of not smart. I don’t see how having people there all the time while you swoop in and out with evidence and poison wounds and stuff would be better than having no people.
Over at Laurel’s office, she’s eating a pen while reading about Ollie’s new club. Laurel’s work friend catches her, which leads to a flustered Laurel trying to excuse it. “I was just surfing the net,” she says, because she is 60. And, lo and behold, Work Friend has a name! “Joanna, I’m over him,” Laurel adds. They rehash Laurel’s love life for a bit (dated Ollie, sister cheated with Ollie and died, hooked up with Merlyn) before deciding to go to a nightclub. B-b-b-but that’s what Ollie and Merlyn are doing! Double oh boy!
At the Queen House, Moira is putting her foot down and grounding Thea for that whole B & E thing she did. Thea’s indignant and is pretty sure Ollie’s the reason mom has all this backbone now. If Moira is going to learn from Ollie’s example, how much longer before she’s Spider-Manning her way up buildings, like he is right now?
He’s doing some ballistics, digging one of Deadshot’s bullets out of a wall. Detectives Lance and Hilton are getting all ballisticy, too, telling us a bunch of stuff we already know about the poison and Arrow not doing the shooting. Ollie traces the bullet back to the Russian mob, because apparently only the Bratva use 7.62 millimeter bullets. As a calling card or something? I really have no clue how he made this connection.
There’s a quick scene where Detective Lance, no kidding, notices that there is a building adjacent to the one where Holder was killed. Police work.
Looking inconspicuous in his regular clothes plus a baseball cap, Ollie swings by a garage to ask for Alexi Leonov (a Russian mobster who I guess was also a famous cosmonaut). He gets some resistance, but when he shows a tattoo on his chest, Leonov, who was the old guy in the garage the whole time (what a payoff!) offers to help. Ollie asks to hire a guy who uses those bullets and that poison and Leonov says he’ll look into it. Oh, and if Ollie’s not really a Bratva captain, Ollie’s whole family will be murdered. No pressure!
A news report, a new tattoo and another scene of police questioning the Queen family (seriously, just open a precinct there, guys) inform us that Deadshot, who we now know is criminally mustacheless, has killed another businessman interested in Unidac and its alternative energy program. Turns out Steele wants a piece of that Unidac action, too, so Hilton/Lance want to be sure he’s careful/think he might be murdering other bidders. Just to cover all the bases.
Ollie and Merlyn arrive at that nightclub they planned to go to, and after some very CWish shots of people dancing, meet up with Laurel, Joanna and Thea because of course they do. It’s not like Starling City has more than one nightclub or anything.
Thea and Ollie have the exact same conversation they have had in each of the past two episodes (“You’re doing stuff you shouldn’t!” “You did the same thing at my age! Don’t judge me!”), getting my hopes up that this same thing will happen in every episode for seasons to come. Except this time, Thea mentions that Merlyn and Laurel have been hooking up. So that’s a neat twist on it. And Willa Holland handles the material well, even if it is the exact same material each week.
As Thea storms out, club owner Max Fuller, who looks like a young Christopher Reeve swallowed a bunch of aquarium gravel that got stuck in his throat, gets Ollie’s attention, takes him in the back and roughs him up for that whole screwing his fiancée thing. Merlyn tries to defend him, so Fuller’s thugs just rough up both of them, until Laurel shows up and shows her first signs of potential Black Canaryness with some sweet moves on Fuller. A shaken Fuller tells them they’re banned and runs off to eat some more rocks.
Ollie starts to tell Laurel her fling with Merlyn was OK, but she interrupts him to say she doesn’t need his blessing. Good for her.
Flashback time! Ollie wakes up to find Proto-Arrow sleeping a few feet away and scrambles out into the woods in the shakiest sequence of the show so far. God, Purgatory was shaky. Ollie gets caught in a big net like he’s so much Jonny Quest.
After innumberable entreaties to get me to like The Vampire Diaries on Facebook, the CW website finally returns me to the show, where the ever-gracious Dig (who got ditched at the club door) is taking Ollie and Merlyn to a burger joint where his sister-in-law works. Ollie clunkily observes she’s not wearing a wedding ring, which is his subtle way of reminding Dig that his brother is dead. Maybe in a late season of this show, Dig can quit this thankless job and go somewhere to set up a bounty hunting business and this show can just be about Dig. (By the way, his sister-in-law calls him Dig, which is a nickname based on his last name. What did they call his brother?)
Merlyn apologizes to Ollie about four times for the Laurel hookup thing, and Ollie says its okay about four more times, and it goes on for a while. Thank heavens Ollie gets a call from that Russian mobster who threatened to kill his family. Ollie checked out as a Bratva captain, so Leonov tells him Deadshot is Floyd Lawton and the address of where he last stayed in Starling City, a hotel at 1700 Broadway, which happens to be the address of DC’s New York offices, room 52. That’s cute. Maybe too cute.
That’s where Deadshot is, doing what any of us would do on a Thursday night, cracking his knuckles and looking at blueprints on a laptop. Arrow bursts through the door and they shoot at each other for a while, Arrow with his arrows and Deadshot with a wrist-mounted pistol thing the he appears to fire just by balling up his fist. His neighbors must hate it when he gets a cramp.
Thea and Moira have a heartfelt talk about Dad Queen that you know is heartfelt because there is piano in the score. It is also very boring.
Back at Queen Consolidated, Felicity has found some stuff on that laptop: Namely, those blueprints Deadshot was studying. They’re for the Exchange building, the place where the auction for Unidac is happening. Oh no! After some confusion about Shakespeare (seriously, Ollie, how did you not read Hamlet in high school?), Felicity reveals that the laptop belongs to a guy named Warren Patel, one of the other Unidac bidders.
The blueprints show that there are three towers near the building where Deadshot could set up to take out…every bidder who isn’t Patel, I guess. Arrow can’t cover those by himself, so he puts Detective Lance in a half-nelson on a police car’s hood outside police HQ and tells him to have his men ready, and in kevlar. As suddenly as Arrow’s there, he’s gone, leaving behind the laptop. Are there not security cameras at police headquarters? How did no one see this happen?
Meanwhile, in the entrance lobby of a public library, an auction for a huge energy company is happening.
Detective Lance checks in with all his units around the building, and they all say it’s clear, including unit five, who looks an awful lot like Deadsh–Wait! That is Deadshot! He’s a cop now! He must have made a deal for a job when he gave up Patel. That’s a pretty interesting explanation for how they got evidence on him. Oh, no, hold it. He just killed the cop that was there and is still a criminal. Never mind.
At the courthouse, Merlyn is meeting up with old workhorse Laurel so they can have their own piano-music heartfelt talk about relationship possibilities. Merlyn wants to make a go of it and Laurel seems to be receptive to that but it’s hard to tell because I am asleep now. (I really don’t hate all the soapy scenes in this snow, but this episode’s have just been televised Lunesta.)
Back at the auction, Ollie asks Dig if he’s got his eyes open, and Dig replies, “That’s what I’m here for, sir, that and answering patronizing questions.” Dig is the best. Deadshot’s all set up and got his crosshairs on Ollie himself until he moves them over to Steele. Detective Lance, who is more perceptive than Arrow, it would appear, notices the laser sight and tackles Steele out of the way so some poor schmuck waiter can take the bullet. It’s fine, everyone! It was just some poor guy who died! Whew!
Ollie sends Thea and Moira off with Dig and takes off up the stairs. He grabs his Arrow costume out of a convenient trash can that I suppose no custodians would ever empty. Deadshot’s still firing away, hitting anyone who’s dumb enough to just be standing around at this point (surprisingly, it’s a lot of people) when Arrow pops over to the tower where he is so they can have another arrows vs. arm cannons battle where they never actually hit each other.
It’s here we finally get a good look at Deadshot in his full outfit, and…it isn’t great. He’s got this goofy leather jacket and his eyepiece is just a little too big for his head. The guy wouldn’t be too out of place in the 1990s Flash TV series is my point.
Arrow tells Deadshot to drop his guns, which would seem to involve dropping his whole wrist. But Deadshot wants to butter Arrow up: He tells him he admires his murder skills, and Arrow can’t say much in response to that except that his murders were, you know, good murders. Deadshot takes a few shots at him, and then Arrow kills him with an arrow through the eye to prove how good his murders are.
A hobbled Dig shows up just in time for a flashback to Proto-Arrow cutting Ollie out of the net and telling him, “They’ll kill you.” Who are “they?” Paramilitary dudes, by the looks of things. I’m starting to think this isn’t an island at all, and is instead North Korea.
In the now, Arrow rushes Dig to the Arrowcave (that must have been quite a walk) and doses him with his poison remedy grass juice. Dig awakes to see Ollie in his Arrow costume, and Ollie chooses to mark this momentous occasion of revealing his vigilante identity by saying, “Hey.”
This is not a fantastic cliffhanger, but it is pretty damn funny.
Despite some great Dig moments (David Ramsey is really easing into the role now, and he’s quickly becoming my favorite part of the show), some new characters, and a big-name bad guy for comics fans, I’d have to say this episode was the weakest of the three so far.
Maybe it was the lack of much real feeling in any of the more dramatic scenes or some repetition of stuff from previous episodes or a lack of much intrigue in the island flashbacks, but a lot of this one just fell flat for me.
I will say that I’m happy to see the show move away from rich-guy-of-the-week plots, though. Now it looks like the rich guys will be hiring TV versions of supervillains to do their work for them, so that should be fun.
And I do want to see more about those Russian mob connections Ollie has. I wonder if the Bratva taught him that “hey” move.