ComicsAlliance Recaps ‘Arrow’ Episode 1.15: Dodger
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, a thieving bad guy comes to town, Smoak gets collared, and Dig and Ollie try their hands at dating!Previously: McKenna Hall is a cop that Ollie used to know! Felicity Smoak joined Team Arrow to help find Walter Steele! A lot of nodding happened!
At the local museum, a very sweaty guard tries to convince his confused colleague that they should movie the giant, diamond-shaped ruby (which is called the Sherwood because of allusions) that's under glass to another room, maybe one that doesn't look like a stairwell in a county courthouse. The two of them use a special finger scanner thing to raise the glass. Sweaty Guard knocks out the Other Guard and takes the ruby, instantly setting off an alarm.
Sweaty Guard sweatily walks by some other guards who don't give him a second look, because how in the world could this really nervous guy be suspicious, and finds
Baltar Dodger (James Callis) leaning against a pillar.
The guard passes the ruby off to Dodger and reveals he's been wearing a large, blinking, exploding collar under his shirt this whole time. How'd he even get that thing under his shirt collar? It's really big. Dodger presses some buttons on a remote and the collar falls off the guard's neck.
Sweaty Guard, who is clearly not too bright, asks if the collar would have detonated had Dodger wanted it to. You didn't think to find this out before he put the thing on you, or at least while you had it on? If someone's going to put you in a death trap, at least know how you're gonna go, man. Anyway, Dodger said it would have blown up, but since Sweaty Guard did what he asked, he just gets a weird, baton-shaped stun gun thing instead.
In the Arrowcave, Ollie finishes a workout by breaking a perfectly good piece of bamboo for no reason while he explains to Dig and Smoak that the night's target is Ken Williams,
the co-founder of Sierra Online a scammer who swindled people out of their homes and money in a pyramid scheme. Ollie's not expecting too much trouble tonight, so he tells them both to go home. But Smoak's got pertinent information on the guy, and she's really passive-aggressive, so instead of just telling Ollie to wait, she locks the door on him with her computer until he has to come back and yell at her.
Williams is a widowed dad, and Smoak doesn't want to be an accessory to orphaning any kids. Seems like a fair point, but Ollie takes it pretty hard. You get him going on that orphaning train and it's hard to stop, let me tell you. Smoak walks out, saying it was a mistake to join the team.
On Flashback Island, Slade is having a Bad Time. He seemed fine last week after Ollie dug that bullet out of his arm, but now it's infected and he's a sweaty mess. Ollie says he's going to have to do something about the infection; Slade responds by making jokes about going to the drug store and buying him a copy of Maxim. That guy would read Maxim. Ollie sassily leaves to go get the Magic Healing Herbs from the cave, further proof that Purgatory is actually a Resident Evil game setting.
Manu Bennett has been quite good as a hard-fighting badass in the previous few episodes. Bed-ridden invalid is not something he pulls of quite as well. He doesn't seem so much like someone in immense physical pain as he kind of gives the sense that someone ran over his dog and he's real torn up about it.
So hey, you know how I've said this show tried to be a TV version of The Dark Knight, especially in its early episodes? Well, it's now been taken even further. They've gone and gotten one of the movie's actors, Chin Han, who played the money laundering Mr. Lau, to play a slightly less shady businessman named Frank Chen.
Chen shows up at Casa Queen to talk to Moira about "The Undertaking" (which I guess is their official name for Moira and Boe's big Rich People Conspiracy now). Moira wants out. Omerta no more! She's had it with the disappearing husbands and almost getting killed with arrows. She also thinks The Undertaking isn't doing what it was originally set up to do, which she says was "fix The Glades," presumably by building Delta City over it. There's some vague talk about how Chen got involved in this whole thing to protect his daughter, punctuated with pensive looks.
At Queen Consolidated, Dig and Ollie are hanging out in Smoak's office while she's not there. That's normal, right? After Ollie lightheartedly tells Dig he would have killed him if he ever told the police about Arrow, Smoak comes back so Ollie can beg her to come back to the team. In a show of goodwill, he didn't even kill Ken Williams. I mean, come on!
Just then, a report about Dodger comes on Starling City's One TV Station, which leads to an exposition-off between everyone in the room. Dig wins by explaining Dodger's name comes from avoiding any dirty work by getting other people to steal stuff for him using those clunky collars. Ollie asks Smoak for her help catching Dodger, and she's back on the squad.
Meanwhile, Dodger is meeting up with a fence I'm just going to call Bearded Penguin because look at this guy:
All he needs is a top hat.
Dodger gives BP an account number he can wire the money for the Sherwood Ruby to, but BP decides he'll just take it instead. His thugs train their guns on Dodger. Dodger easily dispatches them with his stun gun-baton thing, grabs one of their guns, and shoots BP after some hesitation which I can only guess was Head 6 telling him to go through with it (that's my last Battlestar Galactica joke, I hope). Bearded Penguin, we hardly knew ye.
Also: Dodger killing BP seems to run counter to his gimmick, doesn't it? He avoids ever stealing anything himself, but the gun murders, those he's fine doing on his own? What kind of sense does that make?
Team Arrow heads to Big Belly Burger to figure out how they'll take down Dodger. Dig's sister-in-law Carly swings by to complain about some rowdy customers and Dig offers to beat up those teenagers for her. I guess that's sweet, in its way.
Discussion quickly turns away from catching that murdering thief guy and toward matters of love. And what better way to spur love along than through dares? Ollie and Dig dare each other to ask out Officer Hall and Carly, respectively. Dig gets right on it, asking his dead brother's wife out to dinner. Doubt anything'll go wrong there.
Ollie and Smoak cook up a plan where he'll ask Officer Hall out but also plant a bug on her phone so she'll lead them to Dodger. That seems even more foolproof! Subterfuge is a great way to start a relationship.
In A Bad But Oddly Suburban Looking Neighborhood, Laurel is doing her best to tolerate Thea's privileged whining while they get hot dogs. A mugger in a red hoodie (Roy Harper is Arsenal, not Red Hood, guys) grabs Thea's purse and takes off. The girls chase him into an alley, where he appears to be blocked by a tall fence (not the kind Dodger went to see, the inanimate kind).
Laurel says they won't press charges if he hands the purse back over, but he pulls a parkour move and hops the fence. Thea responds to this with insufferable sarcasm, but Laurel finds a clue: A chain from the thief's wallet. Man, they should let him keep that purse. He hasn't been able to get a new wallet since 1998!
Ollie shows up at police HQ for some awkward conversation and putting bugs on phones. How could Officer Hall be anything but charmed? They set a date for that night.
Smoak listens into one of Officer Hall's very boring calls to Sgt. Lance and discovers the Dodger killed Bearded Penguin. Team Arrow deduces Dodger will be looking for a new fence soon, and there can't be that many of them, can there? Also: Stephen Amell just cannot say "Dodger" without sounding overwhelmingly Canadian. It's a little endearing, actually.
Thea's looking online for stores that sell wallets like the one the thief had, and calling them up to ask if they could identify a customer if she describes him. Her description is that he may have been wearing a red hoodie, "kind of Abercromibie-looking." First off, that hoodie is just a hoodie. Second, I used to work in a retail store, and I doubt I could have identified people who bought stuff in that store that day. With a good description! And she cops an attitude when the stores simply ask if she can call back! How about you learn how stores work, Thea?
Yet this terrible system works out somehow, and she identifies the guy as Roy Harper. She calls up Laurel and tells her to put her dad on the case. This arrest is sure to start him on the path to protecting dead cats in alleyways.
Dig and Carly's date in the park is going well until the topic of conversation shifts to the dead brother/husband. There are tears. Stuff falls apart. On Ollie and Officer Hall's date, things aren't going much better, with the question-prompted flashbacks to island torture and stuff. She takes a work call and leaves. He calls Smoak to get that call traced.
Speaking of flashbacks, Ollie has returned to his old cave to grab up some herbs when he encounters a beaten, tied-up exchange student named Alan Durand. He begs for help and explains that his fishing expedition got lost two days before and he was the only survivor. The mercs beat him up and would have killed him if they hadn't been called away. Seems legit.
In a Battlestar Galactica reunion that pales in comparison to Portlandia's, Dodger meets up with Rekha Sharma, who played presidential aide Tory. Here, she's another fence Dodger tries to sell the ruby to. This non-deal is about as short as the last one; the SCPD shows up and literally starts shooting every breakable in the place. I'm not sure why fences and thieves would meet up in a vase warehouse anyway, but whatever.
Hall runs down the fence, but Dodger gets away, cunningly running through a door clearly marked as an exit.
Who else but a master criminal would have thought of such an escape?
It's not a perfect plan, though. Arrow meets him outside and tells him to come quietly. Dodger says no thanks; Arrow threatens his life, as he does. Dodger throws one of his explodey collars toward Arrow and distracts him long enough to beat feet away.
Back at the Arrowcave, Team Arrow concocts a plan to lure Dodger out into the open. Apparently he only likes to steal jewels from a specific 10-year period of Spanish history, even though he never keeps those jewels and desperately wants to sell them. Why would it matter what he stole as long as it was expensive and salable? There's having an M.O. and then there's just being obsessive compulsive. Anyway, Ollie plans to get his hands on such a jewel and auction it off at a charity event.
Sgt. Lance interrogates Roy, who only has one set of clothing, it would appear. Roy's dad is dead. His family is poor. His mom's addicted to vertigo. He's got a long rap sheet, but he doesn't want to steal. Thea, who's listening to this whole thing, experiences sympathy for the first time in her life and says to let him go.
Moira and Chen regroup at Casa Queen. He has set up a mysterious meeting and Moira wants a clue as to where Steele's being held. There's some ominous talk about being damned to hell. It's all pretty low-key, though. Moira's way chill about going to hell.
Ollie, Dig and Smoak meet up at the charity auction -- and it takes place on a set that actually looks like a hall where a charity thing would take place, so good going on that, show -- to await the theft of the jewel they donated, which Smoak fitted with a GPS. It isn't long before Dodger grabs it. No alarm or anything. I've got to get to more charity auctions. He does it himself this time, too. What's the point of giving your villain a gimmick if he only uses it once? Did they just forget?
Smoak, who's separated from Dig and Ollie, finds Dodger and confronts him. Cut to Ollie and Dig. Then there's Smoak, with one of those kaboom collars.
I know I'm supposed to suspend my disbelief here, and that they cut away for a reason, but there is no way Dodger could have gotten that very noticeable collar on Smoak's neck without someone in that very crowded room noticing. What'd he do, take her into the bathroom? Like, even if people didn't know that was an exploding collar, it'd still be a man forcibly putting a collar on a woman, which is pretty not cool already.
Dig starts trying to disarm the collar and Ollie commandeers (that is, steals) a motorcycle to chase after Dodger. Smoak uses her tablet with Convenient Windows 8TM Tablet Technology to find Dodger using traffic camera feeds. Ollie Grand Theft Autos his stolen motorcycle through a park and engages in a somewhat hilariously low-speed pursuit of Dodger that's shot dynamically so it looks like they're going more than 35. He takes out one of Dodger's tires with an arrow. The car crashes.
Dodger gets out of the wrecked car and talks a big game about killing Smoak. Ollie throws a dart (yes, a dart) at Dodger's arm, severing Dodger's median nerve and stopping him from pushing the detonate button. Well, that was easy. (That nerve doesn't control all the fingers, by the way. He could have set the thing off with his pinky. Or, you know, used that whole other hand he has.)
Arrow releases Smoak's blasto-collar while Dodger tries an "I'm like you" gambit because he's just assuming this guy in a motorcycle helmet is Arrow. "I only steal from the rich," he says, pulling out his taser thing for an attack. Ollie grabs the baton and hits Dodger with it. "I'm not Robin Hood," he says. So what the hell was that Sherwood thing about?
On Flashback Island, Ollie leaves a bleeding, crying man to die in a cave because he doesn't know him. Our hero, everyone!
Dig and Carly walk through yet another park, and Dig's f**king it up again, talking about his dead brother from the get-go this time. But then they kiss, so maybe she's into it.
Thea goes to visit Roy at his house in The Glades, where she tries to pass off her problems as anything even a little bit comparable to his. Except maybe he doesn't have those problems he talked about in the interrogation. He tells Thea to stay out of The Glades and don't believe his sob stories. Oh, and he takes her cigarettes because he must be a surgeon general or some s**t.
Ollie returns to police HQ to talk to Officer Hall about their terrible date. He says he doesn't want to talk about the island because it makes him feel less than human. But then they kiss, so maybe he's into it.
Sgt. Lance charges in and asks Hall to work with him on the "vigilante investigation." Do they really say that mouthful every time they talk about Arrow? Jeez.
Flashback Ollie takes the magic herbs to his murdering super-spy friend Slade and it fixes him right up. Slade asks if he got into any trouble. Ollie says no. Durand keeps bleeding.
Moira meets with China White (who came recommended by Chen, because all Chinese people know each other) under a monorail track. Moira wants the Triads to kill Boe. Because they did such a great job with that whole Bertinelli thing!
Honestly, what is it with Arrow and bad guys? What is so hard about it? Casting James Callis as Dodger should have been a home run (get it, because of baseball), but it ended up forgettable at best. It didn't help that the gimmick at least three different characters went out of their way to point out -- the whole business of getting other people to do his dirty work -- wound up being something Dodger barely did, and more of an excuse for him to have those explodo-collars with him all the time. Callis kind of sleepwalked through this thing, too. At least he can deliver a quip pretty well, even when he's barely trying.
This episode really ended up being a showcase for Emily Bett Rickards' Felicity Smoak, and I think she did a pretty good job with her passive-aggressive, panicky character. Too bad a lot of the plot just didn't make much sense, and the punchline of the whole thing was Ollie saying "I'm not Robin Hood." Ugh.
All the relationship stuff this episode set up has some potential for future episodes, but the conflict here seemed pretty forced. Oh, and Ollie definitely kicked off this relationship by bugging his ladyfriend's phone. He also left a guy to die in a cave in the past. Ollie's not a great person.
Two last things: How crazy is it that Moira's storyline is proving to have the most genuine forward momentum of anyone's, at least in the present? And heaven help me, I think I kind of like this version of Roy Harper. I hope they do something good with him.