Arrow episode 2 review: Honor Thy Father

Review Caroline Preece 18 Oct 2012 - 16:09

Judging by its first two exciting episodes, Arrow is shaping up to be quite a show. Here's Caroline's review of Honor Thy Father...

This review contains spoilers.

1.2 Honor Thy Father

Last week’s premiere episode of The CW’s Arrow was one of the strongest debuts of the new season, and everyone was waiting to see if the quality could be maintained over an entire series. Judging by this excellent second episode, things are looking positive for one of the year’s biggest surprise hits, and leaves the audience wanting so much more after yet another entertaining forty-minute slice of of crime fighting, family tension and super-archery.

This week sees Oliver enter his mission to clean up the city in a more organised way, attempting to hide his alter-ego from his friends and family while protecting Laurel from the corrupt businessman she’s helping to bring down. We see Oliver target the background baddies over general criminals on the street, going through his father’s list of society’s dregs as a guide. These are the people who might go unpunished if it weren’t for vigilantes like Green Arrow, and that gives the show a sense of purpose above the weekly vengeance saga it could have been. We learn that Queen Industries has actually contributed to the problems back home, giving Oliver a personal interest.

The conflict of interest between various characters is interesting this week, too, since Oliver, Laurel and Quentin are all after the same man but going about it in vastly different ways. Quentin believes that there’s no need to go outside of the law to get justice, and his conviction is this idea casts doubt on whether Oliver’s methods are necessary. Each week we’re likely to see a cop, a lawyer and a masked vigilante clash over how to deal with problems, and it really separates the show from other, more narrowly targeted, series. Arrow isn’t afraid to question what Oliver is doing, and I like that a lot.

We get a new DC villain this week as China White briefly enters the frame. I assume she’ll pop up again throughout the series since she wasn’t really defeated here, and she sticks pretty closely to the comic book version of the character. Involved in the drug cartel that Martin Somers has been facilitating, her hyped appearance made much less of an impact than I had expected. In general, there wasn’t as much action in this second episode, but the brilliantly written character development and quieter moments more than made up for the slightly muted excitement level.

Everyone is having trouble with Oliver’s return to the living, and the episode begins with the slightly surreal sight of him legalising his own resurrection. This formality hasn’t made things easier for Moira or Thea, however, and the former’s shifty intentions are becoming more and more sinister. One of the final scenes of the episode reveals that she had something to do with the boat crash - and thus her husband’s untimely death -  and the slow drip-feed of information is working brilliantly. Though there are many who hate long, drawn-out plots, I’m a sucker for a big mystery, and I’m hoping they keep things under wraps for a while.

In the same way, I can anticipate the flashbacks adding plenty of intrigue to each episode. This week, we only account for a few hours of Oliver’s experience and, considering they have five years to cover, it’s made as entertaining as possible. Admittedly, I was slightly worried we’d just be watching Oliver look for firewood and master archery, but this episode revealed that he wasn’t quite as alone as he’s made out since his return. Who is this Arrow-lookalike? Hopefully this is something that’s revealed next week. It’s a complete unknown to run alongside the weekly hunt for criminals, and I can’t wait to see more.

But the most entertaining thread for me this week was Oliver’s rejection of his father’s company, and the tug-of-war it caused between his head and his heart. The scene at his father’s grave, in which he tells him that in order to honour his wishes he must dishonour his memory, was perfect, and I’m really impressed with the depth these familial relationships are being given. Thea is still a highlight for me, too, telling her brother that she felt closer to his memory than she does to the real thing. Oliver’s bodyguard, Diggle, is actually the only character able to psychoanalyse his charge, and I foresee him becoming some kind of accomplice down the line.

All in all, this was another great episode of Arrow, with cliff-hangers and intrigue to spare and some genuinely engaging characters to boot. What was Moira’s involvement with the accident? How long with it take before someone discovers what Oliver’s up to?

Read Caroline's review of the season premiere, here.

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I thought it was a horrible bunch of cliches, loosely knitted together by a generic storyline. Twists that are visible miles ahead, a lead character that has a brooding introspective manner while still flashing his muscles every time he can (or can't), bad guys that can't shoot a wall if they're in front of it and a semi-vigilante cop with a good heart..... puh. lease.

it is entertaining and all, but generic and bland overall.

So what show have you successfully produced or worked on? Oh - you're "justanothercritic"? Yah - figures.

i'm liking Arrow, its a refreshing new show and has my interest unlike revolution. please DOG can you do some reviews on 'Last Resort' that show is also a goodun

You do realize that critics are there to set apart crap shows from quality shows and not their own shows vs produced shows. Also considering the every day guy is watching the shows, yeah, their opinions matter. If it was only good to a small 0.01%, it wouldn't get past the pilot episode. Say there is a really good meal and a not so good meal but better than you can cook, both are the same price. Someone says both are amazing cuz both are well above the level the reviewer does. So you would be fine with the person saying that and you pay a good amount of money for a high class meal that isn't any good. So yeah, you might like eating food that isn't as good as you could have gotten, but I sure don't. Reviews are reviews, they aren't people going "lol I'm better than they are"
The people get paid tons of money to make these shows, the good ones are better than the not so good ones but all are at a level above someone who doesn't have experience but has an opinion. Who are you? Some butthurt 12 year old who wanted some likes? "Yah - figures."

Doesn't matter, got laid

This series is apalling; I love action, and have a strong stomach, but this series is just glorifying dozens of murders at a time, and cartoonifies villainy more than a comic book.

The first point is enough to make most turn off the set, but the ones who can brainlessly ignore the empty violence on the part of the PROTAGONIST! will be switching off from the awful quality of writing and acting (apart from Susanah Thomson). Anyone left should seek a psychiatrist, you might have soiociopathic tendencies.

Really? You think that these people, who by the way have done TORTURE for fun, and get off on hurting others, deserve to live? Are you kidding me? You actually believe that Oliver is the bad guy just because he has the stomach to do what no one else will and put down these people who don't deserve to have any pity at all on them? Then you have the tenacity to judge others for watching the show for pure entertainment? Let me ask you something, what the hell is WRONG with you? I love that about the show, that he can kill when it's needed, because normal justice can't touch him, because he's got to much money. Well, I think it's awesome and wish someone else would do that. Think of how much less violence there would be if you knew that the price was a bullet, or in this case an arrow, to the head? I bet there wouldn't be any rich ass wholes who are above the law just because they have more money then they know what to do with.

"Arrow" intrigued me from the teasers on. I write reviews (and major spoilers) for Innsmouth Free Press on the subject of "Grimm" (the site's subject matter keeps me from pursuing this series and reviewing it in the same way), so I'm rather envious that you are reviewing this series yourself. So far, my editor pointed out that a lot of this series is a bit of a mix of "Hamlet" and "The Count of Monte Cristo". I would add that there's a bit of "Memento" at play here with the parallel storylines.
One other thing: the symbol in the book that we saw. I've got one word to describe it: Intergang.

Actually, the fact that Queen actually DOES kill was something my editor sees as a point in favor of the series. The fact is I don't think that we're supposed to cheer what he does...we're supposed to think. Queen is a severely damaged human being with heavy signs of PTSD that he is subliminating by doing what he's doing. A person who has had to survive for five years on a wild island is NOT going to have what one would call "civilized" behavior when he gets back to the world.

It's also worth nothing that, with his targets thus far, he's done a lot worse to them than kill them. As five years on that island can attest, living can be a lot worse punishment under the right conditions.

Being a TV reviewer myself (I review "Grimm" on Innsmouth Free Press), I can honestly say that you can usually spot the good shows from the bad ones. Of course, personal preferences always play a role (any critic who says otherwise is a liar) but quality is something that an honest reviewer should be able to spot, regardless of that.
Let us remember too that most TV shows have a very short lifespan. Most die their first season. Some marginal ones manage to eke out two to three seasons (the better ones becoming cult). Five to six seasons are considered hits. Then you've got what can only be called the immortals that run for unbelievably long times: M*A*S*H, Law & Order, Smallville.

Oliver and Laurel's yoyo-ing continues with this episode, and the dialogue generally was pretty awful. David Ramsey (playing Diggle) is excellent, however.

Can someone please tell me (I've seen both episodes - am in the UK) if non UK episodes shed more light on what Diggle thought about the headlock Queen put him in during episode 1...in order to do what he then had to do? Was it some
magical headlock that made Diggle lose his memory of said incident? Little
things like this bother me...I mean WTF...I questioned myself if it actually
happened since no further mention of it was ever made. That aside...enjoying the
show thus far.

Have only just started watching this and I must say that I'm already seriously considering pulling the pin. The only thing that may keep me going is that a new series often takes a few episodes to find its feet.

To this point, this show is brainless. It's for idiots. It's lame, corny and has absolutely no sense of subtlety. The characters are written poorly and the script makes them all sound like over-glorified children. Brilliant twists too... Ollie says do it... villain says no then comes undone in 2 episodes.

Laurel as a character is infuriating. She got over the thing with her sister in an episode and by episode two went from being angry to "yes I'll have ice-cream with you in my apartment"... and her dialogue with her father "that may have worked when I was a child" yadda yadda... these aren't adult conversations... "thank you for fighting for me, thank you for letting me"... YUCK

I reckon it took the very 1st mention of Ollie being head of the company for the intelligent adult to figure out that he was going to go all Bruce Wayne to make himself look like swine to get out of being the boss. It's really not a very difficult concept to understand but hey drag it out for another 30min.

Heck even the action scenes really aren't anything special... Ollie is sooooo good that it loses all realism. And please enough with the "look at my chest" bit.

The only things this show has going for it...
- what happened on the island (intriguing)
- General clarity on his r'ship with dad and his mission
- What's mum's deal (most likely she'll end up being a good guy after weeks of being portrayed a a villain)
- The bodyguard character is pretty cool though the lack of subtlety in the show reads as though he should have figured it out by now

Don't know how long to persevere here. Does this show get better or is it a male version o revenge?

PS, this r/v shames DOG which is usually clever and insightful

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