Arrow season 2 episode 2 review: Identity
Arrow's second season started strong and continues to impress. Here's Caroline's review of Identity...
This review contains spoilers.
Oliver had the Batman/Bruce Wayne problem this week, and this reformed billionaire playboy had to decide between making his city better through costumed heroics or through showing his real face at a fundraiser for rebuilding The Glades. He wanted to do both, of course, but that's not often possible when there are supervillains hanging around at the same time. Identity saw the return of China White and the debut of an underused Bronze Tiger, as well as civilian antagonist Sebastian Blood.
But Oliver's biggest problem at the moment is the police, led by an increasingly annoying Laurel. This is the first time they got in his way during a mission, as he puts it, and that has the potential to be a huge problem. He's been on his best behaviour since Tommy's death but, brilliantly, this show doesn't let its characters off the hook that easily. The police are after The Hood because he's killed people, plain and simple, and they didn't get the memo about his name change to the Emerald Archer. Maybe sparing the lives of China White and Bronze Tiger is the turning point, but leaving villains to scheme another day seems a little dangerous.
It's nice to see some forward motion in the evolution of the character and the world, and bringing Roy on board as an informant is obviously the first step towards integrating him into the team. That's a team that's in danger of fracturing, too, as Felicity's demotion to secretary isn't the best news she's ever received. I loved the exchange, as Diggle points out that he too is operating way below his skills, just to avoid questions about his constant contact with Oliver. It draws attention to the stereotypes of sidekicks, and I appreciated that Arrow even wants us to think about what toll the mission will have on Felicity and Diggle. They are also living double lives, and Oliver rarely considers that.
Sebastian Blood is the most interesting addition in the episode, as he's the latest comic character to be seamlessly adapted into Arrow's real-world setting. Here, he has something legitimate to be angry about and to fight for, and the Queen name is being dragged through the mud even more this week. Oliver makes a half-arsed attempt to improve the family reputation by organising and appearing at a fundraiser for The Glades, but superhero duties get in the way of actually attending. If anything, things are now worse, and that is clearly going to be a considerable obstacle to Oliver in future weeks. The episode is called Identity, and Oliver had trouble juggling the wealthy CEO and the vigilante this week.
I wasn't a huge fan of the island flashbacks last year, as they never seemed to matter to whatever was going on in present day, but so far season two has improved on this. I enjoy watching the three characters interact, which helps and, now that Oliver has something dark to grapple with after his first kill, the parallels between past and present help the episode to feel more complete. It'll be interesting to see Oliver moving away from his vigilantism while also witnessing his fall into the Oliver we saw in the pilot and, in five years time, that's going to have to be one helluva payoff. There's also Sarah Lance to consider, as well as wherever Slade and Shado are now.
Next week, Laurel's captured by a woman-targeting serial killer, so we can assume Oliver's own situation with her SWAT team is going to be resolved pretty quickly. With Roy now on the team, he'll also come in handy, though i'm still struggling to see where Thea fits in. No matter what, this second episode continues a great start to season two, and I can't wait for more.
Read Caroline's review of the previous episode, City Of Heroes, here.
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