Arrow episode 13 review: Betrayal

A spot of matricide is on the menu for this week's Arrow. Here's Caroline's review of Betrayal...

This review contains spoilers.

1.13 Betrayal

Remind me never to take parenting classes from the characters in Arrow. Quentin is lying to Laurel, Laurel is lying to Quentin, Moira is lying to Oliver and then, by the time the episode closes, Oliver is pointing an arrow at his mother. Judging from the final line, “you have failed this city”, Ollie has finally given up on the notion that his dear mum is actually the innocent party caught in the middle of a conspiracy, and he decides to take up arms and treat her with the same courtesy as the rest of Starling City’s criminal element.

It’s all on Diggle’s encouragement as, while I’m not sure he would condone Oliver killing his own mother, he’s certainly convinced of her guilt from the get-go. It’s really nice to see the two of them disagree, and to see Diggle take his own path in finding out the truth. The family trust him in a different way than they do Oliver, and posing as her driver was the best way for him to keep an eye on her. After an evil villain exposition-fest is caught on one of Ollie’s bugged arrows, our hero is finally convinced, and it’ll be exciting to see where this revelation takes him.

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Meanwhile, Laurel asks for The Hood’s help in taking down a criminal who has just been released from jail, and the move puts all of her relationships in jeopardy. Tommy is annoyed because she’s lying to him about who she’s spending time with, and Laurel gets upset when she finds out Quentin has her phone bugged just in case The Hood got in contact. Seeing that she’s involved with the big guy on campus, our villain-of-the-week (he’s so disinteresting that there’s nothing else to say on the matter) kidnaps her so as to lure our Starling City’s resident vigilante, and the entire cast go to save her.

The whole plot felt very reminiscent of a hundred episodes of Smallville in which Lana/Lois/Chloe were kidnapped for their involvement with Clark. It annoys me just because it was always the reason for the hero to continue keeping his identity a secret and it’s an outdated trope that does fans a disservice. How long are we supposed to believe Laurel doesn’t recognise Ollie’s face underneath the hood? I get that this is a superhero show and we have to suspect our disbelief when it comes to disguises, but Arrow pitches itself as a real-world adaptation of comic-book ideas, and the mixture is sometimes a little unbelievable.

In the flashbacks this week, we find out that it probably wasn’t Yao Fei who taught Oliver his archer skills. Whether the guy he discovers is Deathstroke or simply an associate as he claims remains to be seen, but it’s nice to know that this show can still whip out a twist when it wants. Considering the time limit and our knowledge of the end-point, the island story is pleasingly unpredictable, and it seems that it’s also full of charming characters we’ve yet to meet. It’ll be nice to see Oliver learn his fighting skills and become the guy he is off-island, but we still have five years of story left untold.

Will Oliver really try to kill his own mother? Revealed in the previews for next week’s episode, it seems she defends herself and lands Oliver in a precarious position instead. Dream episode? It looks to be about that time.

Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, Vertigo, here.

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