Arrow episode 3 review: Lone Gunmen

Arrow introduces us to a new villain and some new moral quandaries this week. Here's Caroline's review...

Arrow doesn’t show any signs of slowing down this week, with less flashback and more present-day action introducing some new villains and old revelations into the mix. Following Oliver on another one of his missions, we see that someone else gets there first. Using a sniper rifle and killing the target with minimal fuss, we understand just how rubbish a bow and arrow appear in comparison. I’m in need of a proper explanation as to why Oliver is using that particular weapon (apart from the fact he’s learnt how to use it), as right now it just looks inconvenient, slow, and ineffectual.

The other guy is revealed to be Deadshot, a lone gunman whose motives differ from Oliver’s idealist view in a couple of vital ways. What they’re doing really isn’t that different, however, and we’re again encouraged to question the moral implications of what we’re watching our hero do each week. A hired assassin might be more morally dubious on first sight, but Oliver’s revenge-fuelled rampage is yielding the same results. The very fact that both men were after the same guy, and that Deadshot saw a lot of himself in Oliver, means that the writers want us to question what’s going on.

This is unexpected for a superhero show, since we’re usually meant to blindly follow the protagonists lead, and it’s something that stands out for me at the early stage. The villain himself is pretty good, and an improvement on last week’s slightly underwhelming threat. Arrow seems to be getting comfortable with introducing more ‘realistic’ DC characters before delving any deeper, and it’s working well so far with this imagining of Green Arrow. Although the producers seem to have reservations about getting more costumed heroes involved, it might be something that happens next year or even further down the line. For now, we’re left unsure whether Deadshot has been permanently disposed of, and I hope we get to see more of him in future episodes.

Less interesting is the personal and family life plot-lines weaved through the episode, and this is the first week in which the drama bored me. I’ve so far enjoyed Thea and her part to play in Oliver’s emotional re-development, but this week the littler Queen morphed into the bratty, wayward teen I was afraid she’d be in the first place. I don’t know what I wanted from the character, but think she needs to be more involved in the central story. In week three, this felt like filler and an unnecessary annoyance for the audience as much as it was for Oliver. The love story, too, felt like an afterthought, as Oliver discovers Laurel and Tommy’s affair. I suspect he has bigger things on his mind, right now, and as a viewer I felt the same.

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The flashbacks this week were brief and non-explanatory, with the main interest coming from how weak and incapable Oliver was before his five year stint on the island. We’re not yet sure who these other inhabitants are and what they mean for his wellbeing, but it’ll be very interesting to see his transition from powerless heir to kick-ass vigilante across the series. Going forward, Oliver now has his very own bat-cave, hidden underneath a nightclub to give him the perfect alibi, and Diggle is in on the secret. I guess his reaction will be quite matter-of-fact, and I’m glad they’re removing the need for Oliver to shake his security every time he wants to suit up. They’ll make an interesting double-act, and I’m looking forward to seeing it form next week.

Read Caroline’s review of last week’s episode here.

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