Arrow episode 4 review: An Innocent Man

An exciting and unexpected development in this week's episode leaves Caroline wanting more. Here's her review...

We were left with one heck of a cliffhanger in last week’s Arrow, and we thankfully pick up right where we left off. With Diggle down in the ‘Arrow Cave’ and let in on Oliver’s big secret, his initial reaction isn’t what many of us would have expected. Being ‘taken to the woodshed’ as Oliver himself puts it, his true vigilante identity isn’t going down too well with those around him. Instead of being awed and impressed by what their brother/ex-boyfriend/charge is doing, Oliver has to come to terms with that fact they might have a point.

The whole episode, in fact, is about how far off the moral path Oliver has strayed since he’s been back in civilisation, and the show is moving much further along that I had expected at this stage. With Diggle now in the know, Oliver’s expectations of a fellow soldier in arms joining the cause have been dashed and replaced with a sceptical ally not entirely convinced of his partner’s mental stability. But, like he said last week, Diggle understands Oliver in a way his friends and family can’t and, as someone who’s been through similar horrors, he’s a good companion to have.

The case Oliver goes on this week plays second-fiddle to the man’s personal troubles, but his activity as Green Arrow compliments the notion that he’s murdering and tormenting without much thought for human life. Yes, these people have done wrong to him and his city, but I’m sure not all of the targets on the list have gone as far as to murder someone. He’s taking matters into his own hands and, unlike other depictions of superheroes operating alongside bumbling law enforcement and a flawed legal system, we’re encouraged to negatively judge the character for his actions. Though it’s a very different series, it recalls Dexter in its moral complexity, with a protagonist we’re not necessarily supposed to like or agree with.

With all of this going on, Arrow finds some room for a few laughs this week, mostly at the expense of Oliver’s new bodyguard. Utterly useless yet hilariously vigilant, he’s there to highlight what a great match Diggle is for him, and I doubt we’ll see much of Rob again. The other light-hearted aspect of the show, the love story with Laurel, still isn’t really working for me. Stuck in the role of the nagging girlfriend, and with a peppy co-worker explaining how tragic her life is at every turn, the character feels like she belongs to an earlier draft of the show. I also can’t believe she’s not figured out Oliver’s dual identity yet, as it’s so painfully obvious as to appear ridiculous in their shared scenes.

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But someone has figured out what Oliver’s doing, and the final moments of the episode see him arrested by Quentin Lance and his cronies. I have to admit that I’m unbelievably excited about this development, as I never dreamed the show would reveal his identity to the world in the first four episodes. It’s a big break from established comic-book rules and should really allow the series to forge its own unique path from here on out. The promo for next week shows the writers going through with it completely, with police interrogations, press attention and Oliver’s nearest and dearest in on the secret.

There’s also John Barrowman’s mysterious character to deal with, as we only caught a glimpse of him this week. What’s his tie to Moira Queen, and how does he know about the list? The series hasn’t shown signs that it might slow down, and I now can’t wait to see where it’s headed.

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

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