Arrow Review: “An Innocent Man” (Season 1, Episode 4)

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And whatever minor ground Laurel made on the road to tolerability last week all but evaporated in a torrent of indignation towards the profession and system she’s supposed to be representing. Laurel has to play Commissioner Gordon to Oliver’s Batman this week, with Oliver referring to a file on target Jason Brodeur as “leverage” sticking out as eerily familiar, especially when delivered in his newly adopted Batman voice (that sounds like a barely pubescent Lucifer).

The difference is that Gordon was conflicted about the moral implications of championing people who seek justice outside the law, as opposed to Laurel, who throws her lot in with Green Arrow as soon as they have their first rooftop rendezvous (providing one of the few instance of hilarious awfulness, as Oliver flies off into the night on…something). “I wouldn’t have had to if the police had done their job in the first place,” Laurel shouts at her father, with all the fury and conviction of a sixteen year-old who cut curfew, because it’s so unfair.

All that stuff I was hoping for last week, about the show questioning extra-judicial punishment as something to applaud? Pretty much thrown out the window here, in favor of an improbable prison rescue Oliver has to stage when Head Goon unleashes all the inmates, with Laurel inside. After smashing in the face of a prisoner, Oliver lashes out at Laurel, who’s shocked, shocked, that the guy going around killing people might have rage issues. It’s a moment of such forced melodrama, you wonder when it was Arrow suddenly became Beauty and the Beast?

Brodeur is given up by Head Goon, Declan goes free, and getting there requires more instances of convenient timing and improbable plotting than the episode with the monocle wearing super-assassin. “An Innocent Man” is a clunky -and worse-, boring misfire, futzing around for forty-five minutes when only the last two matter, as Detective Lance arrests Oliver following some inspiration at the prison. That’s a great parting image, and it’s bold to tease the show’s biggest bomb exploding this early. But last week had a wicked stinger too, and look how the follow-up turned out. It’s by no means time to cut bait on Arrow, but now that we’ve seen the low bar, the tightrope it walks each week seems tenser than ever.

  • Stray Thoughts

-Once again, the actress playing Carly seems like she’d be worth spending more time with. Then she says something like “if you believe in something, how can it be wrong,” and I’d be happy if we never heard from her again.

-John “Captain Jack” Barrowman shows up as part of Moira’s conspiracy tag, and the list is common knowledge among those on it. Hopefully he will get more face (of Boe) time next week.

-Meanwhile, Walter’s doing some investigation into missing money. I had hoped he would turn out to be on the level, and judging by his reaction to the cracked yacht in Moira’s secret Queen Industries warehouse, he seems to be.

-Prison life doesn’t s look so bad. The interrogation room was literally bigger than my apartment.

-Rooftops seem to be where everyone gets things done in Starling City, but the first meeting between Laurel and Oliver was horrendously edited. When he turns and fires an arrow to fly off, the staging makes us think he’s about to shoot Laurel.

-Laurel keeps her gun in the gun drawer, for when she needs the gun, and only the gun.

-Island Update: Oliver’s teacher (who, as the prime example of archery-related badass shall now be referred to as Ur-row) speaks English.

-Weekly Attempt to Show Political Relevance: Digg refers to the people he has to protect as “punks, and spoiled one percenters”.

-So far, the show’s comedic strengths are best evoked when no one says anything. Digg wordlessly sighing at his replacement letting Oliver go to the bathroom? Funny. Smoak going out of her way to be a socially klutzy nerd with Walter? Not.

-So do Oliver’s flashbacks trigger off of just anything now? Trains and eavesdropping are two of this week’s preludes to an island visit.

-The episode didn’t even have the decency to include a wacky arrow, or Amell doing a ridiculously specific type of workout. That’s the greatest crime of all.

 

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