Thursday, April 25, 2013

Arrow Reviews: Season 1, Episode 20 - Home Invasion

For a summary of the episode guide layout & categories, click here. 

Deadshot is on the prowl again in Starling City and John Diggle is ready to bring him to justice, despite a threat from his friend Lyla at ARGUS about staying far away from this case.  Thankfully, the Starling City Vigilante is on the case so Diggle can keep his distance.  Or is he?  Laurel's most recent case has seen her clients murdered by an assassin known as Mr. Blank and their seven-year-old son is the only witness.  When Laurel takes the boy into her own home, putting herself and Tommy in danger, Oliver will have to make a fateful choice about which assassin he will focus on - Deadshot or Mr. Blank?

In The Glades, Roy Harper is obsessed with tracking down The Hood, sensing a kinship with the vigilante who saved his life that he can't explain.  Will Roy's new relationship with Thea be imperiled when his search for answers puts him on the bad side of Detective Lance yet again?

On the island, Shado begins to teach Oliver the fine points of archery so that he can cover her and Slade as they raid Eddie Fyers' camp.  There is a brief hint of romance between the two, but Ollie - citing his love for Laurel - cuts things off after one brief kiss.

Green Arrow: Year One (the island sequences), Mike Grell's Green Arrow (the training scenes with Shado), Cyrano DeBergerac (love triangle where one man realizes the woman he is attached to would leave him in a heartbeat if she knew the truth about their friend's secret nobility), Witness (the hero protecting a young boy who is the sole witness to a murder), Serenity (With his professional manner and habit of talking to his targets, Mr. Blank could be an ancestor of The Operative), and various Errol Flynn swashbuckler movies (Ollie's fencing with a poker before a fireplace)


Deadshot makes a big deal about not killing Diggle because nobody is paying him to do it.  While this does correspond to the code of ethics employed by Deadshot in the comics (he always made sure his contracts were fulfilled if he got paid and wouldn't complete any contract where the money didn't come through) it doesn't jibe with what we've seen of Deadshot elsewhere in the episode or in the show so far.  He was perfectly willing to gun down both The Hood and Diggle before (3) even though they weren't his targets and he was perfectly willing to gun down the ARGUS agents trying to ambush him.

How has Diggle not been arrested by ARGUS for interfering with an investigation by the episode's end?  Lyla warned him before about getting anywhere near Deadshot at the start of the episode and it's unlikely she'd let it go even if Diggle did save her life. 


Yay Laurel finally getting a storyline devoted to her work and doing something besides supporting her dad or her boyfriend! Laurel taking charge of protecting an endangered child is very true to Black Canary's character in the comics and it was nice seeing that reflected hereKatie Cassidy plays the mama bear role to the hilt.

There's a magical little scene where Colin Donnell talks with the young witness about Tommy's mother's death and how he sees her every time he closes his eyes.  Should the unthinkable happen and an American version of Doctor Who ever get approved by the BBC, I'm going to immediately start a petition for Colin Donnell to play The Doctor based on this scene. 

For that matter, I want Paul Blackthorne to play Samuel Vimes in any upcoming films based on Terry Pratchett's Watch books after this episode.  His speech to Roy Harper about the problems with vigilantes - in terms of tone - totally a Vimes moment.

Honestly, there's so many little things in all the performances this time I could spend another five hours trying to write about them all and still not cover everything.  See the Dialogue Triumphs section for the many, many, many examples of what went right with this episode.


The script, which gives a lot of good material to the entire ensemble cast.  Even Moira gets a few brief but nice moments.

The fight scene between Oliver and Mr. Blank is very well choreographed and artfully shot, with perfectly timed lightning strikes and effective noir-esque use of shadows.


Felicity is not a natural blonde.

Oliver is a skilled enough shot that he can shoot two arrows at once through the windshield of a stopped mini-limo and pin the shoulders of a man sitting in the back of the limo without  hitting the driver.

Diggler's friend Lyla's call-sign is Harbringer.  Harbringer is also the name of a superheroine whose real name was Lyla Michaels.  A servant of the Monitor (the life-affirming cosmic being who sought to save all reality during Crisis On Infinite Earths), Harbringer had the power to create multiple reality-hopping duplicates of herself as well as flight, super-strength and also possessed an orb that told her the history of the multiverse.  It was she who traveled to the various Earths, gathering the heroes and villains needed to thwart the Anti-Monitor.
Detective Lance refers to Roy Harper and Thea Queen as "The Wonder Twins".  Best remembered from the Superfriends cartoon (despite repeated attempts to introduce them into the actual DC Comic books with no degree of success), The Wonder Twins were a pair of alien fraternal twins named Zan and Jayna.  Zan had the power to transform into various objects made of ice or water.  Jayna had the power to transform into any animal, including alien species unknown on Earth.  They were not criminals but most people found them as annoying as Detective Lance undoubtedly finds Roy and Thea.

Dialogue Triumphs

Diggle: So when did you become, ah.. "lunch dates" with Laurel? 
Ollie: Look... we're just.... *sighs* We're friends.
Felicity: Friends are good. 
Ollie: ... But?
Felicity: Couldn't you be friends with someone less complicated than your ex-girlfriend, who's you ex-best friend's current girlfriend?  
Ollie: I wear a hood and I put arrows into criminals.  So when it comes to complexity, I grade on a curve.

Quentin: Ok.  Look, I'm gonna park a patrol car outside your place.
Laurel: Fine.
Quentin: (To Tommy) And you.  You look after them, alright?
Tommy: I spend most nights at your daughter's anyways.
*long silence as everyone glances at one another*
Tommy: There was probably a better time to tell you that.
Quentin: Probably not.

(Talking to Taylor about his mom)
Tommy: Every time I close my eyes, I can see her.  Every time I go to bed, I see her in my dreams...Try it.  Close your eyes... Whenever you are sad or scared just remember that they will always be there. 

Mr. Blank: It was the badge that gave me away, right?
Laurel: You know, my father's a cop?
*Mr. Blank spins around to where he heard Laurel's voice and fires, looking surprised when Laurel returns fire with a shotgun*
Laurel: And that's not all he taught me!

Quentin: Hey!  I think you've got something that belongs to me.
Roy: You set this up just to get your radio back?
Quentin: Well, I DO love that radio.

Shado: You're thinking too much.
Ollie: Nobody ever accused me of that before.

Shado: I see my target in the distance.  I feel the variation in the wind.  I hear the bowstring tighten.  And I let go.  Give in to your senses.  Don't think.
*Ollie and Shado kiss a moment but Ollie pulls away*
Shado: You're right.  This is definitely not the time or place.
Ollie: No, it's.... no... There's someone... and it's a mile past complicated, but... I can't.
Shado: She knows how much you love her? 
Ollie: I suspect right now she doesn't.  But as soon as I'm home, she will.

(Looking at old pictures with Laurel)
Moira: I remember Oliver telling me once that he wished your father would let him come over to your house more often.  That being there made him feel less like Robert Queen's son and more like himself.  I liked who my son was when he was around you.

(As Detective Lance shows Roy Harper the body of a man killed by The Hood, trying to scare him straight)
Roy: Maybe this guy deserved it.
Quentin: Maybe he did.  But that's not how justice works.  You see, the vigilante?  He doesn't have to answer to anyone but himself.  That's a dangerous power for one man to have.
Roy: He saved my life!
Quentin: How do you know that tomorrow he won't just as easily take it?

Tommy: You still love her, don't you?
Ollie: It doesn't matter how I feel.  Because of what I do... I could never be with her.  So you don't have anything to be afraid of.  She is never, ever going to know my secret. 
Tommy: It doesn't matter if she knows.  I know.  And I don't know how to be with Laurel knowing the entire time... that if she ever found our who you really are... she would choose you.

(After Tommy dumps her)
Laurel: You can't be serious.
Tommy: This is me serious, Laurel,
Laurel: But... it doesn't make any sense.  I mean... Why now?  Why even at all?
Tommy: I thought I wanted this... you.  The other night made me realize I don't.
Laurel: .. you're lying.
Tommy: I am not a liar.
Laurel: If you've changed and I know that you've changed... then you... you would never do this!
Tommy: Then I guess I haven't changes as much as people thought, then.

(Roy and Thea discuss why Roy is trying to find The Hood)
Roy: I can't stop replaying that night in my head.  The night I got kidnapped by that psycho.  I just... I thought I was going to die.
Thea: But you didn't!
Roy: Yeah.  Because of him.
Thea: You don't owe him anything.
Roy: You're wrong.  I owe him everything!  I can't go back to the way things were, Thea.  I can't just go back to being nothing!  You're the one who keeps telling me that I can be better than who I am and... this... this is my chance to be.  I can't explain it.  It feels... like my life is connected with his.
Thea: So let's find him.
*Roy looks up, surprised*  
Thea: I can tell this means the world to you.  And you mean the world to me.  So let's find him.  You and me.

Oliver: I want us to get back on the same page.
Diggle: Oliver, we're not even in the same book, you and me.  Not anymore. 

Dialogue Disasters

Mr. Blank: The child got away. 
Rasmus: Got away? Did he see you?
Mr. Blank: No, Mr. Rasmus.  All he saw was the face of the man who will reunite him with his parents.

Thea: Do you have a police radio in your pocket?
Roy: No, I'm just happy to see you.

Mr. Blank: What happened to you on that island?
Ollie: You're about to find out!


Oliver refers back to his promise to help Diggle bring down Deadshot (19).  Diggle meets with Lyla from ARGUS, last seen in 19.  Starling City patrol officer's badge numbers begin with a 0.  Lieutenant badge numbers begin with a 1. Quentin says he thinks Laurel should consider moving, indirectly referring to the last few times her apartment was destroyed by criminals because of a case she was involved (2 and 13).  Roy Harper and Thea Queen are apparently officially a couple, after their falling-out in 18.  Deadshot has a rule against killing people unless he's being paid to do so but he has a space reserved for John Diggle's name next to his brother's on his body just in case.  The Hood's official murder tally with the SCPD is 26.  Yao Fei leads Fyers and his men to Slade's base.  

The Fridge Factor

Totally averted.  When Mr. Blank storms Laurel's apartment, it's Tommy who takes the traditionally female role of hiding with Taylor while Laurel takes the fight to the assassin.  Granted, this does make sense given that we know Laurel's taken gun use/self-defense classes but it's still nice to see the cliches being avoided.

The Bottom Line

Arrow needed to come back with full force after it's most recent break.  It didThere's not a false note or a bad performance in the whole episode.  Even the Roy/Thea subplot - which feels somewhat tacked-on relative to the rest of the interwoven story-lines in this episode - pays off big in the end.  One of the best episodes of the series so far.

No comments:

Post a Comment