Other than some minor digging when I read the show was on the CW schedule, and some familiarity with Oliver Queen from one of the few episodes of Smallville I have seen, I am a stranger to DC’s Green Arrow character. After last night’s debut of Arrow, I may have to amend that situation. If the rest of the season is half as good as the pilot, I have a new favorite show (and a realization I may have a thing for archery- Green Arrow, Hawkeye, Daryl Dixon, I sense a pattern here).
In a nutshell, billion dollar socialite party boy Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) was in a boating accident with his father (Jamey Sheridan) and presumed dead. But in reality, he spent five mysterious years on a strange Pacific island. Now he has been rescued and has returned home wanting to make amends. And making amends includes dressing up in a green hooded outfit, utilizing some super archery skills and high tech arrows, and taking out names from a little black book one by one.
What works about the pilot is the way the episode stacks the storyline. Plot and character development are shared with excellent timing. The Queens’ maid, Oliver’s best friend Tommy (Colin Donnell), Oliver’s sister Thea (Willa Holland), girlfriend Dinah Lance (Katie Cassidy) and Detective Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne) all react to Oliver in ways that tell us about his questionable past behavior without the need for more flashbacks beyond what happened during the boat accident. I love the nice bit of Hamlet thrown in when upon his arrival home he finds his mother has married a business associate of his father, Walter Steele (Resident Evil’s doomed, smooth voiced Colin Salmon) whom Oliver doesn’t seem to like or trust right off the bat. The added layer of family tension between Oliver, his much loved but troubled sister Thea and overprotective (or is she?) mother (Susanna Thompson) could make for its own CW show. Everyone seems to have a secret, some may even be bigger than Oliver’s.
The action is well done, quick paced. Mystery abounds and gives the impression the storyline will not run out of surprises anytime in the near future. I am not sure who in Oliver’s life we can trust. And I want to know what happened on the island! And there is a mix of humor to lighten the dark. Tommy’s rehash of what Oliver has missed in five years includes a rundown of the Superbowl champs “And Lost. They were dead the whole time. I think.” Oliver also has some physically engaging moments with his bodyguard Diggle (forced upon him by his mom) that give a laugh. I am curious to see how Oliver and Diggle’s relationship will grow and if Diggle’s intentions are ultimately good or bad.
I can’t say anything doesn’t work about Arrow but there is that gnawing bit of “Isn’t this sort of Batman’s story?” But we can all just suck up and deal because there are archetypes to a hero’s story and that is just the way it is; it’s new wine in old bottles, as they say. I also could do without the narration by Oliver, but it is not too intrusive. And while I am a Katie Cassidy fan (she was my favorite Supernatural Ruby) my initial impression is I didn’t feel any immediate chemistry between she and Amell. I hope we get to meet Dinah’s alter ego, The Black Canary, sooner than later and perhaps some vigilantes in disguise will heat things up between them.
Now for a brief interlude from my hormones. The ultimate moment for me was Oliver’s workout / training montage. I didn’t know people could do that and it didn’t look like stunt double, so Mr. Amell, hats off to you sir, nicely done. I warned Proffitt by texting “hang on to your ovaries” before she watched. Back to all seriousness now.
I am really looking forward to keeping up with Arrow and following Mr. Amell’s career. I hope no ill falls Paul Blackthorne’s character because he is one actor that needs to be brought to the front line instead of his usual supporting roles. (Yes, I am still holding a grudge for the cancellation of The Dresden Files.) I hope the CW treats it as more of a serious story for grown-ups and takes more of the Supernatural route, avoiding the young adult soap opera marketer of fashion and music route with a “this week’s episode of Arrow featured music by ____” closing. And who among us is not excited and anxious to see John Barrowman’s appearance? All in all, Arrow may just make up ever so slightly for the lack of a more major storyline for Hawkeye in The Avengers.
This article originally appeared on our brother site Word of the NerdWritten by Becca N
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