After its promising premiere I’m happy to say Arrow continues to deliver action and drama with a hint of superhero camp. Stephen Amell‘s exposition-heavy voice over kicks off the episode and makes it clear this is a storytelling tool they’re sticking with, whether we like it or not. And honestly, it stops grating on you after a little while, especially because I’m not sure what other way they would get across the inner workings of Ollie’s mind. The struggle within himself over whether he can fulfill his promise to his father and be the son everyone expects him to be is at the heart of this episode.
Continuing to hunt down the men in his father’s book, Arrow’s target this episode is a billionaire, Martin Summers, who’s operating a drug trade with the suspicious Chinese Triad. He’s also the target of Laurel (Katie Cassidy) who’s trying to bring Summers in on charges for murdering a young women’s father. We get one courtroom scene for Laurel to strut her stuff and it’s just not doing anything for me. Maybe I’m jaded by the millions other courtroom dramas on television but I really don’t give a shit about any lawyer-thing Laurel does. Hopefully over the season they’ll develop her thirst for justice because right now it feels like she’s a lawyer only because it allows her to come up against both her father, Detective Lance (Paul Blackthorne) and Arrow on a regular basis.
With Laurel pressuring Summers she becomes the target of the Triad’s assassin, China White (Kelly Hu). Her appearance in this episode is brief, but what she brings is badass. White’s an accomplished martial artist and can easily handle anything either Ollie’s bodyguard, David Ramsey putting in a surprisingly sympathetic performance as Diggle, or Ollie himself can throw her way. Even wearing a ridiculously platinum wig, she’s fierce. White’s not defeated come the end of the episode, and I expect and am looking forward to more of her in the future.
What “Honor Thy Father” is looking to hammer home is the personal sacrifice Ollie will need to endure in order to see his mission through. Amell continues to deliver a strong performance and does quite well at bringing the many facets of Ollie to screen. In the few flashbacks this episode we see his heartbreaking struggle to bury his father on the island and it’s a really touching moment reminding us his struggle on the island was as much emotional as physical.
Amell’s physicality continues to shine and he can be quite imposing as Arrow. We’re gifted a few more gratuitous training shots that I don’t believe anyone will complain about. And Arrow has some fun interrogation techniques creatively involving his skills and easily getting the desired results. I’m seeing more and more of the archer we’re familiar with in this episode.
At home Ollie is drifting away from his family, pushing them away, and this doesn’t go unnoticed. Cue another heartfelt scene between him and his sister, Thea (Willa Holland). Have I mentioned I want her so badly to actually become a vigilante herself? She’s proving she could be a real asset to Ollie, even is she isn’t slinging arrows alongside him, and I look forward to seeing their relationship grow. In public Ollie continues playing up the partying billionaire and, seemingly, continues to be a disgrace to his father’s memory. In fact he’s doing such a good job his mother, Moira (Susanna Thompson), who’s clearly far more involved in her husband’s death than we thought, believes he knows nothing of what’s really going on.
Arrow is shaping into a show with exciting action and an intriguing mystery around Ollie’s time on the island plus his mother’s shady dealings. I wouldn’t expect any of the cast or writers to be hit up with Emmy nods next year, but things are plugging along nicely. It’s filled a gap in superhero media and has become a welcome addition to my weekly TV schedule. Have you been enjoying Arrow? What are you hoping to see the show explore as the season progresses?
Arrow airs on the CW, Wednesday nights at 8pm.