Last week’s Arrow ended on a couple of cliffhangers, the most shocking being Ollie’s (Stephen Amell) arrest on the suspicion of being the vigilante, The Hood. In the real world we know it would be next to impossible for a prolific billionaire’s son to keep his nighttime activities a secret, and especially if those activities meant shooting arrows at thugs and mobsters. Often in the world of comic book super heroes being able to keep a wrap on their duel identities is a given, at they very least it’s a storyline not played out for some time. But that’s exactly what “Damaged” seeks to explore, how is Oliver going to prove he’s not The Hood when all the evidence is mounted against him.

The opening scene draws a parallel between Ollie being arrested in the present and flashbacks to his capture by mercenaries on the island. In Starling City Ollie is being drilled by Detective Lance (Paul Blackthorne) about his activities as The Hood, while on the island he’s interrogated by mercenary Edward Fyres (Sebastian Dunn) – a guy you’ll swear stepped straight out of a Bond movie – about his green-hooded companion. As you watch the two scenes it becomes clear what other skill Oliver learned during his time on the island: deception. Ollie have become extremely good at lying, and not only lying, but using these lies to manipulate those around him. Sure, he’s using this new set of skills for good but it doesn’t make his behavior any less questionable. After all, intent is pointless when in the end you’re lying to those you love.

Oliver hires Laurel (Katie Cassidy) to be his lawyer and defend him against her father, and oh how I was hoping this would be a chance for Laurel to shine in some heated court room scene, but no. Ever since we learned the character more commonly known for her ass-kicking and sonic screams would instead be a lawyer, I feared she’d be nothing more than a Rachel Dawes clone. Sadly, this episode does little to prove me wrong. In fact, it’s a regression for her character as we learn she only became a lawyer to be closer to her father. Granted, it’s a choice she made when her father threw himself into his work after her sister died and mother left, but it’s not something she chose out of a passion for justice, or righting wrongs, or because she wanted to have a successful career. I called this during an earlier episode where I felt the reason they made Laurel a lawyer was so there’d be more plausible interaction between her father, Ollie, and herself, and this episode basically proved me right.

That being said, I have high hopes for her character. They’ve shown she’s well trained in hand to hand combat, she appears to be a competent lawyer – though I don’t believe I’ve seen her do an lawyer-ing – and her complicated relationship with Oliver is pretty spot-on from a comics standpoint. Oh! And she mentions wearing fishnets once! She said she didn’t like them, but still, I love a good reference.

Speaking of references to the comics, guess who finally appears? DEATHSTROKE! It’s a guy everyone’s been waiting for since they flashed his mask in the season premiere. He’s seen on the island working for Fyres and is called in to torture Oliver when he won’t fess up about the green-hooded man, Yao Fei (Byron Mann). And I must admit, they manage to do a good job making Deathstroke menacing, even with his slightly ridiculous, two-toned mask. Hey, at least he’s not Deadshot with that stupid eye piece, right?

All of this plays in to Ollie being cleared of his charges as he admits to the torture during a polygraph test and it’s believed a rich playboy suffering from PTSD isn’t a likely candidate for The Hood. The deal is sealed when The Hood is seen taking down some illegal arms dealers while Ollie is on house arrest, ankle bracelet and all. This is one of those twists you saw coming from miles away. Now that Diggle (David Ramsey) has agreed to help Ollie it’s a no brainer he’d don the costume in order for The Hood to continue being active while Ollie was otherwise in dispose. In this case, throwing a prison themed bash at his mansion.

Honestly, a lot of the twists and turns thrown your way during an episode of Arrow aren’t really shocking, but they’re no less entertaining. We knew Oliver wouldn’t be sent to jail but it was clever to have him manipulate the whole situation in order to get free. But his ease with manipulation is something to worry about. Ollie spent the whole episode pretending to be an innocent man in what’s almost a twisted version of last week’s case. They way he uses Laurel and her assurance he’s just an apathetic loser is cruel, not only to her but himself. And he even comments on this come the end, saying the lying is hurting him even more than his loved ones, but he can’t stop now. This episode was called “Damaged,” and it’s clear Oliver is a damaged individual, but it could have easily been called “Lies” ’cause that’s what it’s all about.

Last few things, Walter (Colin Salmon) became too suspicious of Moira (Susanna Thompson) and left, Moira went all fierce, mama-lioness on John Barrowman‘s “Well-Dressed Man” when he ordered a hit on Ollie since everyone was convinced he’s The Hood, and we’re given this classic line, ““Well, you know us billionaire vigilantes, we do love our toys.” Ha!

Where are they taking things from here? You’ll have to tune in to the CW next Wednesday at 8pm to find out.

Category: Comics, reviews, TV

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