Never one to be subtle, this week’s Arrow dealt with – surprise! – identity. True identities, false identities, secret identities, yearned for identities; it was all stuffed in there. Now that Oliver (Stephen Amell) has decided to again become the vigilante he must constantly be choosing which role to play: crime fighter or C.E.O? Laurel (Katie Cassidy) holds true to who she wants to be, the woman who captures the vigilante. And Roy (Colton Haynes) is finally given an identity and perhaps the potential to stop being so fucking annoying.
After a little gratuitous, shirtless workout from Ollie (Here you go audience, enjoy some abs.), we find Roy in the midst of a high speed chase with the Triad. Remember those Chinese gangsters led by China White (Kelly Hu) and her fabulous white locks? Attempting to thwart their robbery of F.E.M.A. trucks bringing medical supplies to the Glades, Roy crashes his – stolen? – car and gets himself arrested. Seriously guys, Worst Sidekick Ever. He’s released with no charges filed, but has to endure a lecture from Laurel and some big brother intimidation from Oliver. However, he does give Ollie the intel on the supply truck robberies so he’s beginning to prove himself not as completely worthless as we once thought.
This little spark of possibility eventually inspires Olives* to recruit Roy. And it was like Christmas fucking Day for Mr. Roy Harper. Working with The Hood (Can I mention how I’m disappointed we didn’t learn his new name this episode?) is all he’s ever wanted. Hell! It’s been his sole motivation since he first appeared, and it’s been the heart of one of the slowest bits of character development and plot progression I’ve ever witnessed. It also confirms something we, the audience, had already known after witnessing him fail repeatedly: that Roy isn’t cut out to be a sidekick. What he is is a snitch, a sneak, a scout; depending on how much you like the guy. He’s Olives’ eyes and ears in the Glades, feeding him information. He’s useful, for once, and we’ll see if this development makes Roy appear less like wasted space.
*Yeah, that was a typo. But I’m keeping it.
As for new characters there are two introduced this episode. The first, Bronze Tiger played by Michael Jai – SPAWN! – White (Yup, that’s him.), starts out real cool with this badass entrance that I’m sure is in no way meant to be a ripoff of a certain mutant. And then, it’s all down hill from there. Sure, there are plenty of neat moments as he and The Hood, and then later on he, The Hood, and China, spar but nothing comes of it. Never is he established to be particularly threatening. Come the episode’s end Bronze Tiger is still on the loose, while China gets arrested, so I feel confidant we haven’t seen the last of him. Perhaps whatever revenge he’s planning will prove to be more, y’know, threatening.
The other new guy on the block is Sebastian Blood (Kevin Alejandro), an alderman from the Glades who’s slandering Ollie’s “good” name on the news every chance he gets. It’s pretty obvious his interests encompass more than helping the poor folks of the Glades, but as to what is true motivations are remains unclear. Other than rationalizing crucifixion which was just down right weird. And come on, with a surname like “Blood” how good can you be? DC fanatics will likely recall Sebastian Blood is an alter ego of Brother Blood; a character often accompanied by fanatical followers who will carry out his every evil whim. Blood as a politician!? Oh what horrors he could wreak on Starling City.
I also wouldn’t rule out the possibility the dude’s got his eyes on Laurel, too, ’cause we all know you can’t have drama on the CW without it becoming a love triangle. And before I jump into Laurel’s contribution for this episode, let me make it clear I don’t want a love triangle to happen in those island flashbacks with Slade (Manu Bennet) and Shado (Celina Jade). I repeat, LOVE TRIANGLE WITH SLADE, SHADO, AND OLIVES – DO NOT WANT. I see what you’re doing there, having Slade spy on Oliver and Shado’s eye-fucking of one another, but don’t you dare turn this thing into another lovers’ quarrel. I think it’s safe to assume Slade and Oliver won’t part on good terms, but dammit, please don’t make it because of a woman.
What I would like more of is whatever this intriguing as hell mystery is they’re cooking up in those island flashbacks. A cave full of dead Japanese WWII soldiers, new enemies coming to the island looking for said cave, what’s that all about?
All right, back to Laurel, who honestly impressed me with her character’s current trajectory. Last week Laurel told Oliver they can’t continue because the whole Tommy getting murdered thing is just too much baggage. This week, she repeats the same thing to The Hood but adds the qualifier she’s going to hunt him down because she believes he was responsible for Tommy’s death. And boy, does Laurel know how to get her man. “Identity” ends on what was truly a shocking cliffhanger. After telling The Hood to stop coming to her, he -duh! – comes to her again when she’s all alone at the C.N.R.I. offices. Except, she ain’t all that alone and once he arrives she calls in dozens of S.W.A.T. members to surround the vigilante. Dun, dun, DUN!
What’s gonna happen!? Will Oliver’s double identity be revealed? Somehow, I can’t imagine that being the case because it would surely throw a wrench in much of this series’ premise, but at the same time, I can’t imagine how he’s going to wiggle out of this one.
Last couple observations: Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) being up in arms over having to become Oliver’s secretary in order to keep up the appearance she isn’t The Hood’s secret tech guru was cute, but I didn’t need her entire plot for this episode to be about it. On the other hand, Diggle (David Ramsey) was a total sass-master this episode. “My secret identity is the black driver,” and, “You know, I’ve been meaning to tell you it really weirds me out to no end the way you refer to yourself in third person like that,” were two particular gems. More please.
Arrow airs Wednesday nights at 8pm EST on the CW.