Are two vigilantes better than one?
With seven episodes under its belt, the CW’s superhero drama Arrow found itself in a unique position last week, one bordering on comfortable. At a time when shows are cancelled as soon as they debut, Arrow’s second half of production was almost instantaneously picked up.
Unfortunately, though, some strands of the series are already conveying the writers’ complacency. Whether they were preparing for their creation’s removal from the air or commercial success, why not take a mental sabbatical? One mediocre showing won’t radically alter the tides in either case, and it’s not like the fans’ expectations are important.
The DC Comics universe is vast, housing as many intriguing mortals as it does immortals. So when someone gives the Green Arrow his own television series, many a fan will be anticipating cameos from the hero’s famous friends and foes. Thus far, the series has done justice to Deadshot, the Royal Flush Gang and, to a lesser extent, Deathstroke, leaving little to be desired. So the inclusion of Huntress did not exactly merit skepticism. However, with last week’s unenthusiastic performance by Jessica De Gouw, I got to thinking about the implications of expanding Arrow’s playground. If storylines of “Vendetta’s” quality are to follow, it might just be best for the higher-ups to stick with their guns, or in this case, arrows.
Predictability has become a prominent issue. With the show’s constant reminder of Laurel (Katie Cassidy) and Oliver’s (Stephen Amell) past relationship, the “way you look at her” cliché was coming like a freight train, and boy, was it cringe-worthy. While on the subject, the ex-couple already embody the “Will they/Won’t they” dynamic. It’s only 8 episodes into the series, people, and it’s not like she and Tommy (Colin Donnell) are going to last. If the Laurel Lance character remains a staple of the production, the aforementioned love triangle is bound to become a source of agony rivaling the jokes of Queen Consolidated’s blonde techie.
Stephen Amell has shown his capacity to save an episode, though. Teaching Helena the secrets of archery (and discipline), he charmed, and his character gains depth with each chapter. It is due to the audience’s contentment with this character that much can be excused. Even Huntress’ corny creation could be forgiven, though her leather-skirted costume was a different story.
The conclusion, seeing Oliver save the crooked Frank Bertinelli (Jeffrey Nordling), was a welcome twist, even if his purpose was easily perceived. Its inclusion rendered the gang war all the more impressive, illustrating that the action sequences continue to improve. Perhaps the most intriguing plot line at the moment concerns Walter Steele (Colin Salmon) and his wife, Oliver’s mother, Moira (Susanna Thompson). While Tommy Merlyn’s father, the villain shown conspiring with Mrs. Queen up to this point, did not make an appearance, the story behind their operation continues to provoke interest. Here’s to hoping Walter has the manhood necessary to follow up his leads.