Arrow Episode 15 - Dodger (2013): TV Recap
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When two security guards are standing together near an expensive gem like the Sherwood Ruby, and one of them is neat and tidy, while the other one has a loose tie and unbuttoned collar, you know something is about to go down. Of course, the unkempt guard suggests moving the ruby and clocks his partner once the glass cage comes up. The twist, though, is that he wasn’t stealing the ruby for himself. Instead, he has to hand it off to a man who was holding him hostage with a bomb collar (hence the loose tie).
Oliver plans to head out for his normal evening of terrorizing people on his father’s list, his next target being the head of a pyramid scheme. Felicity looks up this “bad guy” online and sees that he’s looking for love on an online dating site, and has a 10-year-old son. She can’t stand the thought of Oliver orphaning this kid, so she uses the computer to lock him in the arrowcave. Oliver assures her that he’s just going to threaten and extort him, not actually shoot him, but Felicity doesn’t seem convinced, and decides to quit helping Oliver before she’s even begun. The next day, Oliver and Diggle head to her office to get her to reconsider. Oliver was able to get the pyramid schemer to return the money without ventilating him, just in time to put his son to bed.
During the conversation, a news report about the ruby theft pops up on Felicity’s computer. The bad guy is known as the Dodger, because he avoids doing his own dirty work by threatening hostages with his bomb collars. Felicity quips, “It’s too bad his name’s not in your notebook.” Oliver doesn’t just fight criminals from the notebook, though. He will make an exception for “a hostage-taking jewel thief…. So why don’t you help us take him down?” Oliver is using a classic foot-in-the-door technique. By getting Felicity to agree to help take down a target of her own suggestion, he will get her to come back on board to save Walter. As she makes a small concession and then a larger concession, Felicity will ultimately make the biggest concession of all by joining Oliver’s arrow squad full time, something she initially refused to do.
At the Big Belly Burger, Oliver, Diggle, and Felicity discuss strategies for tracking down the bomber. Felicity notices that Carly likes Diggle, so he agrees to ask her out if Oliver asks out McKenna. Felicity suggests that Oliver use this opportunity to get close enough to bug McKenna Hall’s phone, which would give them access to her conversations with Interpol. Oliver reluctantly agrees. “It’s not typically how I get my information…. I find the person, and then I put the fear of god into them until they talk. But we can try your way.” Thus Oliver and Diggle end up with dates on the same night!
As Thea and Laurel are out getting lunch at a hot dog stand in a rough area of town, a purse-snatcher in a red hoodie grabs Thea’s bag and makes a break for it. Thea and Laurel pursue him to a dead end, and Laurel promises that if he returns the purse, they won’t press charges. The thief considers this for a second, and decides to parkour off the alley wall and over the fence. I guess he preferred getting away cleanly to giving the purse back. Unfortunately for him, the fence ripped off his wallet chain, leaving a clue for Thea to follow up on. She calls around to various shops and eventually finds the guy’s name: Roy Harper! (Never mind how improbable it is that a thief would leave his name when buying something as small as a wallet.) Now the thief’s choice of attire makes sense: although it’s a sweatshirt and not leather, a red hood matches the costume choice of Oliver’s protégé (Speedy/Arsenal/Red Arrow) in the comics. It also explains why he’s already so good at parkour. If he’s gained those kind of skills on his own, imagine how quickly he could learn to use a bow! Thea calls Laurel and has her pass the name along to her dad.
Diggle looks like he’s making good time on his date, taking Carly on a romantic walk through a park. It looks like Carly wants a kiss, but Diggle brings up his dead brother instead. What a mood killer! His poor date etiquette ends things abruptly. Oliver doesn’t have much better luck. McKenna starts asking questions about his time on the island, and he immediately becomes defensive and rude. McKenna gets a call from work and takes the call, abruptly ending their date. Oliver uses the bug on McKenna’s phone to find out where she’s heading: to break up Dodger’s attempt to fence the Sherwood Ruby. The police manage to scare Dodger away from the ruby, but Oliver can’t bring him in.
The arrow squad plans another line of attack. Since Dodger couldn’t sell the ruby, he would probably be inclined to steal another artifact, say at the Starling City Cancer Society Auction tomorrow night? Felicity pinpoints the specific type of Spanish antiquity Dodger likes to steal, but doubts that they could find something like that in time. Diggle scoffs. “You really have no idea how rich his family is, do you?” Oliver shrugs, indicating that donating a priceless artifact to the auction would be no problem.
Detective Lance has brought Roy Harper in for questioning behind a two-way mirror where Thea and Laurel can watch. You’d think a guy who can run up walls would have an easier time evading the cops, but Roy has been caught enough times to cultivate a long rap sheet. His father is dead, apparently because of some gambling debts, and his mother got hooked on the drug Vertigo. Although she kicked the habit, she was on it long enough to mess her up pretty good and incur such high medical bills that Roy is forced to steal to cover them. Thea has second thoughts about prosecuting Roy, probably because she feels guilty about how rich her family is and that she used Vertigo as well, but didn’t suffer the long-term consequences.
Moira is meeting with a friend involved in “the undertaking” who has set up a meeting for her. This could be her chance to finally break free from the group of bad people she’s become entangled with, but it’s also the end of her being a potentially very interesting character. Up to this point, we knew that Moira became involved in an obviously evil undertaking of her own free will. Now, she claims that when it started, it had the altruistic purpose of fixing up the Glades. Once involved, she became like of Dodger’s hostages, forced to lie and manipulate on pain of death when she doesn’t really want to. That makes her more of a victim than someone with real agency and power. Now she’s going to try to get out from under Merlyn’s thumb, and will fall into Oliver’s good graces (not that she was far from them in the first place, despite all the evidence against her) with no harm done. This act really justifies Oliver’s position on his mother, when Diggle’s suspicion that she should be watched more closely made more sense. The victim version of Moira is so much less interesting than what she could have been: one of the founders of this group, desirous of money and power, who was willing to sacrifice her husband to save herself when Robert had second thoughts. Wouldn’t it be more interesting for the show if Oliver’s mother was one of his main adversaries instead of a pawn in Merlyn’s game?
At the Cancer Society Auction, Felicity (dressed up as regular hot instead of her normal nerdy hot) notices someone steal the Queen family jewels, and calls him out. Unfortunately for her, she’s just run afoul of Dodger, who warned her not to go to the police or he would detonate the bomb collar around her neck. While Diggle tries to disarm the bomb with a pen, Oliver heads out after Dodger. With no wheels of his own, he has to steal a motorcycle from an innocent motorist. I think they made the biker dude look schlubby on purpose so we wouldn’t feel so bad about it. Oliver makes sure to wear his helmet to promote motorcycle safety and make it easier for a stunt driver to ride the bike without us noticing. He is able to take out Dodger’s tire, causing him to crash, but this doesn’t concern Dodger, because he can still threaten to blow Felicity’s head off if Oliver doesn’t let him go. That’s not really going to work for our emerald archer, so he throws a flechette into Dodger’s wrist, severing his median nerve and making him unable to press the explode button on his remote. Dodger’s incredulous. “Why are you doing this? I’m exactly like you! I only steal from the rich.” Dodger’s attempts to liken himself to Oliver recall Deadshot’s same argument. When you cross the line of legality as far as Oliver does, it’s easy to see that the police and criminals alike would consider him a villain. He tries to hit Oliver with his high-intensity electric shock baton, but Oliver snatches it away and uses it against Dodger. He coolly flips up his visor and says, “I’m not Robin Hood.” This is a weird thing for him to say, because he kind of is Robin Hood. Dodger was robbing the rich to make himself rich, but Oliver’s literally wearing a green outfit and using a bow to take from the rich and give to the poor (or at least force the rich to give back themselves). Does he not think Robin Hood is badass enough to be compared to? Does he think he’s not heroic enough for a Robin Hood comparison? I’m confused about Oliver’s lack of awareness here.
Diggle gets another chance to chat with Carly, and still manages to bring up his dead brother/her dead husband. Smooth! Only this time, he gets to kiss Carly in a place that’s way less romantic than their previous date. Not a good start for this relationship, Dig.
Thea uses “the Internet” to find Roy Harper’s home address and ask for her purse back. (Apparently, since he was not charged, he also got to keep the purse.) This one-on-one exchange between Arrow’s Speedy and the Speedy from the comics is a little strange. Though it makes no sense for Thea to enter the Glades alone and at night, Roy commends her for her cojones and gives her the purse back. He also offers a two-pronged warning: Stay out of the Glades, and don’t fall for every sob story a guy like him tells the police. So was he lying to the police about his mom? Or is he just a bad boy with a heart of gold who doesn’t want to see Thea get mixed up with the likes of him? And when is Oliver going to teach him to shoot a bow and arrow?
Oliver meets McKenna at her office to apologize for their bad date. Her questions just forced him to remember the part of himself he lost on the island and the hard choices he had to make, which makes him question if he’s worthy of being with anyone. Of course this exchange leads to a kiss, and like Diggle’s kiss, this one is way less romantic than if he hadn’t screwed up his original date. With Oliver seemingly flying high over his new girl (though you have to wonder how dating and late-night vigilantism are going to work), Detective Lance immediately brings him back to earth. He waltzes in and invites McKenna to work with him on bringing down the vigilante.
Finally, we see how Moira plans on getting out of “the undertaking.” Her friend has put her in touch with China White, and Moira has a simple request: kill Malcolm Merlyn!
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8pm Eastern on CW. Dodger originally aired 2/20/13.