Arrow Episode 2 - Honor Thy Father (2012): TV Recap
Stephen Amell is cut
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Oliver kicks off this episode with a little expositional voiceover while he’s getting dressed, a scene kind of like the Joel Schumacher Batman movies, but without the crotch shots. Zip up your leather sleeves, pop an arrow into place, flip up your hood, and you are good to go, ready to head up to the roof for a good old-fashioned vigilante extortion scheme. Tussle with some bodyguards protecting another of Starling City’s evil businessmen on the roof, then threaten the businessman with bodily harm unless he refunds some pensions. I don’t think there’s any way that this would actually work, of course. Any self-respecting evil businessman would have a cadre of evil lawyers on speed-dial, just itching to overturn coerced money transfers. But it’s fine, because Ollie is doing this to honor a vow made to his father just before Robert Queen made the ultimate sacrifice to save his son’s life. In Oliver’s voiceover, he explains to new viewers that his motivation is to redeem his father. “In his final moments, he told me the truth: that our family’s wealth had been built on the suffering of others, that he failed our city, and that it was up to me to save it and right his wrongs.” (I’m interested to see what the “suffering” of others turns out to be. So far, it sounds like it’s just the unscrupulous business practices or legal loopholes that I assume many businesses take advantage of all the time. Maybe the evil businessmen are just regular businessmen?) Robert Queen probably meant that Oliver should use his money, power, and connections to set things right, maybe convince the mayor to open another soup kitchen or something, not put on leather jackets and makeup and start killing people. But hey, he was vague with his instructions, so this is the plan Oliver came up with. As he points out later in the episode, he didn’t graduate from the island with an MBA, so he probably wouldn’t be very good at using the company to undo what’s been done. But he did get off the island with an uncanny ability to shoot people with arrows, so he’s just going to roll with that.
Oliver needs to be “legally resurrected,” so he heads over to the courthouse to get his life reinstated. While he’s there, he bumps into Laurel, who is in court trying to take down another person on Oliver’s father’s list: Martin Somers, yet another businessman, except this one has ties to the “Triad,” which I assume is a Chinese mafia thing. The courtroom scene makes this episode feel a little like Smallville crossed with Law and Order. Somers isn’t worried about Laurel accusing him of ordering the murder of a stevedore until Oliver catches up to him. He hangs Martin upside-down, Batman style, and orders him to testify against himself. Again, even if Somers did as he was told, I’m pretty sure he could get the testimony thrown out by saying that a masked vigilante threatened him with arrow holes all over his body unless he confessed. That kind of stuff doesn’t hold up in the real world. Does this encounter convince Somers to turn himself in? Of course not! It convinces him that he needs help from one of the Triad’s lady assassins, China White (played by Kelly Hu in a white wig), to kill Laurel Lance and keep this case from proceeding. So far, Oliver’s illicit activities haven’t really helped the situation.
Luckily, Oliver and his bodyguard happen to be at Laurel’s place when China White and her boys crash through the windows. Diggle is able to shoot a few toughs, and Oliver guides Laurel to safety. When China is about to slice into Dig, though, Oliver uses a standard kitchen knife to knock the blade out of her hand and force her to retreat. Thankfully, everyone is okay, but Oliver has raised Dig’s suspicions. As a vet who spent five years in Afghanistan, he knows that throwing an unweighted knife that perfectly on the first try is no accident. Diggle may be the first person in the series to figure out the vigilante’s true identity.
Detective Lance, meet Bowd Crowder
Now that Somers has gone on the offensive, Oliver is ready to get a “different kind of justice” against him. He chases him down in a warehouse and extracts a confession, just before China White jumps in for a short-and-sweet little fight scene. Too bad it gets broken up by the police. China escapes, but Detective Lance (whose hair in this series looks dangerously close to Boyd Corwder’s in Justified) catches Oliver on the way out. The officer has his gun trained on the vigilante, but Oliver’s reflexes are too fast. He disarms the cop with… what is that? A dart? NO! It’s Ollie’s first trick arrow of the season! The tape-recorder arrow! Apparently, Oliver got Somers to confess to ordering the death of the stevedore on tape, on an arrow, which is sure to be inadmissible in court. Well done, Ollie.
Oliver started putting on his costume to protect his friends and family. A longstanding superhero trope, the secret identity allows do-gooders to fight evil without putting their loved ones in harm’s way. But one secret identity isn’t enough for Oliver. He knows if he doesn’t do something about it, he’s going to be forced into running his father’s company, and then he won’t have time to fight bad guys. At the groundbreaking of the new Queen Industries applied sciences division, he grabs a glass of champagne, acts more like a spoiled playboy than a superhero, and tells everyone he won’t be working for his father’s company. This is known as pulling a Bruce Wayne, where you act as vacuous as possible in public to reduce the chance that someone mistakes you for a brooding vigilante. As he walks away from the podium, the disappointment and disgust are apparent on everyone’s faces, including his own. At his father’s gravestone, Oliver apologizes for the deception, but reaffirms his pledge to right his father’s wrongs. He just can’t do that and be the Oliver everyone else wants him to be. “Sometimes, to honor your wishes, I need to dishonor your memory.”
As I mentioned in the recap of the pilot episode, I anticipate some of the most interesting parts of the show being the development of the antagonists among Oliver's friends and family and his flashbacks to what happened on the island. This episode didn't let me down in either department. Oliver's mother meets with an unknown figure, promising that Oliver has no clue that his father's yacht was sabotaged. Sabotaged? Was she in on the murder of her husband and son, or does she just know about it? Would she protect Oliver now at any cost, or is she only protecting him because she thinks he's in the dark about what his father was involved in? What a great mom. In the final flashback scene, Oliver finishes burying his father on the island, and is felled by an arrow shot by someone who looks very much like Oliver does in his Green Arrow getup. Is this an enemy? His future mentor? Does it have anything to do with the Deathstroke mask from the first episode? I'm excited to find out.
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8pm Eastern on CW. Honor Thy Father originally aired 10/17/12.