Arrow Episode 4 - An Innocent Man (2012): TV Recap
Episode four of Arrow picks up right where episode three left off: Oliver has just brought Diggle back to his hideout so he can give him the antidote to the curare poison coursing through his veins. As Diggle regains consciousness, Oliver steps out of the shadow and reveals his true identity. Even though he can barely move, Diggle recognizes that Oliver is the hooded killer all over the news, and immediately takes a stumbling swing at him, but Oliver steadies him and gives him the sales pitch: he wants Diggle to join his war on crime to restore the dying Starling city. Diggle refuses to join a “criminal” and a “murderer,” though, so Diggle walks away from his position as Queen family bodyguard and a promising career as a sidekick.
Shortly after the Exchange Building shooting, Oliver disappeared to fight Deadshot and didn’t tell anyone where he went. When he arrives home, he finds that Laurel has been looking for him. Obviously, his family was worried. “I made peace with your selfishness a long time ago… but Moira, Thea, and Walter? They don’t deserve that. They deserve better. Someone who doesn’t care only about himself.” As Laurel walks away, Oliver is visibly pained to have to pretend to be the same old selfish playboy he was before he was shipwrecked, but he holds back so he can continue dressing up at night.
Coming up in a few days, Peter Declan is scheduled to be executed. He was convicted in 2008 while Oliver was away. Everyone thinks of him as a Scott Peterson–type schmuck who killed his wife, so the public is accepting of, if not giddily awaiting, his just punishment. Oliver is unconvinced, however, because Declan’s wife worked for evil businessman Jason Brodeur, and Jason Brodeur is on the list of corporate baddies his dad left him.
A convenient cut to Brodeur talking things over with his bodyguard tells us that Oliver is right to be suspicious: the bodyguard had wanted to kill both Declan and his wife, but “Peter Declan is worth more alive. Husband kills wife is a much better headline than whistleblower uncovers toxic dumping, don’t you think?” The stakes are high this episode; an innocent man’s life is on the line.
Oliver knows Declan needs a good lawyer, so he knocks out the lights in Laurel’s apartment, breaks in, and convinces her that someone needs to look into this Declan case. He uses a voice modulator, just like Justin Hartley did for his turn as Smallville’s Green Arrow. This slightly different voice and his green eye makeup ensure that no one will ever find out who he is.
Walter is checking the company’s books to try to locate a missing $2.6 million, which makes him late to lunch with Moira. As they are leaving the office, they use the classic Smallville dramatic dialogue pose: one character faces the camera in close-up, while the other character also faces the camera, but talks to the back of the first person’s head. That way the audience gets to see the expression on the first person’s face while the second person does not. And sometimes, you get to do a theatrical spin to face the person talking to you! That’s how we know that there’s something fishy about this missing 2.6 million bucks: Moira looks concerned with her back to Walter, alerting the audience that she is implicated, but she turns around smiling to face Walter so he doesn’t know anything is amiss. I have never had the opportunity to talk like that, but I will certainly give it a try the next time I need to convey extra gravity in real life.
Oliver later finds Diggle at the Big Belly Burger, and tries once more to convince him to join his cause. Appealing to Diggle’s sense of duty, Oliver tells him this sidekick gig is his “chance to do the kind of good that compelled [Diggle] to join the military.” He shows Dig the book of names his father had, and reveals that his father didn’t just die during the shipwreck, but shot himself in the head to save the remaining food and water for Oliver. He’s serious about righting the wrongs done by his own family, and he’s serious about helping other people’s families as well.
Laurel meets Oliver at one of his favorite places, a rooftop, to discuss the Declan case and engage in further “serious” dialogue using the Smallville method. Oliver wants to go after Declan’s wife’s supervisor to see if he’s covering anything up, but Laurel wants to avoid breaking the law, which goes against everything she knows as a lawyer and as a daughter of a cop. Good luck with that if you are working with an outlaw vigilante, Laurel. Oliver makes his exit by firing an arrow into the distance, and swinging away on the attached line. That obvious bit of CGI looked kind of cheesy, and that’s the kind of departure I’d expect from a Batman or a Spider-Man, not a Green Arrow. Am I supposed to believe that Ollie knows where to find load-bearing targets in the buildings across the huge city street, and can not only hold on while he swings down multiple stories, but also brought enough rope with him to get down to the ground when he’s done swinging? Even though it’s less exciting in theory, it might be better to show Oliver taking more stairs.
Ollie heads over to kidnap the supervisor and handcuff him to a railroad. As he’s staring down the barrel of the 10:15 to Blüdhaven, the supervisor admits that there’s a file of evidence that he still keeps in his desk at his office! Once he has the file, he delivers it to Laurel at her office, instead of on the roof. Just like at her apartment, though, he decides he needs to take out all the lights to talk to her. Seeing the folder tossed on her desk, Laurel asks, “What’s in here?” (She probably can’t read it since Oliver has just turned all the lights out.) In his best Batman Begins impersonation, a gravelly voice issuing from the shadows, Oliver replies, “Leverage. On Jason Brodeur. Enough to save Peter Declan’s life.” Laurel is starting to become impressed. “As an attorney, I never would have gotten a file like this. I always thought the law was sacred. It fixed everything.”
“And now, Laurel? Now what do you think?”
“I think there’s too many people in this city who only think about themselves. People who are selfish.” Hey, that’s Oliver Queen she’s talking about! “I think they need someone who cares about the lives of other people. Someone like you.” Hey, that’s masked antihero Arrow she’s talking about! (Of course, when she says he cares about the lives of other people, she means people like Peter Declan, not all the thugs and bad guys he personally murdered.) This callback to the scene at the beginning of the episode where she dressed down Oliver sets up the classic Clark/Lois/Superman love triangle. Laurel is repulsed by the Oliver the playboy, but strangely attracted to the Arrow persona without realizing they are the same person. Meanwhile, Oliver wants to get with Laurel, but can’t do anything about it except through his superhero persona.
Unfortunately, this new pile of evidence is not enough to convince the judge to stay Declan’s execution, but the threat of Laurel’s continued digging into his business dealings is enough to convince Brodeur to have his bodyguard arrange to take her out when she visits Declan in prison. As Laurel breaks the news to Declan, the lights go out for the third time this episode, but this time it’s the bad guys cutting the power instead of Oliver. Prisoners are released from their cells to put an end to this meddlesome duo, but Oliver is one step ahead of the game. Dressed in a prison guard’s uniform and ski mask, he infiltrates the prison and tries to lead Laurel and Declan to safety. One prisoner manages to knock Ollie down and get his hands around Laurel’s throat, however, which sends Oliver into a frenzied rage. He tackles the guy off Laurel and begins beating the man senseless, only stopping when Laurel interrupts him. This rage and violence in his face scares her. Earlier, she was ready to throw the law away for this mysterious do-gooder who could get things done, but now she knows, “He’s a killer. He would have killed that man. I looked into his eyes. It’s like he had no remorse.” After the riot has been put down, Detective Lance tells Laurel that the bodyguard confessed to the murder, and that Declan would be cleared. This wraps things up a little too neatly: I’m confused about why the bodyguard would confess, considering that he had just incited this riot to try to kill Laurel and Declan. It’s not like this exonerates Brodeur, so there’s no opportunity to take the fall for him in exchange for money. Was he caught somewhere near the prison? Was his lawyer able to cut him a deal for testifying against his boss in 15 minutes?
Walter had Felicity Smoak, the hot IT gal, trace the missing $2.6 million to a dummy company that purchased a building in Starling City. When Walter goes to check it out, he uses Moira’s dead husband’s name as the password (that has to sting!), and sees the entire wreckage of the Queen’s Gambit in storage. What does this mean? Is Moira afraid that someone would find evidence of the yacht’s sabotage at the bottom of the ocean? Was anyone even looking for the boat? How did she even get the entire ship like that? I initially thought that Walter might be playing Claudius to Moira’s Gertrude, trying to make a move to take control of Queen Industries, but it’s starting to look like Moira might be the only evil businessperson in the family. She meets with an unnamed guy in a limo, who appears to be part of whatever group Oliver’s dad wanted him to clean up. He tells Moira that he has figured out that Robin Hood is not just targeting rich people; he’s targeting “the list.”
Inspired by the idea of the hooded vigilante in a prison guard uniform instead of his street leathers, Detective Lance pushes his tech guys to review the footage from the sniping at the Exchange Building. This time, instead of looking for a guy in a hood, they are looking for anything out of the ordinary, and they find it: Oliver taking a duffel bag containing his Arrow gear out of a garbage can.
Who's a better Green Arrow?
The next day, Diggle has reconsidered Oliver’s more compelling plea to help him, and realized that he does miss feeling like he’s making a real difference since being in the military. He knows he can help Oliver reduce the number of casualties, including Oliver himself, that this war is going to produce. He goes to the Queen house to accept Oliver’s offer to be half-Alfred/half-Robin, but before he can even get his key to the arrowcave, Detective Lance bursts in to arrest Oliver for his vigilante ways!
Throughout the episode, Oliver flashes back to his early days on the “deserted” island. Last week he learned the value of not being alone, and this week he learned the value of being able to kill. This soft, shaggy J. Crew model is a far cry from the remorseless killer Laurel sees in the prison. His Chinese benefactor gives the starving billionaire a live bird, forcing him to kill it if he wanted to eat. This was the first thing he had ever killed. He even apologized to it before snapping its neck. But the lesson is well learned: to survive the island, the bird will not be the last thing Ollie has to kill.
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8pm Eastern on CW. An Innocent Man originally aired on 10/31/12.