TV Recap: Arrow: “Vigilante”

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Well, Arrow fans, I can’t believe it. Oliver (Stephen Amell) still hasn’t slept with that journalist. Now, let me be clear: I’m not rooting for Oliver to get down with Susan Williams (Carly Pope). You might think that considering how fixated I am on this, but I swear my motivations are less prurient than you’d expect. Here’s the thing, I like Oliver and Susan together. They have nice chemistry and Pope is playing a tough role well. My problem–as always–is with what it means if they sleep together.

If I were a shipper, this would just be about not wanting to see Oliver move on from Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards). While I still argue it doesn’t make sense for Oliver to want to make an emotional connection with another woman so soon after screwing up his previous relationship, that’s relatively minor compared to the actual issue. No, I don’t want this for Susan’s sake. A female journalist sleeping with her source is about as old and tired as a TV trope can get and it is incredibly frustrating to watch it happen here. When she was first presented to us, Susan was a tough-as-nails reporter who was determined to take Oliver to task for being a terrible mayor. Sure she antagonized our hero, but she had every right to—Oliver is bad at his job and can barely remove his Green Arrow costume long enough to realize that the city needs infrastructure more than it needs vigilantes. Then, when she received information that Oliver wasn’t on Lian-Yu the whole 5 years of his absence, it seemed like she would be the perfect person to finally hold Oliver publicly accountable for everything he’s done for the last decade of his life.

And then the show threw it all away with one condescending, man-splain-y conversation in which Oliver asked Susan to give him a chance. Since then, Susan seems to have stopped working on other stories or even Oliver’s shady past in order to just, like, hang around him all day. It’s bizarre. Take the scene where they had that deep conversation in that weird-ass gentlemen’s club/pub situation last night. While I liked their conversation (even if Oliver saying they should just be friends was laughable), it’s aggravating to see a female character essentially throw away her career just so she can make a rich white boy who’s suddenly realizing that his first job ever is very hard feel better about being a base-level human being. Especially when that’s already happening to Felicity.

Perhaps the the strangest thing about Oliver and Susan’s conversation last night is that it makes no sense for it to happen in the first place. Susan may have promised to not smear Oliver’s name in the papers for a month, but she is still a journalist. He absolutely should not be giving her this much access to his life. Even if she ends up liking him at the end of that month (outside of the sex they will most definitely have), she has an obligation to report on his work without bias. He’s certainly made steps since the beginning of the season, but nowhere near enough for her to dismiss is inaction and inexperience. Moreover, there are about 6 other characters that Oliver should be having this conversation with.

Since season 1, Oliver has talked all of his problems out with Felicity or Diggle (David Ramsey) and it’s odd to see him so disconnected from them. Granted, both characters are busy with other things. Diggle is trying to rehabilitate human cursed tiki idol, Wild Dog (Rick Gonzales) and Felicity’s only (unpaid) job seems to be as Team Arrow’s police contact. Both characters are occupied, but the fact that Oliver found a way to completely avoid talking to his closest friends and family about his problems is a testament to this show’s other big problem right now: there are too many god damned characters.

While I’ve complained about Wild Dog basically every week so far, the other new recruits aren’t much better. Curtis (Echo Kellum) was one of the best things about last season and yet he’s been so pushed to the side by the other characters that he’s basically just become comic relief. Also, oddly, Team Arrow’s resident damsel in distress. I get that he’s really the only one to whom we’re connected, but it’s getting ridiculous to see him get his ass kicked every single week. Ragman (Joe Dinicol) works, but that’s mostly because he’s the only member of the group who has useful skills and his emotional turmoil over working with Felicity was arguably the only interesting thing that’s happened all season. Baby Canary (Madison McLaughlin) simply does not work. Her moral outrage over Oliver’s murderous past was beyond obnoxious, though it at least makes sense now that we know she’s working with Prometheus. That said, she better not get a redemption arc. That’s the last thing this show needs. Well, that and yet another vigilante, but one step at a time, I suppose.

Rating: 5/10

By day, Marisa Carpico stresses over America’s election system. By night, she becomes a pop culture obsessive. Whether it’s movies, TV or music, she watches and listens to it all so you don’t have to.