michael dworkis plays marksman…
The long-awaited debut of Arrow, the next superhero saga brought to us by the CW Network. It is the CW, so do not get your hopes nor expectations too high. I think that might have helped me get through the first episode of Star… err, Starling City’s Emerald Archer. While he dons the green hood and jacket, very reminisce of the bow-wielding hero from Smallville, this is not the same man. Played by Stephen Amell (Heartland, Beautiful People, Queer as Folk), we get the deep and dark origin of how Oliver Queen becomes the arrow slinging hero among the DC Universe.
Perhaps I should say, the dark knight his city needs. Sounds familiar, right? Billionaire playboy flaunts his charm, getting women and throwing money around. By nightfall, he beats up bad guys. Oliver shows his dark side, openly stating the obvious “no one can know my secret” and breaks the neck of one of his attackers, obviously killing him. Through flashbacks, we see that Oliver ran off with the sister of his girlfriend on a ship with his father and another unknown individual. A storm mauls the ship, killing the girl, while Oliver, his father, and another man escape on a lifeboat.
The dark mystery deepens as a kidnapping attempt is made on Oliver, while friend Tommy Merlyn (Colin Donnell) and mother Moira Queen (Susanna Thompson) try to help the lost boy reintegrate himself with the real world. We do not see much of the mysterious island which is constantly mentioned, but the aura of deception and secrecy hits you like a punch from Superman.
It will not take the skills of Batman to realize there is way more in store for the viewer. We find out his former girlfriend is Laurel Lance, and Oliver regrets never being honest with her. Except he pushes her away in the obvious “I care about you but my new dark-yet-attractive-attitude will put you danger” routine, and then we get a moment mirroring the third Batman movie where her real name is Dinah Lance. The Lance family plays a major role as Detective Quentin Lance is the main police officer in the city and there are Lance family members everywhere.
I think for a first episode, Arrow did what it set out to do. The tone is set. This is a dark, very dark take on Oliver Queen and his transformation into Green Arrow. The knowledge of betrayal, mistrust, greed, crime, conspiracy and every sinister word you can think of is ever-present during the episode, and that turns out to be the biggest fault of the pilot. It becomes too much without a purpose. We get mere glimpses of this island, and we see a tragic end to the life of Robert Queen, father of Oliver. It gets drilled into the mind of the viewer that this will be a dark show, very unlike Smallville. This is fine, but perhaps the intended feeling of dread and despair would have sunk in had the episode not taken so many steps to remind us that all we get are those feelings over and over again.
The pilot was good, but I would be lying if I said it was great. I would also be lying if it left me blown away and impressed, because it simply failed to deliver anything shocking or even the slightest notion of anxious suspense. Even with those flaws, I still say move on to the next episode. A nod to Deathstroke and Green Arrow writer Mike Grell were in the episode, as well as to Dan Didio, an executive at DC Comics. There are characters such as Tommy Merlyn who comic book fans know what lies ahead in his future. As always, I remain optimistic until the hammer of reality sets in. I hope that this episode was only there to do its job, and set the tone of the series, which it completely succeeded. I do hope however, future episodes will not rely on constant repetition and reminders of what we need to feel while watching, as that is something the viewer needs to do on his or her own in order to care and want to see what will happen to their new dark knight of the CW Network.