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Arrow: Damaged

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#1 NeuralClone

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 02:57 PM

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After Detective Lance arrests Oliver for murder, Oliver tells Moira the only lawyer he'll allow to represent him is Laurel. Laurel takes the case which puts her at odds with her father. Oliver offers to take a polygraph in front Detective Lance but things get tense when Lance asks him if anyone else was on the island with him. Oliver flashes back to when he got his first scar, courtesy of Deathstroke (guest star Jeffrey Robinson).

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#2 Christopher

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 09:30 PM

This is fast becoming one of my favorite shows. "Damaged" was a clever twist on the tropes of superhero secret identities and how they protect them. I loved the reveal that Oliver intended to get arrested on suspicion of being the archer so that he could create an alibi, because he knew that people would begin to suspect him and he wanted that to happen on his own terms so he could manage it and resolve it in his favor. It's a classic Xanatos Gambit, only the good guy (sort of) is the one orchestrating it.

It's also a nice twist on the identity formula to get an episode where the hero almost doesn't appear in costume at all. I felt they chickened out a bit by having him Arrow up at the end, but aside from that, it was cool. And it was a very Nolanesque touch, the idea that the persona doesn't have to be restricted to any one person.

We also get a lot of advancement of Oliver's relationships with the Lances and some good Ollie-Dig stuff as they feel out their new partnership. Plus things between Moira and Walter are intensifying, though sadly it looks like Colin Salmon might be out of the picture for a while. And we get more of a feel for where Moira stands in this whole conspiracy thing. Evidently she's a junior participant, perhaps cooperating as much out of fear as anything else -- and perhaps redeemable? I loved her threat to John Barrowman about what she'd do if anything happened to her family. She's becoming an interestingly ambiguous character.

The show still has a few imperfections, though. For one thing, can the subject of a polygraph test just voluntarily walk out on it? Even if he's the one who requested it? For another, I'm getting tired with the way they have to concoct an excuse for a rave scene in practically every episode. I know the CW has to cross-promote with these bands and albums in order to help pay for the shows, but it's so damn contrived, and I really don't like the music style at all. Which is too bad, because otherwise the show's music isn't bad. It's got a strong, distinctive main theme, which is something I'm very glad is back in fashion these days.

I didn't find Deathstroke very impressive. The mask looked a bit too garish; maybe a simpler ninja-type cloth mask (but with the two-sided coloring) would've worked better than the molded, kind of chubby one they used. And having him just be some silent thug was a disappointment. I don't know much about Deathstroke from the comics, but I remember his appearances as "Slade" in the Teen Titans cartoon, voiced by Ron Perlman, and he was an impressive, cool, cunning, malevolent mastermind, as much about brains as brawn. A lot about Arrow works really well, but if its version of a villain is less chilling than the one on Teen Titans, then that's a bit of a problem.

I'm getting impressed with Stephen Amell and his ability to play these different variations of Oliver -- the younger, spoiled one in the flashbacks, the hardened warrior on his mission, the warrior pretending to be the brat, and the man beneath trying to cope with his damaged relationships. Although his Canadian accent was really showing here every time he said "about." I'm still less than impressed with Katie Cassidy, though. She's just about the weakest member of an otherwise strong cast. (I laughed when Laurel mentioned wearing fishnets on Halloween, though.)
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#3 G-man

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 09:33 PM

Well this was an ... interesting one.

It looks as if Moira got in over her head, and might not be the malefactor behind the sinking of the Queen's Gambit.  [Barrowman], it occurs to me, moved a mite too swiftly on behalf of his organization, because his actions did cause some unexpected perturbations, especially re: Moira and Walter.  I'm thinking that as this season develops, we might see the Queen clan closing ranks to confront their enemies.  That said, I'm still wondering how Speedy/Thea fits into all of this ... because right now she seems to be prime "Damsel In Distress" material.

I'm glad that they addressed why someone wouldn't tie the return of Ollie Queen to the appearance of the Hooded Archer.  It was a nice development - showing us that Ollie was thinking ahead, although Digg seems uncomfortable at this turn of events.

The island, OK, that posed rather more questions than answers.  I'm guessing that death squad (and Death Strike) were sent to that island to slay the Hooded Archer ver. 1.0; and aside from him being an ex-Military(?) man, we're still left to guess at his story.

Tom Merlyn was something of a non-entity in this episode; and Laurel ... OK, they did reference her costume with the fishnets, and again are playing the romantic angle as well as pointing up that she's not only an idealist, but a good daughter.

I confess, I do feel sympathy for Det. Lance, and that he's a (possible) alcoholic does explain his rumpled appearance.  But it is good to know that despite his drinking he's still a respected detective.

/s/

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#4 NeuralClone

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 09:36 PM

Personally, I really like Katie Cassidy as Laurel.
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#5 Josh

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 09:52 PM

It's fascinating to watch Oliver dance around all of his relationships. He's a master manipulator. I can never be sure whether he's genuine or just playing games (like the scene with Laurel, where he very quickly got her off the topic of the polygraph by turning to the topic of his time on the island). Somehow, the character remains sympathetic, which is a credit to Stephen Amell and the writing team.

I still wish they would hurry up and fix up the supporting cast. Laurel was better here (even if Cassidy has zilch romantic chemistry with Amell) but Thea and Tommy (who barely had one line this episode) remain one-dimensional, pointless characters. I get they have a purpose later on but that doesn't excuse them taking up screen time now that could be used for more interesting things.
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#6 Christopher

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 10:08 PM

I don't think Thea is pointless. She's our window into a side of Oliver we otherwise wouldn't get to see. He can let his guard down with her -- at least partially -- in a way he can't with anyone else. She's a friend and confidante for him, at least for personal/emotional matters if not the "mission" stuff. But she's troubled and going down a dangerous path because she's walking wounded after living with her dear brother's supposed death for five years, and that makes her a source of guilt and a vulnerability for Ollie as well.
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#7 Josh

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 10:20 PM

I thought her scene with Ollie tonight was the weakest in the whole episode. Just excruciating. Your mileage may vary.
"THE UNICORNS ARE NOT TO BE TRIFLED WITH!" - John Burke.

#8 DWF

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 10:29 PM

I like Katie Cassidy too, she seems to know how to express herself without a lot of words. And I really liked the fight between Deathlock and Oliver's mentor, but I did find it odd that there's so many people on that island. And the way Oliver lives I have to wonder when he does manage to sleep, I imagine the lack of sleep must be getting to him. As for Det. Lance I think his drunkeness in this ep. was about his daughter and his own guilt about her death, but I don't think he's got a drinking problem.
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#9 Christopher

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 10:36 PM

View PostJosh, on 07 November 2012 - 10:20 PM, said:

I thought her scene with Ollie tonight was the weakest in the whole episode. Just excruciating. Your mileage may vary.

I'm not talking about any single scene. I'm talking about what purpose the character serves, whether in potential or in practice. I think that in the long run we're better off having Thea as part of the show because of the added dimension she can give to Oliver.

As for Tommy, he does seem kind of extraneous a lot of the time, although I guess there needs to be someone who represents Ollie's old life. But maybe that's the problem. That life isn't relevant to who Ollie is now, and is just something he uses as a pretense
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#10 Josh

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 10:58 PM

View PostChristopher, on 07 November 2012 - 10:36 PM, said:

View PostJosh, on 07 November 2012 - 10:20 PM, said:

I thought her scene with Ollie tonight was the weakest in the whole episode. Just excruciating. Your mileage may vary.

I'm not talking about any single scene. I'm talking about what purpose the character serves, whether in potential or in practice. I think that in the long run we're better off having Thea as part of the show because of the added dimension she can give to Oliver.

I have no doubt that they'll get there eventually. These writers aren't stupid. It's just not there yet and because you so admirably covered everything else I'd mention, I had to come up with something to nitpick. ;)

I guess I could say that Susanna Thompson and John Barrowman make delicious sparring partners. In fact, I think Barrowman has found his calling as the slimy villain. More!
"THE UNICORNS ARE NOT TO BE TRIFLED WITH!" - John Burke.

#11 NeuralClone

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 11:43 PM

I really like Thea. I really wouldn't call her pointless. And the same goes for Tommy. They haven't had much to do yet. But they were clearly included in the series for some greater reason, if only to give Oliver more development. I suspect they have more in mind for both of them, however. I doubt it's a coincidence that Thea's nickname is "Speedy" (the name of Oliver's sidekick in the original run of the comic) and that Tommy Merlyn just happens to be the name of one of the Green Arrow's archenemies (and Oliver's former friend). I suppose they could just be references to the comic and nothing more. But where's the fun in that? ;)

View PostDWF, on 07 November 2012 - 10:29 PM, said:

I like Katie Cassidy too, she seems to know how to express herself without a lot of words. And I really liked the fight between Deathlock and Oliver's mentor, but I did find it odd that there's so many people on that island. And the way Oliver lives I have to wonder when he does manage to sleep, I imagine the lack of sleep must be getting to him. As for Det. Lance I think his drunkeness in this ep. was about his daughter and his own guilt about her death, but I don't think he's got a drinking problem.
We don't really know enough yet but it seemed to be heavily implied that the people on the island were there looking for the soldier helping Oliver survive. It's possible they were there for some other reason as well. That seems to be the most likely reason we have so far, though.

As for sleeping, we already know that Oliver is haunted by nightmares about his time on the island. He's obviously in better shape than he let on during his conversations with Laurel but there was clearly some truth to what he was saying too.

Edited by NeuralClone, 07 November 2012 - 11:44 PM.

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#12 Lord of the Sword

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 11:48 PM

I like that they had Ollie be behind the arrest, planning it so as to eliminate people from guessing he was Green Arrow, or the hood as they are calling him. However, there is just no way any police department would allow a detective with this much personal history against the suspect to be any part of the investigation.

The Island parts were interesting. We see how Ollie got a lot of his scars...although given his character development at that part in time, it didn't make sense why he wouldn't crack under the torture. And did anyone else get the impression of Jason from Friday the 13th, when the other archer and deathstroke were battling?

Nice touch having Dig appear as the hood, although...how Dig fit in the costume I don't know? He and Ollie are not the same size.

Moira is a interesting character...her threat to John Barrowman's character though was a tad bit stupid. If this organization kills at the drop of a dime, like it seems to...she has just made herself a prime target.
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#13 NeuralClone

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 11:57 PM

View PostLord of the Sword, on 07 November 2012 - 11:48 PM, said:

Moira is a interesting character...her threat to John Barrowman's character though was a tad bit stupid. If this organization kills at the drop of a dime, like it seems to...she has just made herself a prime target.
I'm not so sure of that. It seems pretty smart to me. If Moira Queen suddenly died in an accident, it would immediately draw tons of attention to the circumstances of her death. Given what Walter has discovered, he would immediately suspect foul play and a full investigation into Moira's death would likely be started. This would be especially true seeing as her husband, Robert Queen, died in an accident at sea just 5 years earlier.
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#14 Lord of the Sword

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 12:11 AM

View PostNeuralClone, on 07 November 2012 - 11:57 PM, said:

I'm not so sure of that. It seems pretty smart to me. If Moira Queen suddenly died in an accident, it would immediately draw tons of attention to the circumstances of her death. Given what Walter has discovered, he would immediately suspect foul play and a full investigation into Moira's death would likely be started. This would be especially true seeing as her husband, Robert Queen, died in an accident at sea just 5 years earlier.

Ah, but that was before the hood appeared on the scene. If Moira showed up with a arrow through her, everyone would just assume she was another victim of the hood.
"Sometimes you get the point of the sword, sometimes the edge, sometimes the flat of the blade (even if you're the Lord of the Sword) and sometimes you're the guy wielding it. But any day without the Sword or its Lord is one that could've been better  " ~Orpheus.

The Left is inclusive, and tolerant, unless you happen to think and believe different than they do~ Lord of the Sword

Looks like the Liberal Elite of Exisle have finally managed to silence the last remaining Conservative voice on the board.

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.” ~Thomas Jefferson

#15 Bad Wolf

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 12:32 AM

I LOVE Thea and think the actress playing her is a natural born scene stealer.  This episode was stellar.  My favorite scene was the lie detector.  This is how it's done.
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#16 NeuralClone

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 12:37 AM

View PostLord of the Sword, on 08 November 2012 - 12:11 AM, said:

View PostNeuralClone, on 07 November 2012 - 11:57 PM, said:

I'm not so sure of that. It seems pretty smart to me. If Moira Queen suddenly died in an accident, it would immediately draw tons of attention to the circumstances of her death. Given what Walter has discovered, he would immediately suspect foul play and a full investigation into Moira's death would likely be started. This would be especially true seeing as her husband, Robert Queen, died in an accident at sea just 5 years earlier.

Ah, but that was before the hood appeared on the scene. If Moira showed up with a arrow through her, everyone would just assume she was another victim of the hood.
Perhaps, but the hooded vigilante has been going after criminals. It seems more advantageous to simply not kill Moira. Her family is far too influential and far too rich. And there may be other reasons for keeping her alive that we don't know about yet. Killing her seems to be the simple solution. But this show has had a way of introducing common superhero tropes, putting a spin on them, and then rapidly moving into more interesting material. So for that reason I suspect it's more complicated than that.
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#17 Cybersnark

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 06:04 AM

View PostChristopher, on 07 November 2012 - 09:30 PM, said:

I didn't find Deathstroke very impressive. The mask looked a bit too garish; maybe a simpler ninja-type cloth mask (but with the two-sided coloring) would've worked better than the molded, kind of chubby one they used. And having him just be some silent thug was a disappointment. I don't know much about Deathstroke from the comics, but I remember his appearances as "Slade" in the Teen Titans cartoon, voiced by Ron Perlman, and he was an impressive, cool, cunning, malevolent mastermind, as much about brains as brawn.
Well, comic-Deathstroke got his start as a mercenary/assassin (which is where he picked up the "Deathstroke, the Terminator" moniker), so being a thug-for-hire does technically fit his MO (I'm guessing the black-garbed soldier-types are his employees, rather than government troops). It was only later in his career that he started letting things get personal (especially toward the Titans). He's also just as big on physical badassitude as he is n tactics, if not moreso --indeed, one of his frequent comments about the Titans is that they're "not tough enough" to be fighting a real War. The cartoon tended to downplay that in order to make him a more straightforward supervillain Big Bad.

Also note that all we really saw of him was through Ollie's eyes --the fact that he didn't argue with his boss in front of the prisoner doesn't make him submissive, it makes him professional.

What I noticed is that Deathstroke in the flashback has two eyes. Given how dilligent this show is in referencing the source material, I fully expect the flashback storyline to end with him taking an arrow (or a sword) to the face, and being presumed dead. Cue the modern day conspirators bringing in a "specialist" assassin (unmasked, with a neatly-trimmed white goatee), wearing an eye patch. . .
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#18 Christopher

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 08:05 AM

Well, in the pilot episode, we did get a glimpse of Deathstroke's mask mounted on a post with, IIRC, an arrow through one of its eyeholes...
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#19 G-man

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 09:33 AM

Hmmm ... OK, I admit I'm far more interested in the dynamic between Ollie and Thea, than I am of the Ollie-Laurel romance which comes across to me as being forced.

Part of this is because of the actresses.  The girl playing Thea has this quality about her that just draws my attention, whereas the girl playing Laurel is blandly attractive but strikes me more as a generic presence than a character.

/s/

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Edited by G-man, 08 November 2012 - 09:34 AM.

Let me strive every moment of my life to make myself better and better, to the best of my ability, so that all may profit by it.
Let me think of the right and lend my assistance to all who may need it, with no regard for anything but justice.
Let me take what comes with a smile, without loss of courage.
Let me be considerate of my country, of my fellow citizens, and my associates in everything I say and do.
Let me do right to all, and wrong no man.
-- Doc Savage

Few people want to be moderated, most people see the need for everyone else to be moderated. -- Orpheus

#20 Bad Wolf

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 10:39 AM

May I also just give major kudos to whoever decided to put Paul Blackthorne on this show?  That scene with the lie detector was pure brilliance.
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