“Arrow” nearly misses the mark

Five years ago, billionaire playboy Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), while in a life raft after his yacht capsized, witnesses the suicide of his father. To him, this means the sudden loss of his kind-hearted, patient father. To Starling City, it means the loss of a tycoon who owned and controlled much of the city. This sets off the whole plot of the new The CW show “Arrow.”

Before killing himself, Robert Queen tells his son to right his wrongs and restore Starling City to its former glory. In this one statement, his father admits his failure as a businessman and also encourages his son to become a better person than he was.

After being saved by remote fishermen, Oliver returns to find the city in shambles, rampant with lowly vermin and corrupt yuppies. Keeping his father’s words in mind, Oliver takes it upon himself to dispose of the poison in Starling City by becoming Arrow, the green-hooded vigilante who takes down the corrupt on “The List,” using the skills he acquired after years of being marooned on an island.

In doing this, Oliver must also fool his friends and family by balancing his secret identity with his identity as the prodigal son returned.

In the most recent episode on Nov. 8, “Damaged,” Detective Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne) believes he has found Arrow when he spots Oliver on tape at the scene of a recent murder. Oliver knows the truth, but of course, the public has little reason to believe that he could be Arrow. For one, they think he is still the same lawless playboy from five years ago. They also believe that Lance, whose daughter had died when Oliver’s yacht capsized, is just out for blood.

Oliver is surprisingly calm at these accusations, although in this show, the actor Amell is only capable of exhibiting the stiff calmness of a monk. His arrest, the viewers learn, is all part of Oliver’s plan.

Defended by morally straight lawyer Laurel (Katie Cassidy), Oliver’s ex-girlfriend and the other daughter of Detective Lance, Oliver is free on house arrest. Detective Lance believes he’s gotten Oliver in a corner, but then, later, when the handiwork of Arrow occurs at the scene of a failed arms deal while the suspect is seen at home, Lance can’t do anything but let him go.

Oliver had actually enlisted the help of his former Marine bodyguard/confidant to distract the police. By the end of the episode, Oliver is back to playing the role of Starling City’s vigilante.

The show has a lot plot holes that desperately need some explanation. For one, when Oliver “returns from the dead,” he sets up a secret lair for himself in one of his father’s old, abandoned companies, because what superhero shouldn’t have his own place to chillax in? A question that needs to be answered is: How does he get the money to buy all of this, especially since he doesn’t work to earn income himself? The money most likely comes from the family account, so how does Oliver hide these funds from his mother’s knowledge?

Also, through flashbacks, viewers learn that Oliver was a fun-loving guy back in the day. Yet, when returning to civilization, he takes on the role of a highly intelligent vigilante/assassin, capable of speaking languages like Russian, even though he was marooned on a Chinese island? Does being isolated on an island for five years cause one to grow a brain? Apparently so for Oliver.

The originality of the plot is also debated. Starling City can be seen as a sexier – and can it be said darker – version of Gotham City. Oliver-Arrow is just another Batman, except his attire doesn’t mimic a flying creature, and his voice doesn’t sound like your 70-year-old grandpa who used to smoke religiously. This comparison would make sense since “Arrow” is based on the comic book series “Green Arrow,” published by the famous DC Comics. And guess what? Batman is published by the same company.

“Arrow” does have some shining moments. One of the more interesting relationships exists between Oliver and John Diggle (David Ramsey), the former Marine bodyguard whom Moira Queen (Susanna Thompson) hires for her only son’s protection.

John slowly catches on to Oliver’s mysterious disappearances at night and his crazy hand-to-hand combat moves. Thus far, he is the only one to know about Oliver’s vigilante status. John is a character with morals, inherently knowing that what Oliver is doing is unlawful, yet also knowing that the corrupt Starling City businessmen are worse off and cannot be stopped without Arrow’s interference.

Viewers then learn that Moira might have played a hand in the mysterious way the ship had capsized in the first place. Moira is revealed to be in possession of the Queen Gambit wreckage, a discovery that causes strain between her and her husband Walter Steele (Colin Salmon).

Even though there are so many questions that need to be answered, viewers seem to be hanging on to “Arrow,” waiting for that moment when Oliver’s outside identity collides with his perfectly fabricated secret identity.

“Arrow” was granted a full season on Oct. 22 by The CW. “Damaged” was the the network’s “most watched episode since the series premiere,” with 3.75 million viewers, according to Nielsen television ratings. The next episode will be on tonight at 8 p.m.

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