Saturday, October 13, 2012

Arrow 1.01: "Pilot"

“She says the island changed me. She has no idea how much. There are many more names on the list, those who rule my city through intimidation and fear. Every last one of them will wish I had died on that island.”
- Oliver Queen

I have to admit I’m not the world’s biggest superhero fan. But when I saw the previews for “Arrow” and I heard the caliber of actor they had on the show (Paul Blackthorne and John Barrowman) I knew I had to give it a shot.

The story begins on an island in the South China Sea. We see a man running through brush and up a rock face to get to a stash of arrows. There’s a boat on the horizon and as the hooded man shoots the arrow, it lights up a fire. He’s rescued. And this man is former billionaire playboy Oliver Queen. Presumed dead after his father’s yacht sunk at sea five years ago, he’s finally home in Starling City. Oliver has a mission though. He’s going to right the wrongs of his city. He reconnects with his mother and younger sister and gives kind of an indifferent look to his father’s former business partner Walter. Elsewhere in the city, Laurel Lance is arguing with a co-worker over a case they have against a big city slum lord. Behind them, the news comes on, discussing Oliver’s miraculous return, only to mention that he had been with Laurel’s sister, Sarah at the time the yacht went under. Laurel is not happy.

Dinner at the Queen mansion is kind of tense. Oliver’s best friend Tommy is over and recounting all the things Oliver missed out on (including a nice little LOST shout out). Oliver isn’t surprised to find that his mother and Walter are now married. Things get uncomfortable when his sister Thea asks what the island was like. Oliver excuses himself and has a flashback to the night the yacht sank. He was messing around with Sarah when the ship tilts and she gets sucked out a breach in the wall. He wakes to find himself strangling his mother. Yeah, PTSD is not very fun.

The next morning he walks in on Thea and a friend cutting pain pills. The girls try to hide it and Oliver pretends not to notice. He wanted to give Thea a Buddhist stone that symbolizes reconnecting. That’s kind of sweet and then Tommy shows up to take him around the city on a welcome back tour. They stop by the dilapidated factory Oliver’s dad owned and then Oliver insists on seeing Laurel. He gets a rather icy reception from his ex. I can’t really blame her. She seems to throw herself into her work to escape the pain of losing her sister while said sister was sleeping with her boyfriend. Oliver tries to apologize but Laurel’s not interested. On their way to continue the tour, Oliver and Tommy get jumped by guys in masks. Oliver has another flashback to being in the raft with the pilot and his dad. His dad says if any of them are going to survive, it will be Oliver. He also admits that he failed Starling City. When Oliver comes to, he’s flex-cuffed to a chair and the masked guys are demanding to know if Oliver’s dad made it to the island and told him anything. Oliver breaks free and takes them out, saying no one can know his secret. This of course brings in the cops, including Laurel’s dad, Detective Lance (played by the ever awesome Paul Blackthorne). Oliver gives a description of a guy in a green hood that swooped in and saved them from the thugs. Detective lance isn’t convinced. He probably hates Oliver as much as Laurel. He lost a daughter after all. Oliver just gives him a smile.

A little later Oliver is browsing a little book he got from his dad with names in it. He’s after Adam Hunt, the slum lord. He has a little sweet moment with their maid who appears to have been quite the caregiver. Unfortunately thanks to the abduction, his mother has assigned him an armed guard. Oliver is not happy and ends up literally ducking out of a moving car to escape. He ends up back at his dad’s factory and we have probably my favorite scenes from the preview. We see him setting up his lair and working out, making arrows. He looks so good doing the salmon ladder. I could do without all the voiceovers though. I understand they are necessary, especially since this is a pilot but I hope they abandon it going forward.

Anyway, once he’s got his arrows all set to go, we see Adam Hunt in a parking garage ordering his minions around, telling them to keep Laurel and the judge in line. Too bad they don’t’ see the arrow take out the lights. Two of Hunt’s bodyguards go down and Hunt hides in his car. Like that’s going to stop Oliver. He orders Hunt to transfer $40 million into an account by 10pm the next night. Hunt reports this to the cops so now we understand why Oliver told them about the hooded guy. He knew he was going after Hunt and would need it to corroborate the story. That night, Oliver heads to the big welcome back bash Tommy threw him at the building next to Hunt’s building. His bodyguard is waiting in the car and tells Oliver to buckle up. Not going to have a repeat performance. They get to the party and things are pretty crazy. I have to say I think Tommy reminds me a lot of early Logan Echolls from Veronica Mars. He even sounds a little bit like Jason Dohring. After intercepting Thea carrying some drugs and losing the argument about her even being at the party seeing as she’s only seventeen, Oliver runs into Laurel. They have a quiet chat and Laurel offers to be there if he needs to talk about his time on the island. He brushes her off and continues to act like a spoiled brat. I guess he can’t’ let people know how much he’s changed.

It’s now after 10 and Hunt’s goons are ready. So are the cops. I guess no one expected Oliver to scale the outside of the building. He gets in and shoots and arrow at Hunt, landing it in his safe. Oliver then takes out Hunt’s new head of security and barely escapes when Detective Lance shows up. They crash Oliver’s party but Oliver is already back, acting like nothing happened. The following day, Hunt is furious to find $40 million has disappeared. The arrow in the safe electronically transferred the money to all of Laurel’s clients. In the midst of every phone in the legal aid office ringing, Tommy shows up. Apparently he and Laurel are kind of seeing each other. Not surprising. In a twist that I was a little surprised they did in the pilot, it turns out Oliver’s mom was partly behind the abduction. She wants to know what her husband told him.

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