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TV Review: Arrow: Season 1 – Lone Gunmen

By: Adam Basciano

DC COMICS’ VILLAIN DEADSHOT SETS HIS SIGHTS ON ARROW — Oliver is surprised when someone shoots and kills one of his targets. As his plan is to  bring people to justice vs. outright killing them, Oliver doesn’t appreciate the help and searches for the gunman. He soon learns that the man, Deadshot (guest  star Michael Rowe), is taking out businessmen who are scheduled to bid at an auction on an energy company and Walter is one of the bidders. Realizing he  can’t protect his family and stop Deadshot at the same time, Oliver enlists Detective Lance’s help, but his plan has dire consequences. Meanwhile, Laurel and Tommy get caught in an awkward situation with Oliver.” ( The CW)

Last week saw China White enter the “Arrow” universe. This week’s episode brings us DC rogue Deadshot.  Gone is the steam punk cowboy version that appeared on an episode of “Smallviile.” “Arrow” gives us a more straight up hired assassin akin to the source material, minus the jumpsuit and metal face plate.  However, the targeting device and wrist mounted gun are present.  Deadshot was used sparingly throughout the episode.  Instead of using back story to sell the character, they let his expert marksmanship sell his assassin credibility.  I like the added twist of him tattooing his victims names to his body.  That coupled with his body count made him quite menacing.  Some fans may be disappointed by his lack of screen time, but I applaud the writers for working the character into Oliver Queen’s story effectively and with a purpose, rather than focusing the entire episode on the villain and having the main character play second fiddle. Having said that, it was a little disappointing that actor Michael Rowe had about two lines of dialogue in the entire episode.

Oliver adds a little more meat to his cover story, by wanting to open a club in the abandoned Quuen Industries space, while his base of operations and questions as to where he spends most of his nights will remain hidden in the lower levels. Also, the issue of Arrow killing is brought up.  He only does it when it’s absolutely necessar to save another life. That settles that deate!  Is it me, or did Oliver Queen do more “detective” work in one episode, then Batman has in seven live action films? Just saying… I thought the bar fight scene with Oliver and Tommy against the bar owner and his multitude of cronies was going to be wasted screen time, until Laurel arrives and kicks some rich boy ass! That is such a Black Canary tease.  Best of all, the writers make sure to point out that unlike Lana Lang, Laurel didn’t learn self-defense through osmosis. Instead, being the daughter of a cop her father had her learn it asa percaution.  More time in this episode is spent in present day, with only a couple of flashbacks.  We learn that the asian dude who apparently shot Oliver with an arrow takes him to safety and warns him that, “they will kill him”!  Ok, so in order to save him, you wound him? I’m a bit confused.  My favourite moment comes at the very end of the episode.  Arrow saves John Diggle from one of Deadshot’s poisoned laced bullets.  Oliver takes him back to his underground base, and as a result…SPOILER….Diggle discovers that his client is Arrow! What an ending!

Each episode has managed to showcase the main cast’s acting ability.  This episode, the spotlight focuses on David Ramsey as John Diggle.  He works so well with Stephen Amell.  Their banter hinting that Diggle knows the secret is humorous amidst the tension from the action.  Ramsey really balances the stoic body-guard routine with genuine emotion of respect for Oliver in this episode. There was so much more to Colin Donnell’s. character this week.  He’s ditched the rich douchebag routine, and highlights how far he’s willing to go for Oliver (take a beating) For the first time in three episode, the illusion of a long-standing friendship is building. Although, I really don’t buy the relationship angle with Laurel.  Deep beneath her pain, she still loves Oliver. Anyone else is just a stop-gap measure. For a good portion of the episode, I thought Willa Holland’s Thea Queen was slipping back into the stereotypical CW troubled teen like in episode one. However, her scenes with her on-screen mother were great.  The girl can sell genuine emotions in her acting. I say let her continue to do it!  Speaking of that scene and Moira Queen played by Susanna Thompson, the first two episodes eloquently illustrated her evil B***h persona.  This episode positions her as a genuinely concerning and caring mother, at least to her daughter. Credit must be given to Susanna Thompson, because juggling wearing those two hats in the same series takes acting skill.

The cinematography and editing of the episode gave a lot of weight to Deadshot.  His initial kill was filmed from a great angle.  The fight scenes between Arrow and Deadshot were well choreographed.  It was a good mix of bullets vs arrows, and in-tight hand to hand combat.  My only problem, the fights were far too short.  I wanted more!  Despite going the “grounded in reality” route, this show has its comic book quota covered.  I loved the subtle references that only comic book fans will get. This episode features, Markovia, the Corto Maltese, Dan Jurgens, Big Belly Burger, and Felicity Smoak.

“Lone Gunmen” marks another good shot for “Arrow” early in the season.  Three episodes in, it is the strongest new series out of the gate for the new fall season.

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