Thursday, October 18, 2012

'Arrow' recap: 'Honor Thy Father,' Dishonor His Memory

Now that "Arrow" has introduced many of the main players in the pilot, the episode "Honor Thy Father" gives us a deeper look into Oliver Queen and the new duality of his life. We also get more of an understanding of what happened to the former irreverent playboy on that island. Throw in a new villain, family drama, and two shadowy figures, and viewers have another entertaining installment of the comic book series.

Dead to me
While Oliver is nursing his own emotional wounds from five years on the island, Thea lets him know that he wasn't the only one who suffered. When he once again refuses to open up to her, she takes him to the back of their property to show him the two grave markers that were put up for her father and brother. While he was gone, she used to talk to Oliver's grave in a way that she feels she can't now that he's here.

Rather than confiding in her, however, he visits his ex, Laurel, to try and mend fences. He tells her his previous brush-off was meant to protect her, not hurt her. The two share an evening of conversation and ice cream, and Oliver lets her know that no amount of apologizing from him will ever make up for her sister's death. It turns out to be lucky that he's there, when several assassins burst in to kill Laurel and prevent her from continuing a civil case against their murdering crime boss.

Digg is catching on
To appease his mother, Oliver finally concedes to having bodyguard Diggle at his side. The ex-military man lets his slippery charge know that one more escape and "your mother won't have to fire me." Having Digg around comes in handy in the attack on Laurel, and fans got a fantastic fight scene where Oliver's bodyguard really shows his mad skills in the combat department. Martial artist and ruthless assassin China White gets the jump on him, however, and it takes a precise knife throw by Oliver to scare her off and save Digg's life.

Oliver tries to shake it off as a "lucky throw," but Digg isn't buying it. We can also see him carefully appraising his client's every move, not convinced when Oliver turns on his "useless playboy" act to fool everyone into thinking he hasn't changed since his ordeal on the island. It's a good bet that Digg is eventually going to be an important ally in Oliver's quest.

Honor thy father
In dual poignant scenes, Oliver says goodbye to his father. We see him in flashback, alone and scared on the island, dragging his dad's body farther onto land and then covering him with stones. Back at home, he talks to the grave marker Thea showed him, promising his dad that he'll continue on the quest to right the wrongs his father and others committed on the city. In order to honor Mr. Queen's wishes, however, sometimes he'll have to dishonor his memory. No one can know what Oliver's up to, and he's forced to accept that he can't be the responsible heir his mother wants him to be until his mission is done.

We learn in the flashback that the little book Oliver carries, with the names of corrupt people his father gave him, was originally his father's. The front inside cover of the book carries a circular symbol, one that we see later with a shadowy figure Mrs. Queen is speaking with at a secret meeting. She nervously tells the mystery villain that it's quite clear now that Oliver knows nothing about them and that he doesn't know that the boat was sabotaged. We're not sure if she's merely a frightened pawn in a larger game or willingly a part of the murder plot on her family.

Future dangers
Oliver is always in danger of getting caught and nearly gets nabbed by Laurel's policeman father. Though his daughter feels The Arrow is helping fight crime, Detective Lance doesn't like vigilantes and vows to bring the archer to justice as soon as possible.

Both Oliver and his alter ego now have to be cautious of a return from China White, who escaped from Laurel's apartment. There's Digg's suspicions, and his mother and Walter's watchful eyes. Then there's his friend Tommy, who's keeping the secrets of Oliver's fighting skills for now but doesn't appear to be all that comfortable with his friend's new incarnation.

Then there's the mysterious man in Oliver's flashback, a hooded archer who looks a lot like Arrow does now. In his first day on the island, our hero is struck through the shoulder with an arrow from this cloaked figure. Is he the reason for all of Oliver's scars? Is he still out there?

More Season 1 Recaps here!

PHOTO: 2012 "Arrow" Screencap, "Honor Thy Father", CW, fair use.

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