ARROW S1E14 – “The Odyssey”

Posted on 14 February 2013 by Mike-EL

Green Arrow Begins!

G.I.Jolie: The CW network was truly blessed the day that Stephen Amell was cast as Oliver Queen in their new hit show, Arrow.

Week after week Amell continues to impress me with immense *ehem* talent, and yes I mean acting. What did you think I was referring to? 😉
Since the beginning of the series the audience has been treated to longer, better, and faster flashbacks of his life on shipwreck island, giving us more insight into his survival experience. When the show flashes between past and present there is a VERY apparent difference between the scared and weak Oliver that landed on the island, compared to the unmoveable and stoic Oliver we see now. That’s acting. That’s Amell’s acting. That’s GOOD acting … and it’s not something we get to see a lot of from a network well known for putting their programs through (what I like to call) the CW’s Hot Filter. Seriously. ‘Ugly’ people are great looking, and older people really don’t appear to be as old as they should be. There’s only a hint of wrinkle and EVERYONE has shampoo commercial hair. It’s just refreshing to see an honest, believable delivery of some of the more ridiculous dialogue we’ve been presented with.

Aside from my weekly praise for Amell’s acting, this week’s show was AIRTIGHT! Picking up where they left off with last week’s episode, Olie finds himself in the midst of a medical emergency (shot gun wound to the chest) and has no choice but to involve a character that you least suspect, mousey I.T. girl Felicity Smoak! What was great about this episode is that Felicity and Diggle’s only duty in the present-day subplot was to keep Oliver alive. The writers didn’t ruin the story by trying to give us Felicity’s back story or by forcing a tense relationship between her and Diggle. It was just Felicity and Diggle, working together to save Oliver’s –in between more island flashbacks. By spending more time on flashback island we finally get to learn more about Yao Fei and Wilson, without having to worry to much about keeping track of what’s happening in the present-day timeline.

Overall one of the best, most suspenseful, consistent, and action-packed episodes of this season!

Rating: 4.5/5 suns

Mike-EL: A suspenseful, action-packed episode with plenty of edge-of-your-seat moments, ‘The Odyssey’ is the kind of episode I’d like to see more of. Last week I commented that ARROW seemed to be basing its entire supporting cast structure on the Lee/Ditko/Romita Spider-Man comics of the 1960s; this week, ARROW’s other primary source of inspiration came to the fore: Christopher Nolan’s BATMAN BEGINS. We already have Green Arrow/Batman and Diggle/Alfred, but what they seem to be doing is splitting up the Ra’s al Ghul/decoy characters into three: the English villain is Edward Fyers (Ra’s al Ghul), the Asian decoy becomes Yao Fei and Ghul’s role as trainer goes to Slade Wilson/Deathstroke (who will eventually be a rival of Green Arrow, to be sure).

In the present-day timeline, Felicity Smoak gets upgraded to the main cast, a move that puts her in a similar spot that Oracle/Batgirl occupie(d) in the Batman comics of the past 10 years or so. While Emily Bett Rickards is a decent enough actress, her dialogue always stands out as the most forced and over-written of all ARROW’s characters (Willa Holland’s role as Thea is occupies a similar ‘sore thumb’ status. Her ‘acting ability’ consists of doing a very poor Sarah Michelle Gellar impression every time she’s on screen. Every line is uttered with sarcasm through gritted teach. Poor casting choice there).

Last week’s cliff-hanger gets an exciting pay-off, the status quo gets a tweak, and the backstory takes on a new dimension. An example of the direction the show could take in the season to come: more straight ahead action, and less soap opera subplots (Thea’s spiteful car accident and Tommy Merlyn’s sudden poverty come to mind). The show is finding its legs and shedding away the shackles network mediocrity.

Rating: 4/5 suns

About Mike-EL

Mike-EL is a Co-Producer and Founder of the Comic Book Syndicate TV series. He is an independent filmmaker, professional videographer and holds a PhD in Superhero Fun.