"My name is Oliver Queen..."
The CW's new superhero series is not without some recurring problems but Arrow has had a pretty solid start and not just in the ratings. Each episode seems a little less clunky than the one previous with last week's "Honor Thy Father" a step up from the pilot's often stiff storytelling and acting. The second installment of the show also dipped into the DCU to find a villain for the first time which added some much needed flavor to the otherwise bland businessmen bad guys that make up Oliver's My Name is Earl list. The corrupt capitalists that failed Starling City, like his father, are fine to keep Arrow grounded in reality but everyone wants to see the superhero mix it up with supervillains. And this week doesn't disappoint as the titular "Lone Gunman" is Deadshot, one of Batman's famous Rogues Gallery and DC's most accurate assassin. Oh, and there's also a bunch of family and/or relationship stuff but thankfully it doesn't distract too much from the action and even starts to become somewhat interesting. Somewhat.
"...cancers can be fought and conquered. All it takes is a surgeon and the right instrument."
"Lone Gunman" opens with the first of (too) many instances of Oliver's voice-over which, along with television news reports, seems to be a common truth for the series in handling the exposition. I would prefer a simple clip package at the beginning to the introductory speeches while Stephen Amell works-out but it doesn't take long for things to get moving. After a minute at his trusty computer, Ollie decides it's time to pay this real-estate scamming, Lex Luthor wannabe James Holder a visit and hold him accountable for all the housing fires and resulting funerals in 'the Glades.' The Glades is the shitty end of town where the run-down Queen Industries warehouse sits, soon to be the home of our hero's underground hideout and uh, nightclub. Back to the visit. Arrow makes quick work of the armed security, though sadly we don't see it, and confronts the businessman atop a beautiful rooftop that offers both director Guy Bee and, more importantly, Deadshot (played by Michael Rowe) some great, well, shots. And just when Arrow was getting his Batman growl on! Besides too much voice-over, it was a great pre-title sequence.
"To protect you."
During the opening scuffle, Ollie took a slug to the shoulder and, since he doesn't have an Alfred (yet), is forced to sew the wound himself. He also discovers that the bullet is laced with poison, only adding to the "Hamlet" allusion that newcomer Emily Bett Rickards as IT expert Felicity Smoak makes later in the episode. Shakespeare's Laertes used a poison-tipped sword to fatal ends in the duel versus the Danish Prince but fortunately our Hamlet is able to find an anecdote at the last second. He still goes unconscious for a while which conveniently allows us to transition to a flashback and solve last week's cliffhanger moment as we meet the man who shot an arrow through stranded Oliver. And it turns out, he severely wounded Ollie in order to keep him safe, something we eventually learn to be true even though the danger remains faceless. I'm getting ahead of myself. Ollie wakes from the poison/drug fuelled dream only to find his sister Thea once again acting out, this time going drunken dress shopping at a closed store. Oops. After she decides to play hooky too, Ollie feels the need to step in and tell his mother Moira how to parent.
"Interpol even has a codename for him. Deadshot."
Speaking of parents, Detective Daddy (Lance) is on the scene of the James Holder murder and doesn't like the common theory that Arrow is the culprit. It doesn't fit because we all know the 'Hood' doesn't use firearms. He uses arrows. It's kind of his thing. While the Dicks discuss the bullet riddled rooftop, Ollie does a little chemistry to identify the poison before turning to his computer (again, there's more) to find a file linking it to Deadshot. And since the assassin is far more dangerous than the white collars on his list, Ollie decides to move him to the top but first, he's got to open a nightclub. The plan is to turn Queen Industries' run down warehouse in the Glades into not only Starling City's trendiest club but also, as I said, Arrow's Arrowcave. Tommy's not so sure and figures they best check out the competition, which happens to be owned by a guy whose fiancé once fell for Ollie's charms, and Dig just rags on the idea for its racist undertones. Yep. The white knight gentrifying the shitty neighborhood. Better to let the Glades rot. And I thought Dig got wise to the hero's intentions last week, why are we back to square one?