"And what are you gonna do? Take 'em all down by your lonesome?"
After two almost identical episodes to start the series, The CW's Arrow took a step forward with last week's third installment, "Lone Gunman." Not that the first episodes weren't entertaining despite their similarities (and respective clunkiness) but it was nice to see the series take a step forward, not only in bringing in more villains from the DCU but altering the structure and starting to build Arrow's crime fighting team. There was a lot less rehashing of the past, who was with whom when, and instead was shaping the relationships for the future and once it stops telling us everything, relying too heavily on the voice-over crutch, and starts showing us, Arrow will be more than just a solid comic book series and instead become a very good mix of serialized and episodic action-adventure. Although they are moving in the right direction there as well, skipping the opening voice-over and instead opting for the much more subtle catch-up with a 'previously on' clip package before "An Innocent Man." Much better, even though we still heard him say "My name is Oliver Queen..."
"Oliver, you're not a solider. You're a criminal. And a murderer."
Still, I'd rather them work the awkward voice-over introduction into an assemblage of footage than have each and every installment open with a monologue re-setting the stage. Besides, they couldn't really get away with too much talk because this week starts right where "Lone Gunman" left off, with Ollie revealing his alter-ego to Dig. And the first thing Dig does? Takes a swing. No wonder he's one of my favorite characters. The conflict between the hero and his (not your) sidekick provides a great structural frame for the rest of "An Innocent Man" to build on even though there's perhaps a little too much added for one episode. But before getting to the overstuffing, Oliver's job offer is rejected by Dig and the pair seemingly go their separate ways. Ollie heads home and is greeted by a concerned and then angry Laurel lecturing him on selfishness. Surprisingly Thea is the sympathetic one this week, coming to console and offer advice to her brother instead of piling on like I thought might happen. And when neither of them can sleep, they share a nice moment while the TV tells us about 'wife killer' Peter Declan.
"I'm not the person you think I am and I need your help..."
Did somebody say Jason Brodeur? Well, that's all Ollie needed to hear to know that something must be fishy with the Declan case. The television tells us a bit more about the wrongly convicted man the next morning when Ollie meets the new bodyguard hired by his mother Moira. Yep, there's a new bodyguard after Dig resigned, citing that he didn't like the way the young Queen was spending his evenings, and it doesn't take long for Ollie to make him the source of comic relief. At least he waves goodbye. It takes Arrow and his trusty computer only a few minutes to figure out what really happened in the Declan case, his wife being a whistleblower at Brodeur's company, and he soon decides to bring in a good attorney. I wonder who that will be? He stops by Laurel's apartment at a suitably late hour and it's the first time we get to hear Ollie use his voice modulator, which I think is a great touch. After a brief standoff, he tells her why he walked into her apartment instead of the thousands of other lawyers and, since the next scene finds her investigating the 'open and shut' case, it apparently does the trick. Is this the beginning of a beautiful friendship?