Identity Review: Tangled Double Lives

Arrow’s second episode didn’t disappoint, as Oliver dealt with China White and her new partner Bronze Tiger. He also engaged in a battle of image with alderman Sebastian Blood in a gripping episode that left him in a potentially deadly dilemma.

After a decision to stop actual crime instead of target the list, Oliver does share with Diggle that it’s much harder to find targets in this way. However, things are made easier for him when China White (Kelly Hu) reappears in the city, bringing with her a new threat – Bronze Tiger (Michael Jai White).

As always, the fight scenes in this episode were superb. James Bamford does an incredible job with these and long may the genius continue. Oliver found it much more difficult to take out Bronze Tiger than he expected. However, I think using metal claws to destroy arrows mid-air is about as annoying as the arrow-catching last season (and by Oliver with Roy). As much as I love the action scenes, no more of that please.

Round Two, and Oliver brought along Diggle as help. As far as I can see, it was almost pointless. Oliver fighting two trained killers was more successful than Diggle against one man. Seriously, is this the same army Diggle that Oliver trained throughout last season? Anyway, Oliver managed to take out Bronze Tiger with an electricuting arrow, before securing China White to a telegraph pole with an arrow.

She believes that Oliver will “never be anything but a criminal to them.” He tells her that if he saves the city, it doesn’t matter. This is our first suggestion that he’s transformed into a hero. Heroes don’t care how they’re viewed, just that they can help.

While they attempted to prevent medical supplies from reaching Starling City, Roy, still in over his head, continued to attempt to be like the vigilante. The result? A wrecked car, a few minor injuries and a date in an interrogation room with Laurel. To quote Thea in ‘Home Invasion’, “(Now) I think you’re brain dead.”

Despite his feeble attempt, Roy refused to capitulate even under the advice of Oliver. In frustration, Thea (sort of) breaks up with him. She gives him the arrowhead (that Oliver gave her in the pilot), and told him to keep it until he realises that trying to be a vigilante is stupid. As I said in my City of Heroes review, the arguments between these two are pointless. They’re story fillers. Not needed. Thankfully, the two are back together, and I hope it stays that way.

He’s also gained a position in Oliver’s crew. Not a very high one, but a position nonetheless. Roy is going to be Oliver’s eyes and ears in the Glades. As they say, baby steps. I wonder how long it’ll be before he learns Oliver’s true identity.

Back to Oliver. Now that he has a position at Queen Consolidated, he has had to promote Felicity to prevent having to travel all that way down to see her every time. No, it’s not a laziness thing. That would be pathetic. You’d think that getting a promotion would make her happy. Obviously, being Oliver Queen’s secretary isn’t something that she thought about as a child. “You’re not actually offering to get me a cup of coffee are you?”

While Felicity was stuck complaining about her cover identity, Diggle was left with an even worse one. “My secret identity is as his black driver.” Well Diggle, don’t be too offended. It’s not like you’re constantly under threat of death or anything.

In her frustration, she revealed to Oliver the truth about Diggle’s reluctance to agree to do anything with Carly. I did expect her to reveal that she had died, but it is better that she is still alive. The stress of the Undertaking (among other things) lead the two to break up. It’s unfortunate, but better for Dig than her having died, leaving his nephew with no parents.

Oliver’s remark to alderman Sebastian Blood (Kevin Alejandro) suggesting that Felicity would get him a cup of coffee was the final straw. In response, she tells him that “somebody broke our coffeemaker”, prompting Oliver to give her a glance that mirrored that of someone about to kill the other. In the end, she did decide to appreciate her new promotion, but it certainly took her some time.

With two incredibly dangerous villains to deal with, the last thing Oliver needed was heat from not only his friends, but Blood as well. Leading the pack, attempting to single out Oliver for being part of the Queen family, and for having done little about the aftermath. Holding a benefit, although Blood was objectional at first, seemed to hold him off for a while.

Of course, when faced with the choice of attending his own benefit, improving his image and supposedly helping the city, or stopping China White and Bronze Tiger, there really was only one choice. In hindsight, his choice was probably the wrong one. Yes, he was able to prevent attacks and allow medical supplies to reach the city, but Blood will pose a much larger problem throughout the entire season.

Having completely changed her views on the Arrow (since we have seen him start to become a hero, I’m now calling him that), Laurel has created a bit of trouble. In trying to get her to change her mind, a trap is set for him. In fairness, he’ll probably get out of it incredibly easily. The point of this is to show Oliver that she is a completely changed person in regards to the Arrow, so it’s a warning message to him.

On the island, we see Oliver and Shado’s relationship moving to the next level. I wonder if at any point Oliver told Tommy that his ‘Pilot’ theory (that Oliver hadn’t had sex in 1,839 days) was incorrect. Probably not, but Slade didn’t seem to like it. His objections to the relationship could make Oliver and Slade fall out, and possibly turn on each other.

While Oliver tried to deal with the brutal murder he committed, Shado comforts him by suggesting that “No island, no place, can make you something you’re not.” While this was meant in a good way, Oliver took it as a suggestion that he’s always been a killer.

While he pondered over this, the group discovered a cave of skeletons. Left there since World War II, this is where Oliver found the arrowhead. The little we’ve seen of this storyline is incredibly ambiguous, keeping us on the edge of our seat, as it will do for the rest of the season.

This was a strong follow-up to the premiere. I’ve always been a believer that no matter how good your season opener is, it means nothing if the second episode lacks quality. The writers have done a fantastic job of not letting it slip, and I suspect that the show will only get better from here.

Promo for episode 3, entitled ‘Broken Dolls’:

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