Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Arrow "Pilot" Review - Lost and Found

The Man in the Hood- Courtesy EW.com
Imagine the prospect of the superhero that has your back. Except Oliver Queen has his own agenda, focused on corruption in the heart of where he grew up. Many would know Arrow from Justin Hartley's representation on Smallville, but the pilot was far from that persona. There is a dark edgier side to Arrow which probably caused the writers to strip away the 'green' image. He is a many shades of grey Arrow and as the creators explained, they need to go in that direction.

Stephen Amell has a lot going for him other than his rocking bod. He introduces a new perspective to a hero complex that is more human than anyone would expect. Off the comic pages the pilot opens to a mad man running through what seemed like a deserted island. You hear 'mad man' because that was my first impression of this person with a long beard, dirty musky face and ruffled clothing suited for time deserted on an island. Did a picture of Toma Hanks's "Cast Away" come to mind? This movie showcased the length a man can endure for survival.

Unlike any traditional story, Oliver was lost and not in the literal sense. He had probably lost his sense of humanity, shooting arrows that created an instant fire. How long was he there? What happened to this lost man? Already you form a connection with the plot. When Oliver alerted a random boat off coast to help his escape, his transformation back home was flawless. Does he now shake off the years of struggle that caused his hard appearance. His body aimed to be the perfection women fall for, but he was far from perfect. His bruises protruding through the cracks.

We learn this lost man had a family; a mother and sister, but we did not know what he had lost. Five years is a long time to survive. A long time to watch over your own back and to be alone. No one really knew from his return how much Oliver suffered. His scars alone tell you a story, or even a cautionary tale. We were introduced to Oliver's new life. Everyone else had time to move on, build a career, start a family and waste their lives away. It's difficult to put yourself in the frame mind of this boy turned man. Some people take longer to grow up.

We also learn from some well placed flashbacks, that Oliver was spoiled-rich. His ex-girlfriend Laurel now despises him for sleeping with her sister and blames him for her death. Every emotion is expected.

"Did you even try to save her"

Words uttered from Sara's father as the memories of his daughter filled his brain causing him to act irrationally. Already I wonder why this man was put on Oliver's case, when Oliver was abducted. He's too close to the matter. 'A man in a hood' Nowadays anything is possible. Why the hood? Why so specific? Does it represent an icon of what he was on the island? Can we say that Oliver is sane? He witnessed his father's suicide so that he could barely survive. Is there something slightly off about Oliver's prophecies? Maybe his time on the island made him the opposite of insane. Maybe he's more focused on what his father tried to tell him.

There were also two identities Oliver portrayed; the strong alpha male out to make his city right and the arrogant boy. He showed us his true identity. It's clever watching Oliver train his body then execute relentlessly and escape someone who was looking out for him. This series provides so many arcs for exploration that you lavish at the many possibilities. The strength of this series also lies in the family ties. Learning his mother moved on, you can somewhat understand, but it was troubling to accept. Along with his sister's escapades.

As Arrow risked his neck for his first mission, we can only see a taste of what is to come. As a pilot, Arrow not only pulls you in, but pushes you along for the ride. You dare not touch that remote, because one missed scene would feel as though you missed out so much. Lurking in the dark in the end, Oliver/Arrow may have discovered his ex and his best friend's affair. Still it only seeks to add layers to this already complex character.

Series Premiere "Pilot"
5 Stars


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