Arrow "Burned" Directed By Eagle Egilsson Written By Moira Kirland & Ben Sokolowski
Arrow returns from a five week break with the normal mixed bag. Offering viewers attempted emotional resonance, wooden acting, superheroics, and crazy island flashbacks.
In an interview on the podcast Talking TV with Ryan and Ryan (another good podcast for people looking for TV talk) executive producer Greg Berlanti explained that the focus every episode wouldn’t be Oliver learning something new. He did plenty of that on the island. But instead focus on Oliver rediscovering a bit of himself he had to forget on the island. A interesting idea that should work episode to episode.
It’s been six weeks since Walter disappeared along with the Dark Archer and the Hood. Oliver has recovered at least physically from his encounter. On the mental side of things Olivier is struggling. With Walter gone Moria has fallen into a depression and any progress on being an actual mother to her children is gone. It takes Speedy once again playing the “I lost him too” card to break through to her. Oliver doesn't really do a lot of growing as a family man though. At least you can’t really tell from Stephen Amell’s face.
Oliver doesn't really need to become a family man. He has opened up enough to them. It’s that openness that is keeping him with them instead of donning the hood and bringing justice to Starling City. Since the incident with the Dark Archer, Oliver has lost his edge. That split second ability to jump off buildings and do crazy vigilante things. That edge has been replaced by the fear of what it would do to his friends and family if they lost him again. On the island Oliver didn’t fear death, he nearly died a lot as shown by the flashbacks. Death didn’t scare him he had nothing to lose, now he has a lot to lose. Mr. Diggle gives some sage advice to Oliver, encouraging him to redirect that fear of failure and let it fuel him to fight on giving him an even harder edge.
As a weekly show Arrow has been using a large amount of rogues from DC comics. They have been handling them poorly. The villains be it China White, Deadshot, Constantine Drakon,Frank Bertinelli, Royal Flush Gang, and Malcolm Merlyn (Dark Archer) have all been underutilized and barley characterized beyond some basic traits. Making them cartoonish and boring. Worst the show has a habit of killing these characters off in the same episode.
I’ve never gotten the reason why superhero movies had a habit, until recently, of killing the villain at the end of the movie. It makes things much harder creatively as things go on. In film this won’t show up until say the third or fourth movie. For a 22 episode show like Arrow this will show up far quicker. Villains are just as interesting as the people who fight them. And when I can barely be bothered to care about the love affair of Tommy Merlyn and Laurel Lance, digging into the rogues might be more engaging.
“Burned” features a version of Garfield Lynns, known as Firefly in the comics. At the start a man is killing firefighters on the job, one of whom is Laurel’s best friends brother. He was shown sparingly you only ever see him in a fireman's outfit. This did a good job of making Lynns into a piece of nature or phantom. They slowly begin to reveal the backstory, clumsily dumping exposition via Oliver, but it was still interesting. Lynns has been damaged physically and mentally like Oliver. Seeing a bit of himself in the burned, Two-Face like Lynns, Oliver does not pierce his heart with an arrow. He offers to help with rehabilitation. Than Lynns just says no and offs himself. How very underwhelming.
Fire is a hard thing to do in video games and film. Arrow makes the fire look really good, doing several full immolations. There are some odd moments where the fire is creeping into the frame but largely it all looks good.
Also in the interview the shows producers let out that they do not consider what Oliver is right now, The Hood, to be Green Arrow. That is heartening news since it provides ample room for Oliver and Stephen Amell to grow as the show progresses. Amell can act, he is best under the hood or on the island. It’s everywhere else that he does too much.
- Mo Ryan writes for the Huffington Post and turned that podcast into a solid feature also
- Also during the interview it was let out that Deadshot would be returning hopefully with a either a sweet eye patch of cyborg eye.
C+ Arrow is still Arrow (with Abs)