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Review: Arrow 1.03 "Lone Gunmen"

The third episode of The CW's "Arrow" featured a couple of big reveals and a big villain, which makes its lackluster feel all the more puzzling and disappointing.

Our dirty corporate executive this week is James Holder, head of the company that put in faulty smoked detectors in low-income housing, resulting in deaths of the downtrodden residents of The Glades (what I assume is the Starling City equivalent to The Narrows in Gotham City). Arrow goes to pay the greedy suit a visit in his high rise apartment to demand justice. However, someone beats him to the punch -- a sniper shoots out the place where Holder's heart should be and sends our hero scrambling with a poison bullet as well. Two guesses on who our gunman is?

That's right, viewers didn't have to wait long for Deadshot to make his presence felt. Queen proclaims that Deadshot has no code of honor, a contract killer who just enjoys the thrill of racking up hits. We see that the hired gun also likes to carry the names of his victims with him as tattoos clutter up his body "Memento"-style.

Meanwhile, Queen is thinking of opening a nightclub or something in The Glades. Casting off any kind of subtlety, Amell's awful voiceover once again rears its ugly head and spells out that the club will be his alibi for his vigilante side-business. Field research leads Queen and Merlyn to attend a popular club, running into Laurel and a misbehaving Thea, who tells her big brother about Laurel and Merlyn's tryst while he was gone. This is one of a couple of subplots I assumed would get dragged out but is quickly paid off this week. Unfortunately, it's not the big reveal it should be, and is quickly interrupted by a beatdown. We get to see the soon-to-be Black Canary show off her fighting chops as she saves the boys' hides, which is good stuff, but then she follows it up with the laughable line, "We finished here? Or are you going to have your boys pound on me next?" Well, if you insist.

With another Deadshot victim taken out, Detective Lance and the police find a common thread: both victims were prospective buyers of Unidac Industries, and they theorize that the others may have targets on their backs as well. Because of his dislike for the Queen family, Lance believes they may be behind the assassinations, killing off their bidding rivals to make things easier when the auction goes down. Evidently the detective has the right idea, just the wrong perpetrator. Our climactic scene is set, as bidders for Unidac are set to meet at the public auction to purchase the company, including Deadshot's employer Warren Patel and everyone Patel wants his assassin to kill. Unable to protect the numerous targets alone, Arrow enlists the help of Lance and the police.

The "you can't do it alone" theme is continued with Arrow's interaction with the police, as well as in the island flashbacks. We carry over the shocker of an ending to last week's episode and meet the mysterious archer. Evidently, the assailant was attempting to protect Queen last week, and thought the best way to do that was to shoot an arrow through his chest, then nurse him back to health. Okay. That's some pretty tough love, but we eventually learn that the two are not alone on the island, not by a longshot.

The other subplot that's quickly cashed in this week involves Ollie's bodyguard Diggle, who in the last episode seemed to hint at knowing more than he does. Diggle's sister-in-law is introduced, letting on a nugget from the bodyguard's past: evidently his brother was killed in a similar line of work, and his widow now expresses concern over Diggle sharing his fate. She has a right to be concerned, as the Deadshot/Arrow showdown results in Queen's bodyguard taking a bullet. The episode rushes what I had assumed would be a long-term storyline, with Diggle discovering Arrow's secret identity in just the show's third episode. I suppose the writers thought it was ridiculous to have Queen constantly coming up with new ways to ditch his protection and vanish into the night, and it's at least a more dramatic reveal than the Laurel/Merlyn affair.

Really, the only good action we get with this episode is the showdown between Arrow and Deadshot. While the fighting is great as always, the payoff leaves a lot to be desired. Given that we saw Deadshot's mask in the pilot on the island, one would presume the two would have 1) a shared past and 2) a long-term feud brewing. The first doesn't appear to be the case if the dialogue the two have is any indication. No hints about a meeting between the two on the island, no real substance to anything the two say other than for Queen to distance himself from the assassin by proclaiming he kills for justice rather than money. And, unless there are other future inheritants to the Deadshot mantle, the second assumption appears to not be happening either, as the assassin is knocked off in pretty underwhelming fashion.

Given the villain this week, I expected much more than what was presented. Deadshot is an exciting villain who should pose a greater threat to our hero, deserved a richer backstory as well as a recurring role like Kelly Hu's China White seems to be getting. Instead, Deadshot's end came with a whimper instead of a bang.

Final Grade: C

- Arrow
- Stephen Amell
- Katie Cassidy
- CW

Written by: kyleiam
Oct 25th, 2012, 2:00 am

(Crazed Contributor)

Level 3 (15%)
Since: 22/Aug/12
Message Posted On Oct 25th, 2012, 9:08 am

Welp, I humbly eat crow re: the Deathstroke/Deadshot mix-up. My mistake. Glad you guys liked it, I just thought the episode was pretty average overall, plus the acting seemed especially hammy this week.


Message Posted On Oct 25th, 2012, 8:15 am
Well, thats not really true about deadshot not wearing a mask, but still, the review and anonymous get's it wrong. It's clear that he did not die. I do agree, that his story was poor, but I hope it will be further developed as he enters back in the show. (I mean, come on, it was clear after arrow didnt have time to comfirm his kill. Also, Deadshot has been shot in the head in comics also, and.. yes, surived. He's mask/facearmor or whatever, has the abilty to even tone down his vital signs so he appears dead. Rest assured,he did not die)

Level 1
Since: 25/Oct/12
Message Posted On Oct 25th, 2012, 6:25 am

Right, Anonymous? How can somebody criticize a show when they're not paying attention to have missed everything that was pointed out? Bad_subject should have written this review, imo.


Level 4 (22%)
Points: 263.4
Since: 22/Aug/12
Message Posted On Oct 25th, 2012, 5:44 am

Also, re: Anonymous... I don't think Deadshot died. I think that's what we're supposed to think... Oliver needing to flee the scene immediately in order to save Dig meant he couldn't be certain.

I predict a triumphant return of Deadshot, complete with cybernetic eye, having lost this one.

And I can't WAIT to see how Deathstroke is involved in the island story.


Level 4 (22%)
Points: 263.4
Since: 22/Aug/12
Message Posted On Oct 25th, 2012, 5:41 am

I actually thought this was the best episode yet. Would have been my first 'A' review.

I don't understand why you expected a big reveal re: the Laurel/Merl relationship, as the audience knew that Oliver knew about the two of them since the pilot. To me, the most interesting part of Oliver's social interactions is that he really is a changed man and he's becoming worse and worse at playing the drunken playboy. The appearance of his sister at the club brought out the real Oliver, so when she spilled the beans, he was his normal calm, collected self rather than in the playboy role.

Given the fact that Merl thought it was very uncharacteristic for him to act like that, I took it as foreshadowing of his suspicion about Oliver's secrets.


I also didn't think that the man on the island was offering tough love--seemed as though he's been surviving there on a shoot-first-ask-later mindset and he realized that Oliver wasn't an enemy after he had pegged him. I absolutely love the island flashbacks, as each episode they have delivered only a sliver of the story. Very well handled.


Something that your review skips over is the storyline between the members of Oliver's family, independent of Oliver. I thought that "Lone Gunmen" did a great job of developing the Walter Steele character and give a hint at the kind of man he really is. Besides that, the conversation between Moira and Thea was the best scene in the show; after the pilot it would have been all too easy for the writers to paint Moira as an uncaring Cruella deVille, but she is a fully rounded loving mother, afraid that her husbands secrets could leak. So much more interesting.



Message Posted On Oct 25th, 2012, 3:45 am
How can u criticize the show or the episode, when you're watching with the wrong mind-set???? The mask on the island was of Deathstroke's and not Deadshot's. For God's sakes, Deadshot never wears a mask. Pretty solid episode this week, though only complaint is they could have let Deadshot escape and bring him back some other time or continued and finished him off in the next episode.
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