Arrow 2×02 ‘Identity’: Who Do You Think You Are?

Source: CW

Identity was an episode all about the characters establishing what they’re going to be about this season. Instead of being all about Oliver, we actually got moments for Diggle, Felicity, Roy, Thea, Laurel, Slade, and even the new guy, Sebastian Blood. This left little time for a whole lot of action, but when it’s sacrificed in the name of character development, I’m more than okay with that.

Roy starts the episode off doing way too much. I definitely buy that he would be brash enough to take on what is clearly a sophisticated hijacking operation, but there has been nothing to this point that would have me believe he could ever be successful. What I liked about his failed  attempt is that it spurre don some real growth for Thea and him. He’s not just an angry punk who decided to be like Arrow, he actually is consumed by anger at what is going on and literally can’t sit idly by. Thea, instead of whining endlessly about it, actually gives him an ultimatum that any woman would give her boyfriend. Furthermore, it involved something poignant and meaningful to her. If Roy takes the check in that situation, then we’re hurting right along with Thea, whereas in the past we would’ve derided her for being in the way of heroism. I also appreciate that Roy is so unpolished as a vigilante. It would be redundant and too convenient if he was every bit as capable as Ollie, and I find myself more invested in him since I’m able to see him bump against the ceiling on his current ability and resources. I am curious as to what direction Thea can go now that to her knowledge Roy has given up on being a hero. Admittedly, the fact that he’s lying means that she’ll eventually have to contend with that, but until that happens I’m not sure she has a purpose aside from damsel in distress.

Source: CW

Source: CW

One woman who definitely would not be content with that is one Felicity Smoak. It was such a welcome surprise seeing her stand up for herself and vehemently protest having to give up her IT position. Oliver’s reasoning was completely valid, but I like that the writers made a point to establish that, yes, Felicity loves what she does and even though she has such strong feelings for Ollie, she won’t just easily give up her life. I certainly hope that they keep the running gag of her not doing any secretarial work going, because I found it hilarious. To think that she used to have a minor role before is weird in hindsight, knowing how integral she and Diggle are to not just Ollie, but the show as a whole.

Source: CW

Source: CW

As hilarious as Felicity was, Diggle had three or four lines that made me laugh out loud. My girlfriend doesn’t even watch and she even laughed. The ‘black driver’ line was the best, but what really shines through is that he and Ollie are genuine friends now. We’re not being subjected to Diggle preaching at Ollie for half an episode; before begrudgingly helping and instead, they’re all (Felicity too of course) on the same page and it just opens things up. Now Diggle gets to be a ninja riding shotgun and taking out bad guys too. How fun is that? In fact, that was my biggest gripe about the first season- it was too grim and serious all the time. Oliver Queen isn’t Batman. He’s (in the comic at least) a guy that dresses like Robin Hood, there has to be moments of levity and I’m very pleased with the subtle shift in tone.

That’s not to say that things are silly or a joke. Alderman Blood, and even Roy, did a great job of conveying the depths of despair that the Glades are going through. Just as the humorous elements were appreciated, so were these. Unfortunately, we’re no stranger to epic environmental disasters occurring in real life, but they did an excellent job here of drawing on that frustration to make Blood seem like a real political figure would in that situation. I’ve never seen Kevin Alejandro play someone so oratory, but he does so admirably and with aplomb. I think I’d vote for him.

Source: CW

Source: CW

I want to be voted off the island. I get that it’s the thematic device of the show, but whenever we flashback there I can’t help hearing Ollie in my head saying, “This one time, on the island…” Also, how rude is it to just hookup around the only other person around? Poor Slade already has a thing for Shado, but he has to see her and Ollie hooking up and laying around by the lake too? I’d give Ollie bad advice too. The one thing I do like about this is that this is clearly what will make Deathstroke an enemy of Arrow’s. Can’t wait.

Okay. Laurel. Oh man. Okay. So, last week I was a bit confused as to why Laurel was all of a sudden against The Hood. Like not a little against him, but take-him-out against him. It was weird. This week we find out that she’s pissed at him for abandoning Tommy- which thank god they didn’t go that tired route of her blaming him for killing Tommy, but also she was kind of right. Then, she just flat out traps him. Why her father never thought to do that is probably why he’s back to being a beat cop, but man! I can’t wait for next week!

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the Bronze Tiger and China White stuff, but other than the requisite action there really wasn’t much to this. The only bad mark on this episode is how they both were completely aware that this was a kinder, gentler Arrow automatically. That’s very astute of you Black Dynamite.

is a self-described TV junkie, extolling it’s virtues to all who will listen. If for some reason he is not watching TV, he can be found seeing live music, in line at a food truck, or riding his trusty bicycle around Los Angeles.

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