You know the part of the cartoon where Wile E Coyote is running on thin air, doing fine, and then he looks down and notices nothing is beneath him and falls? Most of the characters on the show just looked down. Also, there's a new cast member so cool that I was alerted to it by the joyous cries of nerds everywhere.
Last episode, Oliver saved everyone from an assassin, including Dig, whom he brought to his Arrow Cave. This episode, entitled, "An Innocent Man," starts with Ollie telling Dig, "Join me," and comparing himself to a soldier. Dig's clumsy but heartfelt punches do all of his replying for him. Ollie comes home to Laurel excoriating him for being "thinking only about himself," because irony keeps us healthy and energetic. Thea's next up, and I lean forward to witness her knock-out blow, only to find that she's been de-bratted since last week. She only tells Ollie that he's been a jerk to people since he got back, and to show Laurel the real him. Oh Thea! What have they done to you? Before I can mourn the loss of one brat, I'm supplied with a new one.
This one is in the form of the mysterious archer who first shot and then saved the Ollie on the island. In a flashback sequence, Ollie is sitting despondently in the archer's cave. The archer comes in and plunks down a wooden cage with a bird in it. He says a word. Ollie gets it together enough to ask, "Does that mean bird?" The archer repeats the word over and over, getting more pissy about it every time, but doing nothing to actually communicate. Perhaps because, in between fighting for his life and Ollie's life, he fights a valiant battle to show the world that anyone can be an Ugly American, regardless of nationality. Perhaps he wants to show that even a hard life and a real need to connect to other people in order to survive don't shake the clueless brat out of you if it's ground down deep in your bones. Who knows. He just talks loudly and emphatically until Ollie yells at him, and I cheer for the feckless rich boy.
The next morning, Oliver is introduced to Rob, his new body guard. Rob worked as a SWAT team member in Monument Point – which is a fictional town near Washington, DC and one of the sites where the JSA members hang out. Ollie asks Rob to get his car ready to get him into town. Rob says he won't be letting Ollie give him the slip, and then he does something so stupid that I'm just going to call him Dopey Do from now on. Ollie asks him how Ollie will get the twenty miles to town if Dopey Do doesn't drive him, and Dopey durps off, assuming, I guess, that the billionaire Queens are a one-car family with no other mode of transportation. Dopey then begins to run after Ollie's motorcycle as it rushes past him, despite being next to a car with the keys in his hand. Oh, Dopey, I hope you stay around. You are a treasure, and I need someone to cheer me up one episodes when Thea doesn't hiss and spit.
The reason Ollie's motoring into town? He saw that a man named Peter Declan is being executed in twenty-four hours for murdering his wife Camille. Camille Declan worked for Jason Brodeaur, who is on Ollie's list. The details don't matter, since Ollie is just going to torture people into confessing anyway, so I won't bore you.
Ollie's first step in freeing an innocent man is to break into Laurel's apartment as his alter-ego, The Hood. She points a gun at him, and then proceeds to fall for him like a high school freshmen for Heathcliff. This is possibly because he's whispering to her about justice and fighting for the innocent. Possibly, though, it's because she imprinted on the ghostface voice from the Scream movies, which Ollie seems to model his Superhero Voice on. Still better than growly Batman.
Next Oliver goes to Big Belly Burger, where Dig is mooning over his sister-in-law and nursing his arm. And possibly stuffing his face. I know I would. I'm emotionally conflicted in a joint filled with fries? I'd be greased up to my elbows and wearing ketchup as a shirt. Ollie and Dopey Do show up. Dopy stands out of hearing distance. Ollie slides into Dig's booth and casually drops the fact that Floyd Lawton killed Dig's brother, and Ollie killed him. He says that he is now giving Dig a chance to help him, and to help families like Dig's own. A powerful cabal of rich people run the city, says Ollie, and they, "see nothing wrong with raising themselves up by stepping on other people's throats." I am possessed with the intense desire to see Ollie step on a henchman's throat in this episode. It would be wonderful to see his lack of self-awareness take physical form. Sadly, this doesn't happen.
Dig rejects Ollie again, and Ollie turns to Dopey Do and announces that he's going to the "washroom," which is a term for bathroom I thought was only still used by matrons at very strict religious orphan asylums. Earlier, though, Ollie talked about how Dig didn't "drop a dime" on him, and so I'm guessing a part of Ollie's island experience was getting sent back in time. Dopey Do is fine with the guy who ditched him just yesterday heading off to the bathroom alone. His lack of intelligence fills Dig with so much pity that he visibly has to gather himself together in order to muster the energy to tell Dopey Do that Ollie has already ditched him.
The next scene is Moira meeting Walter for lunch, and teasing him for being late. Walter explains that he was looking up some financial discrepancies. Someone took 2.6 million out of their account a few years ago. Moira subtly conveys that something is wrong, and eventually ‘fesses up. She took the money out and invested in a start-up. I guess the, "I invested it in a start-up," is the "damn, I let that twenty go through the laundry," of rich people. (And losing 2.6 million dollars is the change going down the couch cushion of rich people.)
Laurel, meanwhile, has gone off to her father and asked him about the Declan case. Remember that guy? Who? Exactly. Peter Declan said that his wife Camille reported illegal dumping of toxic waste to her manager, but the manager says it never happened. Seriously, though, nothing about this matters. Ollie just keeps torturing people until one of them confesses and the police eventually accept the confession. The only memorable thing about this part of the story is how Ollie tortures the manager. I know I've made fun of Arrow for the fact that Ollie seems to kill poor body guards and goons while sparing their rich bosses, and I know I've said that Ollie has the eyes of a serial killer or a taxidermied husky. But this guy? Ollie actually ties him to the railroad tracks. Seriously. And this is another scene that makes me miss the old Green Arrow from the comics, because that guy would be able to twirl his mustache and really make this scene work.
But enough with the details regarding the plot of the episode. Let's get into more emotional drama. Some people say that Katie Cassidy isn't doing a particularly good job as the soon-to-be Black Canary. I don't know about that. She seems to be doing okay in a character that is all over the place. Laurel swings between liking and hating whoever she's talking to at least twice a scene, and never maintains a consistent character. In this episode alone she slaloms between thinking the law is the be all and end all of justice to being completely disillusioned, and back. She also seems to have forgotten all her martial arts training from the last episode. There isn't much solidity in this character for any actor to do anything with.
What the actress is conveying loud and clear in this episode is that her character is hot for The Hood. Every scene, including the one where she's just defending him to her father, she shows a semi-sexual fascination with him. Ollie even brightens a little, and tells Thea, later, that being himself is actually helping his relationship with Laurel.
Which makes the last minute twist pretty good. Dinah is consulting with the insignificant character who was condemned to die, when there's a massive jailbreak. Ollie breaks in, wearing a guard's uniform and ski mask, and tries to get them out, but gets cold-cocked by a prison inmate. The inmate then leaves him alone and starts choking Laurel, who as I said, seems to have forgotten that she can fight at all. She just lies there looking sadly at Ollie, like, "I guess I'm about to die. That's Monday for you." This sets Ollie off and he starts beating the hell out of the man, getting so crazy that he turns and lunges at Laurel when she prevents him from killing the guy. This repels Laurel and she utterly rejects him as a "killer" in the end.
This makes Ollie flash back to finally getting hungry enough to kill the bird, and the archer revealing he could speak English the entire time and was just being an asshole. Oh, and the word he was saying before? "Survive." Gee, thanks, scragglebeard. That's helpful. I can't wait until you die and Ollie stands over you saying, "Stop dying," in Finnish.
And now? For the great part of the episode.
Laurel's description of The Hood wearing a guard's uniform and a ski mask gives Quentin ideas. He goes back over the security camera footage from the shooting last week, this time apparently not just looking for guys in a green hoods and finds Ollie taking a suspicious package out of a trash bag. Just as Dig comes to the Queen house to join Ollie in his fight, Quentin busts in and arrests Ollie.
Walter doesn't accept Moira's explanation that she made a 2.6 million dollar oopsy, and has Felicity The Babbling Hacker look for what really happened. Felicity finds out that the money was actually spent on an "offshore LLC called Tempest," which recently purchased a warehouse in Starling City. He goes to that warehouse … and finds the broken remains of the Queen's Gambit. Oh, and the password to get into the warehouse? Robert. Ouch, Walter.
And finally, Moira, wearing her Sexy Evil Clothes, gets back in that black limo to consult with the shadowy gentleman she talked to last time. They figure out that The Hood is targeting only people on The List. The man in the car isn't named. So far he's credited as "Well Dressed Man." Who is he actually? John. Barrowman. I have to say, this is perfect. Because while John Barrowman is a handsome man, he has a profoundly unnerving quality to him. If you were in a car with him you would either want to dive out of it right away or put your fingers on his face. He's gonna be great as the Big Bad.