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Debi Watches Arrow (sydht!) 1.14: The Odyssey 
15th-Feb-2013 05:13 pm

This was a pretty simple episode that consisted nearly entirely of Island Flashback, which is good because it’s about time the filled us in on some island stuff, while a couple of significant changes to the status quo happen in Now Time.

Now Time

So remember when we left Ollie, he was Hoodguying right into Moira’s office and pointing an arrow at her face?

Well, we pick up where we left off, with him yelling at her to tell him about Walter and WHERE IS HE? And WHAT IS THE UNDERTAKING? And – I wonder if anyone has ever called it “the undertaking” before Moira hit on that euphemism while talking to John Barrowmerlyn, and if not, will she realize that he’s directly quoting her? Probably not.


Anyhoo, Moira is scared shitless and immediately starts begging for her life. She even grabs a framed photograph of Ollie and Thea from the shelf behind her. I like to think that she hasn’t moved all these photos in in the last six weeks, and in fact they are Walter’s, because he loves his stepkids. There are no photos of Walter on that shelf that I can see, but there are photos of Moira.

She holds up the photo and gets down on her knees, begging Hoodguy to spare her life for the sake of her kids – Oliver and Thea. Hoodguy is a bleeding heart who is actually kind of fond of Oliver and Thea Queen, so he lowers the bow… and Moira, from whom I would expect nothing less, brings up a pistol and starts shooting. She gets Hoodguy in the shoulder and he falls to the floor, while she grabs a phone and calls security.

Ollie makes a run for it, leaving just a bloodstain on the floor. And where does he go? To the parking lot, where he hides out in Felicity’s car. He’s in the back seat when Felicity strolls over and lets herself in, and it’s not actually all that obvious how long he’s been there. I hope it’s just a few seconds, but that’s one hell of a coincidence. On seeing that he’s’ Hoodguy, Felicity’s reaction is “everything about you just became so unbelievably clear.”

Iiiiii’m not sure why it had to be necessary to portray Felicity as too stupid to make this connection before seeing him in costume. SUPERHERO MAGIC. She’s about to drive him to a hospital but he insists on the old factory in the Glades, makes her promise, and then passes out. So what else can she do? TO THE ARROWCAVE.

Diggle’s reaction to having a person rush into the Arrowcave and interrupting his quality news-watching time, is to draw a gun on the intruder, and who can blame him? When she begs for his help moving the really heavy unconscious Ollie, he snaps out of it and they wheel him in.

It turns out the Arrowcave is fully equipped for emergency triage – I thank Diggle’s preparedness for this. They’ve converted a filing cabinet into an icebox on wheels, and it’s already stocked with Ollie’s own blood (O negative. Because Ollie is SPECIAL) and  a defibrillator.

Felicity is squeamish about the whole blood, emergency blood transfusion thing, and Diggle talks her down with a reassuring, steady voice, and I try not to ship them, I really do, but I’ll be honest, I’d ship Diggle with a cardboard box.

Together they stem the bleeding and stitch him back up, and Diggle remarks how relatively calm Felicity is being, despite her usual Felicity-like twitchiness. Did she know all along? Well, she says, laptops with bullet holes, black arrows, energy drink hangover cures? Please.

So Diggle and Oliver have been doing some good things. Diggle points out that she, Felicity, has been helping. Because even Ollie Queen needs help sometimes.

Diggle and Felicity bonding is interrupted when Ollie has what Diggle calls a seizure that leads to cardiac arrest. Felicity wants to call 911, because she sensible, but no! This is what the Arrow Defibrillator is for! It is for… not working first time, apparently, but Felicity uses WIRING MAGIC that she learned from building computers, and fixes it. I love it when difibs work in fiction, as uncommon an event as that might be in real life (I actually don’t know.)

While waiting for Ollie to wake up, Felicity picks up the bow and mentions all the people it’s killed.

Bad people, says Diggle.

Yeah, and people who happen to work for bad people. You’ve had the luxury of only working Security for people like Ollie, Diggs. What about your professional colleagues? Blah blah this show really wants us to believe that unnamed people deserve to die wtf.

Diggle returns with an anecdote about Afghanistan, being tasked with protecting a warlord who was a drug dealing, human trafficking piece of garbage, and of the unit being attacked by insurgents. In the gunfight, Diggle killed an 18 year old. It gave him a deep sense of moral guilt, and he didn’t know if he was a good man then, but with Oliver, he does feel Good.

Having just mentioned the security guards Ollie kills, I wonder if the line between them and Afghanistan!Diggle is deliberate? I would feel more comfortable if it was.

“There are always casualities when you’re fighting a war,” says Diggs.

Remember when I thought Ollie’s journey was going to be becoming someone other than a reckless murderer of bad people and becoming the kind of hero who can fight with a bow and not kill people?

While Ollie is out, he has one long flashback to:

Island of Low Saturation


Slade is training Ollie. in hand to hand, and knife combat and escrima sticks, and he’s kind of surprised Ollie has managed to stay alive for the six months he’s been on the island so far.

Ollie’s heart isn’t really into learning escrima, on account of how he’ll be fighting men with guns when they take the airfield.  So Slade gives him a gun and demonstrates how it’s possible to take a gun off an armed man – if the armed man is Oliver Queen and the unarmed man is Slade Wilson.

Back in Slade’s plane they compare maps and discuss the lay of the land. Ollie suggests that they could maybe break Yao Fei out of Fyer’s camp, but Slade would rather focus on the airstrip – he knows from surveillance that there are usually at least ten men guarding the perimeter and a man in the PATC tower, behind bulletproof glass. This guy needs to be taken out before he notices anything is wrong and can radio for help. Slade needs Ollie to do that.

(And everyone who’s played Arkham Asylum instantly knows that Slade Wilson is not as good at this as Batman).

The supply planes are once every three months, and if they don’t catch this one, says Slade, they’re going to die soon.

Ollie picks out his photo of Laurel – which I guess he’s carefully transferred with every change of clothes and it survived all the trips into the water he’s taken, and I’d also prefer if he had a photo of Thea instead – and drifts off into a dream where he is lying on a bed next to Laurel. He asks Laurel not to hate him for cheating on her – I guess he doesn’t feel guilty for Sara’s actual death – and Laurel asks him if it hurt when they killed him. Dream!Ollie has a hole in his forehead (Bullethole? Arrow hole? Eh.)

Anyway, he’s woken by Slade and they move out – but not before Slade shares a meaningful look with his Deathstroke mask. They are walking through the forest, all sneaky like, when Ollie fails to look where he’s stepping and we hear a click – Good ol’ Queen went and stepped on a landmine.

(“Sir? What should we do if we step on a mine?” “Well, the usual procedure, George, is to jump sixty feet in the air and scatter yourself over a wide area.”)

Slade advises Ollie not to take his foot off the mine, just when some of Fyers’ soldiers appear over a hill. So Slade does what any self-centred hard hearted ex-ASIS guy would do in this situation: he grabs Ollie’s bag of weapons and hides, leaving Ollie standing on a landmine and only just enough time to put his balaclava on before the soldiers catch up with him.What are you doing out here, fellow balaclava soldier? Come with us. Well, I would, but I’m standing on this landmine…

And then Slade comes roaring out of the undergrowth and kills all the soldiers while Ollie can only manage a single-knee roller derby fall, keeping his foot on the mine. Conveniently, all these dead bodies help Slade pull an Indiana Jones trick where Ollie is a golden idol and a dead soldier is a bag of sand. I’d think it had about as much chance of succeeding, but it turns out Slade and Ollie are very lucky indeed today.

At the camp, Eddie is reading The Odyssey, because this is not one of those episodes that’s choosing to be subtle with its title and theme. Yao Fei is invited into his tent and informed that he will be training some of Fyers’ men in using bows, because bows are better than guns and everyone knows it. The point of the scene is mostly so Fyers can make a veiled threat towards a ‘her,’ whom he is using to blackmail Yao Fei into being on his side.


As night falls in the forest, Slade and Ollie are camping out, and Ollie is trying ot make a fire by rubbing two sticks together. It is amusing the Hell out of Slade, who lets Ollie get really worked up about his lack of help – before whipping out a Zippo. And suddenly I love this guy.

With the fire lit, out comes the photo of Laurel and Slade and Ollie get to chatting about girls, and the sleeping with those girls’ sisters. Ollie says he needs to get home to “make it right.” Slade’s reaction is a wordier “hahahahaha you idiot.” Anyway, Slade then chooses to relate that he is jaded and cynical about everyone since his partner joined Fyers when he shot them down.

His partner was a man called Billy Wintergreen, and remember how Slade explained that Ollie was not tortured by him, Slade, but by his partner? Well, Ollie wasn’t listening, because now he’s really mad to find out that he was Slade’s partner.

Note for Non-Comics Readers: William Wintergreen was a companion and butler to Deathstroke, the terminator. An Alfred to Slade’s evil Batman. IDEK. Comics.

Anyway, Billy, who was the godfather to Slade’s son, Joe, abandoned their mission to rescue Yao Fei, and turned his back on his partner, leaving Slade angry and jaded. “Everybody is in this life for themselves.”

NNCR: Slade Wilson has three children, and his son Joseph is also known as Jericho, and a member of the Teen Titans. Kidnapped as a child to be used against Slade, Joseph had his throat cut, which left him unable to talk, and later he learned to Sign. Slade is the worst dad in comics.

Later that night Slade and Ollie arrive at the airstrip, and Ollie is sent to clear out That One Guy while Slade deals with the other ten. He does that with a sniper rifle and silencer until he runs out of ammo, and then running up behind people with a sword, taking them down before they know he’s there. Meanwhile Ollie sneak-sneak-sneaks to the tower.

It’s basically exactly like playing Arkham Asylum.


Ollie reaches the tower, bursts in wielding his knife, and has his ass kindly handed to him by the solider with a gun. It’s faintly embarrassing, really. Fortunately, Slade turns up in order to stab him from behind and save Ollie. Handing Ollie the man’s gun (“And try not to shoot yourself by mistake.”) Slade goes for a check over the airstrip and leaves Ollie in charge of the PATC tower. So what is the first thing Ollie does, left in control of all this actual technology.

He calls Laurel, of course!

(I would call my mother. But island!Ollie is in luuuuuuuurve.)

Laurel answers, but Ollie is too overcome with feels to say anything, even “I’m okay, tell Mom and Thea” or “I’m sorry” before Slade returns and cuts the connection with an “are you crazy” and a “they might be monitoring calls.”

Just at that moment, though, the supply plane makes contact! ETA in 3 hours, please acknowledge?

Slade does, but the plane comes back with a pass phrase: “Of all creatures that breathe and move upon the earth.”

(“Hooray hooray for the spinster’s sister’s daughter!”)

Oh no! what to do?

Fortunately, Ollie only read one book in college, and it was The Odyssey. He knows the response! It is “nothing is born that is weaker than man!” No wait! Wait, it is “Nothing is bred that is weaker than man!” That was close, he almost misquoted.

I went online and looked up some Odyssey quotes, and I guess Ollie is lucky that his translation and Fyers’ translation are the same one, and not, say, the one that goes “ Of all creatures that breathe and walk on the earth there is nothing more helpless than a man is.” That’s the problem with emphasizing the need to be word perfect with a translation.

And now for Slade’s masterplan: to radio in an airstrike on the island, killing Fyers and everyone else! Because Slade is really angry, okay?

But what about Yao Fei, asks Ollie? Fuck him, that’s what, says Slade. Fyers has plans for Lian Yu, that involve Yao Fei, and Slade’s job is now to stop those plans. But Yao Fei saved Ollie’s life, and you know what, says Ollie? It’s time to stop being a selfish playboy and start honoring the people he owes his life to. He’s off to get Yao Fei.

He has three hours, says Slade.

If I don’t make it, Ollie returns, please call my family?

Off he goes to the camp, and sneaks into Yao Fei’s camp, full of the good news of the escape. But No! says Yao Fei.  What? says Ollie? No, who, says Yao Fei, and punches Ollie onto the floor just as Fyers walks in.

After a quick scene at the airstrip to acknowledge that it’s landing time, Ollie is marched into a ring of mercenaries. Ollie is all ready to fight him again, but Fyers corrects him.

“No, Mr. Queen, I expect you to die.”  - is not what he says but it may as well be. It’s time for Deathstroke Bill to kill him!


Deathstroke Bill steps into the ring and starts to beat Ollei up, while Ollie fights back with words, using Bill Wintergreen’s name and yelling that he used to work for the ASIS, and used to stand for something. I’m reminded of a scene in Gail Simone’s Birds of Prey in which Dinah learns the first blow is struck with words. Btu everything reminds me of Dinah all the time anyway.

Anyway, he beats Ollie up some more, and it looks bad for our hero, despite employing the only asset Oliver Queen has (“whatever he’s paying you, I’ll triple it!”) but then: EXPLOSION. Slade Wilson strolls into camp having thrown a buttload of grenades and distracted people with bangs. He and Deathstroke Bill get into a one on one hand to hand duel which is a delight to watch. It ends when Slade, who is spectacularly angry, of course, stabs Billy right through the eye.

NNCR: Deathstroke Slade only had one eye after his wife shot one out when she was enraged following the kidnapping and injuring of Joseph mentioned above.

Fyers appears at this point and shoots Slade in the arm, but Ollie grabs a gun and runs onto the scene, shooting at Fyers and pulling an injured Slade to safety. They are attacked by a mercenary on their way out but Ollie employs his new improved hand to hand awesomeness to disarm and pistol whip him unconscious. Just in time to see the plane leave above them.

Back in the crashed plane, Ollie pulls the bullet out of a now-bound Slade. Apparently tying him up was Slade’s idea because operating without anesthetic can cause people to punch out their doctors. OR Slade is secretly Wonder Woman and just likes being tied up. Probably the former. Anyway, Slade is impressed Ollie didn’t puke. Ollie says he just swallowed it. Mirror with Felicity and Diggle, somewhat.

Ollie laughs because he’s trapped on an island and his only friend is named Wilson. I don’t get it. But then I google “Cast Away Tom Hanks” and I wish I still didn’t get it.

The new plan? Hope that Slade’s explosions set Fyers back enough that maybe the people paying him call it off, and in the meantime try not to die. Ollie points out that Slade said they would die if they missed the plane. Slade changed his mind. The spoiled rich boy would have got them killed, but Ollie had a montage, remember? Now they stand a chance.

Back in the camp, Fyers is talking to his employer (who has an American accent) on the phone. He’ll ‘handle’ the Slade situation, but for now, he’s ensured Yao Fei’s cooperation. How, you ask? Well, we’re about to find out, because Fyers grants Yao Fei five minutes in a tent with…


…his daughter Shado! Whom he hugs and assures everything will be over soon, as the camera focuses in on Shado’s shoulder, which bears a tattoo of a dragon.

NNCR: Shado was an archer trained and raised by the Yakuza, who wore a dragon tattoo along her entire arm. She was introduced in The Longbow Hunters as a foil to Ollie, and appeared a couple of times through the Grell run. Not only is she unrelated to Yao Fei, she is also Japanese. I don’t know if they’ll deal with that in Arrow. I’ve read speculation she might have a Japanese mother? On one of Ollie’s many ‘finding himself’ trips, Shado raped him and conceived a child, Robert. I wouldn’t mind seeing this child show up in the show, but I hope to Weisinger that this time it will be consensual.

The Now Time.

Ollie wakes up to find that he hasn’t died again. As he and Diggle discuss cover stories for the new scar, Felicity hacks the police crime lab and orders the destruction of the blood sample from the crime scene. On the brand new Arrow computer she apparently had installed while waking for Ollie to wake up.


“Does that mean you’re in?” Asks Ollie.

No, says Felicity, mostly on account of all the killing he does. She updated the system because she didn’t like how badly it was set up, and also, she’s actually going to help them find Walter. Because Walter is awesome and no one had better forget it. Felicity is in it to find Walter (so ’til the end of the season?) and then she’s out.

Diggle wants to bring up Moira again, with the shooting of her son and the maybe being involved? No, says Ollie, because begging on behalf of her children proves she’s innocent – at least to one of those children.


The most important part of that scene, though, is the close up of Ollies’s shoulder. A dragon tattoo, just like Shado has!

NNCR: Shado’s dragon tattoo in comics represents her ties to the Yakuza, just as Arrow!Ollie’s chest tattoo marks him as a captain of the Bratva. I’m pretty much in love with the idea that Ollie’s collection of inks is just a seriousl of business cards showing his membership of a planet’s worth of criminal organizations.

Ollie gets back to Queen Manor in time to walk in on Moira giving a statement to Quentin. Where was he? At the club, where there’s no cell phone reception. Why? Because Moira was threatened by the vigilante.

Ollie is SHOCKED and APPALLED by this turn of events and hopes Moira is okay. When Quentin tells him there was a screw up at the lab and the blood sample was lost, Ollie absolutely fails to be appropriately angry and Quentin notices.

Quentin leaves, and Moira promptly hugs Ollie tight, right on the bullet wound.

(I remember getting my first tattoo when I lived at home and didn’t let my parents know. They did insist on hugging me right on the scar tissue, those oblivious bastards.)

Ollie gives Moira the very meaningful and sincere promise that the Hoodguy is never going to bother her again. And Moira believes him? the whole scene basically makes no sense unless you assume that both Moira and Quentin knows what Ollie is up to and are playing along with it.


Basically a fine episode, with a nice linear plot, and a great showcase for Manu Bennett’s performance as Slade Wilson. The Island plot is really warming up. Although I have now realizes that the ‘six months’ implies that the island plot is taking place in ‘real time’ five years ago, and now I expect they’re going to take five seasons to fill in everything that happened to Ollie in those five years.

And when that happens, nothing ends up making any sense.

Needed more Laurel. Needed more Diggle. Needed a whole buttload more Shado.





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17th-Feb-2013 12:14 am (UTC)
So here's the funny thing. This version of Slade is nothing like the guy in the comics. And not because US Army Special Forces is now ASIS. He's just not that guy.

And yet, he is. I can't explain it. But he is, as much as the skeevy Slade on the Teen Titans cartoon is. Is it possible that Deathstroke, one is sometimes a great antagonist and sometimes a total waste of space, is as versatile a character as all that?
18th-Feb-2013 02:12 am (UTC)
I haven't read Titans, although obviously I need to, but he's excellent in Young Justice, too!
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