This week’s episode of Arrow, “Lone Gunmen,” opens with Ollie in his Arrow getup trying to coerce another crooked millionaire on his list to make amends, only this time, his target is taken out by a sniper before he has a chance to issue his usual ultimatum.
Enter, Floyd Lawton, an assassin better known by his Interpol code-name, Deadshot. I’ve seen poisoned darts and arrows a million times before, but this was the first time I’ve heard of a character poisoning bullets. You’d think the bullets would be effective enough on their own, but as we saw tonight, a poisoned bullet can be pretty useful if you’re an assassin.
As a villain, Deadshot fit right into the realistic world that Arrow has been developing. He seemed emotionally detached from the world and his attacks were violent and bloody. He’s an incredible sniper with a cool targeting lens, an awesome wrist-mounted gun, and an odd ritual of tattooing the names of his hits on his body. Still, Deadshot never comes off as overly gimmicky for a villain.
The fight sequences between Deadshot and Arrow were fast paced and it was exciting to see the two of them fighting with different weaponry on pretty equal footing. They even had a moment to exchange some casual banter as Deadshot complimented Arrow’s style and joked about getting off easy, assassin to assassin. Ollie hasn’t yet fully recovered his sense of humor, so instead of coming up with a clever response to Deadshot’s facetious suggestion, Ollie very seriously clarified that they were not in the same line of work.
The line between assassinating someone out of a guilt-driven sense of justice and assassinating someone for a paycheck seems very fine, and because this was the first time that Arrow encountered Deadshot, it was probably important to make this distinction clear. As Ollie continues to acclimate to his new life, I’m hoping he’ll be able to counter this kind of villainous teasing in the future with a sharp wit and a touch of dry humor.
We left Deadshot knocked out on the floor with an arrow sticking out of his targeting lens. Before Ollie had a chance to confirm that Deadshot was actually dead, Dig stumbled into the room after being hit by a poisoned bullet. There was not a significant amount of blood on Deadshot’s face and it’s possible that his lens protected his head from severe damage, so there is plenty of opportunity for Deadshot to return in the future for further character development – he’d just have to make a much sturdier targeting lens before confronting Arrow again.
In an attempt to give himself a solid alibi for his frequent disappearances, Ollie decided to turn the old Queen Industries building in the Glades district into a nightclub/secret headquarters. This provided an opportunity for some insight into the economic and racial disparity in Starling City. Ollie and Dig talked about the dubious ambitions and social ramifications of a wealthy socialite setting up a hip nightclub in a lower income area. In his careless millionaire character, Ollie suggested that urban gentrification would have a positive impact on the community, but Dig was ready to help Ollie check his privilege.
Dig has always been candid with Ollie and I think that definitely played into Ollie’s decision to let Dig in on his big secret. Dig has been nothing but upstanding, honest, and dutiful despite Ollie’s best efforts to make him quit. Even before Ollie revealed himself as Arrow, Ollie had a mental slip at the auction when things got more out of control than he was prepared to handle. Ollie didn’t realize that he needed someone he could trust and Dig was the one he instinctively leaned on.
While “researching” the competition for his new club, Ollie, Merlyn, and Laurel had an awkward encounter when Thea decided to tattle on Merlyn and Laurel. Merlyn was surprised that Ollie was so cool about everything, but Laurel figured that it was because Ollie already knew the truth. While she might have accurately assessed Ollie, neither Merlyn or Laurel seem to realize that relationship drama is probably the least worrisome issue that Ollie has on his mind as of late.
While at Max Fuller’s nightclub, Ollie and Merlyn got themselves into an intense scuffle in one of the back rooms. I loved that Ollie had to hold himself back and take a beating, while Merlyn attempted to gallantly step in and defend his best friend from attack. The most exciting part about this entire scene, however, was Laurel unexpectedly stepping into the room and completely kicking butt without breaking a sweat. It was a huge change from the Laurel we saw last week that jumped into Ollie’s arms when her apartment was under attack and seeing her fight in this scene made me reconsider my initial assessment of her. Clearly she’s great at close combat, so maybe the long range nature of last week’s attack simply didn’t give her an opportunity to fight back.
Ollie’s island flashbacks continue to be intriguing and I really enjoy how that back story is slowly unfolding as Arrow continues. In the present, Ollie is awesome at everything, but in his flashbacks, we see him as a bumbling weakling. I hope Arrow will start spending a little more time showing us that background in each episode because I look forward to seeing the insane trials Ollie survived to become the almost invincible hero that we know in the present.