Arrow Recap: “Broken Dolls”

Another day, another superhero show recap. I have the pleasure of walking you through Arrow, the CW’s often underrated entry into the superhero genre. I will be recapping new episodes every week, so stick with me as I venture into the rapidly expanding world of Oliver Queen. (Big spoilers ahead)

Rapidly expanding might be an understatement at this point. The show has done an amazing job this season of expanding the world in which Oliver lives while sticking to the gritty realism that helped make the first season so successful (I use the term “gritty realism” loosely here for obvious reasons). That being said, this episode didn’t quite grab my the way the first two episodes of the season did, and you know what, that’s ok. The plot felt a little thin and pacing seeemd a little off, but this was more than just a filler episode.

In an interesting turn, the spotlight shifted off Oliver, and onto former Detective Lance. Lance’s role in the series is a bit up in the air (prediction: he doesn’t make it to season three. The CW is not kind to its older castmembers as series age), but it has been fun to see the shift in dynamics as Laurel moves from ally to enemy and Lance goes in the opposite direction. He seeks the Arrow (RIP the Hood) to help him track down an escaped convict who he put away shortly after his daughter’s death. The man is known as the Dollmaker, someone who suffocates his victims with a kind of liquid porcelain. There is talk that this case took Lance to a very dark place, but we don’t really get to explore that side of him in this episode. It’s all done through talk rather than action, and I don’t think we’ve seen a truly unhinged Lance yet.

And that is part of the issue I had with this episode. It never fully commits to being Lance’s story. One of the things I love about this show is how it able to juggle multiple plots within an episode, but this time it maybe put one too many balls in the air. By my count there were as many 4-5 different stories (Doll Maker, Black Canary, Island, Moira’s trial, others?), which never really allowed for an opportunity to dig deeper into Lance’s character. In many ways he’s still one dimensional, and this was a missed opportunity to flesh out his character. What I’m hoping to see is that the next few episodes redefine the character as he looks to redefine himself and how he can best serve the city.

Before I close, allow me one minute to touch on Black Canary, because the writers and actress Caity Lotz are making sure she steals every scene she is in. They are using her very sparingly so far, and it’s working well. It’s creating an intriguing mystery around her backstory, and I loved the way they incorporated the signature “canary cry,” in this world. The big reveal that she has ties to Ra’s al Ghul opens up a world of possibilities for the show, and I can’t wait to see where it goes next.

Other items…

  • I love how this show continues to shameslessly rip from Nolan’s Batman trilogy. This week’s example: the Dollamker escapes from prison after the earthquake, much like the Arkham escapees in Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.
  • I did enjoy Michael Eklund’s portrayal as Dollmaker, I just wish there had been more for him to do. He gave a seriously sinister vibe undercut by some hokey murderous tendencies.
  • The action continues to be top notch, but I’m concerned it might be getting a little over-the-top at times. For example, Roy’s extravagant chase with Sin.
  • Is anyone else having a hard time believing Lance and the Arrow can work so closely together and Lance can’t figure out it’s really Oliver?
  • The island stuff contained some fun scenes, especially in regards to the prison ship (named Amazo, no less) set-up at the end, but I was having a hard time connecting the main plot to the island plot.
  • Kate Cassidy is a terrible actresss. Usually I don’t like to comment on these kind of things, but her breakdown at the end of the episode 1) made no sense, and 2) was awful.
  • Impressed, Unimpressed or Satisfied? Satisfied
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