Arrow: “Identity” Season 2 Episode 2 Review

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The superheroics continued in another exciting episode of Arrow‘s second season.

Who doesn’t love a few supervillains? One of the earliest editions to the Hood’s rogues gallery, China White, has found a new hobby in the post-Undertaking Starling City: stealing medication from the hospital in the Glades. And now she has a new partner, Bronze Tiger, who’s claws would make Wolverine himself wonder about copyright laws (Geek moment: Bronze Tiger’s claws are Wolverine-esque. Kelly Hu, who plays China White, portrayed Deathstrike in X2: X-men United, where she fought Wolverine. The live-action superhero world is a small one.)

But before Arrow can go toe-to-toe with these villains, Oliver Queen has to take care of his personal life. Now CEO of Queen Consolidated, Felicity has been reappointed as Oliver’s secretary, much to her dismay (thank you, writers, for making the charming Emily Bett Rickards a regular this season). With this update, the trio of Oliver, Felicity, and Diggle gets a ton of great moments. Oliver appears to be struggling to balance his life as a superhero and as himself. Yes, territory treaded by every other superhero series ever. However, I have to admit I was pretty surprised when Diggle and Felicity basically told Oliver to stop whining and remember that he’s not the only one. Refreshing.

Meanwhile, activist Sebastian Blood seems to be blaming Starling City’s 1%-ers for the state of the Glades. Of course when Oliver tries to right his wrong, another robbery takes place and he has to put on the hood. Now Oliver is in deeper trouble than before with the media.

His alter ego barely seems to be doing any better. Yes, he and Diggle manage to bring down China White and Bronze Tiger (in what I will admit were some of the weaker action sequences we’ve gotten on the series), and Oliver has a new set of eyes in the Glades, in the form of Roy, but Laurel really has the vigilante in a tough spot. Surrounded by cops, we got one hell of a cliffhanger for the next week.

The island flashbacks took a more prominent role this week as Oliver and Shado got naked on the beach and Slade creepily watched. I am worried that with Oliver committing murder on the island last week, these flashbacks will just continue to build to the man Oliver was at the start of season one. That’s problematic for me. Watching a character grow out of something while simultaneously watching him grow into it is really difficult to pull off. Arrow isn’t doing it very well, despite the charisma of Slade Wilson.

Still though, the flashbacks take up so little of every episode that it hardly matters. the present still moves forward much faster than the past.

But what Identity did best was avoid the “superhero struggling with their identity” cliche while still showing Oliver doing just that. It also great use of the whole team. Had the action been a notch better and the island been more relevant, this could have been another stunning episode. Instead, it’s just a great one. Grade: B+

By Matt Dougherty


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