Arrow Review: Unhooded

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"Dead to Rights" had a bit of everything for Arrow fans.

There was a nice dose of Slade on the island, a generous helping of father/son angst with Tommy and Malcolm and sneaky hints at the proposal of a Canary sighting coming to Starling City. What else? Let's check it out...

Malcolm in Trouble

Alright. I've had it. I'm done with Detective Lance. Absolutely finished. The Hood called him to tell him there was a hitman out to kill someone high profile the next day, requested his men put someone on it and his answer was to enlist McKenna to aid him in taking down the vigilante?!?

At that moment my wish was for the blind dude hired by China White and his refreshed eyes (an assumption) to shoot at Malcolm and take down Det. Lance. Just kill him already. He is not worth my time. I had to get that out.

Two interesting things happened relative to DC Comics Green Arrow canon tonight:

  1. The reference Laurel made to the canary her sister was given by her father.
  2. The introduction of Dinah Lance.

In the comics, Laurel was passed the helm of the Black Canary from her mother, Dinah. And, waddya know, mom gave her a ring during the episode. Alex Kingston (ER, and most recently of Doctor Who) was cast as mama Lance, and she made her first appearance by knocking on Laurel's door with the news that Sarah may be alive.

What?! In the comics, Laurel had no sister, so it's possible some of her birth story might be mish-mashed with Sarah's to make a complete character, one who will take over for her mother. I'm merely theorizing, of course, but it would flesh out the family history a bit more and tie Sarah into the lore. After tonight, I have no doubt they're fully intending to explore the Black Canary with either mama or daughter originating the thematic character.  

With Dinah's supposition that Sarah is alive, that might mean she has been in the super hero business and is ready and willing to pass the torch to her daughter. We do know, from the kick-ass scene in "Betrayal" when Laurel's only trouble with Cyrus Vanch's henchmen turned out to be an aversion to tasers, that she's ready for the job.

At the heart of the episode was the relationship between Oliver and Tommy and their respective fathers. While Tommy still struggled to find some sort of common ground with Malcolm, Oliver expressed his deep anger with his own father, yet admitted he'd give anything to have him back in his life. It's really hard to understand, while you still have a chance to rectify things - even if you don't think you'll ever take it - that one day that opportunity will cease to exist. Tommy almost lost his chance to forgive and get to know his dad.

When the hit on Malcolm was in progress, Tommy got to see a different side of his dad. He was dumbfounded at his father's ability to fight and just as Malcolm opened the door to reveal his secret as the Dark Archer to his son, he was shot.

Even though I predicted something would happen to Malcolm because I expect Tommy to eventually be pitted against Oliver - a la Peter Parker and Harry Osborn in Spider-Man - I still didn't imagine it would be quite as violent as it was, and I never expected it would lead to the conclusion it did.

Oliver revealed himself to Tommy.

Tommy: Why should I trust you?
Oliver: Because you always have.
Tommy: Oliver. | permalink

We ran into a little snag after that because when Tommy asked Oliver if he'll ever tell him what happened to him on the island, he said no. No. Not maybe or some day - a flat out no. As much as Tommy trusts Oliver, and is no doubt grateful for saving Malcolm's life, something tells me that "no" will pound away at him. Each time Malcolm talks to him, he'll question what he knows and believes and since Oliver won't fully share with him, and has told him that, he'll start to side with his father, who he'll start to trust.

Thoughts on that?

A few more things to mention:

  • Felicity is in the gang for good, it seems. She's taking combat lessons from Diggle and continuing to verbally spar with the boys. It's so refreshing!
  • The island scenes didn't add too much to the overarching theme of the night, but Slade was good for more noteworthy Arrow quotes. Every time he opens his mouth, gold slips out. I can only hope that he makes it to Starling City soon and that his wit has remained in tact!
  • The romantic path with McKenna just isn't cutting it. There is no spark between her and Oliver. When I thought she would be an Arrow ally, I was excited for her arrival on screen. Now? She's just a barrier between Oliver and someone he can really relate to. 

Suit up and hit the comments. Did this week shine as the promos promised? Post away!


Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (123 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.


Not being a reader of the comics, I'm wondering why the reviewer didn't note the parallel between Malcolm's Dark Archer character and Oliver's Vigilante. They both were spurred to reinvent themselves after the death of a loved one, and "clean up" Starling City upon their return. In Malcolm's case, it was a self-imposed sabbatical of several years that left him estranged from Tommy. In Oliver's case, it was an accident, completely unintentional, and the only way he learned to survive. Yet, now they find themselves on opposite sides. I don't remember the name of the place where Malcolm went. Was it someplace in the Himalayan mountains? But, it's interesting that in Malcolm, we may be looking at Oliver's future - someone who started with good intentions, then went astray for some reason. Will they ever join forces?


This episode was decent, the only reason I cannot say it was good is because too much went on. First think I think they should get rid of Olivers mom, and maybe bring Walter back. I also think maybe the vigilante saving Malcolm might bring up a good ally, As long as the Oliver doesn't kill him I do not foresee Tommt going after Oliver. As for the "dead" sister... LEAVE HER DEAD IT WILL KILL THE SERIES...Bringing her back will make no sense, the last we saw was her bleeding from the skull sinking with the boat. In no possible way would she live...


the first 30 mins were AWESOME!!! the last 10 not so much. the 3 musketeers in the "arrow cave" are great - love the interaction between the 3 of them, the restaurant scene cracked me up and the fight with China White was cool. it was awesome that the good guy was saving the bad guy from a good guy - irony or what?! But way too many family connections!!! I am just suprised Thea didnt turn up to add to it all.
Also the island stuff just dragged - I want to know how Oliver learned Chinese? does he get together with Shado? where does the Russian mafia fit in? how does Oliver get to be the last man standing on the Island?!


Why is Laurel very flat and inconsistent? Cassidy has done better in other series.


was this first time were heard about deadshot killing diggles brother...?? Please help


O.K., let us project forward on the results of last night's show. Oliver revealed who he is to his friend Tommy. Now Tommy has just been through a traumatic experience with the near death of his father and learning that Oliver is actually the Arrow. Now that Tommy knows Oliver would never have revealed he is the Arrow, Tommy gives him that look as already mentioned about the Spiderman and son of Green Goblin thing that will most likely be the next step in the development of the story line. Tommy will embrace his father's will and disappear for a while and learn the same skills as Oliver and his father has and will come back to seek vengence on Oliver. In the meantime, Oliver will reveal who he is to several more people and the only one who won't know for sure is the detective who is intent of finding out who the Arrow really is and ending his vigilante career. A unique approach to the series would be for Oliver and his associate to concentrate on the LIST and let the writers use their imaginations to find unique ways for Oliver to dispatch them one at a time. Nothing wrong with a couple of back story lines but at the pace it is going with Oliver, soon, his picture and one of the Arrow will be on billboards together so everyone will know his secret identity, that is with the exception of the detective.


Very interesting episode, and I loved that we got to see more of Tommy's father,played by the wonderful John Barrowman. I was also glad to see Alex Kingston of Dr Who come on board as Laurel's mom. I seriously hope we get to see some super heroine action from either or both of them!


OK, what part of "secret identity" doesn't understand? OK his pal now knows, the blond geek knows, why doesn't he run an full page ad in the Starling City Gazette?


Ollie's "no" was to ever telling Tommy that he's the vigilante, he was forced to reveal himself in order to save Malcolm. I wonder if he would have saved him had he known that he is the dark archer. On a side note, I'm loving the Dr. Who reunion, first Captain Jack, now River Song, lol!
If we get David Tennant it will be a real party!


When Malcolm was hit and not quite himself he revealed to Tommy where he learned his martial arts/ability to be a bad-ass....does anyone know or remember the name of the "island," and is it relivant to Arrow's abilities? I just thought it strange that he was telling Tommy his secrets and even though it went over Tommy's head, it had significence. I don't like that now Tommy knows Ollie's will strain their relationship to almost Spiderman/Harry Osborn proportions and hopefully not the same conclusion. Romantic relationships keep the story wouldn't be normal for good-looking, rich people to not have someone, whether it's Ollie, Tommy, Laurel, McKenna, Malcom and/or Moria! Good action episode, but I guess I ought to read the comic in order to have a scorecard or good guy/bad guy guide, because I'm becoming confused! Good review!

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Arrow Season 1 Episode 16 Quotes

So you're hoping aircraft maintenance is genetic?


Slade: I do have one idea. If you go into the forest and gather as much bamboo as you can find...
Oliver: Yeah?
Slade: We can build ourselves a boat, like they did on Gilligan's Island.