Arrow Review: The Choice

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"The Odessey" was really the seminal moment when Ollie became Oliver, who then became Arrow during his time on the island. It was a very specific moment, and at first Stephen Amell made sure it was recognizable by ditching the slightly stuttering little boy voice he had carried with him until Oliver grew into the man we watch now.

Oliver made a choice to be a different man.

It was the moment he put someone's life above his own. In his case, it was Yao Fei. He wouldn't leave the island without saving the man who first saved him.

Saving Oliver

Unfortunately for Oliver, he didn't know that Fei had a woman in peril on the island and everything he was doing was done for her sake. He couldn't leave her behind any more than Oliver would give up his quest to get home to make things right with Laurel.

The woman was Shado, Yao Fei's daughter and an important character in DC Comics Green Arrow lore. A fellow archer who not only gets involved in future missions of Oliver's but, in comic land, took advantage of Oliver while nursing him back to health and had a son by him, then refusing to allow Oliver to be a part of his life. How much of that comic universe Shado will come to be remains to be seen.

We also found out for sure that Slade and Deathstroke were two different people. They may have been two halves of the same team, but definitely not one person with a split personality, although Billy/Deathstroke suffered from a split skull by the time his buddy Slade was done with him.

Slade did a lot of talking about everyone being out for themselves, but he sure didn't act accordingly. He saved Oliver's ass more than once when he could have just as easily walked away. I'm very happy that Slade took out Deathstroke (another foe down the drain!) because Slade is good for some awesome Arrow quotes and, as Oliver said:

Slade: What?
Oliver: I'm trapped on an island and my only friend is named Wilson. So... | permalink

That nod to one of my favorite island movies ever, Castaway, was as perfectly timed as was just about every word that came out of Slade's mouth.

It was almost unbelievable that Oliver made a call from the tower and it went through to Laurel. I cannot imagine being lost like that and, no matter what the circumstances of our last meeting were, not being able to talk when the person answered the phone. If he had said something, his entire life could have changed in an instant.

One little nit-picky thing about the island: If we're seeing what happened there through Oliver's memories when he's sleeping or near death, how do we see things he wasn't present to see himself? For example, the scenes with Yao Fei in the tent and with Shado... was Oliver lurking around watching and we just didn't know it? I wouldn't mind if it wasn't supposed to be a story told from Oliver's point of view, but that's what I've been lead to believe. Thoughts?

Felicity finally learned about Oliver and was almost relieved. She made it seem like she was questioning her sanity thanks to the little nuggets Oliver and Diggle were dropping and expecting her to believe.

Felicity: I may be blonde, but I'm not that blonde. | permalink

She offered to help them out only long enough to find Walter and then return to her life as an IT girl. There is no way she's going to spend a lot of time around Oliver and want to return to her regular life. She hasn't even had a taste of what they're all about yet. If she thinks she enjoys digging for information in a computer for Walter, wait until she knows lives are at stake. She's going to be hooked. How could you get partially immersed in that life and then walk away? Someone with her brain will be left screaming for more.

The biggest disappointment of the evening was how easily Oliver walked away from Moira. After such an incredible cliffhanger in "Betrayal," the follow through came up short. Moira's motherhood angle tugged just enough for Oliver to drop his guard and for her to pick up a gun and shoot. Funny how the one thing he seems to hate (Did you see how he handled the gun in the tower? He can kill with an arrow but a gun bothers him. Weird.) was the weapon of choice for his mom.

The look on Moira's face fit Diggle's scenario of having something to hide much more than it did Oliver's suggestion of innocence, not only because we know she is aware of Walter's fate. Moira has a way of looking deliciously evil, like an evil witch in a good witch disguise. She really teeters on the edge of morality. That has to be incredibly frustrating for Oliver.

So what did you think? Deathstroke was given a death blow, we met Shado and Felicity joined the party. At least one of these things had to excite you, so share your thoughts in the comments section, and keep reading TV Fanatic for all the latest news on Arrow Season 1!


Editor Rating: 4.3 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (131 Votes)

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


I don't understand why so many people (reviewers included) seem to think that just because the island scenes are Oliver's flashbacks, EVERY scene MUST be something that Ollie directly observed and remembered. Usually, the flashbacks are just a jumping off point to transition from the present day to the past. Most of them are things that Ollie directly remembered, but they are not SOLELY memories told only from his point of view! Think about it... if they were ONLY from Oliver's point of view, we (the audience) would never even see his face unless he looked at his reflection in a freaking mirror or scrying pool! The camera would just be a floating, disembodied entity hanging out behind Mr. Queen's eyeballs, seeing what he sees. They are narrative representations of his past + the things that relate to that past, not a note for note brain-scan of his memories to the point that all else is excluded. Jeez! Also, it's "The Odyssey"... I know this because I trust my spell-check enough to turn it on. Seriously, this is the third or fourth review of this series that has posed this EXACT SAME QUESTION... "How do we know what happened to Yao Fei in the tent when Oliver wasn't even there to see it?!" It's just a pet peeve of mine.


I don't read comics, and I find the island scenes necessary to understanding how Oliver developed from a shallow, rich playboy to Arrow. How can you not find them necessary? The guy ends up a multilingual martial arts/archery expert AFTER being marooned on an island for 6-7 years. If the show didn't address it, or explain how he knows how to use the local Russian mob to his advantage, viewers would complain about the lack of explanation. GREAT episode IMO. I like Slade Wilson and hoped Arrow would have an ally of some sort out in the world. Since apparently that's not the trajectory of the Deathstroke character, that's too bad.


Great review as always but not all right : Deathstroke is not dead cause Slade Wilson is Deathstroke, at least will turn it to him.


I love the Island stuff personally. And as this is the first year, we are going to be getting more of it, as this is the time that you want to build on the background of the character. The fact that the Island was used by the Chinese to get rid of their worst prisoners is also interesting as Is why there are mercs on the Island hunting them down. Manu Bennett is a great addition to the show. He was great in Spartacus.


I'm also not a fan of all the island scenes, but I guess to each his/her own. Love the idea of Felicity being on board though.


I want more island scenes because I loved this week's episode! The flashbacks make everything so clear yet so confusing, which is great since it keeps up the suspense.


I love that Felicity is on the team, even if it "temporary." (I'm sure she'll stick around longer than she originally planned). She is awesome! I don't get the whole island story. I know that's where Oliver learned the skills he needs as Arrow, but who are all those soldiers & what are they doing on the island? Do you have to be a reader of the comic books to understand the story of what's going on on the island?


sallette, your patience may be running thin but don't accuse others of thinking like you. A lot of us love the island flashbacks, so stop saying the producers need to do something about that else they will lose their audience. They may lose you, but there are lots of us who are going to stay because of and in spite of the island scenes.


GREAT EPISODE! Especially after last weeks disappointing effort.
Loved the island scenes - want more!
I think Felicity and Diggle should get together, she really seems to respect him "you seem like the kind of person it would bother" and we know that Ollie and Laurel are destined for each other...


I enjoyed it but I agree that the way he handled Moira was awful that was the only serious problem I had with this episode. I actually enjoy the flashbacks which show how he became Arrow from a spoiled rich kid (and I like the cameos of deathstroke 1 and 2).

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Arrow Season 1 Episode 14 Quotes

Slade: Obviously you were never a Boy Scout.
Oliver: Really? What tipped ya off?

Oliver. Oh. Wow. Everything about you just became so unbelievably clear.