Arrow "Dodger" Review: Dating Games and New Dynamics

By Noel Kirkpatrick

Feb 21, 2013

Arrow S01E15: "Dodger"

After last week’s action extravaganza, Arrow settled back into more familiar rhythms with "Dodger," meaning there was a villain-of-the-week, a small variety of non-vigilante subplots, an island flashback, and a little bit on the Undertaking. So, you know, a really busy episode.

None of this felt super rushed or crowded—though I likely could’ve done without the island flashback, if only to give the episode just a little space to breathe—because it’s clear that this hour was about setting up a lot of other stuff for the show’s back stretch and establishing some new dynamics.

First and foremost was Felicity joining Team Arrow. Certainly, her being in-the-know about Olivier’s vigilante activities streamlines the narrative a bit; the procedural aspects of hunting down Dodger felt smoother than they have in the past. Felicity was right there to talk to Oliver and Diggle about the case, no need to head over to Queen Consolidated and make up some lame excuse. If anything, her being involved freed up the episode to include those date scenes.

But since Felicity is only on the team “provisionally” and has a bit more of conscience than Oliver or Diggle do about Oliver’s mission, "Dodger" had to rehash the whole “Why don’t you target people who aren’t on the list, too?” conversation, kind of like what it did when Diggle tried to go after some bank robbers earlier in the season. Both Diggle and Felicity are pushing Oliver to expand his scope and do more good for Starling City, and it seems that Oliver does little cases like this to make sure they both stay on board... lest he have to kill them. Seriously, Oliver needs to readjust his loyalty expectations just a tad, because that’s a little much.

At the same time, these appeals and smaller cases do help nudge Oliver past the vigilante persona and toward that of a hero—but seeing the effects of these cases on Oliver’s behavior is what’s missing from the group dynamic. Even small acknowledgments of it would help further the arc the show obviously sees Oliver as having, but I’m just not seeing it yet. Maybe I’m missing something?

At least Felicity’s presence also allows conversations to shift in new ways, and thank goodness for that. Previously, the process of planning out how to go after the Dodger would’ve been sort of mechanical, so her nudging Diggle about asking out Carly, and who in turn needled Oliver about McKenna, opened up new interactions for each character. It gave Diggle and Oliver something different do and new ways to respond to each other. It also finally gave Diggle a bit of a personal world, which is something I’ve been wanting for that character for a while now.

Of course the dates were disasters, between Diggle bringing up Andy, a major faux pas when you’re on a date with your former sister-in-law, and Oliver shutting down when McKenna questioned him about his time on the island. I’m not crazy about how the show positioned Oliver in that case, as if his reaction to her questions was wrong or a reason to apologize. The guy’s in pain and denying his trauma by going around and shooting arrows in people. He clearly doesn’t want to talk about it. Sure, he was rude-ish, but I think most anyone in his position would be a little prickly about it. But Oliver will deal with it now since McKenna’s been drafted to work on the vigilante case with Quentin, giving him an inside track on how that investigation goes.

What I may’ve liked best about the episode, however, was Thea hunting down Roy Harper (played by Teen Wolf’s Colton Haynes) for pilfering her purse. It wasn’t so much that I cared whether or not Thea got her purse back, because I didn’t, but through the introduction of Roy, we finally got into the Glades a bit. The Glades have been dancing through stories for a while, including Oliver’s club, Laurel’s work at CNRI, and the Count’s drug ring, and Roy finally gives that space a face, albeit one that is white, chiseled, and CW-handsome. But at least we also got to walk through it a bit as well. Starling City as a physical place has never felt particularly solid, but considering the importance of the Glades, that needs to change.

And since the Glades seem central to the Undertaking, that may happen. Moira reached out to fellow member of that cabal (Chin Han from The Dark Knight), one who was previously fairly unsure about the whole endeavor. They mentioned the Undertaking’s connections to the Glades, and that things have gone awry, and while I have no theories about what the Undertaking has planned for the Glades, I have to imagine that the death of Mrs. Merlyn was the catalyst for either its creation or it going off the rails. In any case, after having her current husband kidnapped, blowing up her first husband, and coming face-to-face with an arrow as a result of all of this, Moira has contracted China White and the Triad to kill Malcolm. Which should be exciting.

I’ve talked about how the Green Arrow character became a liberal iconoclast in the 1970s, and the Glades, for me, represent the opportunity for Arrow to really start dealing with class. It’s not only a case of class-crossed lovers for Thea and Roy—there's no doubt as to where that’s heading—but now, with the information that the Undertaking is connected to the Glades, I want the show to dramatize how a city’s elite think they can deal with the poorer sections of the city, whether through improving or demolishing them. And I want very much for Oliver to see this as an opportunity to become the hero of the people who need him the most. He may not be Robin Hood, but you don’t have to be Robin Hood to help those that the system is designed to keep in their place.


NOTES & QUOTES


– Despite my feeling that the island flashback could’ve been saved for a less busy episode, I did like seeing the beginning of distrustful and survivalist Oliver.

– Dodger’s not a character I’m familiar with from the comics, and back issues featuring him weren’t readily available for digital download, so I have no firsthand information for you. According to a DC Comics wiki, he was a British thief in the comics, but he was more focused on stealing technology, not jewels. I enjoyed James Callis in the episode, and the character was tailored to his strengths: calm, ruthless, and a little slimey.

– Roy Harper, however, is a major character in the Green Arrow mythology; he was Green Arrow’s first sidekick dating all the way back to the 1940s. He became a heroin addict in the early 1970s (a major deal then), eventually recovered, and struck out on his own as either Red Arrow or Arsenal, depending on the time period in the character’s life. On Arrow, he actually reminds me a bit of Jason Todd, the second Robin in the Batman comics. Though less sociopathic. Hopefully.

– DC Comics Fun Facts: That street names Felicity mentioned—Adams and O’Neal—were named for Neal Adams and Dennis O’Neil, the team behind the aforementioned 1970s update of Green Arrow. Cass Derenick, the fence that Dodger shot, was named for Tom Derenick, an artist for various DC titles.

– The show missed a prime opportunity to have Oliver and Diggle embark on a hilariously awful double date with Carly and McKenna. I know they already did that joke once with Oliver and Helena and Laurel and Tommy, but this would have been a whole different set of dynamics to mine for hijinks.

– “It was like old times. Except the PG version.”

– “And the Dodger absconds with your family jewels?”

– “You know, you showed some real sack coming down here.”


What'd you think of this week's episode?

  • Comments (167)
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  • TomWayne Feb 25, 2013

    Loved the further nod to the Nolanverse with Chin Han's appearance--anuone else think he's about as trustworthy here as in TDK? (Still see Ledger's Joker pointing at Han on the TV)

    Gotta love the idea of a tale where "Speedy" gets a crush on Roy Harper.
    Sounds like an Elseworlds issue to me--Denny O'Neill would be proud. :)
    (Of course, Bats still rules Elseworlds in my book with "Gotham by Gaslight," which would be an awesome spin for Arrow to do themselves as a live action what-if/dream ep--writers take note.)

    Side note--Roy can keep his penchant for red (even clone Roy in YJI does), but it'd be nice if this one keeps his arm--although something tells me that the writers could play on that in the events of the Undertaking.

  • JayAtkinson Feb 24, 2013

    And didn't Moira say, they are going to lay The Glades to waste? Sounds like we could be witnessing as a Ra's Al Ghul style attack as he perpetrated in The Narrows - though hopefully not with fear gas - given they are taking beats from The Dark Knight trilogy.

  • TomWayne Feb 25, 2013

    "You're going to Harper's home now? It's in the Glades, Thea."
    "You enjoy your date, Ollie. Some of us have plot work to do."
    (Ok, it was better with Bruce and Rachel, but I was agreeing with your point that the Glades is essentially the Narrows, etc.)
    :)

  • JayAtkinson Feb 24, 2013

    So, it would seem that everyone who is a part of the Undertaking and/or on The List has lost a loved one, most likely to crime and violence or some sort. Interesting. Especially as this could lead to some serious implications and discussions regarding the cycle of crime and violence down the line, considering that what Oliver perceives as criminals indeed of justice are (or started out as) victims themselves. That in turn adds weight to Diggle and Felicity's argument that he needs to branch out beyond them, to the criminals and misdeeds that steered them onto the path of The Undertaking in the first place.

  • RobTheMonk Feb 24, 2013

    I enjoy the dynamics that Felicity brings to the group.

  • Charisma69 Feb 24, 2013

    I pretty much never comment anymore but I had to say something about looking up a person's address online. It's really easy to do. Hell, it was easy to do in 1999 when I still had Dial Up. I had someone prank calling me, but they were too stupid to block the number they were calling from. I did a reverse look up of the number which netted me the name and address for the person that had that number. Turns out it was the Grandmother of my boyfriend's ex-girlfriend. It's been easy to go to the white pages to look people up since then and possibly before.

    Just to be safe I checked it again just now since I haven't tried it in years. I used people I work with who have no internet presence. It found the address for all of them. That was just the free site. There are more that you can use that charge and can find out all sorts of things about a person. You don't have to put your information online for people not to know your address. You pretty have to do cash only business with every company you deal with. You can't have a phone number, credit card, or anything like that without your information being available somewhere.

    Therefore it is not unreasonable to me that Thea could find the guys address online easily. You don't have to be a hacker to do so.

  • erolas113 Feb 22, 2013

    The double date possibility wouldn't have worked because there was the fact it has been done and because between Oliver and Diggle there is a boss/ employee divide that would have been difficult to cross without revealing other stuff

  • noelrk Feb 22, 2013

    ...You hate fun. :-P

  • dref22 Feb 22, 2013

    I felt like James Callis was a bit underused. I dunno.

  • noelrk Feb 22, 2013

    I was fine with Callis' deployment here. He certainly had more to do, and did more, than David Anders did a few weeks ago. Also consider the nature of the character: It's someone that largely eschews direct confrontation except when forced, and he only has one very good trick (shocking people with a stun baton) when he is.

  • omeboy487 Feb 22, 2013

    This comment has been removed.

  • PolarisCarver Feb 22, 2013

    One thing that really pissed me off in this episode was how McKenna came down on Oliver for having a very understandable reaction, and how it seemed like the show pushed us to agree with her. Yes, he is such a jerk for being a little snappy (and honestly, he wasn't even that unpleasant to her) and refusing to answer persistent and tactless questions about a recent and deep trauma. What next? "Oh Olliver, how can you refuse to describe in depth and detail the death of your father to me?" I get that McKenna is supposed to be this hot-blooded, straightforward ex-party girl cop, but this made it nearly impossible for me to like the character, which is going to be a problem if she sticks around.
    Love Felicity's addition to the team though, and despite how many people think that she's being judgy and out of place, I enjoy the way she challenges Oliver on his methods (albeit in a rather naive and manichean way). It shows him in a different light than "super badass hero", where we can see more of the damaged and stubborn young man who barely knows who he's going after.
    And I love Colton Haynes on Teen Wolf, but here he felt like little more than a piece of eye candy wrapped in a bag of clichés on broke bad boys with tender hearts and a bunch of really cheesy lines. I might be one of the only people on the planet who doesn't hate Thea, and I'm afraid of the clash of the classes Romeo and Juliet mess this storyline threatens to turn into (poor rich little girl falls in love with broke bad boy! Bad boy turns out to have tender heart! They have different views on life but they overcome them! Mother disapproves! Love conquers all! etc.).

  • ashaikh3 Feb 23, 2013

    You know, I felt the exact same way as you (and a bunch of other people) when I first saw the episode. But now that I think about it, I think what happened was that no one knows that Oliver was tortured on that island. Most of the characters in the show assume that he just survived there and then was rescued. Based on that, McKenna probably thought he was having an extreme reaction to her question of the island, and he didn't want her to know about what really happened there

  • PanagiotisHalat Feb 22, 2013

    Anyone noticed a small bsg reunion there? Rekha Sharma and James Callis. This show brings at a capacity old beloved actors from Scifi shows like John Barrowman, Agam Darshi, Seth Gabel and now Callis and Sharma. Way to go CW.

  • Draconax Feb 22, 2013

    I did, I did! Although it was barely noticeable, with Rekha Sharma being in the episode for precisely 5 seconds.

  • JohnnyCage30 Feb 22, 2013

    bsg ftw

  • JRS15 Feb 22, 2013

    My only criticism is Thea. Annoying as hell, talks like she's constantly gritting her teeth, get rid.

  • marlonjones Feb 22, 2013

    Agree there...same character she did on The O.C.

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