Monday, August 12, 2013

Media Monday: ARROW Season 1, Episodes 1-2

With the news that Black Canary would be appearing--in costume--in the second season of Arrow, I decided it was finally time I started watching the show.  I have the entire first season, but so far I have only watched the first two episodes.

I'm pretty sure Dinah is the one on the far…hmm… She's definitely… No… Hmm…
Since Dinah "Laurel" Lance is a pretty significant character on the show, I figured I should discuss her character and characterization here on the Black Canary blog.  What I don't want to do is episode recaps of the show.  There are plenty of other websites you can get that kind of content, and I don't like the show enough to spend that much time reviewing each episode.  Understand that I don't hate the show; I don't even dislike the show.  I guess I'm just ambivalent toward it.  I don't think I'm the target audience for Arrow--or any show on the CW network.  I don't think any comics fan in general and Green Arrow fan in specific is the demo CW aims for.  No, this show is designed for 15-20 year-olds, whose idea of beauty is an Abercrombie & Fitch model, and whose idea of deep conversation and emotional nuance is… an Abercrombie & Fitch catalogue.

Arrow isn't a bad show.  It's a shallow show.  But Baywatch was shallow, too, and that gave me hours of enjoyment when I was in junior high school.  

No, I won't be recapping episodes for my weekly Media Monday post (but I can post links).  Instead, I will just make notes and updates of the character of Dinah "Laurel" Lance as the series progresses to keep tabs on how the show treats her.

Episode 1: "Pilot"
Read the episode recap at!

  • Dinah "Laurel" Lance is played by Katie Cassidy.
  • She's brunette, so if she ever becomes Black Canary, she'll need a wig or a dye-job.
    Whatever becomes of the character, the blazer is a better
    fashion choice than what she wore in the '80s.
  • Her name, for the purposes of the show, is Laurel.  No one calls her Dinah.  Maybe the show runners or producers at CW thought "Laurel" would trend better with their audience.  Maybe her mother Dinah Drake will show up later, and they thought that would cause confusion.
  • Laurel is a lawyer, not a florist.  It looks like she runs a kind of not-for-profit legal aide firm that crusades against corrupt businessmen.
  • She's a bit of a crusader; she's noble and good-hearted, very much in the spirit of Rachel Dawes from Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.
  • Laurel has had a sister, Sarah.  She died on the boat that stranded Ollie on the island.
  • Laurel and Ollie were seeing each other.  Then he cheated on her with her sister, Sarah, who died as a result.  Yeah, this is as good a reason for Laurel to hate Ollie as she ever had in the comics.
  • Laurel's aide-de-camp, or maybe her law partner is named Joanna.
  • Laurel's father is police detective named Quentin Lance.  The cop part is in keeping with the comics, but the name is different.  No idea why he isn't Larry Lance.  Again, I assume "Quentin" sounded younger and edgier to the show's test audiences.
  • Despite her justifiable hatred for Ollie, Laurel is still drawn to him, because: television!
  • Laurel has a sort-of romantic/sexual relationship with Ollie's friend, Tommy Merlin.
  • Laurel looks a lot like Ollie's sister, Thea.  Actually, all the people on this show look the same.

Non-Dinah/Laurel specific notes
  • Ollie has a sister named Thea.  One of Thea's friends calls her "Speedy", probably a drug reference, but I like this little nod to the fans.  Hell, I would rather this new sister become Ollie's sidekick than Roy Harper or anyone else they could pull in from the comics.
  • None of the writers or producers on this show understand how bank accounts or money transfers work, apparently.

Episode 2: "Honor Thy Father"
  • Laurel is representing a woman named Emily Nocenti, named for writer Ann Nocenti, I assume, just as the character of Diggle was named for Green Arrow: Year One writer Andy Diggle.
  • The bad guy, Somers, threatens Laurel… to her dad… who's a COP!
  • Detective Lance puts his daughter under protective custody.  Good job!
  • Ollie comes to Laurel's apartment, which is supposed to be under police protection and her father, the cop, hates Ollie, but whatever… Ollie apologizes for cheating on her with her own sister and subsequently getting her sister killed.  And Laurel pretty much forgives him because they both look like underwear models and if they don't jump into bed by mid-season a black hole will open up beneath the CW Network headquarters.
Pictured: Foreplay!
  • Man, Laurel's dad really hates Ollie.  Oh wait, Ollie got his other daughter killed.  Yeah, I get it now.
  • Laurel won't recuse herself from the case against Somers, which should have been thrown out of court the first time Ollie attacked him.  Laurel tells her father she learned from him the importance of standing up to criminals.
  • Laurel takes the side of the vigilante in front of her dad, because that's how daughters stick it to their fathers.  She says without the hooded vigilante, Somers would still be out on the street having dockworkers killed, even though in the real world, the actions of the hooded vigilante would ensure that Somers remain on the street to kill dockworkers and push drugs and stuff.

Non-Dinah/Laurel specific notes
  • None of the writers or producers on this show understand how the law works, apparently.  Every confession that Ollie secures through violence or threat of violence--which is every confession he secures--is inadmissible in court.  He even leaves physical evidence--a scar--on a guy's face.  So the next day when that guy goes before the cops or a judge and says, "Yes, I'm a bad guy, arrest me," the judge will say, "How'd you get that scar, Mr. Somers?" and he'll say, "Oh, a masked vigilante tried to kill me with a bow and arrow if I didn't confess," to which the judge would say, "Case dismissed!" and all of Laurel's hard work would be thrown out.
  • Yay, Chien Na Wei is in this episode!  Racist overtones aside, I always liked "China White" in GA: Year One and hoped to see more of her in the comics.
I guess Deadshot is in the next episode.  Not my favorite character, but if this show continues to push out more cameo heroes and villains, it'll keep me interested.


  1. Its a decent show all told, certainly better that Smallville. The plots and interpersonal relationships run much faster, that's for sure.
    The fight sequences are handled rather well, and as the season goes on get quite hectic in parts. There are god and bad points;
    John Barrowman - camp as anything and disliked here in the UK because of his 'jazz hands' approach to acting. He is remarkably restrained here, which makes a change.
    Diggle, Arrow's Man Friday. Play a drinking game each time he mentions he was in the army, you'll be drunk by the end of the second ep.
    Felicity, the wannabe Oracle who turns up midway thru the season. Annoying at first but gets better as she joins Arrow's 'crew'.
    Tommy. Goes thru several character changes before finally redeeming himself. Pity its too late for him tho...
    Colin Salmon's character. He left halfway mid-season to appear in the UK in the reality show Strictly Come Dancing,the British version of Dancing With The Stars, hence his kidnap early on.
    The three Huntress episodes are fun, tho the costume is slightly off, and the actress playing Helena Bertinelli cannot act tough at all.
    Deathstroke is superb!! Manu Bennett is a cool addition to the show.
    Alex Kingston [River Song from Doctor Who] turns up much later as Laurel's mom, and makes a cool crack about a canary, and the Flash!

  2. Re: the Diggle Drinking Game--HAHA!

    I remember Alex Kingston from "ER" and now I remember that I did hear she played Laurel's mom. I'm excited to see that. Also really looking forward to Huntress, and even though I've never been crazy for Deathstroke, I hear his episode(s) are really good.

  3. And even tho she only makes a fleeting appearance in two episodes, Alex boasts a hairstyle that is very Black Canary-like. You could totally believe she could've played the original BC back in the old days.