Arrow 2.02 "Identity" REVIEW

TV REVIEW: Tiger, Tiger...

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Arrow 2.02 "Identity" review

Episode 2.02
Writers: Beth Schwartz %26 Ben Sokolowski
Director: Nick Copus

THE ONE WHERE: China White teams with Bronze Tiger as the Triad intercept medical supplies intended for the Glades. Alderman Blood attempts to turn the city against Oliver.

THE VERDICT: The hi-jacking plot feels a little thin, a perfunctory piece of criminality for an episode that’s infinitely more focused on character stuff. Good to see Laurel get a renewed sense of purpose – her determination to hunt down the Starling City vigilante allows Katie Cassidy to bring a meatier characterisation to the screen. Laurel’s a character who’s increasingly felt surplus to requirements but Cassidy shines when she’s allowed to inject a little more fire. There’s some decent material for the other leads, too, with Felicity calling Oliver on his self-obsession and Dig revealing the disintegration of his relationship with Carly, clearly fresh emotional scar tissue from his commitment to the cause.

Not so sold on the Bronze Tiger. Stripped of his flamboyant comic book costume and backstory he feels like generic muscle, armed with a pair of claws that are surely just a lawyer’s letter away from Wolverine. China White is an equally lacklustre threat – a truly compelling villainess needs more than a platinum wig and a black belt.

It’s also hard to square our first glimpse of Kevin Alejandro’s urbane Sebastian Blood with the supernatural nemesis of the comic books. Brother Blood already feels like an awkward fit for the grounded reality of Arrow – let’s hope that the character doesn’t lose all of his occult shiver as he’s ported over to TV.

Elsewhere the island mystery builds agreeably - the skeletons of the Japanese soldiers are an eerily intriguing touch. No smoke monster sightings as yet...

TOP STUNT: The Hal Needham Memorial Award for automotive stuntwork goes to the spectacular car-flip at the beginning of this episode. A genuinely impressive piece of physical stuntwork, worthy of a movie.

TRIVIA: Bronze Tiger was a character spawned by the martial arts craze of the mid ‘70s, first appearing in the pages of obscure DC title Richard Dragon, Kung Fu Fighter . He went on to work with the League of Assassins before being recruited by the Suicide Squad.

DID YOU SPOT?: Roy’s using a red arrow. Red Arrow was one of his (many) aliases in the comic books.

DID YOU SPOT 2: Lemire Avenue is named for Jeff Lemire, the current writer on the Green Arrow comic book.

Felicity: “I worked very hard to get where I am, and it wasn’t to fetch you coffee.”
Dig: “It could be worse. My secret identity is his black driver.”

Arrow is broadcast in the UK on Sky 1 HD

Nick Setchfield
Editor-at-Large, SFX Magazine

Nick Setchfield is the Editor-at-Large for SFX Magazine, writing features, reviews, interviews, and more for the monthly issues. However, he is also a freelance journalist and author with Titan Books. His original novels are called The War in the Dark, and The Spider Dance. He's also written a book on James Bond called Mission Statements.