Arrow: Season 1 Episode 2 Review – ‘Honor Thy Father’

“Honor Thy Father” essentially borrowed the blueprint from the series premiere. As a general unwritten rule, the first several episodes of a new series should act as a pilot to allow casual viewers to easily understand the main characters, their motivations and the dilemmas they must overcome without having to watch the previous episodes. As with most pilots, the plot is merely a device to establish the premise and characters. Similarly to the premiere, this episode features Green Arrow threatening a corrupt business man to confess his crimes, another shirtless training montage and more intriguing flashbacks to the island.

There continued to be voice overs from Oliver this episode however they felt less jarring than in the premiere. Where “Honor Thy Father” excelled over the premiere was externalizing Oliver Queen’s inner monologue and motivation through character interactions. His time on the island profoundly changed him. Back in Starling City, he is confronted with other people’s expectations of who he is versus the man he wants to be. The old shallow Oliver would have jumped at the opportunity to take a leadership position in his father’s corporation. Now there is no wavering in his conviction. Oliver understands he has a higher calling: bringing justice to Starling City and honoring his father.

Oliver is not ready to open up about the last five years of his life to his sister. Thea tells him “I felt closer to you when you were dead.” His sister councils him to confide in someone which turns out to be Laurel, the person he pushed away at the end of the last episode. Although both Oliver and Laurel have the same ultimate goal, this episode highlighted the juxtaposition between their approach. As a vigilante, Green Arrow follows his own moral code, kills in cold blood and violently forces confessions from ruthless criminals. Where as Laurel uses the law to bring justice to a corrupt city. There’s a deep history between these two destined lovers which hopefully can be fleshed out in flashbacks.

When a less guarded Oliver tells Laurel he doesn’t want to take the position in his father’s company she advises him to be the person he wants others to see him as. It wasn’t what Laurel had in mind but Oliver shows up at the ribbon cutting ceremony pretending to be drunk. Clark Kent is the mild-mannered, bespectacled secret identity of Superman. For a lack of a better analogy, the irresponsible, immature persona that Oliver projects is his alter ego. The exact kind of personality that his Mother and Walter would not want to represent their family’s company. At the end of Oliver’s speech he says he’s not half the man his father was. Which makes his mother believe Robert Queen never revealed to Oliver how corrupt he was.

The notion of a father sacrificing his life so that his son can right his wrongs is powerful and informs Oliver’s strong conviction. As a crew dismantles his father’s gravestone, Oliver says, “To honor your wishes I need to dishonor your memory”. In the flashback, Oliver buries his father’s actual body with stones. There’s a book with blank pages except for a mysterious symbol which he finds in his father’s pocket. In present time, the book is filled with names he intends on bringing to justice so how did that come to be?

Green Arrow’s remarkable abilities leads the audience to believe that there is more to the island than meets the eye. The moment when Green Arrow speaks in Mandarin to assassin China White (played by Kelly Hu) foreshadowed he was not alone on island. He must have learned the language and his skills from someone or perhaps a secret society during his time on the island. It was still a surprise to see an arrow shoot through Oliver’s shoulder which explains at least one of those scars on his body. What else does Oliver know that he has not revealed yet? It’s fairly apparent he is guarded when speaking to his Mom and Walter. Is this his intuition or is his mother’s name in the book?

“Honor Thy Father” is a well-executed and thoroughly entertaining episode. The Martin Somers story line was secondary to the character development of Oliver, Laurel, and supporting cast. The final fight between China White and Green Arrow was a little underwhelming but hopefully she will return in future episodes (and in a less terrible wig). One things for sure, the shirtless quota definitely met up to CW’s standards!

So what do you think about the mysterious symbol? Who is the Mom talking to in the car at the end of the episode? What do you think about the blank book? Are the island flashbacks your favorite part of the show? How many stomach crunches have you done since watching Arrow?

You May Also Like by Sidekick Reviews:

Arrow Season 1, Episode 3 “Lone Gunman” Review (vs Deadshot)

Arrow Season 1, Episode 5 “Damaged” Review (vs Deathstroke)

Arrow Season 1, Episode 8 “Vendetta” Review (vs Huntress)

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 – Animated Movie (Spoiler Free) Review

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Posted on October 18, 2012, in Arrow, Comics, Television and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. I only have one thing to say. ABS!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Agree with all of your points, especially about China White and her final “confrontation” with Arrow.

    Cheers!

    • Kelly Hu, the actress that played China White, was a lot more dangerous and better utlized in X-men 2. I hope she returns soon to Arrow and we’ll get a proper showdown with better fight choregraphy. Nice to hear from you.

  3. Actually, my friend, I think I managed to get an ID on that symbol in the book because I’d seen it before. I’m only going to give a one word hint on my guess: Intergang

    • That would be fantastic if that were the case. Much better than a Triad gang symbol. Arrow needs a big nemesis, not just corrupt businessman which he easily takes care of. Thanks for sharing that. You got more excited about the future of the show!

  4. I think his Mom was talking to John Barrowman (Doctor Who/Torchwood) who is playing a character code-named “Well-Dressed Man”. As to his real identity I am unsure…

  5. I love that Arrow already has me wanting more! I just finished watching both episodes off my Hopper, and now I can’t wait until next week. I’m not familiar with the comics, but I’ve heard from a couple of the guys I work with at DISH, who do follow the comics, that Green Arrow has plenty of interesting villains. I speculative that the island is so much more than what it appears to be, and I’m looking forward to what the writers share about it in the upcoming episodes. I’m definitely creating a permanent folder on my DVR so that I can make sure that all the new episodes are safely kept. I hope that they tell us more about what happened on the island quickly instead of dragging it out!

  6. So I haven’t had time to watch Arrow past the second episode and was debating whether or not I should catch up. I only avoided your other reviews because of spoilers. My biggest question is regarding the main character’s acting because in the pilot it felt very stale to me which I was fine with because coming back from what he did would make a man act abnormal and it fit. My question is: does Oliver show us more emotion as the series progresses?

    • As the series progresses, Oliver starts to open up. Ollie still feels responsible for Sara who got swept away from the yacht. And watching his father shoot himself was only the beginning of his time in exile. In flashbacks, we learn more about why he feels “damaged”. In present time, a character helps him keep in touch with his humanity; injecting some levity and warmth to his personality. There’s a certain kind of darkness that will always be apart of him, but he gradually shows different sides of his personality … and even smiles.

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