Oliver's father, Robert, committed suicide so that he, Oliver, would live and atone for the sins of the Queen family. The island flashbacks involve Oliver speaking to the ghost of his dead father. Oliver burned pages of his father's book to keep the fire burning, apparently, so the origin of the book of names is revealed in the episode. The legacy of the Queen family in Starling City isn't good. Robert's a Mitt Romney-type, a big businessman who outsourced a ton of jobs overseas, screwing American families and their ownership of homes without a care, until the boat was sunk and Robert demanded his son do what is needed in the city the family poisoned. Oliver was starving and without hope on the island; he simply laid on the ground, burning pages from the book, looking vacantly above him. Robert's ghost appeared with a gun and told his son to end his life if he didn't plan on surviving and redeeming the legacy of the family.
Oliver pulled the trigger. The gun was empty. Robert launched into a brief speech about the importance of surviving and finishing the work in the city, because he was a bad man for a long time. Hamlet's scene with the ghost of his father was the first thought when Oliver saw his father. The Hamlet similarities have been mentioned by the show in #102. Arrow's Hamlet touches are light and a serious reduction of the work as a whole, a rendering for a teenage audience who probably groan when their high school literature teachers announce the class will read it. Robert stresses atonement, not vengeance. Oliver's not storming into his mother's chambers and launching into a three minute monologue about her transgressions with Walter.
The Royal Flush Bank Robbers of the B story were forced into crime by Robert's outsourcing factory jobs to China. The Reston family had a house, but then they didn't. The nuclear family transformed into an amazing bank robbery team who traveled from city-to-city eluding cops and stealing sizable coin to set them up for life. Things went awry in the place they needed to leave five years ago. The oldest son shot a cop, which alerted Diggle, and then Oliver, to the case. Oliver wanted to ignore it in an impressive anti-Batman speech. Arrow's been similar to the tone of Nolan's Batman films, if Nolan made his shows for a CW audience. Oliver won't stop crime. The task is hard, and he's busy bringing rich folk to justice. Diggle reminds Oliver the importance of helping others. Oliver's pulled into the robbers situation upon learning his family's responsible for the desperation of the family. Derek Reston lost his job and his house after Robert outsourced the jobs and found a loophole in a contract to not pay
Oliver offers Derek an opportunity to quit robbing banks. Derek won't. Oliver decides to take action. The
family's conflict is their unstable son. The son refuses to stop until they rob one last bank. The son character hurts the story a lot. Derek's a problematic character. The bank robbery angle is a corner the writers wrote a potentially sympathetic character into. Derek won't accept Ollie's job offer out of pride, but he can't stop robbing banks for fear his son will kill. Neither angle really works, because Derek's underwritten. Diggle makes a great point in stating Derek's active choice to commit crimes; that Oliver is not responsible for him. Ollie won't listen, because his family's part of the Reston family's problem.
It's nice to see Oliver help a family instead of terrifying rich folk to death with a bow-and-arrow; specifically, it's nice knowing Arrow will tell more stories about Ollie helping the hopeless, as a vampire with a soul once did in the City of Angels, but one hopes they're better written than the Royal Flush story.
Oliver commits to his father's vision of saving Starling City after the fire reveals names written in the book. Oliver's eyes widen when he realizes which names are written and the depth of Robert's commitment to atoning for his sin's. It's like the magnitude of his father's suicide hits him in that moment, what it meant for him and his son. Oliver's not a video game character yet, but he became The Man in the Hood while laying by the fire in the quiet.
-Tommy threw a fundraiser for Laurel's firm in hopes of winning her heart. I thought they were a couple. It seems they only hooked up but stopped. Tommy's not the most interesting character, but Thea Queen thinks he's quite dashing and special. Willa Holland portraying insecure and drunk Thea wasn't very good. Holland's eyeliner wear is still arresting, though. Thea lashed out about no one caring about her, citing her brother most of all.
-Moira wanted her son to stop hiding secrets and disappearing. Mrs. Queen is quite the hypocrite, eh? She, after all, has the boat in a warehouse. Oliver takes her out for a burger and milkshake to show he's sorry for his behavior. He nearly says he wishes he could tell her all, but he does not. Walter's still in Australia on business.
-Warren Christie guest starred as an uninteresting wealthy friend of the family. Christie portrays Cameron Hicks on Syfy's excellent series, Alphas.
-Moira Kirland & Marc Guggenheim wrote the episode. John Behring directed it. Behring's directed several TVD episodes, two Hellcats, a Dawson's Creek episode, and even Touched By An Angel.
-Arrow will return with new episodes on November 28.
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