Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Arrow "Muse Of Fire" Review

The most impressive aspect of the Arrow "Pilot" was the fight scenes and Oliver's movements as the vigilante of Starling City. Fight scenes in television shows are a mixed bag. Anyone who's watched a Syfy Original Movie understands the pitfalls of the lowest kind of film budget. The fights in Arrow move like a video game. Doug Petrie gave Spike a great line in the "Fool For Love" episode of Buffy when Spike tells Buffy that they aren't fighting but dancing. Buffy and ANGEL, though amazingly coordinated by stunt coordinator Mike Massa, never staged fights like the fighters were dancing. They were great, but not smooth nor elegant. Arrow's fight scenes are masterfully smooth and elegant, balletic and breath-taking. The fights elevate episodes and deepen character interactions. Characters are revealed through their fighting style, as shown with Oliver and Helena the Huntress.

Oliver's pain in not being truthful seemed like an obvious feeling for the character, though he'd been portrayed as essentially unfeeling; however, I missed the subtle hints to his loneliness. Laurel's moved on, and Tommy, his best friend, longs for the woman whose heart was broken by Oliver. Helena's the daughter of a Starling City businessman with deep ties to the mob. A series of murders have been committed on hit men around Starling City. One hit nearly killed Moira Queen. Oliver's investigation into finding out who shot the gun leads him to news about the various murders or severe beatings by local mobster Nick Solvano. The important part about the mobster story is the daughter of the connected businessman, Ms. Helena the Huntress, a woman who projects a deep sadness, but who's sadness hides a secret that will bond her and Oliver.

The Starling City assassin is like Oliver Queen. The assassin has a board of pictures, of men whom she needs to kill, and this is Helena's secret. "Muse of Fire" seems like an episode that'll be about Oliver bringing the assassin to justice because of her ties to the mafia, but it veers away from that when they have dinner and, later, when Oli finds out who's been killing the hit men. Oliver had to listen to Thea yell at him for hiding secrets, for darting away from their injured mother to find out the license plate number, and for saying nothing about any of his activity. Thea just misses her brother. Returned from a desert island Oliver Queen's a stranger to her. Moira reminds Thea of what her brother had been through and sympathized with his desire to keep secrets, stating the importance of every person's secrets being kept. Thea softens up and instead insists Oliver confide in someone.

Helena, the tragic daughter of Paul Bellitrane (I'm sure I botched the last name) that carries the air of a 19th century female Russian character, has a sad story. Her fiancé was murdered by the men who worked for her father. Michael Station, the fiancé, was suspected of giving the feds info on the criminal doings of Helena's family. Helena fed the feds information. Michael took the fall. Since then, she's vowed to put the men who murdered her fiancé to justice. She shares Oliver's motivations for disguising herself and shooting guns at people. Oliver, of course, wants to atone for his father's sins by restoring Starling City. Restoration happens only after destroying the decay and cleaning out the filth. Helena and Oliver are quite alone, though. Their interfacing over dinner is the most honest either have been with another human being in months. Oliver talks about his time on the island differently and Helena alludes to her tragedy by telling Oliver about her fiancé’s death.

Arrow's displayed a certain cunning in plot points. Two weeks ago we were treated to the "Will Oliver be revealed as the vigilante?" Tonight, we were treated to the formation of a new vigilante tag team. Oliver's revealed to Helena as the vigilante as she's revealed to him as the assassin. They kill bad men together, and they kiss when their walls collapse in a bit of honesty that's like a drink of water on a hot day in the desert. The tag team won't end well. Their objectives differ. Helena's similar to Emily on Revenge, and Oliver's like Bruce Wayne, or Angel. They won't reconcile their differences. The key moment for the two vigilantes or whatever-you-want-to-call-them is when Helena has Nick, the man who murdered her fiancé, by the throat. She has a choice to kill him or to spare him, to put him in jail. Oliver watches her intently. Helena kills him and essentially shrugs her choice away. That's going to be a problem.

Another problem facing Oliver that isn't yet known to him is the problem of morally bankrupt Mr. Merlin, Tommy's father. You'll know him as the man who targeted the yacht, and who threatens Moira when she's bed ridden with injury. Merlin's a puzzle. He cuts his son off from the family's wealth because he's a dick, but he's obviously vested in protecting his own ass. The actor's not very good. He's a little too CW muahaha-y for my tastes. The writing's either weak or the actor's weak or it's a lethal combination of both. The quality of his character will be dictated by his motivations. Why is Moira betraying her family for a schmuck? Questions, indeed. For the foreseeable future, though, it's all about Oli and Helena. I'm looking forward to it until it all goes awry and Oliver's forced into making his own choice.

Other Thoughts:

-I've had a bad day. The sight of Willa Holland in various dresses, in shades of eyeliner, and wearing a crimped hairstyle, picked me up. I think she's the most beautiful actress on television.
-Diggle was resigned to computer duty. Diggle's interested in saving lives. Oliver's colder in his interests. He just wants to bring bad men to justice. I hope this conflict is explored further.

-Thea's drug habits seems to be part of the past--just chalk that mistake up to lazy writing early in the season.

-Walter returned. His trip to Australia must've resulted in more information about what's going on. Characters rarely leave town without returning with important exposition for the next episode. Sayid went into the jungle with Rousseau, had a horrible experience being tortured, but he fixed an awesome music box; anyway, he got back to camp with a ton of a useful information for the other characters. Make Walter's trip to Australia matter, show.

-Tahmoh Penikett was a guest star tonight; it’s always good seeing a Dollhouse alum on the TV.
-I missed the writing credit for the episode. David Grossman, of Buffy and ANGEL and a lot of other shows, directed.


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Originally, I titled the blog Jacob's Foot after the giant foot that Jacob inhabited in LOST. That ended. It became TV With The Foot in 2010. I wrote about a lot of TV.