In Friday’s Oliver-centric episode, we see him head further down into the pits of his own psyche. Guilt can be a powerful enemy. The strongest character on the show lately has been Oliver Queen/Green Arrow, so was this serviceable to his character? Well, see for yourself.
First off, I love Oliver Queen. I’m a fan of the character no matter to the medium, and I was initially confused that he was joining the cast of Smallville. But that does not mean I wasn’t excited. Oliver is a good influence on Clark (and vice versa) in the absence of someone like Bruce Wayne or Diana Prince. I think he’s instilling in Clark the need to be the hero he’ll need to be when “The Red Blue Blur” becomes “Superman.” I would describe it as an off shoot of the master/padawan relationship. But lately, it’s been really difficult to root for the Emerald Archer because he’s been on a season long bender that would make Tony Stark blush. And this bender leads him to a place called “Roulette.”
I don’t know if you’re all aware of the villainess Roulette, but she’s a sort of hot Mojo-type character. She pits heroes against heroes in fights to the death for the sole purposes of gambling. Hence the name Roulette. Well, she also has an eponymously titled gambling establishment that just happened to invite Oliver through its doors. He gladly makes an appearance, if for nothing else than to actually lose everything. We even see him gamble away his prized Lamborghini on a simple game of…you guess it, roulette. The owner of the club offers to play a game with him, and he agrees. It’s a simple game shell game, only played with a red pill. Now, in the warped-to-the-point-of-idiocy mind of Queen, this is a good idea, and a way to forget his problems. But we only see his problems get worse, and he passes out.
We return to find him locked in a box. This scene actually reminded me a scene from one of my favorite shows, Bones. Here Oliver is forced to play a far more dangerous game, and the reward is his life. In the end, we get all get a to breathe a sigh of collective relief when Oliver not only survives, but once again takes up the mantle of The Green Arrow. His sense of humor even returns, as he discusses “The Blur’s” awful, awful, suit. He even offers to set him up with a tailor to add “color.” I’ll be honest, I lol’d.
What I loved about this episode was the very solid development with regards to Oliver’s character. We all knew he was a hero and a billionaire playboy, but we got a glimpse of the man and who he would be if he weren’t “Oliver Queen.” He’s still incredibly resourceful, and he still does have that desire to live that he thought he lacked. There was also the aforementioned nod to Clark’s terrible superhero attire. But then there was something Clark said that had me in stitches. He mentioned that keeping this secret from Lois regarding Oliver’s descent, and her hurt reaction to that was like an “Anti-Life Equation.” It’s the little things like this that tell me that while the show has its own continuity that is probably one of the 52 earths in the DC Multiverse, it still keeps the details in mind that keeps a meganerd like me watching the show. This was up there with Clark stepping on an Oreo cookie when first glimpsing the Martian Manhunter. Yeah, I’m a nerd, what of it?
That’s not to say it was perfect either. I thought the characterization of Roulette was confusing at best. Here she’s portrayed as a mercenary, at worst, or merely an actress, at best. The only time she wasn’t completely under the control of her…benefactor (more on that later) was when she had an impromptu cagematch with Lois. A cagematch that also happens to hold the dubious distinction of having some of the worst fight choreography I’ve ever seen. It plodded along like a WWE Divas wrestling match. Anyone who’s ever watched pro wrestling knows exactly what I’m talking about.Continued below
Onto the “mysterious benefactor” I mentioned earlier. There was only one person who knew everything about Oliver like this, and could manipulate him in such a way to actually help him. It just happens to be Chloe. I’m not going to act like she doesn’t have the smarts to pull off something like this, but it’s such a convoluted plot to bring Queen from the Brink. It almost felt like she had been watching the movie The Game one too many times and decided it would be a good idea to pull the same stunt on Green Arrow. And since when is she the most manipulative character on the show? I miss the good ol’ days when Lionel Luthor was the one doing the manipulating, and Lex was doing it to spite his own father.
Overall, the episode had its flaws, but from a character standpoint, it was a terrific episode. I actually cared about the plight of Justin Hartley (that would be Oliver Queen) and I was pleasantly surprised that his acting skills have flourished during his tenure within the city limits of Smallville.
Final Verdict: Tune In