Examining "Rebirth's" Treatment of Legacy & Promise of a Less "Grimdark" DC Universe
Last week, China White; this week, Deadshot.
Not only did another DC Universe villain make it onto Arrow this week but someone discovers Oliver Queen’s secret identity. In the third episode of The CW superhero drama, “Lone Gunman” (no, not “Gunmen”; this isn’t an X-Files crossover, unfortunately), Deadshot shows up with his poisoned bullets — and while it was nice to see him in Star(ling) City, from the looks of it, he may not be back.
The episode opens with Ollie in the secret headquarters he built inside one of his late father’s abandoned warehouses, once again engaged in an impressive shirtless workout. If he weren’t so busy playing the part of a reckless billionaire playboy by day and hooded, arrow-slinging vigilante by night, he could seriously have a career as a Crossfit instructor. The voiceover narration reminds us that Oliver Queen is a man on a mission: He has a book filled with names of men and women who have corrupted the city, and he plans to bring each of them to justice, one by one (and episode by episode …).
Only this week, somebody took out one of his bad businessmen ahead of schedule, and with lethal precision. Oliver may be a badass martial artist and marksman, but he’s no killer. No sooner had Arrow suited up and hit the rooftops to confront James Holder than a sniper’s bullet rang through his target’s heart. Arrow is injured in the skirmish as well, although it’s nothing a little self-stitching can’t mend.
But wait! The bullet that grazed Oliver’s arm is filled with poison! He realizes it just in time to take a swig of all-purpose antidote before he passes out, giving way to one of the show’s cool flashbacks to the five years our hero spent marooned on an island.
He’s still stuck with the arrow that hit him during the flashback at the end of last week’s episode — an arrow delivered by a guy in a costume strikingly similar to Oliver’s. “Why did you shoot me?” Oliver asks. “To protect you,” the archer answers in another language. Later in the episode, another flashback reveals Oliver escaped the cave where the archer was keeping him, only to be trapped in a net. The archer again insists he’s protecting him, from others on the island. We see some of these others on the island, looking like some sort of commandos.
Back in the present, Oliver wakes up and heads home to find his sister Thea is in trouble with the police for some teenaged tomfoolery. “When I was her age, you and dad let me get away with murder. Looking back, I could have used less ‘space’ and more parenting,” Oliver says, scolding his mother.
At least one cop was smart enough to realize “The Hood” didn’t kill Holder. Detective Dad (as we like to call Mr. Lance) knows guns aren’t his style. Oliver shows off some science skills, analyzing his bandage at his makeshift lab to figure out what type of “rare and deadly poison” was on those bullets. A quick hack into Interpol’s files reveals the poisoned bullets are the M.O. of a killer wanted for murders all over the world – a killer nicknamed Deadhshot. As Oliver narrates how Deadshot has moved to the top of his list, we get our first glimpse of the villain, who tattoos his body with the names of his victims.
“It’s sweet. Though I gotta tell you, man, if you’re thinking of calling it ‘Queen’s,’ I don’t think you’re going to get the clientele that you were hoping for,” Tommy Merlyn quips as Oliver takes him by a warehouse (yes, that warehouse) where he suggests opening a nightclub. Bodyguard John Diggle, whom Oliver now refers to as “Digs,” is there, too. The plan is for the nightclub to conceal Arrow’s secret lair underground and to provide an alibi for where Oliver Queen spends his nights.
Meanwhile, Laurel’s friend at the law office catches her trolling online for news about Ollie and tells her it’s time to move on. “We are going out tonight,” the pal insists,” and we are going to have shots and we are going to dance with men that we don’t know.”
We’re not sure how Oliver learned parkour on the island, but watching him jump up a building is still pretty cool. He’s back at the scene of the crime and manages to get some evidence stuck in one of the walls. Detective Dad is at the rooftop pool, gathering some evidence of his own. Oliver figures out a connection with the Russian mob and showed off his fluency in the language (!) while snooping around a connected auto shop. “I’m Bratva,” Oliver declares, showing off his chest tattoo after disarming a Russian goon. Very intriguing!
“I apologize. We meant no disrespect to a captain, particularly, an American one,” says the man in the basement he came to see. The crime boss agrees to look for the guy using Deadshot’s particular brand of gun. He also promises to kill Ollie and his family if it turns out he’s not really Bratva (“brotherhood,” a term for Russian mafia group).
Deadshot is keeping busy in the meantime, taking out another bad-guy businessman and inking himself with another name.
Both dead businessmen were rivals of Oliver’s stepfather, it turns out, making him something of a suspect. Of course we know from previous episodes that Oliver’s mom is involved in some shady dealings, including having her own son kidnapped.
Oliver and Tommy’s night out is ruined in several ways: First, Ollie’s little sister is there, wasted. Second, wasted little sister spills the beans about Tommy and Laurel sleeping together. Third, Oliver slept with the nightclub owner’s fiancé at their wedding rehearsal. Said nightclub owner, Max Fuller, punches Oliver and proceeds to have his bodyguards rough up the two friends. Laurel (she was going for her own night out, remember?) comes to their rescue with a bunch of self-defense moves she says she learned at Detective Dad’s urging.
Oliver, Tommy and Dig (whom they had ditched at the velvet rope) regroup and recuperate at a diner, where we meet Dig’s widowed sister-in-law. Oliver tells Tommy he’s fine with the whole Tommy-and-Dinah thing. While there, he gets a call from the Russian mob guy, who says he has info on Deadshot and also says Oliver had been all checked out as a proper Bratva. So, Arrow has juice with Russian mobsters? From the island?
Arrow and Deadshot get into their first tussle, which ends with the villain escaping and Oliver snagging his laptop. He tricks a super-cute technician at Queen Corp (“I spilled a latte on it”) to salvage information from the computer, which allowing Oliver to piece together more about Deadshot’s plans. Mainly, he’s been hired to take out the guys who are bidding on some business deal. Detective Lance and Dig get the tip and arrive at the auction in force.
Tommy drops by the courthouse to tell Laurel that Oliver was “surprisingly cool” about them being together. And that he’d like to be again.
The Queen clan show up at the auction, and Deadshot causes all hell to break loose, naturally. Detective Dad shoves Oliver’s stepfather Walter out of the way as Deadshot fires his first round. Oliver is able to slip away and into his costume (but not before making a comment to Dig that reveals he knows a bit too much about the situation for a reckless playboy). Arrow and Deadshot engage in some hand-to-hand combat as Oliver scolds his opponent with, “We’re not in the same line of work. Your profession is murder,” Deadshot counters, “You’ve taken lives.”
“For the good of others,” Arrow answers, firing a shot that seems to take Deadshot’s life. Moments later, Arrow realizes Dig had been hit with a poison bullet, and taken him back to his secret lair – revealing his secret identity in the process