The Royal Flush Gang hits Starling City to clean out its banks. Diggle convinces Oliver that there is more to being a hero than hunting down crooked CEOs. Laurel’s law firm is in trouble. Tommy tries to show Laurel a different side of himself.
First off, I loved the real world adaptation of the Royal Flush Gang. Let’s face it, people dressed up as playing cards and flying around on hovering playing cards probably wouldn’t play well in this more realistic interpretation of Star City. I was quite impressed with their efficiency as they cleared out a bank in the opening scene of this week’s episode. Though I have to admit, they seemed to drill that hole through the floor pretty fast. You would think there would be more concrete protecting the underside of a bank, and in the vault no less, but it was a brilliant escape plan.
On the other side of town, after some armed combat training, Diggle tries to convince Oliver that there is more to being a hero than fighting the corrupt CEOs on his father’s list. Diggle understands that the people in the streets need more direct help than just making sure corrupt businessmen aren’t screwing them. Though Oliver initially disagrees, Diggle gets Oliver to change his mind by tricking him into visiting a shooting victim from the previously mentioned Royal Flush Gang bank robbery. Finally, Arrow will be hitting the streets to directly help the people and fight some crime. Though I love Oliver’s intentions in fighting corrupt business practices, there seemed to be a real disconnect between his goals and the people he is actually trying to help. I’m so glad that it was Diggle who pointed this out to Oliver and not just Oliver coming to this conclusion on his own, it looks like this team up is already paying dividends for us, the viewers, who wanted to see Arrow take on more of a heroic role. By the way, I know Arrow is a badass and all, but was anyone else surprised that Oliver was besting a Special Forces vet so easily in training? Looks like Oliver received some high-grade training from his mentor while on the island.
Laurel’s law firm is in big trouble as they just lost their biggest donor. Tommy Merlyn sees this as his opportunity to move in on Laurel with his good guy act. Though Laurel is hesitant to accept his help because Tommy is a douche, she is talked into taking his help since they desperately need it. They decide to throw a benefit gala to raise the money and its here that Tommy is able to show Laurel he is a good guy after all. While thinking that Laurel is being swept off her feet by pretty boy extraordinaire, Carter Boen, Tommy laments this situation while turning down a once again drunken Thea. Thea once again manages to cause a drunken scene and is quickly escorted away by Tommy. While Thea is outside purging her alcohol in the alley, Laurel comes out and has a bit of a heart to heart with Tommy. It seems that Laurel was only interested in Boen’s checkbook, not his charms, much to the delight of Tommy. Then Tommy gets a kiss from Laurel, not a knock out kiss, but hey, it’s better than nothing right? Seeing Tommy taking care of Thea was a nice moment to witness, and maybe he is not such a douche after all. Yeah, I’m kind of warming up to the guy.
After being convinced to jump into the street crime fray, Oliver excuses himself from the benefit gala to go involve himself with the Royal Flush Gang who are in the midst of a robbery. While making their escape through water main tunnels with Curtis Manning, err, I mean Detective Hilton (sorry, 24 is pretty much my favorite show of all time) in hot pursuit, Arrow shows up to crash the party with bow-slung projectiles a flyin’. Using some keen arrows that immobilize, he makes sure that the Royal Flush Gang flees without their hard sought prize. I found it a bit odd here that instead of using the arrows to incapacitate the robbers; Arrow instead makes sure that they don’t get away with the cash. Wouldn’t it have been a better idea to take down the Royal Flush Gang instead? Nope, because there’s another half hour to fill, so the show must go on. That being said, the scene was still pretty cool as Arrow slung his projectiles around the room without and sense of aim and still managed to hit all his targets with ease. Given that there was a lot going on here with the robbers, the cops and Arrow, this scene was shot rather well and managed to avoid getting scattered and confused, which could’ve easily happened with all the activity going on.
An easy search leads to the true identities of the Royal Flush Gang, turns out they were a family who’s patriarch was once an employee for Queen Industries until Papa Queen decided to save a few bucks by outsourcing the work to China while at the same time screwing his former employees out of their pensions and severances, causing many of them to lose their homes. I really wished they hadn’t played this angle since upon hearing this; Oliver takes this case way too personally. At first he was cleaning up the streets by taking on Royal Flush, but now he’s is instantly back to cleaning up his dad’s messes as he decides to offer the father of the gang a job and a chance to get out of the crime racket. This almost takes us back full circle to Oliver’s original mission in life and moves us away from just cleaning up the streets, it almost negated all of Diggle’s points at the top of the episode.
Of course Oliver’s opportunity is turned down as the Royal Flushes decide to pull one more job. Thanks to a keenly placed listening device, Oliver is hot on their heels. Interrupting their latest robbery, Arrow dukes it out with two of the Flushes, which leads to the King taking a chest full of buckshot from a security guard. Throughout this episode the flashbacks show us an Oliver who is ready to give up on trying to survive his ordeal on the island. In a hallucination his dead father offers him the choice to end his life in the same fashion as his dad confronts Oliver. His dad berates his weakness but in the end he finds that the book he was given contains invisible ink as it reveals the names of those who need justice delivered to their high rise office doorsteps, once again giving Oliver purpose to make it back home to Starling City.
I chalk this up as another successful chapter in the Arrow saga. It was good to see Arrow clean up some crime and taking time to shift his attention away from his list and onto the other problems going on in Starling City that Arrow seems to ignore in favor of his own purposes. Diggle has become my favorite character on the show and serves as a much-needed voice of clarity to Oliver who is too caught up in his mission. Diggle is just what he needs to help show him the forest through the trees. Also, how cool was it to see Coast City get a mention here. As a big time Green Lantern fan I geeked out at the mention of Hal Jordan’s hometown. Since there really is no way to accurately depict Green Lantern, a hero who partnered up with Green Arrow for a successful comic run through the 70’s and 80’s, in this show which is grounded in reality, a mention of Coast City will have to suffice. Though the show is taking a one-week hiatus for Thanksgiving, hold onto your quivers, as the Huntress will be making her Arrow debut.
3.5 out of 5 nerds
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