Review: Arrow ‘Burned’

Review: Arrow ‘Burned’

Season 1, Episode 10 - Arrow returns with a few improvements and a few flaws.

The second half of the first season of Arrow has begun, picking up after a short, month-long hiatus.  It’s always nice when they don’t make you wait too long, otherwise you end up forgetting what the heck was going on.  So far, the series has been fairly decent.  It’s not the best acted or scripted show on television, but it does possess all the elements that make comic books so fun, sticking true to its roots and presenting viewers with a light yet still dark-toned storyline of vengeance and justice.  The newest episode, ‘Burned’, continues in the tradition already set forth.

When last we left off (spoilers!) Walter was kidnapped by the evil Malcolm Merlyn who, as we learned at the end of the mid-season finale, also happens to be a kick-ass archer, better than Arrow, in fact.  Oliver/Arrow was out of action due to some serious wounds at the hands of Merlyn during a fight he didn’t win.  With Oliver’s family in disarray and his confidence shot, the new episode picks up about six weeks after the events of the previous.

The storyline for ‘Burned’ is fairly generic.  It’s an arrow versus bad-guy of the week format of the same kind that the series has been using most of the way.  It jumps back to Oliver’s time on the island every once in a while, detailing not very much, but enough so we don’t get too bored.  Oliver’s lady lawyer friend, Dinah, steals the phone that Arrow gave her father and uses it to get a hold of him regarding a series of mysterious fireman deaths.  At first Oliver is reluctant to help beyond just digging up some information here and there, but eventually decides that only he can do the job right and stop the killings.

So yeah, that’s about it, but it’s the basic storyline for every episode, so what do you expect?  What is nice about the new episode isn’t the originality of the story, however, but the improvement in acting among the cast.  It looks like they’ve finally gotten comfortable with their characters, an important part of any series’ development.

Also, the addition of the phone as a prop was a nice idea.  Now, the writers can bring Arrow along for any problem that happens to hit Dinah in addition to the normal list-hunting activities that drive the character each week.  It’s his bat signal, so to speak, and it should prove helpful in fleshing out the series.

I did have a slight problem with the action scenes.  These have been sort of hit-and-miss throughout the series and in this particular episode they really show no flair whatsoever.  If anything, they’re just plain bad.  Hopefully this won’t remain a trend during upcoming episodes.  I’m also getting a bit fed up with the extra-drawn-out back-story.  So far we’ve learned almost nothing about Oliver’s time on the island and if they don’t speed it along it will become so unimportant to the overall plot that I will not even care anymore.  I’ve heard they’re supposed to wind it up this half-season, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed on that one.

All-in-all, not the best half-season opener, but not entirely awful.  I’m still a fan of the show, at least until something better comes along.  Anyone who loves classic comic book clichés should get a kick out of the series as long as they’re willing spend 40 minutes a week watching it.  Looking forward to see what next week has to offer.