“No man is an island” is a sentiment Arrow Season 1 Episode 3’s ‘Lone Gunman’ reflects upon. Simply stated, we cannot live alone or in isolation. If we hope to survive, thrive or pursue our life’s purpose, we must acknowledge our interdependence and recognize how our actions effect one another.
It’s a notion that is literally and metaphorically represented during Oliver Queen’s time on the mysterious island, which as discovered last episode was not deserted. The hooded man who shot the arrow at Ollie explains he did it to protect him and that Ollie could not survive alone on the island.
In present time, a lethal sniper by the name of Floyd Lawton, nicknamed Deadshot because he never misses his target, is hired to assassinate potential buyers of Unidac Industries. The plot points of this episode are specifically written to underscore the idea that everyone needs the help of others. For instance, Oliver uses his intriguing connection to the Russian mob to obtain Lawton’s address. As capable as Ollie is, including his ability to identify the poison curare, there are some skills beyond his capabilities. Which leads Ollie to rely upon the computer skills of tech girl Felicity Smoke to retrieve information from Lawton’s damaged laptop. When Ollie uncovers the assassination plan, he reaches out to Detective Lance because he cannot stop Lawton alone.
The unfulfilled need for an emotional connection is debilitating as evident in Thea’s delinquent behavior. In the last five years she’s been coping with the loss of her closest family members; her dad Robert and Ollie. Adding to Thea’s isolation, is her emotionally distant mother whom has rarely spoke of her dad’s death.
There’s more to Thea than a rebellious teenage girl acting out from the lack of parental love and boundaries. In ‘Honor Thy Father’ it was established that Oliver has superior hearing when he detected China White outside on the fire escape long before Laurel did. So it’s likely not an oversight that Thea was able to sneak up on a shirtless Ollie in that same episode. In the pilot, I believe Ollie mentioned her nickname which may be a big hint.
Another character’s possible potential is observed when Laurel beats up the men fighting Ollie and Tommy at the nightclub. Laurel down plays her self-defense skills as a result having a cop for a father. As revealing as this may be, Laurel’s relationship with Oliver continues to be a weak link for the show. When Oliver opened up to Laurel last episode, I hoped it would be the first step to repairing their relationship. It’s not that I want them to get together, it’s that their on/off friendship is unnecessarily annoying. Laurel’s coworker teases her she’s been researching articles on Oliver. Even if Laurel can’t admit it to herself, it’s obvious her broken heart belongs to Oliver. So Tommy is just a substitute for what she genuinely wants.
One the strongest elements of the show is the rapport between Oliver and security consultant Mr. Diggle. Diggle’s has a sense of humor that can make the closely guarded Oliver smile (“I guess from now on I’ll be watching you pee.”). There’s an unspoken understanding developing between the two. Diggle is very perceptive and onto the fact that Oliver is not as he appears.
We find out more about Diggle’s family connections this episode. His brother was killed in the line of duty and his sister-in-law Carla works at Big Belly Burger. After Diggle is shot with a poisoned bullet, Oliver takes him back to his hideout. For Oliver to bring justice to Starling City he knows he cannot do it alone which is why he reveals his secret identity. It’s also a relief because the writers won’t have to come up with ways for Oliver to elude his bodyguard each episode, which would make Diggle look incredibly incompetent.
The final show down between Arrow and Deadshot was better choreographed than the fight with China White last episode. Other than tattooing his victims names on his body, Deadshot’s characterization could have benefited from more depth. Fortunately, Arrow has already been renewed for a full season so there will be opportunity to revisit and develop stronger adversaries for Oliver in future episodes.