Arrow: Season 1 Episode 16 – ‘Dead To Rights’ Review

Dead to Rights

In Arrow Season 1 Episode 16 titled Dead To Rights, Oliver and Diggle learn that Deadshot is still alive and his next target is Malcolm Merlyn.

As the last episode before a three-week hiatus, ‘Dead To Rights’ delivered a brisk, eventful hour of surprises, high energy action and an intriguing cliffhanger; a terrific formula to get viewers to eagerly anticipate the show’s return on March 20th.

Of the core characters, Tommy’s been least involved with the vigilante but that changed in a big way this week. His world is turned upside down after two of the most important persons in his life each reveal a dark secret. In the split second Malcolm took to disarm and dispose of the two gunmen, Tommy discovers Starling City’s humanitarian of the year is a highly skilled killer. If it wasn’t for Deadshot shattering the window, Malcolm would have shown his Dark Archer lair to Tommy. The thought that crossed my mind is Malcolm looking to pass on the family trade to his son?

Malcolm as a man whose purpose is to honor his deceased wife by making Starling city a safer, better place is an evolving characterization from the nameless, well-dressed business man he was first introduced as. His troubled yet heartfelt relationship with his son is engaging, especially after acknowledging to Tommy how he failed as a father.

The Dark Archer is a great arch nemesis because he’s closely entwined with Oliver’s life in ways that will be revealed to our anti-hero. Not only is Malcolm the physical equal to Oliver in terms of archery and hand-to-hand combat, they both share a similar goal to improve the city although their approach is drastically different. Of the bits and pieces of what we know of the undertaking, it may very well involve flooding the Glades, the part of the city plagued with poverty and crime.

Dead to Rights

Oliver revealing his secret identity to Tommy is a pleasant surprise. How this plays out will be interesting to watch unfold. It opens up possibilities in bringing Tommy from the periphery into the main story lines. Tommy feels hurt when Oliver confesses he did not intend on sharing his secret. However, because of their friendship and unspoken understanding on why the vigilante’s identity must remain concealed, Tommy chooses to keep the secret from his Dad.

DC’s Chief Creative Officer and comic writer Geoff Johns penned Dead To Rights. Writing dialogue for a television script requires an ear for natural, every day speech, and in this regard is an improvement over Muse Of Fire, the first episode featuring The Huntress in which he co-wrote the teleplay.

Though Oliver and Tommy have been friends since childhood, their conversation at the restaurant is the first time we’ve seen them have a true heart to heart. It’s probably more tricky to write a scene between two best buds opening up about their feelings than the date with McKenna. On top of that, the conversation had to be strong enough to make Tommy reconsider attending his father’s ceremony.

The episode concludes with Laurel encountering her estranged mom (Alex Kingston) at her front door, a place where a lot of scenes occur. Though I never assumed Sarah died when she got swept off the yacht, the quick pace of the show never ceases to amaze me. Planting intriguing mysteries and characters (eg. Shado, Roy Harper) in the first season is important, the next step is bringing all these ideas to fruition.

Arrow Season 1 Episode 16 Dead To Rights Deadshot

Other Quick Observations:

» Dig is buffer each episode. Even Felicity is training to kick ass, I look forward to seeing if that ever happens. Diggle is unsettled after learning his brother’s killer is still at large. Diggle vs Deadshot, make it happen Arrow.

» When an episode is this much fun, it’s easy to overlook some of the convenient short cuts such as the blood transfusion kit and hot sauce squeeze bottle just happen to be handy.

» After her failed plot to assassinate Malcolm, Moira will point the finger at her old friend Frank to take the fall. She’s cold and calculating like that.

» To make her relationship with Oliver work, McKenna says there can’t be secrets between them. She points out Oliver’s secrets, but what is she hiding about herself? I thought Oliver might break up with her at the end, but that wouldn’t be very dramatic. Their relationship will implode at the worst possible opportunity.

What did you like or didn’t like about this episode? What did you think about the return of Deadshot and discovery of Scylla “monster” in the island flashbacks?


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