Arrow: Season 1 Episode 20 – ‘Home Invasion’ Review

Arrow is back after a 3 week break with an episode that had Laurel protecting a child from a hitman intent on killing all witnesses and Diggle facing off against his brother’s killer.

Since I’m a little rushed for time, this is going to be a quick recap and review. Continue reading Arrow Season 1 Episode 20 titled Home Invasion review.

Heading into this episode, other than the title, I didn’t know anything that was going to happen or the villain of the week. So it’s a pleasant surprise seeing Angel alum J. August Richards as a hitman aptly nicknamed Mr. Blank. Killing is his business and keeping his identity a secret is his M.O. Mr. Blank’s penchant for tying up loose ends led to a number of memorable scenes including the shootout in Laurel’s apartment (she really does need a new place with a bulletproof door & a new shotgun) and inducing an embolism in Rasmus’ heart by applying pressure on the wrist (very cool).

I liked Mr. Blank’s dead pan attitude towards killing and his as matter of fact remarks (“what a beautiful home” and “your going to die in about 15 seconds”.). The final showdown with Oliver is a nicely choreographed action sequence and the fireplace poker through the chest is a memorable finishing move. I would have liked Mr. Blank to live another day; however, we’ll be seeing more of Richards in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in a highly secretive role that reunites him with Avengers Director Joss Whedon.

While the story line with Mr. Blank was satisfying, I was a little disappointed with how the other assassin in the episode was handled. Understandably on a television shooting schedule there inevitably will be some shortcuts; however, the directing in the scene where ARGUS agents were baiting Deadshot lacked a sustainable suspense or urgency. Perhaps it was smart then to focus the camera on David Ramsey and let him carry the scene with his strong performance.

Aside from the reflective glare of the eye scope, it could have been more clear as to where exactly Deadshoot was shooting from. I guess a master assassin doesn’t give up his secrets easily. The confrontation between Diggle and Deadshot is something I’ve been anticipating since episode 16’s Dead To Rights. The fight in the stairwell was shot a bit too claustrophobic for my liking and I would have preferred an epic battle. (Have you seen the guns on Diggle? The man is a beast.)

I didn’t expect either of the two to die but the reason Deadshot gives for letting Diggle live felt kind of false to me. I could think of several simple solutions or reasons the fight could end with both alive without resorting to “nobody’s paying me to kill you” (even though I just killed four agents). This is just a minor issue I can overlook because of course, it’s not like I want Diggle to die. It does bring up the question, who hired Deadshot to kill Diggle’s brother and why?

Directly or indirectly, the events that played out in this episode are a result of Oliver’s devotion to Laurel. Diggle has always been very astute as to pinpointing Oliver’s underlying motivation. There is truth behind Diggle’s accusations of Ollie choosing Laurel, “everybody else be damned”. How the wedge in their partnership will unfold will be interesting to watch and perhaps opens the door for a new sidekick (Roy Harper) waiting in the wings. In the flashbacks, we see that Oliver’s feelings for Laurel is preventing him from developing an intimate relationship with Shado. I do have to say, the romantic chemistry between Ollie and Shado is heating up pretty nicely especially since I didn’t see any of it in previous episodes.

Back in present day, at the center of Tommy and Laurel’s relationship break up is Oliver. This episode did a good job of depicting Tommy’s insecurities and showing why he feels inferior to Oliver. Although it’s The Hood/Oliver who protects and saves Laurel more than once this episode, a fact all too clear for Tommy, he does sell himself a little short. It’s a great character moment when Tommy helps the 7 year old boy deal with the death of his parents. So its sad that as good hearted as Tommy is, he believes he can’t compare with Oliver if Laurel knew the truth.

Overall, Home Invasion is another fun, action-packed episode which pushed a couple of relationships over the brink. Though the Deadshot scenes could have been directed better, it did not take away from my enjoyment of the episode. What did you like or didn’t like about this episode? What did you think of Tommy dumping Laurel?

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