'Arrow' Review: "Damaged"

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Arrow’ lets loose another episode with its fifth outing of the series “Damaged,” as Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) calls Laurel (Katie Cassidy) as his lawyer to prove his innocence of being the vigilante, while Walter confronts Moira about her secrets, and a famous DC face makes an appearance in flashback.

Last week’s ‘Arrow’ episode “An Innocent Man” saw Oliver enlisting Laurel (Katie Cassidy) to help prove the innocence of a man believed to have killed his wife, while Walter  investigated a mysterious embezzlement and Quentin discovered evidence of Oliver being the Arrow.  So, what does the fifth episode of ‘Arrow’ bring?  Does it hit the same bulls-eye as the first four episodes?

Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Arrow’s fifth episode, “Damaged!”

Back on the island, Yao Fei hunts his dinner along with Oliver, before agreeing to teach him use of the bow and arrow.  When Oliver’s first attempt misses horribly, the castaway goes to retrieve the arrow, but finds himself attacked and captured by a mysterious military force!  Meanwhile in the present, Oliver is led into the courthouse in handcuffs, accused of being the vigilante we secretly know him to be.

Oliver argues with Quentin Lance, dismissing the possibility of being Arrow as ridiculous, and claiming that the footage of him on tape was him recovering what he believed to be the shooter’s bag, not an Arrow costume.  Moira and Walter interrupt the interrogation, demanding to speak with an attorney, but Oliver insists that Laurel is the only one qualified to represent him.

With Laurel unwilling to represent such a clear conflict of interest, Oliver begins his trial representing himself, but wouldn’t you know it, Laurel agrees to take the case and shows up dramatically anyway!  Against Oliver’s wishes, Laurel agrees to have Oliver outfitted with an ankle bracelet for the time being, and in private acknowledges that he could never be someone as proactive as Arrow.  At home, Oliver plots to throw a prison-themed party to make public light of the charges.

At her apartment, Laurel argues with her father that he only wants Oliver and Arrow to be the same person out of anger, while back at the mansion Oliver reveals to Diggle that he intended to be filmed with the costume and arrested all along.  Having deduced that his return to Starling City would coincide with Arrow’s appearance, Oliver intentionally got himself accused to disprove the notion early on, but his house arrest complicates things.  Still wanting to keep tabs on a German arms dealer in town, Oliver tasks Diggle with finding out the location of his next big buy.

Walter calls the Queen head of security into his office, and asks for his covert assistance in moving the wreckage of the Queen’s Gambit to another location, in an effort to get to the bottom of the mystery.  Back at the police station, Quentin and the city attorney offer Oliver an insanity plea, but he counters by insisting he’ll take a polygraph in front of both Quentin and the jury to prove his innocence.

Back on the island all those years ago, Oliver is led into the brigade’s tent, and questioned by a man named Edward Fiennes about Yao Fei, who seems to have been a Chinese military agent in the past.  Oliver feigns knowing the man, but Fiennes sees through his deceit.  Frustrated, Fiennes exits the tent, and sends in the interrogator: a fully armored and tactical man with a mask half colored black and orange, Deathstroke!

As the planners set up Oliver’s party, Speedy sulks.  Oliver assures her that nothing will go wrong with the trial and she won’t lose him again, though she does curiously note that the memento Oliver gave her earlier was in fact, an arrowhead.  Oliver dismisses the significance of the keepsake, and assures his sister things will turn out for the better.  Across town, Moira meets with the mysterious well-dressed man (John Barrowman) once more, assuring him her son isn’t the one targeting them.

At the police station the next day, Oliver undergoes his polygraph in front of Quentin, denying having been to Iron Heights prison, or being the vigilante, but admitting he wasn’t alone on the island and endured brutal tortures.  For the most part his answers prove truthful, though he does admit to killing someone, specifically Quentin’s daughter.  When Oliver leaves in grief, the analyst notes Oliver was most likely telling the truth, though Quentin still insists on his guilt.

Later that night at the party, Diggle tells Oliver of the arms dealer Mueller’s whereabouts, when Oliver springs on him a special favor.  Given his ankle bracelet, Oliver asks Diggle to disrupt the buy while wearing the Arrow costume, thereby exonerating him in the process!  Meanwhile back at the Queen offices, Walter learns that the head of security he met with earlier has suddenly died under mysterious circumstances.

Laurel shows up to the party looking to apologize, not having previously known of the torture he endured while on the island.  She apologizes for her father’s behavior, a side-effect of her mother having left them, and kisses Oliver when she sees the amount of physical and mental pain he’s endured over the years.  But like all forbidden make-outs, she breaks and leaves in a huff.

Oliver flashes back once more to his torture at the hands of Deathstroke and Fiennes, until Yao Fei intervenes, fights off Deathstroke, and rescues Oliver in the confusion.  Elsewhere in the present, “Arrow” takes down most of the thugs at Mueller’s arms deal, as we see toward the end it’s Diggle in the costume.

Walter calls Moira to the office, revealing his knowledge of the Queen’s Gambit, to which she urges him to stop investigating lest he anger the wrong people.  Back at the mansion, Diggle calls Oliver to let him know the deed is done, when suddenly one of the party’s staff attacks Oliver with a gun!  Oliver manages to hold his own in the fight, until Quentin appears to put down the attacker.

While the assailant remains a mystery, Arrow’s appearance across town appears to have negated the charges against Oliver.  Moira pays another visit to the well-dressed man, who admits to having made the attempt on Oliver’s life to protect their interests in case he was the Arrow, but Moira swears him off crossing her again.  Elsewhere, Oliver finds a mysterious bag in his room, remembering how Yao Fei gave it to him for his bravery, and trapped him in the cave in order to lead away Deathstroke’s men.

Laurel shows up at the mansion once more, bringing with her the polygraph results.  While Oliver seems to have told the truth, she remembers how both Oliver and she once visited Iron Heights prison on a field trip, meaning he could have lied about any of the answers.  Oliver admits that he doesn’t like to talk about his past lest everyone begin to see him as damaged, and Laurel reminds him that nothing romantic can develop between them again.

Diggle questions the nature of Oliver’s plans, considering the lies it forces him to tell and the damage it does to his family, as in montage we see Speedy eying the arrowhead, Laurel picking up her drunk father from a bar, and Walter leaving to take an extended trip abroad.  Oliver explains that lying to his family hurts him most of all, as he next moves to take down and kill the German arms dealer at his latest buy.

"Damaged" had a lot of buzz going for it in both a clearer introduction to John Barrowman's mysterious character, and the introduction of Deathstroke.  Most of the hour fires on the right cylinders as we've come to expect from the series in only five episodes, but we have to confess our disappointment that Deathstroke's first appearance brought no lines, and very little of the menace we've come to associate with the villain.  The series continues to display smart writing, but could use a bit of work in fleshing out its comic-based characters.

What say you?  Did you feel that ‘Arrow’ hit the mark with its fifth episode?  What did you like about “Damaged?” Join us next week for another all-new ‘Arrow’ episode recap of “Legacies” on The CW!

Filed Under: Arrow, DC Comics, The CW
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