Arrow Review: ‘Damaged’ Brings Truth, Lies, and Deathstroke

CW Arrow Damaged DeathstrokeLast week’s episode of Arrow explored the darker side of Oliver Queen, showing how far he’d be willing to go for his city. This week, “Damaged” continues down that route, but instead focuses on the lies that Ollie must tell to keep his identity secret and keep those close to him safe.

Thematically, “Damaged” did a great job of bringing the idea of deceit to the forefront. Ollie is shown in two similar situations, five years apart.

First, there’s his present day predicament –  Det. Lance has caught Ollie on camera seemingly changing from his Emerald Archer duds into street clothes, and is ready to put the millionaire playboy in the slammer for good. Five years ago, on the island, Ollie finds himself in a similar predicament, as he’s kidnapped by some black ops looking dudes.

In both cases, Ollie winds up having to do one thing to survive — lie. In the present, he’s doing what he has to in order to not only keep his identity safe, but his family as well. Not only that, but Ollie’s really good at lying.

In the past, however, it’s obvious that Ollie couldn’t lie to save his life. But lie he does, to keep his mysterious, hooded, bow-and-arrow-wielding savior safe. It’s interesting to see that in both cases, he’s lying for the same reason — to keep others safe.

A major difference between those two time periods is what Ollie’s lies do for his reputation. When Ollie lies to his family and would-be loved ones, he separates himself from them. In the past, however, it’s his lies that bring him closer to the one who saves him. It showed his strength of character, and thus his green-garbed savior grows to respect Ollie for his resolve.

More than anything, this episode shows how much Ollie has changed after his time on the island. Sure, there’s been bits and pieces of that scattered through each episode of the series, but this episode really drives that difference home.

Ollie isn’t the same bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and absolutely spoiled kid he was five years ago. That Oliver Queen is long dead. What Oliver is now is revealed in the episode’s title – damaged.

He may not be the shaky, PTSD-suffering kind of damaged that he lies to Laurel about being, but he’s damaged nonetheless. Whatever innocence he had, whatever true humanity he had, was lost on that island. Oliver is nothing but a shell, and within that shell is nothing but a drive to rid the world of those who “fail” Starling City.

Also to note, this episode introduced Deathstroke the Terminator to the series. Deathstroke is a baddie on par with the likes of The Joker or Lex Luthor in the DC Universe, so his arrival on Arrow means we’re entering real super-villain country (Deadshot from episode 3 doesn’t count!).

What did you think of this week’s Arrow? Was Deathstroke’s debut all you could hope for? Let us know in the comments!

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Marlan Moore is a freelance writer just getting his feet wet in this pond called the Internet. He hopes to one day write for film, TV, and comics, but until then, he is the managing editor of Inside AX - Anime Expo's official news and review site. His favorite drink is Thai iced tea, but he could really use a root beer float right about now.