Green Arrow‘s (Stephen Amell) vigilante justice is complicated by the arrival of an assassin who kills the latest name (Tobias Slezak) on Queen’s list before the archer can exact his own form of justice. After being grazed by the poisoned bullet that takes out his target, Oliver traces the assassin’s unique killing style to an unknown assassin known only as Deadshot (Michael Rowe). As Green Arrow traces the killer’s bullet back to his employers (through logic that’s far from clear), which leads to equally dumb plan of passing himself off as a member of the Russian Mob, Detective Lance’s (Paul Blackthorne) own investigation into the killings leads him to believe someone is killing off competing bidders for an energy company, a group that includes Walter Steele (Colin Salmon).
To help conceal his secret base of operations and hide how he spends his nights, Oliver decides to open a nightclub in the poorest part of Starling City. Other stories include Joanna’s (Annie Ilonzeh) attempts to help Laurel (Katie Cassidy) get over Ollie which leads to a night of revelations about Laurel’s relationship with Tommy (Colin Donnell), and, back at Queen Manor, Thea’s (Willa Holland) predictable downward spiral continues when she’s arrested for breaking and entering and public intoxication. The episode also introduces Emily Bett Rickards in a recurring role as Felicity Smoak, a member of Queen Industries tech support who helps him recover data from Deadshot’s computer.
The episode’s version of Deadshot is a mixed success and for the first time Arrow really feels like an episode of Smallville, with all the show’s promise brought down by its inherent flaws. Although it keeps the character’s deadly accuracy and trademark wrist-mounted guns (keeping an enlarged version of the infrared-eye-piece but loosing the helmet, creating a startlingly goofy look), no one is ever going to mistake this guy for the real Floyd Lawton. Arrow‘s version of the character is far less seedy or humorous than the comic book character, and the whole tattooing the name of his victims on his body comes off as something stolen from a bad, bad B-movie. On the plus side, Oliver and Tommy’s ass kicking at the club does show as a new side of Laurel – possibly foreshadowing the eventual appearance of Black Canary.
The episode does give us more into Oliver’s flashbacks on the far less than deserted island than we were initially led to believe. We get a couple of scenes with the mysterious stranger (Byron Mann) but no real motive for him first nearly killing and later saving the island’s new resident. This is the weakest episode of the series yet, which isn’t helped by the murky attempt to differentiate Green Arrow’s murder spree (for his own form of justice) with Deadshot’s (for money), but Diggle’s (David Ramsey) discovery of how Oliver really spends his nights and Moira’s (Susanna Thompson) heart-to-heart with her daughter make me hopeful two of the show’s more awkward ongoing storylines will be coming to and end. Now if the writers could just lighten up on the narration and try not to Smallville-ize any other characters.