‘Arrow’ Season 1, Episode 10 Review – Scorched Earth

Published 2 years ago by

Stephen Amell as Arrow Burned Arrow Season 1, Episode 10 Review – Scorched Earth

It’s been a few weeks since the Arrow midseason finale, and after the revelations that came from Ollie being more or less on the losing end of his encounter with the Dark Archer, it seems like Arrow and his alter ego could use an adversary that will help get him back on the horse, so to speak.

One of the more significant aspects of the audience finding out that the Dark Archer was none other than Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman), father to Oliver’s so-called best friend Tommy (Colin Donnell) and major source of Queen-family problems, was that it created a greater sense of the scale of conspiracy that surrounded not only the death of Robert Queen (Jamey Sheridan), but also the clandestine organization that was apparently determined to bring about serious ruin to Starling City.

Before the hiatus came to an end, Arrow writer and producer Andrew Kreisberg mentioned how the first 9 episodes were really a way for the series to get all its ducks in a row, and that from ‘Burned’ on out, there would be a greater sense of the larger plot that’s at play. Naturally, there’s always going to be some adversary for Arrow to deal with, but, to paraphrase Kreisberg, the series would start to become more than just Oliver scratching names off a list. In other words, the scheme involving Malcolm Merlyn and Moira Queen (Susanna Thompson) would begin to make its presence known to the characters.

Stephen Amell and Katie Cassidy in Arrow Burned Arrow Season 1, Episode 10 Review – Scorched Earth

For the most part, though, there isn’t any advancement regarding the supposed plot threatening Starling City, nor is there any involvement of Malcolm or his alter ego, for that matter. Instead, ‘Burned’ chooses to spend its time seeing Oliver get back on the proverbial horse, having lost a step or two in his near-fatal encounter with the Dark Archer. Up to this point, Oliver’s been so driven by his goal that there’s been virtually no stopping him. So, in the wake of his first real defeat, Ollie has taken several weeks off to not only convalesce, but also to assist his family with the growing emotional burden of the disappearance of Walter Steele (Colin Salmon). It may not be furthering the major plot involving the elder Merlyn, but the recognition of the trouncing he took, as well as Walter’s vanishing, act as the right kind of reminder to get the audience back up to speed after the holiday hiatus.

That said, like the appearance of Deadshot, a lot of noise had been made about the appearance of Firefly in the episode, and, like Deadshot, Firefly (played here by Andrew Dunbar) acts primarily as a catalyst for the episode, taking something of a backseat to the overall Oliver storyline. Unlike Deadshot, though, Firefly comes across less as a full-on villain, and something more along the lines of a tragic character led astray by horrible events and a need for vengeance.

As a firefighter, Garfield Lynns was left for dead by his commanding officer in an out-of-control blaze that would also take the lives of several other firemen and many civilians. Now, three years later, Garfield is picking off members of his old crew, making his way to the man he ultimately holds responsible. It’s tough to say how the audience is going to respond to Arrow‘s depiction of the villain, considering he is far more grounded than his comic book counterpart. Instead of the character’s more unique, winged costume, this Firefly primarily utilizes a typical fireman’s uniform, save for some incendiary grenades and spray hose full of accelerant.

Stephen Amell and Andrew Dunbar in Arrow Burned Arrow Season 1, Episode 10 Review – Scorched Earth

But, as mentioned above, ‘Burned’ isn’t really about Arrow facing off against a new Starling City adversary; in fact, he only confronts Firefly twice – the second time results in the villain taking his own life. Really, the episode is more concerned with Oliver coming to terms with the fact that the people in his life matter as much as his undertaking – he realizes what it would mean to his family if they lost him again. That’s certainly an aspect the series has been trying to get across for some time, and it’s not really clear if the show is any more successful here, but we do get the sense that, by the episode’s end, Ollie uses this revelation to overcome the emotional hurdle he was left with in the aftermath of the Dark Archer fiasco. At the very least, it says something that Oliver is more aware of the people in his life, and that fact plays some small role in the decisions he makes while in vigilante mode.

Arrow normally relies on drawing a parallel between the two lives Oliver is living, and in ‘Burned’ it felt like the beginning of those two formerly separate parts of Oliver’s life coming together. The way Arrow dealt with a tragic murderer by attempting to extend some compassion was not altogether unlike how he’d approached dealing with his mother. Neither attempt was what you might call a success, but it suggested a unity to the two sides of the character that had been at odds during the first half of the season.

Although the episode lacked the punch of others that have come before it, it did offer some interesting developments for Oliver’s character that helped make up for its slight super hero-y shortcomings.

Andrew Dunbar and Stephen Amell in Arrow Burned Arrow Season 1, Episode 10 Review – Scorched Earth

Various other items:

  • Despite his daughter’s apparent change of heart, Detective Lance (Paul Blackthorne) is still determined to bring the vigilante to justice. And now, he’s using Laurel as bait to try and track the vigilante.
  • After several episodes of watching him do pretty much the opposite, it was strange watching Diggle (David Ramsey) actually encouraging Oliver to put on the hood. With Roy Harper set to make an appearance soon, let’s hope all the good Diggle does isn’t forgotten by Ollie.

Arrow returns next Wednesday with ‘Trust But Verify’ @8pm on The CW. Check out a preview for the episode below:

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  1. great ep!! lets go hunting =D

  2. Is it me or does arrow like to burn(no pun)through its villians?

  3. Another great ep. The show is building momentum. I do hope Walter does return, I enjoy him on the show. I wouldn’t bring on Speedy to quickly just yet, but it appears he’ll be here before the end of season one. Who knew Dig was in that kind of shape, wow.

    Keep it going show runners, I look forward to next week!

  4. I heard deadshot is supposed to make another appearance despite his apparent death.

    I love arrow one of my favorite new shows. The characters are awesome and I find myself loving the green arrow. Also diggle is a great supporting character with Roy Harper coming in soon I hope diggle doesn’t bite the dust.

    • Great I was hoping DeadShot would return as it didn’t seem the arrow was buried too far in his head, and Oliver had to make a speedy exit (without examining the body) due to Digg’s curare poisoning. I’m with you above about “burning” thru the list of villains. I would like to have a few more who were’nt just “one-off” types but would recur as they do in the comics. It was like the end of the first Batman when they killed the Joker… I was like “You can’t freaking kill the joker! WTF?!”. I know it could border cheesey if every villian gets away, but a few should. I guess that’s why I’m diggin this part of the story arc. Oliver getting his A$$ handed to him by the dark archer, and his subsequent development was good for the story. It gives him a renewed sense of purpose to know there is someone better out there, gunning for him.

      In any case when Firefly walked into the flames last night, I was at first disappointed there wouldn’t be a lot of action in the climax… but then I kinda laughed out loud when he burned alive and thought “actually, that was pretty awesome” LOL.

      • Deadshot will in fact return, he is not dead. That is direct from the producers. China White will return, as will DeathStroke and the Dark Archer. There are some reocurring vilians on the show, not as many perhaps would like, but the list is growing!

        • yeah wondering if they will introduce more Batman or Green Arrow Villains?

  5. I would have never known that the guy was suppose to be Firefly if my brother didn’t tell me. They could have at least give him a more similar look to the comic book version. But i know everything is “grounded” smh Thanks a lot Christopher Nolan

    • LOL although I really appreciate what Christopher Nolan did I can see your point. There are times when you’re like “Can’t they look just a little more… comic-ey” LOL. I for one would’ve loved to see firefly at least have a jet pack, but whatever. Here’s hoping that the Justice league movie keeps close to original character’s looks. Also if they use this Green Arrow for the movie he’s gotta grow out the facial hair, like the real Green Arrow.

      • He looks more like Cole from inFamous

  6. I’m not familiar with the comics, so I have no stake in the show’s loyalty to the source material. In fact, I’m not much of a DC fan. However, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every episode thus far. EVERY.

    I am, however, slightly concerned with the overall notion (only as shown thus far) that there will be a weekly villain. Comic villains are equally as detailed as the heroes, so I’m hoping there will be at least ONE recurring villain. Maybe Dark Arrow? I dunno, I think it’d be a little lame to make the recurring villain the same thing as the hero. I mean, Bizarro, the exact opposite of Superman is as creative as picking up a pair of socks.

    Anyhow. . . although this episode wasn’t high-octane or intense, I think it was needed to ground Oliver Queen. The episode gave us insight into Oliver’s mentality, and also Diggle’s commitment to the cause. (By the way, David Ramsey looks amazing at 40 years old.) In the bigger story of Ollie’s fight for Starling City, I think this episode needed to happen. I’m not quite sure the timing was right for story impact, but it worked all the same.

    I love this show and here’s hoping future seasons will pull everything together.

  7. One of the strongest episodes yet, showcasing the talents of the main characters and presenting each of them in their better manners. Hope to see more of this in the future as it shows the ensemble coming together nicely. Also hoping Annie Ilonzeh won’t be gone too long; she’s a good sidekick for Laurel.

  8. Disappointed…“FIREFLY” portrayed by Andrew Dunbar was horrible just a plain simple dead firefighter with boring lines and movements. I`d expected more from him, lets see what “THE COUNT” brings to the table. So far “DEADSHOT” and “DEATH STROKE” are well portrayed.

  9. Another episode that illustrates Arrow is one of the best new shows on TV this year. Never mind it is a superhero themed program, it is a solid, good show. WB needs to get the ball rolling on Amazon and ensure they get a good storyline in place. If written well there is no reason we can’t have two superhero themed shows on WB.

  10. I was somewhat disappointed by this episode. No plot advancement, forgettable villain (though you can kind of sympathize with him), laughable fight scene. For all the build up the CW did in the promos for this episode, I was expecting an engaging episode and a great villain. Alas, none of those came to be. Like Constantine Drakon before him, Firefly actually has a chance to shine and become a memorable villain, but the treatment of his character fails him. Better luck next episode.

  11. Another thing that no one seemed to comment on or linger on was that I think in a sense, the tower that burned down is foreshadowing for what Malcolm Merlyn and Moira Queen are up to..

    I think a lot of this episode was just a glimpse of things to come in terms of how these people on the list have been “failing the city”.

  12. Are they EVER gonna call this guy GREEN ARROW? what the hell? Where’s Perry White or J Johna Jamison to name this guy ?? enough already!