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Character Development: Arrow’s “Identity” Crises 

Photo Credit: Jack Rowand/The CW

Titled “Identity,” this episode saw our favorite Starling City residents face, acknowledge and attempt to accept their secrets and the various identities affiliated with each. And I loved it. We know that most residents of this city have some sort of secret and I like that the show is finally addressing the toll that those secrets can take. We’ve seen it since day one with Oliver as he’s struggled to be both a friend/brother/son as well as a vigilante, but we’ve yet to really hear the impact it has had on our other beloved crime fighters.

This episode identified Oliver as both the city-saving vigilante as well as the rich boy CEO of Queen Consolidated, who is also trying to save the city in his own way. He is clearly trying to make his public persona line up with his private one, but that doesn’t mean it is going to be easy. After offering to throw a fundraiser for the city, duty calls and Oliver must don the hood, failing to appear at the gala, which ultimately tarnishes his public image yet again…even though if people had any idea what he was really doing, they would (or should) applaud him rather than bash him.  Although during his encounter with China White, Oliver claims not to care about public perception…however, his amazingly emotional facial expressions tell us that it may bother him more than he cares to admit.

China White: “They still won’t see you as anything more than the enemy. You’ll never be anything but a criminal to them. Which means you’ll never be a hero.”

Arrow: “As long as this city is safe, it doesn’t matter.”

My favorite new dual-identity discussion came courtesy of the increasingly bold and sassy Felicity. Now that Oliver is working at Queen Consolidated, we get a chance to see our favorite computer-whiz back in the office…but she’s hardly happy with the new public identity she must assume to keep her city-saving alter ego under wraps — Oliver’s assistant.

Felicity: “Did you know I went to MIT? Guess what I majored in. Hint, not the secretarial arts.”

Oliver: “Felicity! We all need to have secret identities now. If I’m going to be Oliver Queen CEO, then I can’t very well travel down 18 floor every time you and I need to discuss how we spend our nights.”

Felicity: “And I love spending the night with you. 3. 2. 1. I worked very hard to get where I am and it wasn’t so I could fetch you coffee.”

Diggle: “It could be worse. My secret identity is his black driver.”

And that brings us to Diggle. Aside from delivering great one liners, Diggle’s public identity has long been that of Oliver’s driver. But we viewers know that he’s really so much more. If it weren’t for his wingmanship, I don’t know that Oliver would be able to pull any of this off. But this episode also taught us that those aren’t Diggle’s only dual identities. While Oliver was away on the island, the role of brother and the role of boyfriend presented Diggle with a conflict as he dated his dead brother’s wife even while his brother’s killer was still at large. Ultimately, this lead to the end of their relationship, but I love that we had a chance to see a personal side to Diggle and the mention of Deadshot gives me hope that we’ll see that battle resume sometime before the season ends.

Our final identity crisis comes courtesy of Roy. While he clearly wants to be the Robin to Oliver’s Batman, Oliver puts him in his place, both as the vigilante and as Oliver. After it becomes clear that Roy isn’t going to back down, the vigilante he assigns him to be his eyes-and-ears in the Glades, gathering the intel needed to take down the bad guys. This gives Roy a convenient loophole when Thea forces him to choose between her and crime fighting. He promises to put on the boyfriend hat and not fight anymore, which “technically” he won’t, but as we all know, fighting crime isn’t just about the physical fight. It’ll be interesting to see exactly how he balance the responsibilities of boyfriend vs crime-fighter and what role he plays now that he’s a part of Oliver’s operation.

And finally, what’d you think of that ending?!?! Will Oliver’s secret identity finally be revealed?!

Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on the CW.

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