It’s only the third episode of Arrow, but “Lone Gunmen” introduces us to the famed and much-loved villain Deadshot, giving us a faithful characterization of the boring, anti-climactic assassin who doesn’t talk much and is easily killed. The episode centers on Deadshot coming into town, shooting someone on Ollie’s revenge list, and then trying to take out the rest of the potential buyers of some conglomeration or whatever while Oliver tries to stop him. None of it matters, because we got to see Deadshot come to life in true Arrow fashion, devoid of any fun and extremely serious, just like in the comics!
For those of you who are not the gigantic comics fan that I am, rest assured that Deadshot in the comics is exactly the same as he was portrayed in the show. He is boring, predictable, and only says two lines, just like on the show. He has no fascinating desire to die, so it’s not like he is reckless and downright unlucky in his continued survival. The fact that (spoiler) Ollie is able to kill him so easily in no way neuters his character or disrespects the 60-year cosmic joke of him being the one man in the DC Universe who wants to die but just won’t. The show got him exactly right.
This episode brilliantly decided to use Deadshot as someone who is barely seen until the end of the episode, wisely keeping the main reason they hyped this episode up hidden until the very end, before then quickly dispatching him. This allowed Deadshot to barely talk or do anything besides tattoo himself, making him seem boring and uninteresting, two of the biggest reasons why he has become such a beloved character in the comics.
My only complaint about Deadshot was that his wrist-mounted guns were almost too cool. Perhaps they could have had him shoot out blanks or safe darts instead? I don’t ever remember Deadshot in the comics wanting to hurt anyone.
The episode’s title, “Lone Gunmen”, and a single line by Deadshot at episode’s end are the only clues that perhaps Oliver and Deadshot have more in common than Ollie thinks, a fascinating argument that is wisely glossed over for multiple scenes in which Ollie beats up security guards. This allowed for Deadshot’s appearance to have next to no impact on Oliver’s life, which is smart because Deadshot has never once influenced anybody’s life in anyway in the comics.
His costume was exactly like in the comics, wearing just a leather jacket and sometimes his eye-scope thing. He has never worn anything more imaginative or exciting in his 60-plus year history.
We also hardly delve into why Deadshot is murdering these people, which was true to the comic’s version of the character just killing people for no reason. Instead of some fun dialogue about what he was doing in Starling City in which Deadshot could appear alive and make a lasting impression, the show gave us an emotionally rewarding storyline about Oliver’s mother and sister discussing the nature of parenting. To think, the show could have wasted some of this time showing how Deadshot never misses, instead of just telling us that offhand with a piece of throwaway dialogue.
The episode ends with Oliver putting an arrow through Deadshot’s eye and Deadshot seemingly dead on the ground (the show wisely decides to show Deadshot alive and shooting one minute, and then suddenly dead the next with an arrow the next, sufficiently cutting any tension and suspense). Deadshot may not be dead, as the arrow did hit his eye-aimer thing, but let’s hope that he is, since in the comics Deadshot only showed up once before going away forever.