Arrow: Fighting Crime the Bill Gates Way

Published on December 12th, 2013 in: Current Faves, Science and Technology, TV |

By LabSplice

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A few weeks ago, in search of a television show I could marathon that didn’t require too much brainpower, I decided to give Arrow a chance. The CW show is the sexy retelling of The Green Arrow, a character from the DC comic universe who fights crime with only his wits, a bow and arrow, and a multibillion dollar corporation that was bequeathed to him by his late father. It looked like a soap opera with action sequences. It looked dumb as hell.

It looked perfect.

I had every intention of hate-watching the show, throwing up the occasional pithy comment on Twitter, and joking about the need for a contemporary superhero to keep his shirt off to fight crime. The problem I encountered relatively early is that Arrow is actually pretty damn good. Unlike many shows of its ilk, Arrow seems determined to churn through its various twists and turns at breakneck speed. Most shows center their seasons around major reveals that are constantly being teased to the audience: a character returns from the dead and we have to spend twelve episodes wondering how his or her family will react to seeing them again.

Where Arrow sets itself apart from its peers is in how quickly these storylines are resolved and incorporated into the main arc. A character is revealed to have a dark secret? By the very next episode, that secret has been discovered and the story becomes about the strain this revelation places on the relationships. Each new twist and turn is immediately addressed and utilized to push the characters in new directions. It’s surprisingly ambitious for any cable television network, let alone one that has built its reputation on the sexy and the supernatural.

Of course, like any self-respecting critic, I was immediately annoyed by how much I liked Arrow. Now I would actually have to watch the episodes on Hulu as they were released; five years of carefully avoiding currently running television shows out the window. But worse, all these humorous columns I had hoped to write about the failure of the show were now ripped apart and tossed aside. I could not just watch a show that I enjoyed without writing about it! How was I going to recover from such a terrible turn of events?

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And then, just in time for Christmas, Arrow finally delivered the one thing I could work into a full article. The Microsoft Surface, powered by Windows 8 and featured in every episode of the show. Truly, this is the gift that keeps on giving.

After a season and a half of the show, I feel like I am uniquely suited to provide a product review of the Microsoft Surface. The first time it appeared on the show I was understandably confused. Did the sarcastic-yet-idealistic technology expert named Felicity just use a tablet to break into the NSA mainframe? Was it really necessary to show her swiping through so many apps on the screen? Would a technology expert and a self-proclaimed MIT graduate really be satisfied with the computing power of a glorified iPad?

Still, as the series unfolded, I began to understand the appeal of the device. First, the Surface’s cover doubles as a keyboard, a very useful feature. Need to learn more about a corrupt city official who may be embezzling millions of dollars from the hard-working people of Starling City? Why, just clip on your keyboard and do a search on the Microsoft-approved search engine Bing! Not only is it fast and convenient, but also, you are sure to find a relevant article right away. No Buzzfeed articles or TMZ links here. Bing gets straight to the heart of the matter with hard-hitting facts about corporate espionage.

Need to hack into the mainframe of an evil corporation? You’ll hack much harder when you hack using the keyboard! Just a few not-at-all-random keystrokes and you have broken through firewalls and hacked all up into their interwebs. Try doing that on your Nokia phone. They’ll have traced your location and blown up the warehouse before you can even cycle through the first set of letters.

The Microsoft Surface also sets itself apart by featuring a USB port, which I know because of the eight thousand times the characters are required to transfer data from a system to the tablet. Felicity may be able to bring down government agencies from the same device she uses to watch cat videos on YouTube, but sometimes the servers are offline—or something—so the USB port allows you to quickly and lovingly download data directly and easily transfer it to your device. I did not quite believe it was possible the first time I saw it—a tablet with a USB port? Thankfully, Arrow found a way to incorporate this feature into seemingly every other episode, so I was soon able to put my doubts far behind me.

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But why limit yourself to just the Windows Surface? Why not branch out into other Windows products? The days of being a vigilante and communication with the police through a giant red phone in the commissioner’s office are sadly passé. Instead, try slipping a Windows phone into the pocket of your potential partner and calling them regularly? This will require them not only to demonstrate how easy it is to use the phone—including its patented “swipe random directions in the shape of the Queens Conslidated logo!” unlocking feature—but also require that they stare contemplatively at it before or after any phone call. As the camera lovingly frames the bright, cheerful colors of the home screen, the moral-yet-pragmatic cop will be able to consider the full ramifications of partnering with someone operating outside of the law.

Yes, most true crime-fighters of the 21st century know enough to count on Microsoft to help get the job done. If you know a special someone who loves all things related to comic books or movies this holiday season, encourage them to watch Arrow and they might come to the same conclusion that I have—with great power comes great computational mobility.

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