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Arrow: The Man of Many Faces

Arrow: The Man of Many Faces

By Matt Ross Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

The #DCTV Couch Club is a team of DC fans dedicated to exploring the shared universe of The CW’s Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. Look for new Couch Club posts here on after every new episode!

In my last column, I threw out the idea that Tobias Church could twist Wild Dog into joining him. It seemed like a real possibility based on Wild Dog’s personality and need for acceptance and approval, regardless of the source, or so it seemed.

Well, I was wrong….

Granted, even though he gave up Oliver’s name (something he didn’t really remember doing), Wild Dog is more loyal than I thought. He took a legit beating at the hands of Church, but stayed pretty defiant.  This episode showed that he’s capable of self-growth, as evident by working with John to rehash his torture (not an easy thing to do) in order to pick out any sort of clues he may have overheard during his torment.

I can admit it. I had him pegged all wrong. There may be more to this guy than I thought.

Moving on, this was a pretty awesome episode. Between the fights and the introduction of the mysterious Prometheus, it was a lot of fun. But there was one thing that stuck out more than anything in my opinion and that was Christopher Chance—the Human Target.

Personally, I thought he was the best part of the episode. The disguises and his demeanor were just too cool. I definitely got fooled twice (the Oliver “murder” and machine gun thug disguise), which is good, because it means you’re completely engrossed in the show.

But who exactly is Christopher Chance, the Human Target?

Some of you may remember him from the TV show Human Target back in 2010-2011.

I’ve always thought of him as a “faceless” master of disguise for hire. He’s one of those really interesting, lesser known characters, but once you discover him, you’re glad you did. I’m betting tonight’s episode helped get fans intrigued to know more about him. That’s great, because he’s awesome!

In the comics, Christopher Chance watched his father get brutally gunned down by a loan shark. The event had an understandably huge impact on him—driving him to obsessively study martial arts and weaponry. His goal was to make sure that no one else suffered the same kind of fear that his father did just before his death.

So, he had your standard born-out-of-tragedy hero blueprint. But there’s a little something extra that, in my opinion, adds a really interesting layer, which I’ll get to in a second.

As he got older and honed his skills, he developed a strong knack for method acting (think Brando, De Niro, etc.) and used that as a major part of his skill set—impersonating people by living their lives. Combining all these skills, he opened a private investigating agency, where he hired himself out as the Human Target; disguising himself as clients who believe their lives are in danger. Once he takes on a job, he “becomes” his client and works to lure out the assailants and have them turn their fire on him and not the client. This is exactly what he did for Oliver in tonight’s episode. The price for his services? Way more than you or I could afford.

Back to that little extra layer I mentioned earlier…

One of the things I find most interesting about Chance is that over the years, the line that separates who he is from the clients he impersonates has become blurred. His obsession/addiction with “playing the part” of his clients has caused his own personality to be lost. He’s never sure if his feelings and emotions are his own, or if they’re of someone he’s impersonated.

So, not only do you have this really cool character that has a special talent, but it’s one of the more unique and interesting internal dynamics in the DCU.

I’m drawn to Chance’s character because I think it’s incredibly human to want to be someone else or “escape” oneself. We all do it and it’s never been more prevalent than in our modern times of internet and social media. It’s on a different scale, but the premise is still the same. How many people do you see acting like someone else, or playing a part, rather than being themselves? I bet it’s a pretty high number.

Why is that, though?

Is it that we’re just insecure with ourselves? Or, perhaps, maybe it’s easier to pretend you’re someone else, rather than face who you are? I think it’s different for everyone, but I do know one thing: once you lose sight of who you are—what makes you, YOU— that’s when you become lost. Christopher Chance lost himself a long time ago and became the Human Target—swimming in a sea of personalities, struggling to find his own.

I don’t know if he’ll be back, but if he we see him again on Arrow, it would be interesting to see if they explore that angle.

Until next episode,

Matt Ross covers Arrow as a part of the #DCTV Couch Club. Catch new episodes of Arrow Tuesdays at 8 p.m. (7 p.m. CST) on The CW.