Category Archives: Arrow
CW’s Arrow got off to an emotional start with its latest season when, at the end of the episode, Sara Lance aka Canary was ambushed and killed by a mysterious archer. Forget everything else that happened in the premiere, whether it is Ray Palmer’s spectacular entry or Roy and Ollie taking down bad guys together or anything else. Sara’s death is going to have some major repercussions, and for the showrunners to start off a new season with something like this, well, it is a hint of things to come, I’m sure. While I mourn Sara’s passing since I really loved the character, I’m also interested in what is going to follow after it.
And that’s what this week’s episode, “Sara” was all about. Laurel brings Sara’s body to the Arrow-cave, not knowing what else to do, and we get to watch the team’s reaction as they realize that a core part of their shared identity is gone. It is a very moving scene, and the rest of the episode is all about how the team tries to move on and hunt down Sara’s killer, which also confirms the first-ever live-action debut of the villain Simon Lacroix aka Komodo, introduced last year in Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino’s ongoing run on Green Arrow as part of a major arc. This is a non-stop action episode in the true sense of what that means on Arrow, and we also get to touch base once again with Ray Palmer, which is just too exciting really.
I’ve remarked before that DC is going pretty much all-out in its bid to develop more and more properties for television. First there was the (mostly) celebrated 10 season run of Smallville a few years back. Then came Arrow in 2012, quickly becoming a fan-favourite. And this year we are getting Gotham and The Flash (both already premiered!) and Constantine (coming soon). But in all of this, the modern DC stable of television definitely owes much to the incredible success of Arrow, both from a story and casting viewpoint, among others. And now CW’s hit superhero show is hitting its third season.
Arrow Season 3 has been a hotly debated topic in recent months, especially when news of all the new castings and everything began to filter out, such as the fact that the probable big-bad of the season is going to be none other than Ra’s al Ghul, one of the greatest villains in DC’s history. Last night, the new season got underway with the premiere, “The Calm“, and it was an incredible revisit with all the characters and Starling City. The new episode does a lot to set the new status quo and also delivers some big moments, especially the shocking cliffhanger ending which seems improbable given the character involved.
It has all come down to this. When this season was starting, the producers hailed it as the season where Starling would become the City of Heroes. And that was true all the way. Oliver let go of being a killer and moved on to becoming a hero, the kind we all know so well from comics. We had Barry Allen make his debut on the show, although we didn’t get to see him as Flash. We saw Sara Lance enter the show as a vigilante who soon becomes a hero in her own right. We had Roy Harper finally join Team Arrow and try and become a hero too. Starling did become the City of Heroes, but it also continued to be the City of Lies and Deceit and Murder.
This week’s finale episode, “Unthinkable” brings closure to pretty much most of the important lingering plotlines that were woven in through the season. We see Oliver really become the hero he’s wanted to be since Tommy’s death last year. We see Sara come to accept who she is, and what she has become under the League of Assassins. We see Laurel finally become one with her family and not be miserable. We see Deathstroke and Isabel Rochev get their due. We see closure to lots of things and in the midst of all of that, we get some great superhero drama as the webs of lies and deceit unravel and knit themselves back up. And what I can say with all my conviction is that I can’t think of how this finale could have been topped, because it rocked from start to finish.
The last episode, “City of Blood“, marked the beginning of the end for Starling City as Slade Wilson, Isabel Rochev and Sebastian Blood unleashed their army of mirakuru-powered soldiers to wreak havoc all throughout the city. The episode had a lot of character development and action, but lacked some emotion at the same time. Still, it is in the top tier of Arrow episodes to date, as far as I’m concerned, and a large part of that is due to how the entire season been built up, and how the show has been improving since its debut in 2012. Now that we are just one week away from the finale, I was expecting this week’s episode to rock, and it did.
“Streets on Fire” is all about the bad guys beating back the good guys and establishing their dominance as Starling burns all around them. Slade Wilson even makes a reference to Nero watching Rome burn and doing nothing, which is exactly what he is doing and what he intends to do. He is going to take everything away from Oliver that he cares about. Other than the war by proxy between these two characters, we also get some scenes with the Lance family as it finally really comes together, and some scenes with Thea as well as she finally comes face to face with her real father, Malcolm Merlyn. There’s a ton of action here, and all of it is excellent.
Note: Some spoilers from the episode are mentioned.
The ending to the previous episode was a sucker punch in the gut. With Moira’s rising popularity and support for her mayoral campaign, it was only a matter of time before Slade Wilson aka Deathstroke undertook an extreme measure to ensure that his pawn Sebastian Blood would be the mayor instead. As awesome as the episode itself was, all of that paled in comparison to those last few minutes as Slade murdered Moira in front of her children. I won’t deny it, I cried. She wasn’t a character I liked all that much, but that had begun to change of late, and now she’s gone. I was wondering how the new episode this week would top it and I have to say that it came quite close indeed.
“City of Blood” is the title of this week’s episode, and it is one where that title has a lot of different meanings. With Moira Queen dead and Sebastian Blood mayor, Starling is his city now. With Slade now possessing an army of men powered by the mirakuru, the city is going to be drenched in blood now. The City of Heroes has morphed into the City of Blood and Destruction and Death. And it is up to the heroes, the betrayed and grieving heroes to shoulder their losses and move on, because there is a vast conspiracy in place here.
For almost the entire season, the show has always focused on the big picture, developing all the storylines with respect to the meta-plot that is running through the season. And the last few episodes have certainly borne that out given the important implications of the episode-specific subplots. And what’s been fun is that overall this has been a much tighter season than the first one, because the showrunners had a clear idea of what they wanted to do and how they wanted to do that. Along the way, I was expecting something very dramatic for the final episodes and after giving viewers a sort of filler run-around, the new episode did exactly that, for the ending to this one is the most dramatic of them all.
In “Seeing Red” we see how Team Arrow deals with Roy’s condition. He was injected by Brother Blood with the mirakuru serum several episodes back and the character has been trying to deal with the aftereffects of the serum for several months now. To no success. But then, last episode he was hooked by Deathstroke to a super-dialysis machine to get the serum out of him for the villain’s own purposes and now Roy is a comatose resident of the Arrow Cave. Well, not for long. He goes for a rampage soon as he wakes up and none of it is pretty. This just might be one of the most violent episodes of the show as yet and I love it nonetheless, mostly because of how it ends.
Arrow‘s season 2, which has been quite spectacular all through its run and also significantly better than the debut season, is now in its final stages. We started off with a familiar Starling City and a familiar core cast of characters, but along the way many things have changed. Many new characters have joined the cast and the map of Starling has been redrawn by several new villains, all looking to make their mark on the city. But, there has always been a master-plan in place and in the last few episodes we have seen how all of that has played out as we get one revelation after another, revelations that have shocked the lives of the core characters.
In the last couple of episodes we saw Deathstroke and his allies take the fight to Team Arrow and humiliate them again and again. We’ve seen the good guys brought low and have watched as the bad guys became ascendant. Oliver Queen clearly thinks that it is time for the good guys to go on the offensive and that’s what much of this episode is about. Team Arrow has had it with Deathstroke dictating their moves and they strike back this time. And all the usual character drama and action follows, except of course that every performance is at the top of the actors’ games.
There has been a lot of things that have been building up on Arrow in the last few weeks, ever since we found out who the big bad guy of the season was and what his objectives are. The tension has been of the nail-biting kind and we’ve seen Ollie suffering from nightmares and even being flustered at times because he doesn’t know what to do or how to counter the villain. Someone who knows him intimately and everything about his friends as well. Recent matters with Huntress and Diggle going off with Suicide Squad certainly didn’t help matters any.
In the latest episode, titled Deathstroke, we see some pretty important changes in the status quo for all the characters involved. At the end of last week’s episode, we saw that Slade Wilson had given Thea a ride home and she’d accepted it. She should have known not to get in that car! Now she’s kidnapped and her family suffers another blow as they try and work to get her back. This leads into a lot of other things, one of the most important being that the Lance family is once again broken and reeling. None of which is good. And Slade Wilson has three upper-hands now on Ollie.
Last week I mentioned that this week’s episode of Arrow, titled Birds of Prey, was one of my most anticipated episodes of the season because it was going to bring back Helena Bertinelli aka The Huntress and put her up against Sara Lance aka Canary. The Huntress has been one of the show’s more enduring supporting characters and her mission to hunt down her father for the murder of her fiance has been something that has in turn driven Oliver as well, because of how the show has played Helena as a darker version of him, and this is another thing that the new episode does.
Up until now, the show has done great in treating the supporting characters well. Sometimes things don’t pan out as I expected them to, or quite how I wanted them to I suppose, but in the main, and in the majority, they have a good record. Given how the first season played out, and how the island sequence is still all in flashback, there is clearly a lot more setup going on still, and it is proving to be quite fun. The island sequences are better than ever, putting all characters firmly in a morally gray area, rather than keeping them in black and white.
Again and again in my reviews I’ve stressed that one of the things that makes Arrow‘s season 2 really great is how well it works in terms of introducing characters and concepts from the larger DC universe into the show. As part of the whole “City of Heroes” theme for the season, we have seen a lot of characters come and go this season, and last, that together can prove to be quite a substantial force. Of course, the DC universe is notable for having many superhero and supervillain teams, and this week, the show doubled down on that by presenting the first Suicide Squad team-up.
This has been building up for a while, especially once the show brought in Amanda Waller this season. As the head of the ARGUS special ops agency, Amanda “The Wall” Waller has been the commandant of the Suicide Squad for years, and this week we see her in all her no-nonsense and all-business attitude. Even as Ollie and the team continue to deal with the return of Slade Wilson and his vengeance for the death of Shado, Diggle is caught in Waller’s web and has to face some tough decisions with respect to his ex-wife and the man who killed his brother.
I just don’t get why American shows take so many damn breaks in between their fall seasons. I mean, seriously, Arrow has taken like 4 breaks already or something, and this week at least it is taking another break. It totally ruins the whole momentum of the show, no matter how good it is. And I mean, I’ve been waiting so much to see the Suicide Squad and Birds of Prey themed episodes, but we continue to wait on those. And just generally too, you know, because Slade Wilson is finally becoming the villain he’s promised to be since day one of the show, and I want to see him kicking ass all over Starling City. Still, it helps that the recent two outings of the show have been so good, especially this past week’s.
If I wasn’t busy with my cousin’s marriage these past couple weeks, then I would have already had these reviews up, but since that didn’t happen, this is going to be a club review. And like I said, the past two episodes have been fairly awesome. The first of these, Time of Death, is all about the Clock King, one of the more fascinating Batman villains. The second, Promise, is about Oliver finally confronting Slade Wilson in the present, since we’ve already seen that the character is the big bad villain of this season. Both episodes pack a ton of awesome, but it is Promise that packs the knock-out punch. Too good, just too good.
Arrow returned from a long break of some six weeks or thereabouts three weeks ago and just while things were building up the momentum once again, it is taking a two-week break for the next two weeks. It will return on February 26th. But to help us tide over, this week’s episode packed a hell of a lot of awesome, just as the mid-season finale did with everything that went on with Barry Allen and Sebastian Blood and Roy Harper. I’ve said several times that I love the show despite its faults, because it does a ton of things right, and because it has improved a lot since its first season.
This week’s episode, titled Heir of the Demon, brings back Sara Lance aka Canary and it also introduces Katrina Law as Nyssa Al Ghul, the daughter of Ra’s Al Ghul, the immortal leader of the League of Assassins, of which Canary is a part. The majority of the episode is focused on the relationship that Sara has with Ra’s, and it also gives us some interesting flashbacks to six years back before Ollie and his father went on that fateful trip on their yacht. This particular episode packed in a ton of emotional drama that I really liked, and for that alone, I loved it.
Note: This review contains some significant spoilers.