Arrow Season 2 Episode 1 (TV Show Review)
After several months of intense anticipation and speculation, the new season of CW’s Arrow premiered this week on Wednesday to much fanfare. Despite the 10 season success of Smallville, Arrow still proved to be a surprise hit and for most of its first season it enjoyed some really high ratings, although that had begun to head downwards by the time the season finale rolled around. Not so bad really though since the show had already been confirmed for a season 2 and from all that I was seeing, the marketing was fairly intense.
One of the things that characterised the first season was that the show had a dark, edgy feel to it, quite apart from the rather sunny disposition that was the norm with Smallville. It helped set the new show apart, especially since there was a distinct lack of any comic-y villains. With the new season, that’s obviously changing, since we’ve heard that Flash and Black Canary are going to guest star significantly, so really, even while the show is maintaining its dominant feel, it is going to reach out to the other side and give fans something… light-hearted. I’m all for that.
Following the events of the season 1 finale, in which the Glades were finally destroyed and Oliver’s family and friends were once again torn apart, Oliver just quit everything and went back to the island. To live in isolation. To not think about the death of his closest friend, who died thinking that Oliver was a mass murderer. To get away from all the responsibilities which were just weighing him down. To not have to balance someone’s life and death in his hands. This is the Oliver that Diggle and Felicity discover as they too go to the island to bring him back, ostensibly to get him to save Queen Consolidated from being gobbled in a hostile takeover.
Of course, as is most often the case in such situations, that’s not all that is happening in Starling City. A year on, and now there are Hood copycats roaming the city, killing people left and right in an effort to take vengeance for the Glades. Inevitably, Oliver has to step in and deal with them, more so since they cross a line in the middle of the episode and commit something that Oliver just cannot ignore at all.
This is the setup for this episode.
I gotta say, its great to finally have this show back on air. Its been a long, long wait, but its finally here. The season 1 finale left things in flux and each and every character was at a very low moment in their lives, whether emotionally or otherwise. It was a really good cliffhanger to end the first season on, and it served as a really good lead-in for this episode, which picks up pretty much right away, in terms of dealing with the fallout of those events.
There have been lots of changes in Starling since we were last there and the city that Oliver comes back to is even worse than he remembers. In that respect, the city still needs the Hood, but not in his previous incarnation. And that’s what this episode deals with. We’ve seen before that Oliver killed many people in his quest to right his father’s wrongs but that he never enjoyed any of it and that he would have preferred to deal with these people in another way. But it is what it is. And the great thing about this episode was that he deals with that side of his identity as the Hood. He doesn’t want to kill anymore and since being the Hood means killing people, no matter whether it is justified, he doesn’t want to be the Hood either. But, he is needed, by his family, by his friends, by the city.
So he does step up to the challenge and the episode becomes one where he is looking to redefine himself. There’s actually a neat bit of dialogue between him and Detective Lance towards the end that highlights this and I think it was a great way to end that particular plot.
In terms of the new heroes that will be joining the cast later on this season, we get a passing reference to the Flash here, and of course, we see a significant cameo involving the Black Canary. Things are muddled with the latter however since there have been mixed signals as to her identity. I won’t go into those spoilers yet since they are not relevant for now. Suffice to say, I’m interested to see how things are resolved on that front. For the moment, I’m enjoying all of it.
The entire cast did pretty well here in terms of their acting. Stephen Amell, Willa Holland and Emily Bett Rickards were exceptionally good. And let’s not be forgetting Summer Glau either. Debuting on the show as Isabel Rochev, and looking to take over control of Queen Consolidated from Oliver, she was a hit all the way. I’ve seen her before in Firefly and in Terminator: Sarah Conner Chronicles, where she rocked her characters. And it looks like she is going to the same here. She doesn’t get to do much in this episode, but she pretty much owns every scene she is in. Interacting off Amell’s Oliver in those scenes, there appears to be a good chemistry between them right off the bat and I can’t wait to see how it all goes from here. Particularly what role David Ramsey’s Diggle and Rickards’ Felicity will play in the duel between these two.
Throughout the episode, there was never a boring moment or a slow moment. There’s a hell of a lot of energy in everything, whether it is the relationship between Katie Cassidy’s Laurel and Amell’s Oliver, or Willa Holland’s Thea and Colto- Haynes’ Roy or any combination of the characters. Its really, really great to see all these characters again as a new phase in their lives starts up.
Of course, we also revisit the island in several flashbacks, and while not a lot actually happens in those scenes, we do see that things have changed there as well since the season 1 finale. For example, Oliver and Shado are now in a relationship, which opens up some really interesting narrative possibilities, something else that I’m looking forward to seeing. But, the biggest thing to look out for is how they all get off the island.
Can’t wait to watch the next episode!
Posted on October 12, 2013, in Arrow, Review Central, TV Show Reviews and tagged Arrow, Black Canary, CW, David Ramsey, DC Comics, Deathstroke, Emily Bett Rickards, Felicity Smoak, Green Arrow, John Diggle, Manu Bennett, Oliver Queen, Review Central, Slade Wilson, Starling City, Stephen Amell, TV Show, TV Show Review. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.