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.
Things are finally beginning to really heat up in Green Arrow by Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino. Their issues over the last six months have been really amazing and the current arc, The Outsiders War, has been highly entertaining as well. In the past two issues, we saw a lot of the setup for this arc as Green Arrow traveled back to the island with Shado, looking for answers to a lot of questions. He found few answers and many more questions. Green Arrow #27 ended on a jaw-dropping cliffhanger, and the new issue carries on straight from there.
As always, I’m not really sure what to say here, except that the star of this issue is definitely Andrea Sorrentino with his mind-blowing pencils, and even Marcel Maiolo with his captivating colours. The story here is pretty good of course, as are most of Jeff Lemire’s scripts, but the art is totally something else. The time for revelations to be had is over and it is the time now for action, whether we talk about the heroes or the villains. And John Diggle finally makes his return here after the teaser we got in one of the previous issues. So this book is definitely firing on all cylinders.
After all the exciting epilogue-ish reveals of last week’s episode, Arrow did one better this week by dropping a big bomb on the proceedings and showing that whatever we as viewers thought was going to happen with certain characters isn’t quite going to happen like we imagined. I love the format that the show has evolved into, where the last five minutes or so are often used to drop hints and clues as to the larger story arcs of the season. Last week’s highlight was we saw Slade Wilson as Deathstroke, in full gear, laying down justice on four of Blood’s henchmen for the price of Blood failing in his mission. This week, well, this week was quite special altogether on a different note.
Once again, we have an aptly named episode. While the name “Tremors” might give you certain ideas about the plot of the episode, it is also something more, it is about the shake-ups in the lives of the main cast and the supporting cast. Each and every character in the show is impacted to a certain degree here and their world is shaken up because of it. All I can say on seeing the episode is that I am still in love with the show. It is going from strength to strength and is finally picking up the momentum after the recent six-week break.
With the show back on air for season 2 following the recent big break and the awesomeness of seeing Barry Allen on the show in the moments before he becomes The Flash, its time to get the momentum going once more for Arrow. The mid-season finale was a hell of a place to stop before the long break, and while the mid-season premiere wasn’t quite what I was looking for despite being a good episode, my enthusiasm in the show is undimmed. In fact, each and every week I am more and more excited because the show has surpassed pretty much all my expectations of it in this season.
Episode 11 is, first and foremost, aptly named: “Blind Spot“. It is all about the blind spots that the various leading characters have with regards to each other. This episode does a great job of thematically exploring that concept even though that’s pretty much what a lot of it has been about from the get go. But I dare say that nothing we’ve seen so far has been quite on point as in this episode. And additionally, the biggest thing of all, I finally got to saw one particular character kick ass just the way that I wanted the character to ever since the character’s first moment on the show. So indeed, this was a pretty good show.
Note: The review contains a spoiler to a really awesome and cool moment from the mid-season finale, episode nine.
Its been a long, long wait, but after almost a month, Arrow returned this week to CW and all was right with the world. In episode 9, the mid-season finale before the Christmas/New Year break, we got a really good half-resolution to the second season and saw a lot of new beginnings for various characters. Mirakuru, Sebastian Blood, Slade Wilson, Barry Allen, Roy, and a lot of other things got addressed, and it was a really fun time. There was also a character death involved, which was really heartbreaking, but something like that was coming, so I wasn’t too shocked by it. Saddened yes. Still, all in all, CW ended things on a good note.
And now we are here with episode 10 as things get back underway once more and we see some bigger changes on the horizon than we have seen before. Overall, while I liked the new episode, I have to say that at times it felt as if the writers were channeling the season 1 mentality rather than the season 2 mentality. The show wasn’t quite as intense as previous episodes have been this season and if I had to sum it up, I’d say that they played off things safe rather than take some left-field chances. But that’s fine with me. There’s been a long break in between the mid-season finale and this episode, so they need to rebuild their momentum so to speak.
Here we are, the mid-season finale of Arrow for its second season. Up until now, in almost each episode, we’ve seen how the writers, the producers, the actors and the directors and everybody else involved have all tried to push the bar and set new levels of achievement with the show. The season started off really well and as expected, the mid-season finale something of a smash-hit as well. The defining thing about this season has been the show’s willingness to take characters and concepts from the comics and reinvent them for a modern television audience who are looking for a balance between the goofy comic concepts and something that they can well relate to.
This week’s episode, the last one we’ll have since the show is now on a one-month break till January 15th, is the second of a 2-part arc which saw the introduction of Barry Allen aka The Flash, one of the core characters of the DC comics universe and a major hitter since he’s been a part of various Justice League teams since his intro. But things didn’t end there of course. Given the long break, the writers tie up a lot of the loose ends and give closure to quite a few subplots that had been running through the season so far. And they do it all in fantastic style. As I mentioned to various friends on Twitter, the last five minutes of the episode left me with my jaw hanging open.
Three Ghosts was a damn awesome episode and I seriously wish that all future episodes are this good.
Note: This review contains some minor spoilers about the episode, although your mileage may vary.
This week, to acknowledge that his Facebook page hit 400,000 likes, Arrow lead actor Stephen Amell posted a 14min Q&A video in which he answered some fan questions that he had taken on his page. In response to one of them, he said that he believes a show should get better, should improve, as it went along in the season. And he firmly believes that every episode this season has been better than the one before. And I agree. It so happened that right after I saw that video, I saw this week’s episode of the show, with a ton of excitement locked in because it was going to debut one of my favourite superheroes, Barry Allen, in a pre-origin role.
And it was good. Good. GOOD more like it. Aside from a few small things that I found problematic, this episode is true to the spirit of the show, particularly this season where Starling City is transformed into the City of Heroes. More great scenes on the Island, more character drama, more top-notch action, a commitment to the idea of superheroes, and supervillains, and more on the epic cliffhanger that we had with the previous episode, something that is going to become a much more intrinsic part of this season.
Note: this review contains some minor spoilers.
Arrow has been building up a lot of steam for a while now. Till now we’ve been exposed to a lot of character drama in the show and season 2 has given us some new characters and situations to wrap our heads around. Season 2 has proven to be far superior to season 1 in pretty much every single way that matters and its been a hell of a ride. New characters like Brother Blood, Dr. Ivo, Black Canary and others have done really good work, while older characters like Detective Lance and Roy Harper have exceeded themselves. But nothing compares to what this week’s episode did with Moira Queen.
In the previous episodes there’s been an undercurrent of a mystery about the Queen family, something so bad that it could destroy the Queen family. Well guess what, State vs Queen reveals that episode in all its glory, and it pretty much throws Moira Queen’s court case for her complicity in the destruction of the Glades into turmoil. It was a rather unexpected twist, but not all that unexpected either since I had kind of been thinking along the same lines, I just got the scale of the whole thing wrong. And that’s not all that happens in this episode. We get to see kick-ass action on the Island too. And an old character from season 1 makes a return as well. Now that was a cliffhanger.
One of the best things about Arrow throughout its entire run so far is that the show makes a clear and successful effort at identifying with the larger setting that it is a part of, the DC Universe that has developed over decades of comics and and movies and television shows and what not. This has been a strength of the show since the start and it has presented some really interesting reimaginings of several characters like the titular hero and his posse of allies and his rogues gallery, some of which have transitioned over from the Batman-side of things.
This week’s episode was another such installment, and it brought back one of the fairly important villains of the first season, the assassin called Deadshot who, in the show’s continuity, is a personal nemesis of Ollie’s friend Diggle since he killed Diggle’s brother. The entire subplot involving Diggle and his revenge was one of the most intriguing elements of the first season and in this episode, its all back in full as Diggle gets to make a really, really tough call. And we get to see the Arrow version of ARGUS’ director, Amanda Waller.
Note: Contains some minor spoilers about the show.
If you’ve seen Christopher Nolan’s recent Batman movie trilogy and you’ve been watching CW’s Arrow of late, AND you hear that the new episode this week is titled League of Assassins, then you are going to be hyped up as hell. I certainly was. Having enjoyed (for the most part, all the scenes with the League of Shadows in the movies, and having some knowledge of Ra’s al Ghul outside of the trilogy, this week’s episode was something I’d been really, really looking forward to.
There are lots of great things in this episode, the best being the storyline consistency in terms of how the episode progresses the larger season-length narrative, and how it continues to build up all the characters, especially Ollie & Co, the Canary, and the Lances. Some of the characters, like Roy Harper and Brother Blood and Isabel Rochev took a backseat this week, but I didn’t mind that at all since the other characters had all the bases covered.
Note: This review contains spoilers for the identity of the masked vigilante who may/may not be Black Canary.
This is the month that marks a slew of DC releases which tie into Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s ongoing Zero Year event for the Batman title. Whether a Bat-family title or otherwise, there are a lot of these comics, and the first among these is Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino’s Green Arrow #25, which takes a break from the ongoing events in that series to give us a flashback to the origins of the relationship between Oliver Queen and John Diggle.
Of course, if you recognize that name, then you are in the know as to some of what’s going to happen in the issue. Created for the CW Arrow, John Diggle has carved out a niche as a fan-favourite character and its great to see that he is transitioning to the comics. Reminds me of how Harley Quinn was introduced in Batman: The Animated Series and then transitioned to the comics, such that she is finally getting herself an ongoing series this month. As a flashback, this was a really good issue, despite a few flaws, but the overall effect is superb nonetheless.
The sign of a good show, especially in its early seasons, is that it needs to have a season-long arc. It needs to have a plot thread seeded throughout that particular season that progresses the overall story and moves the characters forward so that viewers are rewarded for sticking through with things. Additionally, the execution matters a lot, obviously. Do it with a heavy hand and the individual episodes come off the worse for it. Do it in bits and pieces, and you risk alienating viewers since each episode becomes a “situation of the week”.
This is where Arrow season 2 succeeds so well. We knew from the get go that there was going to be a major arc in this season, particularly since there were going to be a lot more heroes around in Starling this time and thus the stakes were going to be higher. The finale of season 1 contributed to that as well. So its really great to see that the “situation of the week” and the season-long arc are melded so well with each episode, and we are barely into the season!
Note: This review contains spoilers for the identity of the masked vigilante who may/may not be Black Canary.