Okay, gonna start with this right away. I have been waiting all summer for this show to start up again. When I first started watching Arrow last year I didn’t expect much, after all superhero shows have been pretty hit of miss in the past (mostly miss if we’re being honest) and I am not at all ashamed to admit that this show was far better than I expected it to be. Now, with that out of the way, will you join me in taking a look at the season two premier of Arrow, “City of Heroes.”
This season opens with Diggle and Felicity flying to the island of Lian Yu to find a missing Oliver Queen, who left Starling city after the earthquake in the Glades and the death of his friend, Tommy Merlin. This fleeing the city makes perfect sense. Oliver set out to be the man is father wanted him to be, to write his wrongs and save the city, and after what happened Oliver feels he has failed in that mission, and I can understand why he feels like that. Oliver fought so hard to unravel Malcolm’s plan and save the Glades, but failed, and lost his best friend in the process. His fleeing the city and returning to Lian Yu, a place that he is comfortable with and knows how to survive, and where nothing is expected of him makes sense, it would be his perfect retreat.
However, his isolation is brought to an end Diggle and Felicity bring him home, saying that his family and his business need him back. Which while not a lie, is neither the full truth. Queen Consolidated is about to be the victim of a hostile corporate take over and Oliver needs to save it. Here we see the beautiful, amazing, and ever so wonderful Summer Glau. Glau perfectly presents the cold hearted, corporate bitch. I had chills, and a couple of fan boy squeals, seeing her on screen. While we only got a few minutes of her character, I thought what we saw was a perfect new antagonist for Oliver in his civilian life. WIth them now being partners at Queen Consolidated, I can not wait to see these two butting heads in the future.
This brings us to the other reason Diggle brought Oliver back. A group of killers, inspired by Oliver’s late night activities and calliing themselves The Hoods, have been gunning the wealthy of the city in a revenge fueled quest for justice over the fall of the Glades. The turning point is their targeting of Oliver, while the threat to his own life wasn’t enough to get Oliver to take up the bow again, it did give us a full glimpse into why Oliver was so reluctant. The death of Tommy is weighing heavily on him, his best friend calling him a murderer. This has shaken Oliver to his core. He believed that his actions throughout the first season were just, that he was doing what he needed to do in order to save the city, but the metaphorical slap in the face from his friend has made him question whether or not what he was doing was right. Add in that his feelings of failing his father, and you have an Oliver who is reluctant to take up the mantle again. All this changed when Thea was taken by the Hoods. Oliver immediately springs into action, and armed with his fancy new bow , saves his little sister. This was the turning point for the episode and sets up a new feel for the series. Oliver has decided to not kill, or at the very least to do everything he can to avoid it. This is caused from his feeling that he needs to be the man that Tommy wanted him to be, and helps to set more align the character with his comic book counterpart, the heroes not killing as always been a pretty major part of DC comics, and I like that they are working this change into the character. Also, gotta admit, I am hoping this will lead to some of the more, creative, arrow types that the Emerald Archer has in the comics.
I will say this about Oliver’s character though. In the first season he was trying to be the man his father wanted him to be, and now he is trying to be the man that Tommy wanted him to be. Oliver seems to be unable to actually choose to walk his own path, instead he is letting himself be guided by the memories of those he has lost. While I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing, I would really like at some point to see Oliver walk his own path. Be the man HE wants to be and not let the ghosts of the pasts direct his actions.
We also had our obligatory flashbacks to the Oliver’s time on the Island and the set up of a new sub plot for the season. With the defeat of Fyers; Oliver, Slade, and Shado have had a somewhat peaceful life on the island, and see that Oliver has progressed far in his training with Slade, and has built up a relationship of some sort with Shado. things take a turn for the worse when some new comers to the island appear and throw a wrench in. We’re not given much in the flashbacks this week. Some fond memories of Yao Fei are shared and the seeds of a new subplot is planted. More on this as it develops.
The relationships between the members of the Queen family were fantastically done in my ever so humble opinion. Despite his leaving, Thea was not upset with Oliver, just glad to have her big brother home. This, combined with running her brother’s club, has shown a new maturity to the character that we saw developing over the previous season. Both the Queen kids had dramatically different thoughts towards their mother. Oliver accepted what she did, and didn’t hate her for it. He knew that she was coerced through fear in taking part in Malcolm’s plan, whereas Thea hated her for it and wanted her punished. This makes sense, while showing new maturity, Thea is still just a kid, only eighteen years old, and she felt massively betrayed by her mother and couldn’t see past the deaths that happened. Oliver, older and more mature, understood everything, and forgave his mother, even seeking her out for advice on how to save the family business. Which brought us to the last bit of family, Oliver and Walter. It was great that Walter stepped in to help save the company. It shows that, despite everything that had happened, there was still a strong family bond between them. I look forward to seeing more of this throughout the season.
Finally we have the Lance’s, our favorite dad and daughter team. Detective Lance had a small, but promising role in the premier. After the events in the Glades he was bumped down to a beat cop and Laurel has taken a job at the district attorneys office. There is an interesting reversal in the two characters here. You see Detective Lance now wonder where the Vigilante is, realizing that the city is falling apart without him and how needed he is. Whereas Laurel, still angry and sad over Tommy’s death, now sees the Vigilante as someone that needs to be stopped. This is a very interesting twist for the characters and will be yet another interesting plot point to see played out over the season. Laurel and Oliver’s relationship has taken an interesting turn as well. They both mourn the death of someone they love and agree that they can’t be together because of Tommy. I loved this, I thought this was great. This could have been used to add an unneeded level of drama to the new season, but instead they both acted like adults, and accepted that while they would be together in a romantic sense, at least not yet, they were still an important part of each others lives and neither wanted to give that up.
Finally, Black Canary has made an appearance, but is this Laurel donning the blond wig and fishnets of the Bird of Prey, or is it a brand new character? I could really see this going either way at this point, and I look forward to finding out.