Arrow 2×01 ‘City of Heroes’: Back for the first time.

Source: CW

As the days ticked down to its premiere, I found myself getting really excited about Arrow‘s return. While it had an uneven first season, I thought that by the season finale the creators had put some nice pieces into place for the next year of story lines. Completely leveling a portion of the city, having the Queen family matriarch publicly implicated, and having the protagonist’s best friend impaled by rubble will do that for you.

Right away we’re thrust into action, but what I especially liked was the subtle misdirect by showing us Ollie on the island again before learning that it is actually present day as Felicity and Diggle are the ones inbound. I was immediately struck by how tight the banter was between them (and later Ollie) and it was clear that this group has really established some good chemistry. Usually the action is a strong point on this show, but the landmine/tree swinging bit came off as forced and clunky; although I did take notice of the lingering glances between Felicity and Ollie. I’m predicting an exploration of those feelings at some point this season. Anyways, Dig and Felicity convince Ollie that he needs to come back, which of course he does, however I like that he’s adamant about not taking up “the hood”. Having Ollie actually affected by the events that have occurred rather than just moving things along because Arrow, does more to make him heroic than the whole honoring his father’s dying wishes ever did.

Source: CW

Source: CW

In fact, I’m immensely happy to be rid of the stupid list. Yes Oliver, it was naive (and contrived) to think you could fix Staling City by crossing out names on a list. It was also hypocritical for you to kill people on your list, but get mad at the Huntress for killing people on hers. I’ve had a big problem with the current trend of superheroes known for their stringent policies of not killing actually killing people, but namely this depiction of Oliver Queen. This shift in motivation tacks back towards the comic book version, where Oliver Queen does as much for his city out of the costume as he does in the costume.

This is good because we find out that Ollie has quite a lot to do back in Starling City. Thea’s running the club- but somehow hadn’t noticed the basement headquarters, and Roy is still doing his vigilante thing. Moira is locked up and the company is about to be taken over. Oh and The Glades is still a post-apocalyptic nightmare. Welcome Back Ollie! This also allows for the fruitless Ollie-as-Playboy-by-day story to be put in the rear view, and he has to actually handle serious endeavors, like running his family’s company. Why he never thought to use his access to a multi-million dollar company to improve Starling City before, I’ll never know, but I’m pleased that he intends to now. Of course, he has to contend with Isabel Rochev, the steely executive engineering a hostile takeover of Queen Consolidated played with robotic intensity by Summer Glau. The problem with casting Summer Glau though is that when a mysterious, butt-kicking woman appears later in the episode- we kind of know it’s her. Okay, I don’t know, but considering her track record, she’s going to be some sort of person for Arrow to contend with as well.

Another course correction I approve of is putting Oliver and Laurel back in the friend zone. It seems like she’s over her sister being dead and moving on to obsessing over Tommy’s death. Nice growth there Laurel. Now, I know in the comics that Black Canary is Dinah (Laurel) Lance and she did showcase some combat skills when the Black Hoods crashed that party, so she could also be the mystery woman. However it shakes out, I like that it’s another mystery to piece together.

Source: CW

Source: CW

The biggest mystery of the show continues to be everything that happened on the island. In the flashbacks we always get a lesson Ollie learned that relates to what he’s currently dealing with, but also a lot of people with unknown motivations trying to kill him. So he’s still training with Slade and Shado, but also in a relationship with Shado? More guys have shown up? I’m still not clear why anything is happening on that island, but that damned mask (and Slade obviously) keeps me engaged with the hopes of seeing a Deathstroke appearance.

With most of the episode spent establishing the new status quo, the bad guys were dealt with rather easily. Ollie being forced back into action of course had to happen, but more importantly Thea being forced to stop being such an entitled, self-righteous brat also had to happen. She’s easily the worst part of the show. The best part was the bit where it clicks for Ollie that, no, he doesn’t have to kill these guys. He can tie them all up and have freshly busted down Officer Lance bring them in. So Ollie is back, but he can’t- and doesn’t want to go by The Hood anymore. What will he choose? Not sure but he sure was looking at that arrow for a long time. Heyyyy.

is a self-described TV junkie, extolling it’s virtues to all who will listen. If for some reason he is not watching TV, he can be found seeing live music, in line at a food truck, or riding his trusty bicycle around Los Angeles.

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