By Stacey Gillard
I enjoyed Arrow’s first season. I thought it introduced the characters well, had some amazing action, a lot of comedy, and yes, many shirtless salmon-ladder scenes. Overall it was a fun romp that kept me tuning in each week. Season two has stepped it up a notch. Or two. Or seven. Oliver’s alter-ego is no longer hell bent on revenge in the form of killing sprees. The death of his best friend has shown him the error of his ways and he knows that while a certain amount of violence is inevitable in the life of a vigilante super-hero, Tommy’s view of him as a murderer wasn’t altogether inaccurate. Is this making for a kinder, less volatile Arrow? Maybe not, but he’s someone who will try to find an alternative method of persuasion before resorting to killing.
After this past week’s episode it is now apparent that mentoring Roy as he tries to adjust to the effects of the mirakuru is going to be a kind of grounding for Oliver. With his need to reign in Roy’s powers to help him refine them it should force some analysis of his own behavior. I’m really happy that Roy is becoming a central character to the show. I love Colton Haynes’ portrayal, showing a vulnerability to the troubled young man who frankly I’ve been rooting for since the day he was introduced. His reaction when Oliver revealed his true identity was perfect, a stunned silence that held so much weight. Oliver has accepted Roy’s love for Thea and that can only mean their newly forged alliance will get stronger. Introducing him to Felicity and Diggle was a lovely moment, and I feel that Haynes and Emily Bett Rickards could have some fun with a Roy/Felicity friendship.
The island story is becoming much more relevant now that we know Slade is behind Sebastian Blood’s activities in present day Starling City. I’ve always enjoyed the island scenes but I know some people were irritated by an apparent disconnect last season. The love triangles (squares? I’ve lost count of the combinations!) are ensuring a very emotionally charged story arc, and I think Manu Bennett is playing the lovelorn and mirakuru-infused island version of Slade very well. I was surprised at Shado’s death; I had assumed she had taken over Oliver’s training once her father was gone, but we’re only 1 year into his stay on the island, there’s still lots of time for Oliver to become the Arrow, and I’m pretty excited to see where we’re being taken with that aspect of the show.
I’m not sure that I’m understanding where Laurel fits into all this now, although having Sarah go to her aid at the end of the last episode could start to tie things together. Her involvement with Blood seemed a little forced, to be honest, and now she’s being dis-barred and struggling with addiction I don’t see how she can continue her campaign against him. Maybe we’re heading for another big reveal that will make it all clear. I hope so.
One thing I am intrigued by is Walter’s insistence that Moira run for mayor against Sebastian Blood. I’m not saying that a mayor with a troubled past (or present – looking at you, Toronto. [Hey! Take it easy-ed.]) is anything out of the ordinary, but it seems like an unlikely option considering the very recent and highly public murder charges against her. I understand that there are many people who want to avoid Blood gaining power, but I like to think there would be better candidates in Starling City. It seems like there might be a chance at a reconciliation between Moira and Walter and in some ways that makes me a little sad. I like Walter and he had always seemed to have his hands clean but with Moira’s reveal that he’s known all along that Thea wasn’t Robert’s daughter it makes me wonder what else he’s been implicit in. I also wonder about Moira’s request that her doctor be silenced. Walter didn’t seem surprised or angered by that and I’m hoping she’s not falling back into her old ways of feeling like she’s above the law, and dragging Walter along with her.
Overall, I feel season 2 of Arrow has given us a lot of the hard-hitting action that we’ve come to expect while moving things along and expanding the myth arc. As I’ve said before (and probably will again) most of the comic book references go right over my head but I never feel like I’m lost or missing out on anything. It seems there are many more reveals and surprises to come in the 2nd half of the season and I can’t wait.