Oliver Queen Hoods Up Again and 'Finds Another Way' to Bring Us Back For Another Season of 'Arrow'
Hello, my name is Howie, and I’m a binge watcher. A little under two weeks ago I embarked on an expedited twenty-three episode journey in an attempt to catch up on Arrow before last night’s season two premiere. I’ve been known to binge watch in the name of getting current on a show, and in this particular case I had three reasons: Arrow had come highly recommended by peers with similar taste, there’s promise of many superhero cameos in the upcoming season, and, like Amanda Dobbins, I “still really enjoy a Television Event.”
I was hoping Arrow’s season two premiere, “City of Heroes,” would feel like an event, and it did not disappoint. It opens with Oliver Queen back on the island where he was shipwrecked for 5 years, this time by choice. After the events of “Sacrifice,” the season one finale, Oliver has fled Starling City to mourn the loss of his best friend Tommy and rethink his approach (turns out being called a ‘serial killer’ by your best friend can send even the hardest vigilante back to the drawing board).
When Arrow-allies Felicity and Diggle come to retrieve Oliver, it momentarily feels like we’re in for one of the old “grumpy erstwhile hero turned curmudgeon failed his people and just wants to be left alone- he’s really gonna need some convincing!” story arcs. Thankfully, this show moves too quickly for that. Instead, Oliver is visibly happy to see them (playful even), listens to reason, and comes home without issue — kind of refreshing, actually.
A lot has changed since Oliver left town, including to a large degree, the premise of the show. Gone is Oliver’s list of one percenters who have “failed the city,” the basis for his vigilantism. Gone is the primary and clandestine villain, and gone are the secrets behind which Moira Queen hid for the first 23 episodes. What’s left now is a landscape (partly) in ruins, a Queen family with a black eye and a quickly diminishing business presence, and a city without a proper hero.
Where “City of Heroes” excels is its efficiency in queuing up a new premise without it feeling forced. Every new storyline introduced feels like a natural progression from previous ones, and Oliver’s ultimate decision to “hood up” again is for a plausible reason. Just as Oliver “finds a new way” and embraces a decidedly less murder-y crime fighting strategy, Arrow finds a new way to engage us.
The season two story arcs that were initiated are full of promise, with Oliver’s tense 50/50 Queen Consolidated partnership with Isabel Rochev (Summer Glau) one of the most intriguing. The Hood will have a new adversarial Lance to contend with, as Laurel has joined the District Attorney’s office and declared war on the vigilante. She’ll have to keep up though, because calling him “The Hood” is so last year. Additionally, it appears vigilantism is contagious in Starling City. Besides the misguided ‘Hoods’ from “City of Heroes” and Roy Harper’s continued amiable efforts, we also got our first look at a certain black-clad songbird who has a penchant for thug disposal.
For comic book fans, Easter Eggs abound in “City of Heroes,” from Slade Wilson’s “There’s nothing more attractive than a woman who can hunt” remark that feels like Huntress return foreshadowing all the way to a S.T.A.R. Labs reference on the news. Here’s hoping we see that near-completed Particle Accelerator sometime in the show’s future.
Howie Decker is the chief blogger and editor of UnderScoopFire, a site that admittedly takes Garbage Pail Kids and M.U.S.C.L.E. figures way too seriously.